Hello there, aaaaand first actual post.
I have a couple of questions regarding the character tiers.
If these questions are out of place, just point me in the direction where they aren't.
1) Pretty simple: The monk is usually considered one of the weakest classes. However, when I first had a look at the PHB, I considered a high level monk seriously overpowered in comparison to other frontline fighters (this means higher tier classes and their vastly superior versatility are taken out of this particular equation). Am I just misinterpreting things and the common stance on this is "well, on a larger scale, they're equally crappy, so who cares?" or is the (pure) fighter better in the end because he can come up with some serious business-combination of feats?
2) Just by browsing through the board, I've noted that it oftentimes is stated "don't take more than x levels in fighter (or whatever); if you want to play a melee character, you should rather take levels in [additional class from another handbook] or [prestige class from another handbook] and you probably may get up to t4 or t3 if you're lucky" - isn't it just seriously flawed game design if I need to grab as many sourcebooks as I can just to be somewhat competitive, and even then can't hold a candle to another core class? And what is there to do if someone did for whatever reason *not* have access to basically each and every source book?
3) Which leads to 3. Okay, my first impression from the PHB was that, in comparison to AD&D, some classes got seriously needed upgrades. The warrior got from a weaker ranger (albeit with weapon spec, followers and no alignment restriction) to a master of arms and weapon styles, the rogue got from a backstabber with some shady abilities to the undisputed master of skills on top of that etc. Okay, I neglected the stealth buff to casters (namely that they basically removed their spell level cap by practically guaranteeing them that they will always have the necessary primary stat value needed at any given level), but nevertheless, casters apparently have been vastly superior to non-casters for decades. How come the designers never seemed to bother that much about it?
4) Just out of curiosity - assuming I wanted to avoid having a character with access to (high level-)magic that is nevertheless somewhat competitive, and thereby allow creating non-magical gestalt classes. At what tier would you place a full warrior/rogue gestalt (warrior HP + BAB, rogue skill points, core skills, abilities and additional stats for both classes, armor restriction in regards to the usage of skill and dexterity bonus nevertheless applies)?
Thanks in advance!