... it occurred to me that perhaps it wasnt a question of poor balancing by Troika but that in the world of Arcanum and a world used to magick but now just learning the applications of technology we then have the Linear Wizard, Quadratic Technologist?
It's not a bad theory. The only problem with it is that there never seems to be a point in the game in which a technologist out-competes the equivalent level of mage.
Even a 100% TA dwarf in Iron Clan armour, toting a pyrotechnic axe and a functional Droch's Warbringer, isn't really a match for an elf with 100% MA and mastery of Dark Necro.* Harm at maximum effectiveness, for two fatigue points a throw? Game over.
The problem is that the game's basic premise remains somewhat nerfed: Troika folded before getting the chance to tweak the balance, and modders like Drog Black Tooth have (rightly, IMO) been reluctant to over-fix what isn't theirs. What results is more along the lines of Linear Warrior, Quadratic Technologist, Cubic Wizard.
And that's fine. If the game gets too easy with a given play style, you have a number of built-in handicaps available, including playing as a pure technologist, a halfling warrior, Donn Throgg's not-so-charismatic cousin, an "I can't brain today; I has the dumb" idiot (or idiot savant), or even a clumsy half-ogre thief.
*When facing the equivalent in-game foe. I'll grant you that in a PvP situation (if Arcanum had one) the dwarf's effective magic immunity gives him the upper hand. But if the mage has enough healing/fatigue potions and any sort of decent weapon of his own, we're pretty much back to a stalemate.