Don't worry I was weird way before you. I don't think that people understood a heavy LUC battle defender in the days of "Tank, tank, tank" and battle def was barely a term ever used. I don't think people understood a 51 NM mage duoing exclusively with a 51 NM archer as the kiting tank and doing it all the way to 58, in the days when there was not even one 60 NM and going past 50 was "stupid and useless". Being weird is cool. =)
That was directed to ******** but the rest is just general comments. But be warned if you don't like my writing style look away, for ***'s sake look away now! =)
In general, one really does have to consider their intentions for taking any class to high level regardless of mode though. But when the choice is NM and archer and high level, you become a rarer breed because based on most peoples' practical in game goals and intentions, such a character is not very effective, not very wanted, and even by the one playing it is considered generally disappointing. Every class is considered less than wanted to be NM at high level but archers are one of the two that is REALLY advised against by the average player. The reason is simple. And it's the reason that an NM fighter won't be as self critical as an archer/hunter and an NM defender won't feel as weak or an NM priest cry that they cannot do their job or an NM mage consider themselves to be useless. The fact that someone else may consider you to be stupid or wrong for your game choice is irrelevant to me. I couldn't care less what people thought about the usefulness of my 58 NM or LUC defender. But the issue is when you yourself feel you suck, because shame/self disapproval is near the bottom end of the emotional scale. Yes this is a game, not real life, but still. The point of a game is fun (an emotion, if you will) and therefore how you feel as you play and how you feel about what you choose as you play is important. Being an NM archer is fine but being a disappointed NM archer now goes against the very reason to play the game. So why can a NM defender tank Cloron/Fanta dragon, an NM priest keep him standing, an NM mage nuke the crap out of DD2 mobs, but an archer supposedly can't do anything at high level NM. The answer is this:
We are a LUC based class. For better or worse, shooting attacks - the core of our class - is an area based on the LUC stat. But LUC in small quantities is not how the stat is designed to work well. LUC, once you have enough to have constant critical hit builds, then becomes what the class is about. But that means 500 LUC minimum. In NM there is only one way to get 500 LUC, and that is to be high level and have good gear. But it's not just LUC, because every physical damage class needs accuracy, and that means DEX. This is not such a problem for most of the levels, but the lvl 50+ maps require about 200 DEX to be accurate. So now you need 700 stat points just to start getting to the point where you begin unlocking the true power of the class. Anything less than this is just a shadow of the class, whether you choose STR/DEX build or Pure LUC or Hybrid (I like to call it a "Lowbrid" lol. since it has low levels of stat points or is done by low levels in general.)
Because LUC only starts to get truly effective in high quantity, this means, per level builds, builds with low amounts of stat points, cannot utilize it properly, which means cannot utilize the core design or our class properly. A defender going 5 rec per level stays comparatively strong throughout the coarse of the game. 20 REC is nothing, but to a level 3 defender against similar level mobs, this IS enough to be unkillable. STR works in a similar fashion. LUC, however, does not. Going 5 LUC per level means you basically stay weak until LUC acctually accumulates in the way it is designed to work effectively. All the other stats work in low quantities. They work relative to the targets you will face at each according level. LUC simply doesn't, it demands 400 to 500 before it gets any good.
So the issue then becomes I'm playing a class in which I need a lot of stat points in order to actually reach the point where I can build it in an effective way, the way the class was designed to be built. This is why people say over-generalization statements such as "NM archers don't work" Or "Skip archer in NM". It's not that you can't achieve the required amount of stat points to make the class properly, it's just that it is very difficult and requires expensive high stat gear do so. And for the average player, NM and rich are not things that are typically seen together. Still, being able to reach the 700 stat mark doesn't mean you go from weak to uber. It just means now you've reached the base where you are tapping the class potential. You need far more stat points to be a great killer in the endgame, as does any class. The problem is for archers, the minimum level of points needed to make a "proper" build is hundreds higher than the other classes. You can start building a proper tank defender/guard at level 1. For archer, you have to reset stats because you can't even start your proper build until you've got at least 450 stats to work with.
So while STR/DEX is the best in many cases, that is not a true archer build. The poor benefit we get from STR tells us that, it's baked right into the game mechanics. Archer/Hunters are meant to be LUC based, not STR based. A STR/DEX archer is at best a temporary build for this class and when you find yourself in the position where you can never move beyond it, that is when you face the fact that you are essentially playing a class in a way that is not really experiencing what the class is meant to be. That's when it becomes disappointing. But the good news is that if performance is your only goal then you should never find yourself in this situation because someone taking an NM archer to high level clearly has other intentions in mind. Or if not, they at some point receive that proverbial slap in the face and understand the truth of their situation.
