Levels…..why does it always have to be levels?

I’ve been Rifting this weekend….more of my thoughts on that at a later date….but it got me thinking….

It seems that the majority of MMOs are level based. At least, all the ones I’ve played. Guild Wars, LotRO, WoW, Champions Online, AoC and Rift. They all seem to be based around gaining experience, gaining equipment and getting better items. I can understand that because people like  to think they’re advancing…but everything does seem to be based around the good ol’ Dungeons and Dragons way of getting experience points and levelling up.

And I wondered.

What if it wasn’t like that?

What if there wasn’t a level cap, but something more akin to the Call of Cthulhu system, whereby people undertake quests, potentially losing SAN points or the like? What if people got quests to play through – good storylines, immersive plots, which reward people slowly with something other than experience. Percentage points, etc.

I know the arguments for a levelling system. It’s easy, it’s convenient, it rewards people, makes them feel like they’re achieving something, makes them want more. But what if there was a different way….would it be possible? Would it be playable? Would people care?!

Just a bizarre thought from this woodland….and now back to the last of my free trial Rift-time……!

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