Massively OP Kickstarter donor Craywulf wants us all to sit back in our armchair designer, er, armchairs and tackle a design problem some gamers are convinced is impossible:
How would you provide personal progression without leveling?
The easy answer is “skill systems,” of course, but let’s be honest: Skills are levels by other names, even if they work to different ends. So let’s skip past the easy answers!
In my experience, if a game is determined to create and quantify a sense of progression rather than just provide a virtual space that enables experiences instead, the best way to do it is base it on time (perks reflective of how long you’ve been playing the game) and accomplishment. Achievement systems, as much as we might cringe at them, would be far more palatable and in fact brilliant if they usurped experience grinding and skill leveling altogether. In fact, in many games where levels have been simplified or negligible, achievement ranks become the more important factor anyway.
What do you think? If you were an MMO designer, how would you provide personal progression without falling back on leveling systems?