Within the context of Classic, the method most frequently proposed is to re-tune bosses to make them harder. Rather than copying the numbers, re-create the relative difficulty. Kind of like, when you first start working out, you use small weights. When you get stronger, you lift bigger weights. The WoW community is more knowledgeable, more experienced, has better hardware, etc. We're "stronger." So give us tougher bosses. There are a lot of forms that could take. Bosses were constantly re-tuned during vanilla anyway, so if Ragnaros does 10% more damage or something, is that really a problem? I don't think it is. What about resistance gear? back in the day, collecting resist gear was a thing people did. But the numbers and strategies are so well known today that only the tank really needs it anymore. Bosses could be re-tuned with more resistible elemental damage so that's important for entire raids to gear appropriately. That would be entirely keeping with the spirit of vanilla even if the actually numbers sitting in a database somewhere were different than they were ~13 years ago. If you want to go a little farther, a few people have proposed adding new abilities to old bosses, adjusting their timing, etc.
2. the only gear that was easily attainable sort of was the old level 60 pvp sets. if the classic servers stay locked in progression of any expansions then grinding the PvP gear for both pvp and raiding would be the top choice in casual play. "IF" they implement the LFG and LFR tools for the 16-40 man raids, heh it would be very interesting, otherwise get use to Trade chat being filled with PuG raid groups looking for people, because that was the norm back in the day.
It was the experience of the game that brought pleasure and joy, and that's what a lot of us want again. Not the numbers. When I play Classic I want to go through the deadmines with people I like and overcome a challenge together and see myself become stronger as a result. I don't want to play Classic so I can say "booyah! That number is exactly the same as it was 13 years ago!"