I think people mix two things up when it comes to fear of inefficiency and optimization:
The process of optimization and having an optimized character.
Let me say very clearly that the process of optimization is not only unavoidable, but actually desired in MMORPGs. The whole point of offering customization of characters on a power-level, is to encourage players to optimize; to engage in interesting, meaningful decisions. And I love it.
The problem with WoW and Rift is not this. The problem is that the process was removed; removed by crowd-sourcing. While I leveled, I tinkered around with my builds in Rift and I had a few nice ones. But when I was almost max level I couldn't resist my curiosity and had a look at RiftJunkies and the official forums. I was bombarded with highly optimized builds that, I have to admit, were sometimes significantly better than the ones I came up with. And then: game over.
I remember in classic WoW and sometimes TBC when a new item dropped I would do some calculations on my own about how much of an update it would be. I had done my own little theory-crafting; without tools for statistical analysis and without differential evolution techniques for numerical optimization. These rules of thumb worked nicely.
Then, when I returned to WotLK, this game was over. Instead of optimizing myself I started RAWR and let it run an (almost brute force) simulation of my gear. I found out that I wasn't so far off with my rules of thumb. But, of course, RAWR was better.
To make things worse, there were the raids that required me to specc in a different way, because they didn't understand the speccs, but just copied them. That probably was even a logical way to handle things for them. But it also destroyed my fun at optimizing myself even more.
So let me say this very clearly: The enemy is not optimization. The enemy is crowd sourcing. And the more tools you give the crowd (like export of combat logs), the worse the problem will become. Hey, even as a part of ElitistJerks this wasn't fun anymore! You would just do the statistical analysis and numerical optimization. As difficult as these may sound: once you have figured it out, it's boring.
This kind of post cannot go without this Extra Credits video.