When Mists first launched, I leveled and was playing my Warrior before my guild sort of disintegrated right as we were starting to raid (one of the oldest guilds on the server, had been doing 10 mans for the past expansion and a half, and wanted to get back into 25 mans, but couldn't fill the raids). I was in heroic dungeon gear, like everyone else. On average, my warrior was pulling about 60k DPS. Some people were higher, some were lower, but everyone I raided with was just about in that range, except for a handful of terrible recruits we tried out.
It's been a few months since then, and I decided to get on my Warlock and try to get some Tier 14 in before 5.2 hits.
Last night, I got him to 90, crafted full 450 contender's silk, plus the JC rings and neck, and grabbed the 450 staff from the Arena scenario. All gear reforged and enchanted properly save for shoulder inscription, lightweave embroidery (forgot I was a tailor until I was looking at my armory during break at work XD) and spellthread (and obviously, I'm not about to put Jade Spirit on a 450 staff). I also still have a couple of low slots to fill (cloak and 1 trinket are still greens, helm is 442) Only self buffed and not in a party, I was pulling 35k on the target dummy, and somewhere in the area of 40k in five mans, with burst capability somewhere in the 60k's. According to simulationcraft, this is about right for my gear/enchants.
The thing is, when I hop into 5 mans, I already feel completely worthless because people in raid gear are pulling 100-120k DPS. That's a 300% to 400% DPS difference between fresh 90's in pre-heroic dungeon gear and people in gear from the first raid tier of the expansion.
I've never seen such a huge difference during the first tier.
If this trend continues, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the final tier for mists generates upwards of 400-500k DPS. That's more than 10 times the damage of a fresh 90. How is someone even supposed to compete when someone does 1000% of the damage you're capable of doing? Granted, I'm sure there will be SOMETHING to catch people up just a little bit more quickly later on than the current options (hopefully nothing on the caliber of the Hour of Twilight heroics, though), but still...