I wouldn't say that there were more people doing "endgame" material back then than now. And considering how many precursor weapons are on the trading post, they're not that common, either. Only one person in my guild has had a precursor drop from a mob or dungeon. The rest were from the mystic forge or purchased from the TP.
Sorry, but I'll stick by my claims that drop rates decrease in areas where a lot of people are. I led a guild run through CM tonight, two of us got named exotics. I've had named exotics much more often from CM than anywhere else. I'm pretty sure that not many people run CM on a regular basis if at all, since the gear is garbage compared to the difficulty of the dungeon. The only legendaries using the gift of the nobleman are less-popular ones like Moot and Minstrel. The runes from CM are also garbage MF, not very desired either.
On the flip side, CoE is a pretty popular dungeon because of charged lodes/cores and berserker armor (and gifts for Predator and Meteorlogicus, which are pretty popular) and our regular guild runs very rarely result in getting even rare drops, much less exotics. I think it's coded this way to keep the number of rare/exotic drops from any area in any period of time constant.
My theory based on my 2k+ hours of gameplay spent mostly in dungeons and farming high end areas.
I used to get decent drops on the rare occasion I ran SE. Rares, the occasional <80 exotic. Now that AC has been changed and fewer people are running it, I hear that SE paths 1 and 2 are becoming quite common along with the above-mentioned CoE. My drops from SE are now garbage. Also the same with TA, though TA has really always been popular. Yes, one person's experiences. And one person can come up and say that they got an exotic or precursor from these dungeons. But I never said that these things don't ever drop in these dungeons. I just said that the loot tables have been nerfed due to their popularity increases.
Edited by AKGeo, 15 April 2013 - 10:02 AM.