Ah, yeah, the great myth that all this build and gear management crap somehow equals an MMO being about skill, and thinking, and being all strategic like this is chess. No MMO is chess, they all are pretty much unskilled entertainment like Tic Tac Toe.
Thinking is finding a way to adapt to a situation as you come across it, with what you have on hand. Typical MMO design just leads to go check the forums, and tips sites, for the 'uber' set up you need to get past scripted situation XYZ. Because unless you have 'uber' setup for XYZ, it doesn't matter how quick thinking you are, you'll fail based on the largely arbitrary design choices made for that objective. Sure, being prepared should play a factor, how you go at things should be a factor, your previous experience should be a factor, because you don't have skills and build XYZ (even though you had NO indication beforehand of needing them) shouldn't be a railroad to failing. When the original Deus Ex got this right, people called it brilliant open ended world design, now you do it and it is called 'dumbing things down' for the 'casual' players.