I'm by no means an average WoW player - 10x+ glad titles behind me and a history of raiding in a few top 50 guilds. Yet I was completely lost for the first week or two in WoW in regards to basic combat abilities ( kept using my staff to kill mobs instead of casting spells on mobs ), and I was lost for much longer on the basic concepts of what you have to do in an MMO ( for example, I thought having "of the Eagle" gear as a Warlock was the best in Vanilla ). Oh, and I also grinded to level 60 without doing quests at all in Vanilla, maybe the occasional dungeon when someone whispered me or I saw someone advertise in /1. Granted, I did come from a FPS background with not having played a single RPG game up until WoW, but still.. This game used to be fairly complex back in the day. Hell, get a new player a portal to some place and chances are he'll be lost as fuck for a while until he discovers he has a Hearthstone or something.
So no, getting into WoW wasn't/isn't easy. Don't knock it down, it was a fairly complex game both to start playing, and to start playing properly on the end game. However, simplifying the early game isn't so much of an issue tbh... The problem is that they started trivializing the endgame ( duh, as we all know ). Actually, even an awful expansion like MoP had it's skillpeaks that were kind of hard to reach - playing an Affliction Warlock properly with all the snapshotting and other shit was super hard ( notice I said "PROPERLY" - this isn't to say that a scrub couldn't make a lock and simply soulswap dots around and pollute good results )
If you simplify the endgame, you take the appeal of MMO's away - aka, you stop hooking people on the game. This first started in Wrath when you could get geared up for ICC/earlier raids by simply spamming those ICC heroics, suddenly the average guy had nearly the same gear as someone who raided beforehand. Fuck, I was in a world top 20 guild during Ulduar, and I had nearly BiS gear ( full t8.5, all the trinkets etc etc ) - I stopped raiding after that tier, and I wanted to raid again in ICC - suddenly I see a guy who has better gear than me from crafting+new ICC heroics+normal ToC10 - what the fuck?
What they need to do is make people play tiers again. Like, I'm talking TBC style. There's no going into SSC unless you've completed Karazhan/Gruul. There's no going into Sunwell unless you've finished Black Temple. And they need to make people work for gear again. <- this is especially easy right now considering PvP gear is gone in next expansion, meaning that Blizz won't have to worry about people grabbing PvP gear from vendors and being able to enter raids immediately. Also, "normal" version of a tier 2 raid SHOULDN'T drop better loot than "heroic" version of tier 1 raid.
Also, they really fucked up with the dungeons. I remember back in TBC - EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER had to grind heroics because from heroics came the BiS trinkets ( Icon of the Silver Crescent <3 ) that were BiS for the major part of the expansion, and came other pieces of gear that were, if not BiS, then nearly BiS, even for BT/Sunwell raiders. Current dungeons - herp derp, some blues and apexis shards lulz. What are Apexis shards used for again? I don't know, and I played WoD seriously during Highmaul/BRF/WoD S1 and I'm playing it casually now in S3.
But alas, they'll never make the game harder again, simply because that's not their goal with the game anymore. Timesinks aren't popular with the current generations - they're the generation that are used to buying a game from Android market and then dump 100 dollars on it just to have it completed. This is the business model Blizz is aiming at, and they can suck my fat cock and my hairy balls for it.