Feb 15th 2010 11:01AM @jealous
basing encounters solely on skill, while an interesting idea, is just not feasible. as it is, many encounters are similar to others with an x variable changes sometimes only in minor ways. the big difference between "like encounters" is the damage that goes out. if fights required no gear, then these damage values would have to remain somewhat constant. there are far too many bosses to really allow this.
gear means alot more to some players as well. many people only raid to get better loot. why progress past nax if the there's no incentive to actually kill the next tier of bosses. even though the loot is virtual it is at least a "tangible" object that your character can hold/equip. you wouldn't want to work at your job if you weren't getting a paycheck would you?
also if you haven't noticed, bliz has been trying harder and harder to make accommodations for casual players. this is not only to give more players chances to see content, but it also keeps the subscription base up as well. bliz is in this to make money, without the gear incentive many players would lose interest, the player base would dwindle, and the world of azeroth would turn into another place to meet nerdy singles/consorts.
besides in cataclysm gear itemization is going to be alot simpler, tier budget bumps will be less ridiculous. meaning that gear dependence should taper leaving it to "skill" to kill the bosses.