There's just no way around it.: in order to balance classes, races, talents, gear and content, there must be a standard formula that governs how every one of these aspecst interact, and so every single meaningful part of the game must be reducible to a variable that can be inserted into the formula, and each variable must be limited to specified range. Balance means limitations. It doesn't matter what you call the damage, the healing, the crowd control, the defense, the health, the dodge - it all fits within the variables. Every new talent, piece of gear, skill, or level bonus is - eventually - just a number for a variable that fits in the balance formula that must be capped at some point.
What would happen, I wonder, if there was no consideration whatsoever given to balance issues? I mean, besides a certain segment of the population screaming bloody murder because they got pwned by some guy with outrageous firepower, what if you could train your character on any path indefinitely? Mix any combinations of traits and skills .. indefinitely?
One might say that certain builds would be way overpowered .. but, so what? Way overpowered for what? Can't devs just keep adding insanely powerful challenges? You can only advance a character so fast (especially in a 24/7 advancement system like EVE has), so you'll never be able to advance everything to crazy proportions (especially in a truly deep and broad game). Every choice to advance one thing means not advancing others .. but why put limits on the things you advance with an arbitrary character leveling system?
It seems to me to be a much more inviting and long-term-friendly game if you know you can advance in any area as much as you want with zero cap limits. If you increase your blacksmithing skills to insane levels, you can make insanely good gear, and sell in the game for an insanely high price. If you advance your fire magic skills at the cost of everything else, then you'll be incredibly powerful in that specific area. Overpowered with flame, sure, but not much use against magma men or against someone that stabs you from behind.
Instead of telling us the limitations and arrangements of stats and talents and skills in relationship to each other that we are allowed, let us build it on our own as we see fit and let us do so indefinitely. Yes, that makes it less of a game and more of an unlimited character in a virtual world experience, but I imagine there's enough true sandbox types out there that would support such a gaming experience.