Quick disclaimer: I am not saying that the original system of drops was the best idea. It very much wasn’t and needed to be fixed. I am comparing the original drop locations (world drops minus a few exceptions) to the current drops. I am also focusing on base game only, as the DLCs are their own can of worms with drops and drop rate inconsistencies.
Borderlands 3 launched with very few dedicated drops, and everything else world dropped exclusively. I don’t think many were fans of this, I certainly wasn’t. However, compared to what it is now, I look back at it original state and can see certain positives that benefitted from the game’s absurd drop rates more than the current lot of dedicated drop locations.
Right now almost every item has a dedicated drop location, with a few, including Mayhem exclusives, only dropping from that singular location and their specific Takedown. This sounds good on paper, but due to the abysmal dedicated drop to world drop ratio, and the fact that a vast majority of base game drops are still world drops, it only really serves to limit farming locations based on the exclusivity of the drop.
Early game farming had a sort of engineered chaos to it. Unless you were specifically trying to farm for one of the few dedicated drops at the time, each farming run was a gamble, and you never knew what you were going to get since everything else was a world drop. This meant that you could farm wherever you wanted to farm, and you could get almost anything without expecting anything. You could farm Graveward and just hope for something good or something interesting. If you got bored, you could go to any of the other bosses and roughly expect the same type of grab bag farming. It was chaos, but chaos where you didn’t have a choice in the matter unless you were farming for things like the Redline or the King’s Call.
This chaotic farming also had its own limitations, as farming, for I think probably a lot of people, came down to bosses and locations which offered the most loot and was the fastest kill (why people loved Graveward and the early loot tink exploit at the Jakob’s Estate). But even then, it had an aura of fun to it because you really weren’t expecting anything specific because most were world drops only.
This all was supposed to change with dedicated drops, but I argue that, aside from a few exceptions, the problems of the original farming still persisted, but this time with the added addition of expectation, followed by disappointment. A lot.
Now, dedicated drops do work like I think people wanted them to, but those are at non-mayhem/early mayhem(?) levels. Farming Road Dog on Normal mode on a new character for three hours only really netted me his dedicated drops (sadly no Hellwalker). But my experience, starting from the original Mayhem 4 and persisting to Mayhem 2.0, does not reflect what was envisioned for dedicated drops.
Dedicated drops at Mayhem levels were, and still are sparse, and buried in a sea of world drops. What makes matters worse is the addition of Mayhem exclusive drops (and takedown exclusives) that require a certain Mayhem level. Not only do these drops only drop from their base game source and their takedown source, but they also require a certain Mayhem threshold, which increases loot quantity. And in the case of a few of these exclusives, they are some of the best gear in the game.
What this does, at least for me, is it limits where I chose to farm. Why would I farm, for example, Road Dog for a Hellwalker, when I can get those to drop from anywhere else? I tend to now focus my efforts on the likes of Killavolt for the Monarch, since he is the only one outside of the Guardian Takedown bosses that can drop it. I have gotten a few Monarchs after 18 hours of farming over a period of days, only one or two have decent annointments, and a lot of 9-Volts (were those ever good?). Same goes for GenIVIV and Warden. They are worthwhile farms for their powerful, Mayhem exclusive drops, whereas those without powerful, exclusive drops are not as worthwhile to farm usually. Especially if you are farming for something that can world drop.
Ultimately, what differentiates the drops pre-dedicated assignments and the drops post-dedicated assignments is expectation. The expectation that comes with dedicated drops, on top of the vast amount of world drops just makes farming that much more frustrating. Before dedicated sources, when you came across your 1000th Malak’s Bane, while it was somewhat disheartening and groaning, you were largely not expecting anything. Even if you were farming for a dedicated drop or hoping for something, the chaos of the system meant that you could expect anything. Now, with dedicated drops, unless you are specifically farming for it, your 1000th Malak’s Bane hurts more because you are expecting whatever you are farming for to eventually drop, especially if it is an exclusive item like the Sandhawk or the Kyb’s Worth.