I did a post this week about raiding in previous expansions and in vanilla WoW, and how people often say those raids were harder and my opinion that it is easily demonstrable that current raids are if anything more complicated than they have ever been. I frankly believe there is almost no room for comparison between the game at 60 and today in terms of raid complexity and difficulty. Part of this stems from the many different variations on what the word hard means in this context. Something can be harder because it is conceptually or executionally more complex (the difficulty can stem from how much is required to successfully complete its mechanics) or it can be hard because it is laborious and/or time consuming. Was raiding with 40 people in classic WoW more laborious? Absolutely it was. It wasn't mechanically harder, but it was more time consuming and took a great deal of effort to organize and plan. It's the difference between working out a complex multi-stage math problem and carrying five thousand pounds of rocks from point A to point B.
But there were some points worth addressing. It absolutely has never been easier to level, even without heirlooms, than it is right now. Vanilla leveling to 60 took more time and effort than leveling to 90 does today. Even without heirlooms, one can easily and without much stress reach level 20 in a few hours, level 40 in less than two days, and be level 60 within a day of that, and this isn't spending all day staring at the screen either. This is a fairly casual leveling pace. I leveled a blood elf warrior to 35 in two days of rather casual play, an hour on followed by a half hour reading websites or having a snack or even going for a long walk.
It's also far easier to do the following things:
- Get a dungeon group. You can queue for dungeons at level 15, and from that point on, all you ever have to do to run a dungeon is hit that queue. If you're playing in the tank or healing role you can effectively chain dungeons all day, and even leveling as DPS there are stretches where you don't even need to quest or do anything but dungeon.
- Run a battleground. While you could argue that doing well at BG running as you level up and at max level takes some time and effort, if you want to risk queueing in whatever gear you have, it's simplicity itself.
- Getting ready to raid at max level. The game now has catchup mechanisms in place for players who start later. If you just got your alt to 90 and are switching to it for raiding, deciding to give raiding a try for the first time, or what have you it's not the case that your raid group is compelled to run you through previous raids for attunements and keys, much less gearing you through older raids to get ready for the current content.
- Find something to do. You could even argue that there's too much to do, or that it feels too mandatory. But you can't argue you don't have options - if you don't want to run dungeons, raid, or PvP there are pet battles, daily quests and scenarios you can do.