L'art du script...
It seems like everyone got together and decided to have an interesting discussion right as I was out of town. The issue brought up by Joe Ludwig was: No designer scripting. This assertion created a lot of discussion, including a followup post by Joe.
I wrote a post about scripting languages years ago on this blog. My core assertion was that for online RPGs, you want to give non-programmers the ability to create content easily. But, the larger issue is that you need to use the tool that's appropriate for your situation.
If you need a fast-and-lean solution, then that limits what tools are appropriate for your task. But, taking this a step further, you need the right tool for the resources you have, particularly the people in your team and the schedule you have to meet.
Damion explained the issue with scheduling with a fair amount of snark. Programmers, especially ones with experience, don't grow on trees. Therefore, expecting all game implementation to only happen with programmers is usually something that hurts the schedule.
Having designers wait on a programmer to implement a feature is a waste of time that can impact the schedule; if you have programmers sitting around idle waiting for things to implement from designers, then you're wasting money.
However, you also need to keep in mind the type of people you have on the team. A designer like myself, with a Computer Science degree, shouldn't fill the "real" programmers with a sense of dread because of having to deal with my code...
Other people have other strengths, and this is the point that Raph and Sara are talking at each other about. Someone like Sara, with a background and keen interest in data, will work better in a system that allows for interesting combinations of data. I, however, would probably find such a system very limiting since I probably don't think in terms of data as well as Sara does; I think in terms of code.
Raph makes the comment that data-driven systems designers don't have as much of a career path. I disagree slightly, because given that the position of "designer" is so ill-defined, any designer will have to make his or her own career path.
However, I think it's important for designers to understand the basics of coding and computer science even if they can't sling C++ code around like an expert, because it gives insight into what can and cannot easily be done. For example, if a programmer notices that a design is NP-hard, I know what that means and won't argue the point. :)