As I remember it, there was not nearly as much BC information then as there is WotLK info now. People were playing in beta, and information about BC came from that. But today there is so much coverage of the WotLK beta that I feel like I have already seen the whole thing. Maybe I am just paying more attention now.
Both Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King brought a host of mechanics changes, from small tweaks to major overhauls. Some classes got buffed, then later nerfed, others get nerfed then later buffed.
Back then, BC introduced a vast new continent called Outland and a huge neutral capital city – Shattrath.
Today, WotLK is giving us another new continent in Northrend and a new neutral city – Dalaran.
Back then, the idea of raising the level cap was great. A lot of players had been stuck at 60 for a while and looked forward to leveling again.
Today, that is perhaps the least interesting part of the expansion. Yes, we will get to level, but that has become an expected part of any new expansion. The reason people are excited to level is just to get at the new talents and abilities.
Back then, the big deal about BC was the addition of two new races – Draenei and Blood Elves. While the expansion did not add any new classes, the Blood Elves were able to be paladins and the Draenei could be shamans. Before that, all shamans were horde and all paladins were alliance.
Today, rather than adding new races, Wrath is giving us a new class – Death Knights. In addition, that class is starting at level 55, avoiding the leveling hurdle.
Back then, the BC expansion completely changed raiding. Endgame raids went from 40-man to 25-man. BC was a “guild-killer” as guilds with a solid core of 40+ raiders had to pare their rosters down for the new system.
Today, WotLK is changing raiding yet again. Endgame raids will have 10 and 25 man versions to make it accessible to more players. Because of the different options, most guilds should be able to adapt to this easily.
Back then, the PvP system had already gone through a number of changes, and at the time BC arrived it basically revolved around battlegrounds. Burning Crusade introduced the Arena system. It also added a new battleground – EotS. In addition, the new Outland zones had world PvP objectives, such as Halaa and the towers in the Bone Wastes.
Today, WotLK is adding another new battleground and new arenas. It is also introducing an entire PvP zone in Lake Wintergrasp with unique mechanics and rewards.
Back then, BC introduced Jewelcrafting as a new profession. It went with mining and had Prospecting as a skill that went along with it.
Today, WotLK is giving us Inscription as a new profession, going hand-in-hand with herbalism. Milling is a part of that profession as well.
Back then, I was a fresh level 60 when the pre-BC patch hit. I had never run anything higher than UBRS. I was a member of The Dragons, a casual guild that never quite got around to raiding. I had almost completely blue gear, since most epics came from endgame raiding. I went into the expansion expecting more of the same, and was pleasantly surprised when I was able to progress and raid and run more than I ever had in vanilla WoW.
Today I am the Guild Leader of The Dragons. By the time WotLK hits I will have been in every raid instance except Sunwell. I am completely decked out in epics, which are easily available through PvP, the very accessible introductory raid (Kara), crafting, and heroic badge rewards. I have high aspirations about level 80 endgame raiding and seeing content sooner rather than later.
As you can see, in WoW the more things change, the more they stay the same. Much of what we are getting mirrors what we got in BC, but Blizzard has improved and refined their product. With eleven million subscribers, they must be doing something right so there is no need to make sweeping changes. We obviously enjoy the game, so they will give us more of what we like. Whether you are a raider, solo player, dedicated crafter, or PvPer there is something for you in the expansion (which is two weeks from today).