There has been a lot of discussion over the years about levels, levelling, and the issues around it.
On one hand, it is an artificial metric. It has no reflection in reality. It is a hold over from table top gaming. It acts as a barrier between players keeping them from being able to play together.
On the other hand, levels are at least some way of measuring progress and skill. They give people a series of goals. They help you decide where you should be adventuring. And they give people milestones to celebrate.
I have seen more than a few blog entries posted in celebration of the Ding.
So it is my feeling that, if a game is going to go with the concept of levels, they should embrace it fully.
Which brings me to one of my small disappointments with Lord of the Rings Online. They went with a level based system, and then decided to be very discreet when you levelled. This is all the message that you get:
Your level has changed to 25.
That is it. Not even an exclamation point. You could very easily imagine somebody saying, “Your level has changed to 25. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
It is so unobtrusive that the most common way people in our group learn that they have levelled is somebody saying, “Oh, hey, did you level back there?”
Now, in the grand scheme of things, at least things MMO, this is trivia. Nobody is going to cancel their account because their levels do not generate sufficient attention. But I still feel that, if you have chose levels as your paradigm of character advancement, you should call attention to those advancements.
Getting a level can be a big deal. I don’t want to miss it.
(I wanted to get that level screen shot from LOTRO for a while, but I kept missing it. You have to love irony that makes your point.)