As you state, the internal EEPROM has a lifetime of 100,000 write cycles. This isn't a guess - a very significant proportion of ATmega328 will reach this number with no issues. I have tested three processors before, and all reached 150,000 cycles with no issues.
It is important to note the failure mode of EEPROM. Most "EEPROM destroyer" projects repeatedly read/write until the data is not written at all. Before this point, the EEPROM will still be damaged. This would be manifested by data not being retained for a reasonable period. It is unwise to rely on anything more than 100,000 write cycles for this reason.
EEPROM is different to the RAM on an ATmega. Writing to it is not simple or quick, but it is wrapped up in a friendly Arduino library, hiding this complexity from the user.
The first level of indirection is the EEPROM library, which is trivially simple], just calling two other functions for read and write. This calls eeprom_write_byte, found here.
This function uses inline assembly, so might not be easily understood. There is a comment that is easily understood though:
Set programming mode: erase and write
This hints to one of the complexities of dealing with EEPROM - to write to
it, you first need to erase it. This means that if you call EEPROM.write(), it will perform a write cycle regardless of the value you are writing.
This means that repeatedly writing 0xFF will likely have the same effect as writing 0xFF,0x00,0xFF,0x00 etc.
There are ways to work around this - you can try calling EEPROM.read() before EEPROM.write() to see if the value is already the same, but this takes additional time.
There are other techniques to avoid excessive EEPROM wear, but their use depends on your application.