I'd just like to add that EVE online does not have a cap.Well crud, I had a counter argument typed up but hit reply to thread and it started it over.
Basically I was saying that you are unhappy with the mechanics of the game because you would be unable to tell what a person can or cannot do with no skill cap.
Let us assume there is a skill cap in place and you can learn 700 points worth of skills. Each skill taking 100 points max, etc, etc. Now, you are wandering around the woods and you see a lone woodsman chopping away at a tree. You approach because you assume he is just a random PvE player gather lumber. Once you get in close and start to converse with him WABAM! he guts you like a pig, steals your items, and runs off. You ask yourself "why did this just happen? and the answer is because you judged him based off what he was doing. In a game with skill caps, people can play possum and bait you in for the kill. You assumed he was non-combat oriented when in fact, he had only enough points in to gather wood and the rest into combat.
Now take the game with no skill caps. You are much more attuned at being cautious when you approach a random player because you know for a fact that he can have any skill he wants and at whatever skill level he trained it to.
Best to do as a child would when encountering someone you don't know and scream stranger danger while running away.
As for games being a flop because of a lack of skill caps....... Darkfall wasn't a flop. It was a niche game with a small target demographic. It is actually doing pretty well. They are changing the skill cap system only because it is a PvP oriented game. New players stood no chance against the battle hardened vets. Mortal Online HAS skill caps and is a failure because of the absolutely terrible job the dev team did on the game. As for Wurm Online, I am unable to comment on because I have never played it. I hear good things about it though, and it is also a small target niche game.
Can't compare any of these games with UO or SWG because they were created and released in a different MMO environment completely. UO was the father of MMOs. It was a success because it was one of, it not the only MMO out at the time (1997). SWG did well because it was a HUGE ip and had little competition in the sandbox genre (development began in 2000, was released in '03). It offered a sci-fi setting with a 3d world as opposed to UO's "2.5d" high fantasy setting.