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... what would it be like?
I think it would not have "levels", per se, though I'm not sure what would replace it as a measure of progress. The goal of the game would not be "level 50". (What is "level 50"?) The goal for each roleplay character could instead be "create a new castle", "raise a garden with samples of every plant in the game world", "lead an army for my nation", "forge a sentient weapon (of good/evil)", "command elemental creatures", "earn an invite to a Royal Court function because of your wealth", "transform into a lich/werewolf/elemental", etc... and 'level' has nothing to do with those goals. They're not even necessarily about adventure-combat experience either. They're about choosing one of the late chapters in a character story.... then the game is about reaching that chapter. If possible, the game knows what you've chosen as your goal and places quests and encounters into your game experience that supports your story.
I think it would not have "classes", per se, but perhaps could have "titles" that serve the same purpose for quickly classifying the tactical nature of a character. Characters would prove themselves to earn titles, sort of like passing qualifying exams in real life. The title would be proof of your ability to meet a certain kind of tactical need during adventures. It would not be a guarantee of any specific skill. The game should be flexibile enough for there to be multiple paths around various obstacles, so missing a certain skill should mean only that you have to take an alternate route to completion instead of having to give up a quest entirely. So, for example, the healers guild could grant a "Rank 1 EMT" status to someone who can pass a test to mend minor wounds in a given timeframe with healing spells or with herbal concoctions or with technology gadgets. You just have to prove the tactical ability, not have a specific method. Or you could win "Rank 1 Ranged support" by destroying 5 targets in 10 seconds from a mandatory distance of 50 paces.... whether you used arrows or javelins or spells. Prove you can fulfill a tactical role to earn the title.
I think the developers would seriously discourage immersion-breaking nonsense. I do NOT mean forcing everyone to roleplay. I DO mean kicking players out of the game for non-roleplayed angry/spiteful/baiting speech (roleplayed stuff could be entertaining!) and for leet-speak in general. Take a harsh no-nonsense approach to discourage "levelers" from even joining the game... maybe make game participation a player-invite kind of thing only. If someone gets kicked out, have some sort of minor temporary penalty also apply to whoever invited them. Make it a true community by having enforcible consequences for player (not character) actions.
Any other brainstorm ideas? I'm just being curious.