The majority of the arguments against a skill based systems seem to boil down to “it’s harder” … harder to balance, harder to make fun, harder to preserve diversity, harder to explain to the player. I can believe that.
MMORPG designs have seemingly all been rushing to the same place. Minor variations persist for the present, but in general, most games seems to present the same broad systems.
It’s as if some massive force of gravity were inexorably drawing all towards some central crushing singularity of sameness.
It’s a shame, really. There are those of us players that would appreciate a quality MMORPG with a different mechanic. In fact, I believe there is a whole sub-culture of MMo’meless players, wandering in search of a new and fulfilling mechanic. You can find these refugees of the Diku world skulking on the forums of any game currently in development. There they espouse radical views calling for perm death, unrestricted PVP and story. They even speak the heresy of skill based character development. All in the vain hope of finding a land of milk and honey (or phat lewt and coin, as the case may be) in which to dwell.
I wonder, how big a niche these potential players might comprise, added all together?
There can only be one game at the gravitational centre of the universe. Travel too close, and you’ll only be drawn in, torn apart, and finally crushed. Don’t go there. It might take vast energy to escape the gravity-well that is a class-based system.
But you MMORPG designers and developers have tackled some pretty tough problems before.