In games (especially in MMOs with linear progression) I expect that certain content will be ‘locked’ behind levels. Things like raid content especially. Then there are games that seem to lock everything behind obtaining some magical number, and those games I’m not quite as fond of. I feel that locking content, behind levels in specific, deters a certain group of gamers who may otherwise enjoy that aspect of the game and continue to play because of it.
Lets take housing for example. In WildStar housing is locked behind obtaining level 14. Now, that’s not a huge amount of leveling in the grand scheme of things, but then there are fabkits and other useful housing items that are also level locked. Even some decor is locked behind a level. Motivating people to play your way is one method of doing things, sure, but for the truly casual gamer all this will do is deter them from sticking around.
In games like EQ2 housing (in specific) is not restricted by level. Casual and hardcore alike are free to decorate to their hearts content starting at level 1. Aspects of housing, are of course locked. For example if you want the best of the best, you’ll need to work towards it. Working towards it does not always include leveling or adventuring. It could include finding methods of earning in-game currency in order to afford the items you want, or hiring players who are level appropriate to obtain rare items for you. There are workarounds to getting what you want.
How do you feel about games locking content behind levels? Does it have to be this way? Does it not matter to you any more because it’s simply the way things have always been? When World of Warcraft released Warlords I was pretty excited about garrison, but then I saw how locked behind leveling they were. It’s great for your main and your first run through the content, but what about all those alts who wanted to have a garrison too.
Is there a point to playing games where everything is just handed to you and there is no progression locked behind levels? Even Sims 4 has gone the rout of locked content where you need to level up your skills before obtaining certain house items – though this can be bypassed with cheats at least.