"free form" classes

Its time to take D&D to the next level.

Put down the torches and pitchforks.
You probably already do this but just don't realize it.

If you played 3rd ed or 3.5 ed how many of you played a level 20 fighter? Wizard?
I am guessing very few. builds like Bloodline 3 / Warlock 12 / Hellfire Warlock 3 / Chameleon 2 or Fighter 6 / Weapon master 7 / Tempest 5 / ranger 2. there was a whole meta game around optimizing class and prestige class combinations to min/max your character.

When the base classes didn't offer what we were looking for then there was a suppliment that brought in a new class that did offer what we wanted? Or a prestige class that provided what we wanted.

With the massive proliferation of classes as well as prestige classes most multi-classed. (I mean why not, it was pretty awesome) Not to mention how many 3rd party resrouces are there that created new classes, prestige classes, feats and abilities to suite a players taste.
  
Essentially what players were doing was disecting the classes and taking the elements they wanted from them and using them for their character. There was little incentive to play a "pure" class all the way up. One could say that players were "free forming" their characters already.

By creating a heirarchy of attributes, feats and abilities you allow the player to create a truely unique and heroic adventurer.

The up front cost is high and difficult
the end payoff ....huge.
Except for the prestige classed characters, I don't understand why your fighter would have to do something beyond be the bast fighter that he could be. Ditto for the Wizard or any of the other classes.

I'm a big fan of multiclassing, but what is the story behind you and four friends heading out into the unknown, in search of adventure? If you're *all* fighters, then yeah, maybe one guy figures that he needs a better connection with a god to heal his buds, and another finds a tome that gives him enough insight to learn how to weave magic into the bladework. But really, if you've already got all the flavors of adventure covered, then why look outside your *class*? That to me seems like feat territory, or maybe tack on an additonal speciality.

I remember the days of hybridization that was 2.5 - shudder - and I don't want to see that kind of D&D re-emerge in the new brand. I do what to see multiclassing at some level though, because making a change in your life and having a second career seems completely logical. Especially given the weekly life-changing circumstances that the PC's often find themselves in. 
I hear what you're saying, but it isn't going to happen. This isn't just a "That's how it's always been" answer, it's "that's what D&D IS."

D&D has always been a class-based game. I enjoy MANY class-less games, I actually play more games that DON'T have classes than those that DO. But that's one aspect of D&D I like, and I know many others do as well. Classes aren't going anywhere.

Now, as a compromise, I wouldn't mind seeing an 'Unearthed Arcana' type book that has all the rules for creating classes using a point-buy system...