My warrior, who never got into raiding, picked up his first T9 iLevel 232 epic last night, a helmet paid for with 50 emblems of triumph. I could have waited and gotten the iLevel 245 helmet for 75 emblems, but I figured I'd rather get more pieces upgraded from the current iLevel 200 to 232 than fewer pieces to 245. To top all that off, if I keep doing the daily random dungeon for three weeks, I'll get my first iLevel 264 epic from emblems of frost. And all that without raiding.
My level 73 mage, being dps only, has more trouble finding dungeon groups, even with the new Dungeon Finder. But I did notice that the reward from doing a daily normal dungeon is 2 emblems of triumph as well. Thus theoretically I could collect these emblems before even reaching the level cap, and once I ding 80 I immediatedly get up to iLevel 245 gear for them. Is raiding becoming obsolete?
Of course "obsolete" is somewhat provocative. But what I do think is happening is that raiding is becoming optional. Between 5-man dungeons, battlegrounds, arena, daily quests, and other events, raiding is slowly turning into one of many optional endgame activities. Great if you like it, but not mandatory if you have trouble with the organizational effort or time committment. It is far from being the one and only pathway to better gear nowadays. And that is good.
I'd like to visit Naxxramas with my warrior. I think my best chance to do so is to wait until Naxxramas is the target for the weekly raid quest (which gives 5 emblems of triumph and 5 emblems of frost), and then either get a guild group going, or use the /lfr looking for raid functionality. But that plan is based on me *wanting* to go there, for the fun of it, not because that is the only way I could gear up. And that is cool with me. I love having lots of options without being forced into anything.