Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:21 PM
The main downside to 11 is that the quality of the SDK documentation is nowhere near up to the same standard as that for 9 or 10; there were still some quite basic errors in it for a long time that were only corrected in the most recent versions (CopySubresourceRegion, I'm looking at you in particular). Arm yourself with a good book - like Frank Luna's - and you shouldn't go too far wrong.
Regarding your other question - no reason not to jump straight to D3D11 (I'd advise skipping 10 - if you need to run on downlevel hardware you can accomplish this in 11 via feature levels). D3D9 is rather old and contains quite a bit of legacy cruft that will make things a little painful (lost devices, I'm looking at you in particular) whereas 11 is nice and clean and modern. Yes, the initialization code can look scary, but it's very front-loaded in initialization and object-creation; once you get over those 2 humps actually drawing stuff is shockingly simple.
It appears that the gentleman thought C++ was extremely difficult and he was overjoyed that the machine was absorbing it; he understood that good C++ is difficult but the best C++ is well-nigh unintelligible.