Oh certainly, this very heavily relies on your support. The job's defensive/solo shortcoming are pretty apparent, I was just stating some points that would help RNG become less of an MP sink as well as keeping up the offense while taking hits. (Unfortunately, in this case you still lose the "sweet spot" advantage, one thing you simply cannot remedy unless there's a solid tank holding the mob in place, or the mob is immobile to start with).
As for losing RA time performing defensive abilities, well, that's why I mentioned /NIN is bad. /SAM all you have is Third Eye with Seigan up, you have nothing else to worry about defense wise. You can switch your gear just as efficiently as any melee while keeping up your shooting. There really is no alternative to /SAM for taking hits on RNG, /NIN just doesn't cut it unless you're trying to avoid blinkable AoEs when not being the main tank yourself.
And you don't really lose much offensive power switching to PDT gear, sure, your shots aren't as powerful as they can be in max DD gear, but consider this, do you actually RA in Antlion Arrows? Or do you use Demon/Scorp and WS in Antlion only? You're not using your full potential while RAing eitherway, no harm losing a slight bit more and surviving long enough to WS another time :p
Regarding !! procs, RNG only gets Energy Drain, Cyclone, and Seraph Strike (if /SAM), and Archery/Marks + Shadowstitch for blue, so you'd definitely need more people if you're after them. Although if going after blue only, and depending on whether the mob can be deaggroed or not, you could keep resetting blue !! during piercing to get Archery/Marks. I used that tactic myself to get my Sylvan Earring solo with my WHM mule.
Oh, and atmas I use depend on the mob, I suppose. Defensively, I'd go for regen (Sea Daughter has 30 during daytime, so a plus there), and I used to use Vicissitude + RR. Though I figured RR + GH simply make the fight go faster (I personally wouldn't pick VV over RR, even without Jishnu's, crit rate is simply too good). If you'd rather more regen than damage, Sea Daughter, Vis, and Mounted Champ offer ~85 regen per tick with Regen 4 from WHM, plus a decent amount of VIT+def, which admittedly won't really help THAT much, but are nice nevertheless.
I find with all this and enough effort in putting together different gearsets, RNG can be pushed to new heights away from the standard stay back and shoot while riding the hate line and getting yelled at by melee.
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that RNG can tank everything or duo everything with a WHM like some other jobs, but it certainly opens up a lot of opportunities.
I myself use THF more than RNG, since Evasion is just too broken in FFXI, has been since the 75 days, lol. Still, Jishnu's is so much fun, I'd use RNG any chance I don't NEED THF, and I would recommend everyone get a Harrier, if Gandiva is a bit out of reach.
Oh, and Noodle, I agree an upgrade to the RA system like you mentioned would change RNG for the best, perhaps we should submit the ideas to SE support, they seem to be listening these days, lol.
Edited, Feb 8th 2011 7:37am by Kyatasutorofii