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PnP games and older MMMOs even were loaded to bear with classes that access to certain skills, spells or abilities that made them stand out. Balance was not always the main element in class design but more depth of character that would fit lore. Some of these abilities were combat oriented some were utility in design.
These days games are all about the numbers and combat. How do the classes stack up in combat and are they balanced? Uitlity spells and effects that are used outside of combat that might give a particular class some sort of edge in other areas of gameplay such as making travel easier or even the ability to give long term buffs are rarely seen. And when it comes to combat abilities, balance trumps all.
So what are peoples opinions on this. Should developers go back to the older philosophy that character depth and game lore is just as important and bring back abilities that others might not have access to?. Or should they continue with the trend that everything must be totally balanced, and no one class should ever have abilities that might give them an edge?