I love alternate forms of advancement in MMORPGs. Whether it’s something else to do while leveling up (or to level up), or a reward for continuing to play at max level, I love to be given goals, choices, and rewards.
One great example is FFXIV’s hunting log. Every class has a list of monsters to kill broken up into ranks. I think it’s every 10 levels, once you complete a rank you unlock the next. These monster killing objectives require you to kill 3-4 of a particular type of monster, then reward you with a very nice chunk of experience. Complete the entire list for an even bigger exp reward. Graev and I leveled up a second class to 15 very quickly by just following this log from zone to zone.
FFXIV also offers fates, which are like public quests. By doing Fates you not only get lots of experience, but you get seals to use for unlocking things with your Grand Company. Even if you don’t like Fates or Hunting Logs, you can still do dungeons, normal quests, or Levequests.
WildStar might have an interesting way of rewarding players for advancing once they’ve reached max level. Elder points will be rewarded in place of experience, and can be redeemed for various rewards like housing items and upgrades. I see this as an alternative to raiding or grinding for gear. Someone interested in decking out a house, who enjoys hunting monsters or doing dungeons, could focus on accumulating points to earn rewards they want. It’s a nice touch.
Themepark MMOs suffering from predictable and liner gameplay benefit by giving players lots of different choices to go after, and sandboxes benefit by providing players who need direction some guidance. No matter what game I’m playing, I like knowing there’s something for me to do. I hate logging in to that “what is there for me to do?” feeling. Help me avoid that, and no matter what type of game, I’ll play a lot longer.