Note: All Cataclysm fights being discussed in this post are pre-nerf.
I've been pondering Gevlon's assertion that Cataclysm raiding is no longer about improving your ability to play your character, but about mastering the "dance steps" of each fight.
I think he has a definite point, at least as it pertains to Normal modes.
I believe I've discussed it before, but I do think that the difficulty level of Normal mode fights this expansion has existed in a very narrow band. To me, pretty much all the fights this expansion have hovered around the same difficulty as the Icecrown Citadel wings.
It's easiest to look at DPS. If your guild can meet the DPS requirements to kill Shannox, then you can meet the DPS requirements to kill the other Normal mode bosses, save only Baleroc and Ragnaros, which have slightly higher requirements.
It feels like all Normal mode fights are being designed around about 60% of maximum theoretical DPS. If you can meet that, then you can meet the DPS requirements of any of the other Normal mode fights. It might rise to 70% for the final boss.
But if the DPS requirements stay constant, then all that's left to master are the specific abilities of each boss, the "dance steps", as Gevlon puts it.
Hard modes, on the other hand seem to have a larger range. The first bosses come in at about 75% or so, but the DPS requirements do rise as well. I remember that our problem with Heroic Ryolith was hitting the Superheated timer, and that was a pure DPS problem, not any issues with "dancing".
I'm not too sure what Blizzard could do about this. If they keep raising the DPS requirements, then groups start dropping out as they become unable to meet the latest requirements. The difficulty of increasing DPS requirements is non-linear as well. It's much more difficult to go from 80% to 90% of the theoretical maximum than it is to go from 60% to 70%.
A lot of the problem does go away once you start pushing into hard modes. There's more than enough challenge on all levels, including basic class performance, to satisfy everyone.
Perhaps it would have been better for Blizzard to start raiding at a lower difficulty. If T11 was aimed at 40%, T12 at 50%, and T13 at 60%. Or perhaps a greater gradient within a tier. Perhaps starting Shannox off at 40%, and having the DPS requirements rise within the tier until you hit Ragnaros at 70% would have been the better way to go.