Well, it's general agreement that the interface for Blender3D was designed by aliens for aliens, so the learning curve is pretty steep to figure out how to do anything really amazing. Regardless of the bizarre interface, blender has one of the best, if not the best, shader plugin systems which can allow you to chain up some pretty interesting effects node by node. It was a group of Blender artists messing about with the shader system who came up with the fast screenspace ambient occlusion method which formed the basis for the method used in all the latest video games (Don't worry if that doesn't mean anything to you). I've not used daz, but the list of programs I've used to create content for games I've worked on includes 3DS Max 6,7 and 8, Maya 5,6 and 7, Softimage XSI, Mudbox, Milkshape 3D, Rhinoceros 3D, and of course Blender3D. Most of the programs I listed are or were high-end industry standard programs at one time and yet there isn't a single feature I can think of that Blender3D doesn't have for free. Blender3D even has a hair creation system and I think a cloths system (available on their site or related sites as a plugin) both of which are similar to what 3DS Max uses. If your looking for something more simple, I've heard wings3D is pretty good though I wouldn't use it as I think it's all done through subdivision and I find edge loop modeling much more efficient for game meshes.
Blender3D used to be even more awkward to use, but for the last few years I've found that using The Gimp and Blender3D I can make anything from movie grade CGI to game models. If you do pre-rendered stuff though you will need a 3rd party renderer supported by Blender3D as the default raytracer has many issues with antialiasing, but I've seen images using the default raytracer were you can't tell so there are obviously tricks to get it to do things I don't know about.