You don't have to be a genious or play a melee class to realize this however. Melee all over the place made sad faces when the world first kill of heroic Ascendant Council was made without any melee at all. Why? Because the fight was too difficult with all those melee around, and they only died anyway. In my guild we usually joke about how all the melee always die and how worthless they are, it's something of a going war between casters and melee. In Wrath this was funny, because when melee died it was because they were bad. In Cataclysm however, they die because of how the fights are designed. It made me think - why do we choose melee for our raids anyway? It's not because of their awesome dps, because right now there are plenty of ranged that outperform most melee (mages, shadow priests, locks). I can think of one really good reason - interrupts. Most ranged don't have good interrupts, elemental shamans are probably the only ones with an interrupt that doesn't have a cooldown that takes half a lifetime, and all interrupts require ranged to stop their casting. Oh how troublesome! But how many melee do you need for some interrupting? Not very many.
There are so many reasons for why melee are being penalized more than ranged;
- Many fights require people to spread out, melee having naturally alot more trouble doing this than ranged since they all need to be close to a specific point in the room (most often the boss) to be able to deal damage. In some cases the boss (target) is big enough to allow melee to spread out more easily, but never even close enough to the amount of area ranged have to spread out in. On tougher fights this will make people avoid taking too many melee to the raid because the damage will be too tough to handle (this is one of the reasons they didn't bring melee to hc AC).
- The area in which a melee can do damage is significantly smaller than the area in which a ranged can do damage. Melee range in which melee do most of their damage is about one fourth of the range in which most ranged do their damage, and that's just taking one axis into account. If you take the abovementioned issue into account we have to start counting into pi and since I can barely count my own fingers I will leave it at saying that ranged have close to over 9000 times more area in which they can deal damage. The small working area of melee makes it alot more difficult to find a suitable area to deal damage from when the room is filled with "bad stuff on the ground" or other things to move from.
- Further enclosing the work area for melee is the fact that they do alot better damage when standing behind their target than just anywhere around it, like ranged can do. On some fights you're even required to stand in front of the target (red phase Maloriak), which changes nothing for ranged but gimps melee dps.
- Having a small working area also means switching targets takes ages as compared to ranged. Whereas a target switch for a ranged takes half a second, for melee there is all the travel time inbetween to account for as well.
- Not being able to attack several targets that are standing farther apart than melee range, without loads of travel time inbetween, means there is no such thing as multi-dotting as melee. All their damage has to be done to one target, which naturally has to be less good than when you can multiply your damage by attacking several targets simultaneously.
- Standing in melee range means not seeing jack shit, and all tanks can vouch for this as well (in fact they probably suffer alot more from this issue than melee). Yet again, alot of bosses are large enough, or have footplates large enough to allow melee to stand somewhat away from their target, but still nowhere close to the comfy oversight of the room that ranged have.
- Ranged used to be bad at moving around and doing damage, something that melee had less problems with. This was a factor that balanced the two with eachother. Not so anymore, as most ranged have gotten tools to allow them to deal good damage (albeit not best damage) while moving around.
- Alot of encounters require the dps to handle targets which should be avoided in close combat. Larvas on Magmaw, Blood on Cho'gall and adds on heroic Valiona & Theralion to mention a couple of examples.
- Without range you can't deal any damage to Nefarian in phase 2 or Atramedes in Air phase. This isn't the end of the world because you can still complete the encounters but the point is that there is no equivalent for range, ie they can't deal damage during an entire phase of a boss. This further penalizes a raid that decides to go with alot of melee.