This morning, I want to talk about horizontal progression systems in MMOs, of which I am generally a fan! And I’m gonna start with the one I like least, which is rep grinds in every single MMO. Nobody likes rep grinds. Nobody cares if the NPCs like us. They aren’t even pretending to be advancement; they’re just grinds. Stoppit.
My second least favorite is actually City of Heroes’ Incarnate system. I didn’t like it when the game was alive especially, though I know the rogue servers changed a lot of things I hated. The original version was super grindy, and it shifted the game’s philosophy dramatically away from being a midgamer alt paradise. It might not even be fair to call it horizontal at all.
As for horizontal leveling I like? I think Guild Wars 2’s mastery system is overall ideal, particularly since it’s account-wide and doesn’t ever make me feel as if I’m wasting time on one character instead of another one. I don’t love having mastery levels floating over my head, but as a system itself, it’s groovy.
What are the best and worst horizontal progression systems in an MMORPG?