I do not quite understand why tarans and limans are the only ones allowed to brew, as i can easily see doctors and mercenaries brewing stuff at times, tho it may require them a bit more wit and spirit than it would to those that were surrounded by it since their birth. Likewise, Londoners not being able to sustain breath or moderners not being able to cast much of spells should, IMHO, be fixed so that it will simply require them higher stats and mana to learn words or to cast them. And I find it weird that tho magical weapons supposedly may break more easily in non- magical eras, that spells themselves do not cost more or are harder to cast in industrial or medieval eras. I do see the merit of some hometown specific skills--i mean, some ppl just have a better knack at it just because they were born there--but other skills that they might not have a knack for, should not be inaccessible, but just so much harder to reach.
There are many times when i have to tell newbies that "sorry, you screwed up in choosing hometowns, so you wont be able to do surgery/brew/repair/forge/sustain breath whatever." and i think it is just another form of a 'class.' Granted that it is still more diverse and flexible than regular class-based systems, it still has a long way to go for it to be truly called 'class-less' and placing sufficient penalties, instead of barring access, is a better way to approach classless-ness.
This idea did not get implemented into the mud when it opened, and after we had opened, it was deemed to be a nifty idea in concept but not one that the rest of the mud design supported, nor one that players would stand for at that time.
As far as different hometown access to skills... that is because of the original underlying system, which still remains (and which we intend to retain) and also because skills have accreted over time, thus unbalancing the original setup. It is the main reason why hometowns are getting redone with skill trees--because currently, there are clear advantages to choosing one over another. As new abilities were added--and by this I mean things that believe it or not you all take for granted but which were NOT present when the mud opened--such as the entire spell system, all of the bardic stuff, guns and bows and the attendant sniper and deadeye skills, augment, root, make staff, and many other things--as these things were added, the hometowns shifted in relative ability.
Yes, it is a type of classing, but as a general design principle, a purely classless system tends to trend not towards diversity but rather towards similarity--we see that trend even now on Legend. A few imposed restrictions on character development act like a condiment to spice the mix. It could have been randomly assigned upon character creation, or it could have been done with choices from "character traits" or, as we did it, it could be fictionally tied to the game world. No matter which way you do it, though, you impose restrictions upon the classlessness.
Many classless systems do it via stats. Stats are so mutable on Legend that doing it via stats alone is useless. In fact, stats being so mutable is a major problem in terms of achieving variety in characters DESPITE the hometowns, which is why gradual stats, skill trees, and all that are going in.
"Classlessness" is often interpreted by players as "the ability to do everything" and never interpreted by designers as such. :) It really means "the ability to be flexible" and none can deny that flexible you certainly are under the current system... perhaps a bit too much so.