Someone commenting on the wow.com thread about the new LFG system nailed down how gearing and tiers are working in Wrath.
“Gear progression is now a three-“tier” system. Tier 1 is one raid behind, like Conquest emblems now. Anyone can get Tier 1 for running heroics.
Tier 2 is current raid, normal mode. You have to run Trial of the Champion right now for Tier 2.
Tier 3 is current raid, hard mode.
Every time new content comes out, these three meta-tiers move up a rung. It’s as though SSC/TK gear had become available from heroics in BC. (Which, in a way, it did, with the Sunwell-patch weapons.) If you put in enough time, you can never be more than two “tiers” behind hardmode items from the current raid”
That’s it, it’s simple. As ever the older content becomes trivial but let’s be honest this has always been the case. Who here hasn’t solo’d the Deadmines at 80 on a clothie? Yes there is QQ from some raiders about how everyone can get Naxx / Ulduar level gear with minimal effort. This is true but does this mean they’ve been into U25? Have they beaten the encounters at the gear level the hard core raiders did? Did they learn the encounters or just watch video and faceroll through with an overgeared team?
There is more to raiding than gear, and as a wise toon once said “you gear to kill the boss, you don’t kill the boss to get gear”.