<.< Ward_Mod >.>
As a previous Rater around around four years ago, I also would like to point out that there is more to Rating than just numbers alone. Just because one weapon deals more damage than another weapon is not enough reason to get it. One must not only consider the numbers when you rate, one needs to consider if a character is stuck in a "limbo" between levels, then consider which is probably the best option to go with. When rating, one should consider many factors other than simply damage, such as gold supply, farming spots, playing style, level of the character in question.
For example, for a Summoner Beastmaster Mage, you shouldn't be telling him to get raw damage spells or picking up defensive armours. As a Summoner, he doesn't need to tank so much as deal as much damage as possible along with a Guest (Unless a Bow is in use.) If a Mage is level 125 and needs a Water spell, you should consider whether he can make it to 130 for Blue Blazes or he should grab level 105's Everlasting Guardian Gumn, once again, this is dependent on farming location. If a Warrior is level 123 and only has the level 105 Usterik's dagger. Don't just tell him to upgrade to, say the 117 Katana just because the level 117 Gaiden's Razor Edged Keen Blade is more damaging than the 105 Dagger. The next upgrade is the level 125 Usterik's dagger. Can the warrior hold out with the level 105 Dagger for two more levels? These are just a few example to illustrate the factors you have to consider.
With the gold being particularly tight right now, considering the gold supply is even more important than before. Once again, damage isn't everything. There are far more factors to consider when rating.
As an AK in Guides, I'd also like to point out how Guides recommend equipment.
In the Guides, Equipment is recommended according to an "Ideal" state where you have "Unlimited" gold. When I say "Unlimited" I mean that you have enough gold to buy everything necessary at that level and still have gold left over to experiment and train stats. Generally speaking, Weapons for each element recommended in Guides are recommended at 10-15 level intervals. Armours (for each element) are recommended at around 15-20 level intervals, shield intervals ranged between 15-30, and spells ranging between 15-20 as well. Pets generally have a 10-25 level interval (In some very rare cases, due to equipment shortage, up to 30.) The guides try to recommend cheap and overpowered equipment, such as the Fyre Force, Fyre Force Ultimate, Fwying Wonder, Everlasting guardian Gumn and so on to save you some gold through the progress of your game, however, Guides are more concerned with having "Optimal" equipment, rather than having "affordable" equipment. We do try to balance that, but it's a difficult line to walk.
With that said, when rating, don't simply look at a Guide and see "Oh, this equipment is best for the level, so I recommend people to get it." this is NOT the case. As mentioned, take a fresh perspective to every single character you rate. Everyone's gold supply is different, as is their playing style. I personally farm Essences, so I have a pretty large gold supply for my level (Almost 3 times the normal gold supply of the RA-farming player. Once you're able to consider the many factors and attempt to balance them will you be truly successful at rating.
< Message edited by Ward_Point -- 5/18/2012 7:37:34 >