And I danced in the moon
And the stars and the sun,
And I came down from heaven
And I danced on the earth,
I had my birth.
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.
In the morning...
The raid dancing is not new.
Before I get into things, I want to note that I am using the term "bad player". I mean this in a very broad sense of "players who do not contribute to the death of the boss". That could mean slow reflexes, ignorance of fight mechanics, inexperience, poor gear, etc. It's not a value judgement or a measure of intelligence. I'm not using it as such and frankly, people shouldn't. But people who extrapolate from game skill to real life qualities are a topic for another day.
Let's go with the danciest of the dances, the Heigan dance. The floor explodes in a pattern, so you move with it. Such a terrible Lich King-era fight. Except it was recycled content from vanilla. But late vanilla, let's use that excuse, and only have earlier fights count. In that case, let's try Ossirian the Unscarred in the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, where the raid was constantly moving to keep away from tornadoes and get the boss to the next available crystal, and clump up for meterors on the trash before him. Too late? Then let's go to Zul'Gurub and make sure everyone moves at the right time for bats and gets in the poison cloud just in time for Hakkar to drain them. It's still too late? Fine. We'll go to the very first raid and collapse for sons on Ragnaros, make our pretty ring of groups for Shazzrah, and get out of the fire from Gehennas. Alright fine, we'll go earlier, to Stratholme where you'd better get over here so we can AoE the skeletons and if you want something more dynamic we can go to BRD and better keep moving because these dwarves will respawn behind us in about 15 seconds, so stick to the clock and do not fall behind.
The dance has been there. But maybe the dance has changed. Maybe it's a dancier dance. A costlier dance. Ah... let's try that.
Failing to collapse for Sons of Ragnaros would likely get you killed or at least OOM and in a lot of pain, as well as putting one out of position for the AoE. Not a raid-wiper. Be out of position on Arthas and a Val'kyr will drop you off the side and a puddlefire is going to kill everyone. Dying as one of 40 makes you look like an ass, but is it the end of the attempt? No. Dying as one of 25 and killing everyone else is the end of the attempt. There's the change: the cost of failure has gone up.
Tobold had a useful classification which I can't find, but it roughly divided raids into three types: One stressed a few pre-selected players (Garr banishers, jugglers in ICC), another stresses the average (any DPS check), while the last stresses the worst players (puddlefire on Arthas). The first allows for good players to carry the raid, whether with good or bad players, meaning that if you can find a few solid players, they aren't likely to leave because the raids are succeeding. The second allows good players to carry bad players, but they must make an extra effort (or tuning must be low enough), so that they may down the boss but still feel cheated. Finally the last encourages serial dumping of the lowest players because no one can help them and even gear may not fix the problem.
I think WoW has been shifting from the second category (average) with some use of superstars (seriously, I was awesome at banishing, I even figured out how to make it something worth bragging about because I was so awesome) to ever more of the third type.
This doesn't make fights harder for people who need harder fights. It just makes failure more likely.
A good player isn't pushed any harder when the rest of the raid can screw things up for him. A bad player possibly cannot get better, being at some limit of reflexes or how much they care to learn or practice (everyone has their limit, but of course anyone lower than you is lazy). There may be some who are able to be good but have not yet been challenged, possibly quite a lot of them. In that case, the second category is a way to challenge them without making their lower performance the death of the raid. But for players who aren't very good and aren't going to be better, putting burdens on them is utterly pointless, worsening the game for both bad players (who now wipe) and good players (who wipe or have to waste time finding new players).
Ironically, as addons have gotten better at tracking DPS, DPS has become less important. Reverse that damnable trend! Have more DPS fights and yes, the much-maligned tank-and-spank. This allow the best players to prove their mastery of their classes (or badge grinds) without shoving everyone else out of the raiding scene. Have more fights where a few good players can carry the tricky parts, so they can shine without having to kick the duller players. Better and worse players can coexist, but the raid design puts them into competition rather than cooperation.
And let me put my banish key to work again, with a curse ticking on the boss and my healer bored with no damage to heal. Just don't ask me to move out of the puddles.