As much as I might have enjoyed certain parts of Vanilla WoW.... I am very, very happy its gone. I can’t kid myself. Nilla WoW was just unfun in a lot of ways for me and my friends. I never truly felt challenged once I hit 60 and dealt with the instances. UBRS was only hard because you had to coordinate 9 other jerks, Scholo, strat, get all were all simplistically easy. And MC and BWL were snoozefests that were all trial and error gameplay with no true difficulty other than ‘Hit this boss really hard and sometimes move around’. I started playing WoW about a month before BWL was released, and have only taken a break a few times for a few months. Paladins, shamans, and druids were all a joke in that while you HAD tanking and healing/DPS options with them... They were all pretty much inferior. Same for shadow priests. Basically, if you rolled any of those classes, you were stuck as a healer no matter what you wanted to do.
Burning crusade opened up more options, new professions, and vastly increased the end game available. More, newer raids. Heroics that actually felt challenging, more content for non raiders given out, dailies and improved factions... But even then there were still a few kinks. I feel WOTLK era was the most enjoyable era for me, as it gave yet another profession, a new class which became my favorite, and unified a lot of the wow things that I liked. We had a real protagonist, were back on Azeroth... And hybrid classes actually had a purpose other than healing, battle resses, and totems/heroism. Every role was viable, there were no painful and unfun months long grinds, and it had the most content for both the hardcore raiders and more casual non raiders.
Cataclysm suffered in that a lot of its dev cycle and resources went into the recreating of azeroth and changing much of the 1-60 zones. This was a great thing! Except many of the people wanting Cata had at least one level 80 and weren’t wanting the old content. They wanted new. And many of the players who enjoyed Wraths easier aspects found themselves challenged by Catas early brutal heroics – which were soon toned down to be much more tolerable. In addition, a good chunk of content felt rehashed. IE: Zulgurub, Zulaman, etc. Again I really liked a lot of cataclysms things and agreed 300% with the redesigned talents, but a lto of it was miss as well.
Now, pandaria is coming out, and I see a lot of what I liked in Wrath coming back or kinda evident. Again the talent changes don’t concern me, and I am hoping to have a ton of fun. It reminds me a lot of vanilla wow as well, given I played that for so long. So in short, i’m being the voice of dissent and saying I prefer the new WoW to the old one by tons.