So... let me get this straight: you're expecting to be able to do whatever you want and get comparable numbers with someone who optimizes?
Do you not understand how absurd that is?
Do you realise how absurd your post is? That's not what I said at all, I pointed out several times that I didn't expect the high numbers. The point is that there should be a third option between a build being optimal or weak. Game mechanics should allow for builds that under agood play can still get results, obviously not quite as well as the optimal build, but still decent. I was a very successful Druid player on WoW back before, never once used the favored speccs. Because I used the skills well, I saved many a raid. My KoToR builds similarly chosen. Not optimal but very effective for my style of play. Even my agent and smuggler on this are not optimal builds but are damned effective. The problem seems to be with Shadow mostly but to be fair I have only tried 5 classes. It's just too many conflicting design ideas mashed together and it just doesn't seem to allow for variation.
I think shadows problem is that the skills you need to make the infil. builds work, don't come until very high high levels and talent points, so until you get there it starts off slowly, becomes a slog then starts to ease off a bit towards the end. It's a bit *** backwards really, starting off with all the skills you don't need then working up to the core skills, rather than getting the skills you need first then building up on extras to define your own variations.