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Character progression: You do flex emotes in front of auction house for all to see your uber glowing sword and armor.
Wealth progression: You own land, castles, dungeons, a business, and NPC's to do your bidding.
This is an either/or question, you can't have both. You cannot have both character progression and wealth progression. Eve Online has this and those that have been subscribed longer shut everyone else out of the high end content, and they hoard everything for themselves.
But if there is no character "progression", it would be as if everyone is the same level and equally killable, if you can get past their NPC guards or if you catch a wealthy character out in the open.