So a lot has been made over the various leveling schemes that different games employ. Pete, of Dragonchasers recently wrote an article that sparked my thought processes.. (thanks Pete) About this subject. Why do we like to level so much?
Well really if you think about it, we have a built in desire to create. So leveling is one way of making creating your character and fleshing out who he/she is. Naturally it needs to be in the background to adventuring because nobody wants their only reason to log in to be to get the experience bar to move. There's only so much satisfaction a progress bar can provide and when its done, you have to ask yourself, what have I really accomplished? Well a lot really, but much of it is unseen by others. There's no way they could know that I two manned some crazy troll with my bro for half an hour or whatever, and that's fine. In this way things are more realistic. I have lots and lots of personal accomplishments and that's the way they will stay for the most part. At least as far as this life is concerned. You and anyone can only know so much about people and we seldom get to know much of the histories. We could always do things the good old fashioned way (no, I'm not talking about titles) by asking them questions and getting to know them.
Another fun way would be to include (gasp) unique accomplishments in an MMO game. Instead of cookie cutter stuff, you could make up unique stuff randomly. Some randomly made stuff would have atrociously funny names. (Skull cap of the beaver, grocery bag of the long fingered knave, anyone?) Devs always complain that the time to make such things is long and hard but what if you just mixed and matched with the resources you already have? Sure some things would look bad, and you might have to add a few things to help them blend, but I'm sure you could make random stuff that makes people feel like one in a million instead of one that's the same as a million others.
Anyways to continue and finish my leveling diatribe, I think that leveling should stay in some games, but others should try new things. Pure gear progression might be fine as long as its not a slow crawl. Other kinds of gear progression like the legendary items in Lotro have added, where it gains levels or proficiency. As far as level caps I don't see why in the world there need to be any, just balance it with an exponential curve. Then there's the whole "time invested" versus "skill" issue which I plan on discussing next time. This is Thallian wishing you all a happy Yule (Lotro) or Winters Eve or whatever its called in World of Warcraft with its goblin run holiday system ;) Buon Natale a tutti quanti!