Originally Posted by JonNik
No I think it is clear one of the main design goals was indeed to have a completely open character system. So the only thing limiting you is how much you want or not want to grind and some finite resources (i.e unique souls etc.). Its entirely possible to become a master of all Disciplines in time and that is one of the problems of always respawning/grinding designs couple with a character system like this. In the end it comes down to the player and that can be both a good and a bad thing.
I clearly prefer designs providing you with some exclusivity throughout the character progression (not to mention actual content). I don't really hold most of the basic design decisions on the DS system to any higher regard than the early days (when I was bitching about them ) just because I am now gushing about its level design. The system is entertaining and engaging enough to me and ties very well to the combat so I am not complaining too much either now though.
That said I am not a particular fan of the Diablo approach either though. I never liked skilltrees that much and while I understand they (when made right) allow for some distinct character builds they always felt a bit contrived/gamey and limiting. I prefer complex stat and skill/proficiency/talent based systems that don't limit you on a prerequisite based path. The exclusivity of a character build I expect to come from proper game balance (don't let me grind infinitely or give me enough XP to max everything) and story/exploration based choices. In the end I appreciate letitng me at least some degree of mixing and matching and fooling around while at some point forcing me to make a decision.
(Love 3.0 but I haven't really played 3.5 to appreciate the difference btw.)