in Cataclysm you could still outheal a full enemy's cds by playing better
Technically as hpal in Cata, playing better was more about "having good proc in the right situation".
X% chance of having a free holy shock.
X% chance of having a crit on holy shock.
X% chance of having a free WoG after using one.
And with all of that, you could save your dispellable wings indeed if you were better.
Basically it's dispelling the nova on your warrior instantly and having a sacred cleasing proc instead of spending 3 gcd to have the right thing while some other debuff are added in the same time.
I miss some of spells from older xpac, like hand of purity, denounce for example.
What i miss the most is customization.
I loved being able to change stats and stuff, glyphs etc...
Talents have always been meh for me. You changed max 1 or 2 points compared to others.
Shamans had lock spriest, hunters could drain mana and do priest/pala rogue hunter or druid hunter, mages had rmp and rogue mage, druids had everything, priests had rogue priest and rmp. The only class that was in a pretty bad spot was paladins, but even that could partially work with warrior mage pala or warrior enh pala and the warrior having sword spec and the shaman spamming purge. Also pala's where one of the best healers for 5s. Everything was viable (as a class not spec) in different brackets and comps.
The only comp you said without the 4 "needed" spec is lock/shaman/priest. And it became good when they changed haste in the middle/end of the xpac to make the stat affecting dots.
Every other comp was dependent on the holy quatuor to be viable. You cannot played any other comp without at least one of them.
So in essence, you can believe what you want, but I will not be convinced that a ferocious, fierce, hotshot gladiator whatever now is better than a furious or a vengeful gladiator from 2s and therefore, that their titles are more prestigious.
Prestige is just a matter of point of view. You don't think the new "r1" are better, and i don't think title matter at all. I got few of them during MoP and WoD, i got glad in the best pvp expansion ever created by playing a totally hard comp without pve gear (It's sarcasm btw.), i never put them longer, it's just... useless. Unless you're 19y old undead rogue and care about your e-reputation, it's meh.
The mounts however...
During Wotlk, people migrate on lower bg to get it easier (Talk about prestige), people shared it in 5v5 with 11 other team (I was in one of them.), and in 2v2 during tbc, well, it was rdruid/x.
Just a point of view.
But i agree on one point, i miss customization. As someone who played old school RPG, damn, i loved it.
I have transmog to fill the void, but yeah...
TBC to WoD : "Who cares about the spirit stat?!" Hmmm :3
During TBC and Wotlk, it was longer to create another character and gear it. (Less in Wotlk than TBC, because the Vanilla-style of levelling was still there in TBC, sloooooooow - i level up my main paladin in TBC as ret spec, trust me, it was painful.). Especially when PvE gear were dominant at the end.
And the mentality was waaaaay different than now. People played what they like (In terms of race/class combination for exemple, it was not surprising seeing a gnome warlock compared to now.), and not what it's the best. And even if Wotlk - despise all my criticism on it - was a bit more open because everything was broken. TBC was really closed in term of arena diversity.
Put the mentality of today in TBC meta, and you will see 90% of rdruid/war (mace)/rogue and sl/sl lock. Because those 4 specs were dominant during 3 seasons.
That could be a good simulation, to see if the meta in TBC could change if you can have a character as quickly as now. And with how people play now, maybe people would find new things.
40/0/21 shockadin was so much fun. The last time having a plate armor was a total threat to melees.