The Shift from Leveling Skills to Leveling Characters in MMOs

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.