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1 pointI don't feel it was instancing that brought about BiS, it was really the theorycrafters more than anything. I remember way back in Vanilla EQ knowing what the best item for me to have per slot was, but it was hard to obtain, or extremely rare. So there were lists of them on fan sites. I think because of the success of WoW, and its reliance on gear that we saw a boom in the requirements of BiS items. In Everquest, you could have the BiS, or you could have a Fine Steel weapon, if you had the skill you could still do well. In fact, I've been involved with a plethora of raids in EQ where we had to out-skill the boss because of our raid makeup. It was something that was still possible if everyone worked together and came up with a good strategy for the boss. In WoW, if you had some common drop, you weren't viable and in some cases wouldn't even be allowed to raid. You needed enough skill to not get hit by the AoEs, but if you also had to have the "iLvl" to be able to take on the encounter as well, or in some cases you couldn't even damage the boss or heal the other raid members effectively. With that said, I MUCH prefer the EQ version over the WoW when it comes to gearing.
1 pointJust saying, I played with the owner of Allakhazam's back then (before instances) and we definitely kept track of every rare item in the game and compared them. I don't recall BiS becoming a thing until the raidsize:drops ratio went through the roof. Which to me always seemed to be more about dropping to 20-ish players and giving out 5+ items per boss (killed in 15 minutes trash included) than when it was 72 players and 3-5 items after a 2+ hour effort.
1 pointInstancing started the BiS craze. Prior to instanced content, there were just too many rare items in the world to compare. I like this concept and I believe in Pantheon they are going to do something they refer to as ghost lockouts. It sounded to me like the boss would respawn in 24 hours but if you killed it you would only see an untargetable ghost of the mob for your 7 day lockout duration. This allows 7 raids to kill the mob per week instead of 1. I personally do not want to see raid level loot flooded into the market. Rare is better for the health of the game. The original concept posted here could definitely work, however, it sounds like a lot of programming though for every raid mob in the game to actually be 3 fights.