Catalyst for this post - Sharpening Stones and Mana Oils being removed in wrath.
I like Raiding, don't get me wrong. I could spend a whole lot of time in an instanced dungeon, stomping around with 24 other people, and pretending they are the extent of the WoWplayerbase. There were times that I forgot that there were textures and architecture other then the shiny insides of Tempest Keep, or the dank caves of SSC.
There is, however, a whole rest of the world full of stuff - and one of the things that coaxed me out into it was consumables.
All of a sudden, I'm seeing that there are rolling hills, dense forests, and barren wastelands, full of... look! - a Rich Adamantite Node! World PvP! A Rare Spawn! That Guy with the Server First Legendary! Whether your farming mats or doing dailies, your taken all around the world, so that you stay engaged with the server as a whole. Heck, even a trip to the AH gives you a chance to see other players (and view the 'colorful' trade chat).
So all flowery-RP reasons I liked having to gather consumables aside; there are also some very seriousreasons I think that consumables are important.
Its one thing to read a strat, and watch videos. This gets you, the player, prepared for a fight - but it's not all of it. There is something very concrete about having a stack of food, two flasks, a stack of sharping stones, a stack of wards, repair bots, resist cauldrons, and ammo. Your character is as prepared as you are.
When you put in time getting ready to raid, you are more focused about the time you are raiding. That flask is ticking, and you want to put it to use! It also gives raid leaders, and those around you, a visual indicator that someone has put in the time and gold to be there. I can't imagine a situation where someone is ready to pour full consumables into a fight they haven't read up on.
Consumable gathering time is also flexible - you can do it whenever you want, regardless of your guilds raiding schedule. Assuming that consumable acquisition was a time-sink factor in progression, it allowed guilds with less together time to get more done. We may now see fights where the consumable farming time is built into the learning curve of bosses.
Compared to Vanilla WoW, Consumables are easy to get. Gone are the days of needing to get theOny Head Buff, Lung Juice Cocktail, FR Buff from UBRS, Gone-on-Death Flask, Unlimited Stacking of Elixirs, Dire Maul buffs, ZG Buff, ect.
And for most - Mana Oils and Sharpening Stones were the cheapest buffs to keep up - hour long, persistent through death buffs, that stacked in your bags.
Anyway, I'm against the removal of stones and oils. I think consumables are an important part of raiding, and think that this is an un-asked for, and unneeded change.