In which I respond to Alas and The Anorak
I don’t think the RAF program is at fault here. It is the attitude of the player that is at fault. RAF is all well and good if you have a mentor that will work with you and help you learn your class (if you truly are brand new to the game). Unfortunately, many mentors may not stick with you. If you end up on your own, what do you do?
Even leveling up at a normal pace, I did not understand all of my abilities completely when I hit max level. There were things I never used and didn’t have hot-keyed, until a friend said, “Hey, you can do X.” At which point, I said, “I can?” And began learning.
If you find that you don’t understand all of your abilities when you hit max level, then you read or ask other players or learn by experience in 5 mans or BGs. I am still learning, as changes are made, about my class. The learning never stops. If you refuse to learn you will not raid (much). We all did and continue to do this.
5 mans and the easier raids (see Naxx) are the training raids.
I actually do prefer the attunement that was required in BC to the current lack, but I also have time to get attuned. Apparently most casual players do not.
As a new player to WoW I started leveling up, took my time, enjoyed leveling. When I hit max level I asked myself, “Now what?” Raiding? So I asked people around me about raiding and got myself some friends who were moving in the same direction at the same pace that I was. Granted this may be easier or harder depending on where you are in expansion progression when you are ready for this kind of move.
The good thing about WoW is that it is not static. If you hit 80 today you do not have to do ICC right away. You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
In BC, when attunements had to be done, there were guilds running Karazhan to the bitter end. You could always find groups willing to run lower content. Maybe this was in part due to the fact that every raid boss dropped a badge (emblem). Maybe this was also in part because of the required attunement.
Bottom line: RAF doesn’t make bad players, bad players make bad players. If you refuse to learn your class, ask questions, do research, make friends, then you can’t seriously expect to raid.