The advantage that I remember rar having was that it could split and then recombine an archive at the appropriate size for floppy disks. Seems foolish now but in the era of dial-up and 1.44 MB 3.5" diskettes it was a killer feature that winzip (also a paid software once upon a time, not always built into windoze) didn't have.
Correct, that was the huge benefit to rar over zip in the 90’s. You are also correct that native zip support in windows is relatively recent.
If by recent you mean Windows XP...
LOL, yeah, 18 years ago at this point 🙂