One of the biggest and most impactful changes to MMORPG design over the last decade is one that’s gotten remarkably little attention: the shift from skill based character progression to character level based progression. This was a shift that brought with it not just significant changes to the way characters are progressed and designed, but a mandate on the types of content that an MMO’s virtual world would offer going forward. As its grip on MMO design coalesced over time, I would argue that this mandate has largely resulted in consequences that did more harm than good.
My original intention for this article was for it to be a simple blog post following up on my previous article exploring why MMO quests aren’t that great in any game besides RuneScape. As I delved into it though, I began to realize this topic was fully deserving of being its own piece. Read on for my thoughts on the evolving place of RPG features in the MMO genre.