Today, LFR gear is 483. Crafted is 463, 476, and a few 496. Raiding gear is 489 for the starting raids, and 496 for the top raids (normal mode). So the gear discrepency for LFR is 6 to 13 iLvls. And a few crafted and VP pieces are the same iLvl. This was great - the balance of casual gear vs raiding gear was enough to keep people motivated, but not too much so as to punish the more casual player.
However, in 5.0/5.1, PvP suffered big time. The gear gap grew dramatically as the season wore on - any player entering arenas or random BG's with only honor or crafted gear was punished. And there was no way to catch up quickly/easily. No one would ever take you in an rBG, and you would struggle in arenas. Players who started PvP early in the season have met conquest requirements plus have also upgraded their PvP gear.
Casual players have been punished. So far in MoP, a casual player cannot pursue both PvP and PvE objectives - there isn't enough time. For even a single toon. That would require VP capping, all the dailies, and honor grinding followed by arena's and rBGs.
I'm defining a casual player as one who does not have the ability to sit down and play uninterrupted for 3+ hours at a time, multiple times per week. The casual player can't be on consistently every day, and playtime is fairly random.
Which leads me to 5.2. This new thunderforged gear further separates the LFR iLvl gear from normal+. LFR is 502, Normal is 522, and thunderforged is 528. 20 vs 6-13 for normal, and 26 (!) vs 6-13 for thunderforged.
PVP will still be a conquest chase - arenas and rBGs. It is no small amount of time to keep up PVP wise for a casual player. If you miss the cap one week, you're set back. And so on.
Aside from pet battles, scenarios LFR a couple times to see the content, and *possibly* arenas, what is there for casual players? Alts? GG moar dailies, and another undergeared toon.
Perhaps my Auction House PVP will keep me interested, and will become my primary focus. Perhaps I'll get back into low level twinks for fun. The social side of WoW has been what has always kept me playing, but the game design direction towards requiring significantly more playtime, every day, has players like me wondering whether the treadmill is worth it.
I've come to realize that probably the most fun I have in the game is taking basic gear and matching or beating the performance of others in better gear. But if the gear gap is too far, it will be fundamentally not possible.
WoW rewards obscene time investments more than ever, for both PvP and PvE. They took the cry for content to heart and appear to have solved it, but it has become required.