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Besides I just remembered that there are vanilla WoW servers, so if you love it so much, why don't you play vanilla? But as GP said, vanilla WoW wasn't very hard. The endgame content basically only needed tons of grinding (and an immense pain-tolerance because of all the bugs). Scholo, strat etc. hard? Only if you have terrible equipment, but that.. again.. can be fixed by just grinding.
In the end all "challenges" in WoW can easily be beaten by investing more time, and it has been that way since launch.
"no mean feat in a mass-market games industry currently obsessed with the crude dopamine-triggering effects of simulated weaponry" -- This quote just shows another person knowing absolutely nothing about the gaming market, but having an opinion on how to "improve" it anyway.
"Trying to compensate for these variations is a nigh-impossible task" - definitely not.