... Basically, the game requires both skill *and* gear to succeed at the top tier of content. ...
I do agree with this, I've just seen so many arguments that state that "such and such gear is required to beat x content"
When these statements are exaggerated (you need 58/61 to finish HM LI) it bothers me, as it means that someone thinks that skill DOESN'T matter and all you need is better gear.
One comment, three headshots. That's skill right there.
The game is laughably easy 95% of the time. It's harder in the last 5% only becase of lower enrage timers and heavier hits. Rinse and repeat until you get the mechanic down, gg. Skill requirement (in a game that emphasises gear, has medpacks and other buffs available at any point in time) is moderate at best.
Have you mastered HM EC? HM TfB? NM EC?
If the 95% laughably easy you're referring to is the leveling experience
, surely you are absolutely correct. If you're saying that 95% of end-game operations is laughably easy, I disagree.
For example, tanking Kephess (off the top of my head) takes skill. It just does. It has very little to do with medpacks, enrage timers and heavier hits. It's about tank swaps, where to drop breath, when to hit your cooldowns, when to taunt.
It's a ton of fun if you're with people that are skilled. It's an awful grind with people that aren't.
That's not a good example. Skill + gear = profit. You can't say you can have one w/out the other. ...
I don't disagree with the basic point you're making, but I still think that HM LI is in fact a great example.
It is possible to undergear mechanics-based content in TOR. It's practically impossible to underskill that same content.
Unskilled players cannot do HM LI even wearing full Dread Guard. It doesn't matter how much mitigation you have, how many cooldowns you pop, how much hp you have and how much +power your healer has. Miss too many incinerates without a cleanse? Tank dies, group wipes.
Another example would be HM EC. Give a skilled group of players Rakata and they will finish it. Give an unskilled group of Players full Dread Guard and they will wipe.
Skill will let you undergear content. Gear will only let you underskill EASY content.