From Raph Koster, posting on the Star Wars Galaxies boards:

“The honest fact is that it takes six months of Live to balance an MMORPG, and anyone who tells you otherwise is kidding themselves. Even six months of beta does not do it.”

I’d go further and say MMORPGs are “impossible” to balance by definition. They’re either too complex (DAOC’s approximately 932 classes) or.. well, I’d say too simple, but I can’t think of a single MMORPG that qualifies as “too simple”.

People don’t want a perfectly balanced MMORPG. If they did, we could just give everyone 1 hit point, let them do 2 hit points of damage every attack, and set them loose. People want variety, longevity, fun, and most importantly, they want to win. The Lake Woebegone MMORPG, where everyone is above average…