So let's talk about my boys a bit today.
Though I may have mentioned them in the past, to refresh, the group I DM for is a gaggle of three others I knew in College. They play a cleric, a dual-sword ranger, and a quiet rogue. Currently, I DM NPC a wizard to round out the four-man squadron.
At the moment, they're engaged in a rather serious skirmish. They've survived the rest of the small dungeon I made to help them "Test the waters", so to speak, and put a few raiding parties of shadar-kai, shadow hounds, and even an elite Gelatinous Cube out of their respective miseries. They picked up a few milestones, and after much exploring, have arrived at the last showdown against the leader of the Shadar-Kai assassins hellbent on destroying them...and a fair lot of her cronies.
Now, encounter build-wise:
1) The leader is a level 10 Controller.
2) There are 2 level 8 Shadar-Kai Warriors, a Level 6 Gloomblade, and a Level 6 Chainfighter (Who they killed already).
3) There is also a level 8 Deathdog, who the head witch keeps as a pet.
4) The team is all Level 8 (Minus the NPC Wizard, who is level 9)
Currently, most of the team's seen better days. The witch has managed to keep the cleric and my NPC wizard locked in a struggle against the deathdog by limiting their vision, and the ranger and the rogue of the squad are taking turns getting the stuffings beaten out of them by the gloomblade, who is taking full advantage of the witch's Shadow Aura effect and his allies to hide and avoid being attacked.
The thing is, by degrees the guy who runs the cleric and the guy who runs the ranger have been picking up steam. They're becoming more confident with 4th edition, playing their characters, maximizing their turns. The third member of the troupe, however, hasn't caught on as quickly.
He plays the rogue, and he's made a tradition of running his character like he was a fighter; walk to the nearest thing and make melee basic attacks. The only time he's used any of his powers was after constant and continued prodding. I more or less let the problem sit when I was the only one noticing. Now, though, the other two have begun to vocalize complaints that he's not doing everything he can be doing, and that they may get wiped out at this rate.
Given how they've only downed one foe and barely scratched the others (With the cleric and the wizard barely holding the deathdog at bay in their corner of the map), I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Cleric and Mr. Ranger that Mr. Rogue may cause problems for the squad in due course. What irritates Mr. Ranger is primarily how Mr. Rogue isn't using his attack powers. What irritates Mr. Cleric is that he's trying to solo monsters, when rogues were BUILT to double-team foes, flanking them to get CA and Sneak Attacking the heck out of them.
My opinion on the matter, as the DM, was that their characters aren't mine to run. I have a rule set up because we do PbP that if they don't post in a week, I run their turn for them with an At-Will, but we're not at the deadline. Barring inactivity, I don't run their guys for them. I try not to force advice on them, either. It's their fight, after all, and their characters. But I am fearful. I've made a reputation as a fair DM who challenges my players, but doesn't go off killing them.
Hopefully, the fight starts to turn around, and they whip out some more Dailies, burn their APs, and go to town. If they fight hard and fight smart, they'll plow through these guys, I've no doubt of that.
Just waiting for it to happen is slightly traumatizing.