In the end though this is a game, and the only intention we all have (though most have forgotten) is to be entertained and have fun. Still, there are few who play NM to high level just for kicks, like I did when I duoed a mage with an archer being the tank all the way to level 58. At a time when NOBODY had a 60 NM and certainly not anyone really over mid 50s as an archer/hunter. But while that archer was the most "fun" oriented player i've ever known to play an MMO, we still had the odd intention to hit 60 and that was our goal and our drive. In the end, grinding the high level is not inherently fun so there must be motivation to keep you going. We weren't trying to then get red star or farm elemental lapis, we just wanted 60 because "nobody levels an NM to 60", not in those days. We were weird and proud of it.
Believe it or not I was at one time an odd noob that did things nobody understood or agreed with. High level NMs, LUC based defenders, Multiple high level toons, actually helping and being nice instead of caring only about EXP. Things that are common now, but not so much back in the day. And I thought little of performance or statistics. I'm still that at heart but when my said archer friend left the game I lost the "yin to my yang" as they say and became far more performance oriented as the next phase of my Shaiya path consisted of about 3 months of solo and guildless grinding through HM and UM. My archer friend, she cared nothing of such things as was pretty much all about fun and kindness. And you have to be that odd kind of person to take an NM archer to high level. And that's a refreshing, and lacking in this game, kind of "odd" in my opinion.
In the end, it's all about what you want to do. It's about having as much fun and entertainment as possible but you have to have a direction or you're just sitting around chatting in the towns, which is fine, but you don't need to be a level 60 to do that.
There becomes only one practical reason to play NM archer to the end. Fun of course, but what I mean is more like Time. If you can't play the game in a dedicated fashion with a high level of core hardness, like any MMO, you won't succeed in the sense of defining success as in game practical completion of objectives, such as PvP rank, boss kills, high levels, great gear etc. So if you were short on time but heavy on cash you could get the relative fullness of the game by gearing up a maxed out NM, and you could rightfully choose archer if that is the class you fancy most, and therefore experience most of the full game in a shorter period of time than the average, NM to HM to UM to 60 uber geared setup that most hardcore gamers utilize when playing MMOs.
But if you're looking for the perfect storm: Not spending excessive time, Not spending excessive money, Being statistically powerful, Being a complex class, and Being high level. Such a thing simply does not exist in the MMO world, and certainly not in a post EP4 economically destroyed Shaiya run by Aeria Games business strategy. You can't simply buy a lvl 60 UM archer in this, the US servers, of this game. Practical in game success comes in two ways. Spending way too much time then we really should on a single game or spending way too much money then we really should on a single game.
The most balanced way to go about it is to take a lot of time, several years of casual play working your way up and acquiring things. Though staying interested for such a long time can be difficult. But in the end, you don't achieve the extreme levels of success without taking more extreme costs to get them. And in my opinion, this then takes the game out of the fun and entertainment category and puts it into the "I care a little too much about this tiny aspect of my life" category. We all care about our performance, that's the only way we keep coming back for thousands of hours of gameplay. The average game is only a dozen hours and even a long single player RPG taps out at 100 with all the side bonuses. No sane person plays a single game for 2000 hours in two years. We are certainly not sane gamers. But in the end, balance is needed, and therefore NM becomes a viable choice. Because in the end, you're using this game as a temporary source of entertainment in your life and whether you spend 200 hours trying to get to high level UM and giving up before you get there, or spend 600 hours taking UM to 60 and getting bored after you do so, or spending 50 hours taking NM to 58 and getting bored, it ends the same way. You move on with your life and find another game or avenue of entertainment.
A level 60 NM archer may be kinda useless, but don't forget the obvious truth. This is a GAME, not your LIFE. And in the scope of things EVERY character, class, and level is useless. A lvl 60 UM fighter/warrior with full 6s and  enchanted weapons is uselss. For you fellow old dogs, AranTelen may be useless (high level NM archer back in the day), but Genesis is useless too, and LaBoa is useless, AimeeLee is useless, Aes is uselss, Tomal will be useless. Because Aes (my archer toon) doesn't send me a monthly rent check, doesn't follow me down city streets at night with bow nocked in my defense. And your toon, regardless of what it turns out to be won't do anything useful for you in the end either. It's just entertainment, that's the use of this game and the only use of your class, mode, and level. So it's all about playing as best you can, and by best I mean whatever is most interesting an most fun to you. That's why you play games in the first place.
Off topic at the end a bit there but anyway I stick around because I love to write and I love to create things and after putting in so much game time I've got myself quite a base of knowledge and a neat little project in the guide to provide me entertainment. This became more fun that then actual game for me and so I stopped playing and spend my time writing posts that 1% of the population may actually read. But it's my fun and that's all that matters. I left the game for reasons more numerous and complex than just that but anyway, grats if you read this all you are in the elite of gamers with attention span.