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One of the trends I see in many ideas here (and in my notebooks of rough ideas for games) is that they often seem to require a low power creep. There are a lot of appealing aspects to such an ideal: it reduces obsolescence, diminishes one of the barriers to a community, and levels the playing field for competitive aspects. The big drawback however is the lack of apparent progression.
Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself a bit though. Some form of progress is vital to any game (thanks Captain Obvious), anything can count from: the score in Pac-Man, the levels in Super Mario Bros, leader boards, to (most relevant) a stronger character. I would go so far to say that the list there is also in an ascending order for their audience holding power. If that assumption is true it sets any low power creep system at a disadvantage. Or does it?
I guess that sets something of a challenge, how can you progress a character without making them stronger with the added constraint that you not divide the community using roadblocks like a skill or acquiring an item? Or is there some other way to motivate players to keep playing?