I'm excited about the new DCC RPG. One of the biggest caveats I see that people have about the system is race as class.
They have this caveat because they are ignorant self-centered speciests.
Race as class is AWESOME. I wanted to get that out of the way first. The reason why it is so spectacularly good is because non-humans are not just humans in funny hats. Elves aren't the forestey humans - *Humans* are the foresty humans.
We've only been on this planet in our current form for about 10,000 years, and only at all for a little while longer than that. I get that we murdered to death the other last sentient species that we shared the planet with around 7000 years ago, and that was bad on us. (Word is they were stronger and smarter than us anyway). But the way we are is not the only way that things could be.
Let's take the 3.5 system example to the extreme, and say I wanted to play a bumblebee. Well, I've got to give him a class right? Why not fighter?
This is the lousiest sword and board fighter ever. Maybe he uses a really tiny shield?
Really small spellbook filled with dances and scent codes?
GOD OF HONEYCOMB.
Well, flying is an advantage, maybe he could come back and let the party know where the treasure is? It's what his limited ganglia are good for. However when they kill the monsters and find only flowers and pollen, they might be a little dissapointed.
Dwarves, elves, hobbits, gnomes, are not human. IRL I've done work with native cultures who's baseline assumptions and knowledge were drastically different then my own, and non-humans are even more different then that.
Dwarves are carved from the literal earth. They are the physical embodiment of greed and craftsmanship. They aren't people who are good at those things - they are literally those things made manifest. They don't wake up and go, "I think I'll go adventuring!", because as a general rule, they are physically incapable of doing so. Their mindset is bizarre and seen through the filter of their own twisted vision.
The reason why most dwarves are incapable of adventuring is that their unique nature physically prevents them by mental compulsion. They have to complete their own tasks because there is no other option. They can't leave, because they'd spend the whole time in acute psychiatric crisis, over the fact that the gold is un-mined, and they are not fulfilling the weighty responsibilities of their clan.
The dwarf that is in the party is that unique, rare breed; cast out through circumstance and fortune to walk among the lands of men. He can't be like "let's pick up a spellbook!" He is dwarf and with all that entails: hardy, good with an axe, knowledgeable about construction and stonework, drinker of ale. Their differences between them are subtle, in their nature and their character (you know, the role-playing part - fallen by the wayside in the modern 'my precious encounter' play-style) not in the way they defend themselves or the way they adventure.
The same goes for the other races - elves are spirits and sprites, playing in eternal youth, living in the moment, powerful in magic and unconcerned about the future (or whichever variation, what have you). They are not HUMAN+, like they get played as in so many campaigns. One elf lost in the world of the men, where actions have consequences and existence is weighty, does what the elf does - fights well with light weapons, and uses magic and stealth in the natural realm. Gnomes are the spirit of trickery, misdirection, and contraption, lovers of gems. One banished or geased sets out, approaches life the way he always has, using illusion and ingenuity.
There is an excellent long form piece of fiction (and film) on the hobbit if anyone is interested in that particular example.
So whenever I see someone saying "I think race as class is stupid" or "I don't like that". What they are saying is "I don't have enough imagination to conceive of a world without me in it". Considering that this was the actual physical case for several billion years (and by all accounts, in the grand scheme of things, we won't be here that long at all - maybe trillions of years into the future) that is a small petty imagination indeed. And this from a person in a hobby that requires a lot of imagination to begin with!
So one should look at race as class as an opportunity to make the game truly interesting and memorable. Instead of the more common option which is a bunch of people sitting around the table playing humans in funny hats, with a minor difference in which stat gets a bonus.