It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
What is good class design?
There are a lot of different systems that have been tried.
There is the skill system where you can raise different skills and depending on what skills you pick it kind of defines what class you are. For instance if you leveled healing/holy magic and melee of some sort you could consider yourself a Paladin. If you leveled Nature and Archery you could consider yourself a Ranger etc. The main problem with this system IMO is that you can't make truly unique classes. Each skill has certain abilities and anyone who works on that skill with receive those abilities.
There is the class system where you can do a lot of different things. You can do like EQ and have pure/hybrid classes. The hybrid classes will encompass parts of two or three pure classes. It sounds like a good idea to have hybrid classes in hindsight, but they end up being a mishmash of two classes. The other issue is that melee classes are somewhat boring to play (at least in this specific game). Hence why WoW has tried to give each of it's classes unique abilities. I also believe that EQs AA system and the vast amount of spells makes things a bit overly complex.
There is the WoW model. In this model all classes can do a little DPS. It's not a bad model and it still includes a measure of utility spells. Each class has it's own unique abilities that come to the table. I like that it redid all the skills and simplified the system. The way spells/abilities change in mana consumption and damage/effect when leveling up. The thing I don't like about what they did compared to the original classes was taking away some of the group roles a bit. Basically I don't think there is much need for things like CC anymore. It is mostly tank and spank. Still it has a lot more variety then most MMOs I've seen come out recently. Perhaps that's why it continues to be popular.
There is the Final Fantasy model where you can level up multiple classes and combine them together. This again seems like a nice idea, but you end up with combined classes that crossover eachother. There really isn't much of a need to give players access to multiple classes at the same time. It just confuses things IMO and makes them overly complex.
Most modern MMOs try to have a class system with no healer/CC. The classes are all damage with different flavors. This is good for PvP balance, but boring for PvE and sandbox environment.
I like the WoW model, but I believe it needs more diversity/uniqueness in each class. Perhaps part of the problem is there are too many classes and they overlap one another. I like a system where each class has unique abilities and something unique to offer in terms of both utility an combat. For instance perhaps a warrior could offer utility through debuffing enemies, a mage could offer utility through spells like water breathing and levitation, rogues could offer utility like finding traps and picking locks, and a healer could provide protection buffs.
The ultimate question when making classes is what is fun for the player. To me the DPS only model is not fun. Having too many classes may make things less enjoyable by overly complicating things. Having too many skills can detract from enjoyment. At the same time making things too simple by making every class be only about DPS is boring IMO. There should be class quests. For a Mage it could be a quest sends them to forgotten places to aquire pieces of lost lore. For a Warrior it might be to find a long lost weapon. For a rogue it might be to steal something from someone rich and powerful. For a healer it might be to seek out some long lost place in order to commune with his god and be granted more powerful magic or the ability to progress further.
So in the end I would like to see in classes unique abilities, less classes, utility, more defined roles in a group, only quests that are important for that class to progress or at least quests that last a long time so they aren't a dime a dozen (quests that take you to far off places and take a while to complete). I would also like to see more interesting class ideas. Personally I like the classic warrior, rogue, cleric, mage type classes. I don't see them much in games any more. They are the most fun for me. Having other classes like Druid, Ranger, etc. are also fun, but run the risk of possible overlapping what the others are supposed to do in a group (I don't see those classes much in games today either).
At any rate those are my ideas. Share yours if you want. I'm sure others like different things.