So, in essence, to the OSR antithief lobby, I guess they seem like collaborators ?
Really, although I dislike the way they did it (the skill system is a bolt on kludge, and very finicky to keep track of), 3E does make useful thieves that are about as usefully unrealistic/heroically exaggerated as the other classes from level one; which, as I've noted, is one hell of an improvement.
In fact, I like playing thieves in 3E (and 3.5); but then, I also think that in many ways, 3E is the logical goal of the style of gaming that D&D got its base from: hard core miniature and board gaming players; which includes me...and Gygax and arneson, FWIW. My main complaint is that unless one plays it all the time, the rules get foggy in ones head, and rules spotting and searching really starts to get in the way of play. Kind of like Star fleet battles, advanced squad leader, and vi. ( I pretty much had to give up playing SFB when I went into grad school, because there wasn't room for both.....not time, room. As in, my hard drive was over full. )
That said, the best parts of 3E for the thief are really twofold: feats, and not starting off as a bumbling fool. The implementation of skills is lacking, but on the whole, it makes thieves (excuse me: Rogues) quite effective out the gate -sure they have corresponding gaps, but that's what being a specialist is all about. And feats are one of the big things I like best about 3E. Really, I think that but for feat bloat, the feat system could absorb the skill system, and give a very nice system for customizing classes. Wonder what that could offer to a rules lite or )D&D sensibility style set of rules.
Okay, that's enough for tonight. BTW, hello to the new readers and commenters ! Nice to get an anonymous comment that isn't tying to sell me viagra.... ;)