It's a proven truthiness that BC and vanilla were far superior to LK and Cataclym. But I'm left with a nagging doubt. Not about their superiority, but their playability. If Blizzard released classic or BC servers, would I play again? I'm certain I'd resub, but for how long?
While I had no problem with the manual group formation, I think I would now. The idea of trying to form a group and possibly not succeeding, an event which was not rare, is hard to imagine now. LFG! *crickets* Huh. Now what?
And while I find the notion of interchangeable instances to be silly, would I want to say LFG Scholomance and really mean only Scholomance? Though I don't think I was ever so specific, since there always seemed to be something to get from another place, it just wasn't my highest priority. So let's say Scholo, dead Strat, and Maraudon (need NR for AQ!), what if for some reason people are only running UBRS? Maybe I'd go there too, since my dungeon chest never dropped.
Speaking of resistance, would I enjoy it? While I like the idea, and I liked the system back then, would I actually enjoy farming specific bits of gear for one or two raids and then stashing it away forever? I am going to assume that if resistance gear stayed we'd have gotten some sort of storage system for it, so bag space won't be the ruination of the resistance concept, but it may still fail to be any fun.
On a slight tangent, I do believe that many of the flaws of early WoW could and would have been fixed up a bit. In other words, I'm not advocating or comparing to the worst of the problems, but what I feel would have been the evolution of WoW, if it had been patched and improved, but maintained a similar philosophy. So things like awful talents would have been fixed, along with class balance and some of the strangely stupid diminishing returns on reputation.
Then there's my beloved and long lost Alterac Valley. I loved the ridiculously long games. My first game turned out to have lasted 25 hours (I wasn't there the whole time) and I'd been in there for a few, which I later learned was fairly short for old AV. Would that still be fun? The futility of an instant win promoted playing just for the fun of it, and encouraged any attempt at all at creative tactics, such as when my warlock summoned half our team behind the enemy line (back before ritual of summoning). But now, I might just wonder "will this ever end so I can get my points?"
It makes me wish I had more (or perhaps any) experience in other MMOs, to see what they do over time, how they change, but also, how the player changes. Do games get worse (or better, but for a different audience)? Do players burn out? Or do they learn new expectations and those are the true problem?
12 hours ago