I'm generally a fan of a level based system in games, but there's a point when it's gone too far. Can't read the article at work so I apologize if this has been mentioned already, but Dirt 2 just disgusted me. What a lazy way to let players progress through the 'campaign'. An open ended racing game like that is inherently hard to push forward without some sort of "meet the requirements, move on" gameplay, but I would have appreciated something other than a big fat level just sitting there. Any sort of mask at all, like needing a certain amount of money or total wins. Anything. Levels are becoming an excuse for developers to not think or work. In contrast, a decent application of a leveling system rarely/never requires the player to be of any level. It's a gauge of growth that is there for the player's own benefit, not as an integral part of the story/gameplay. Oblivion is, in my opinion, a decent application of a leveling system. It has little/no impact on what you can do in the game. Final Fantasy games are another good example, levels will help you progress as enemies get stronger but there is never a point in which you cannot do something based on your level, progression through the game is entirely driven by the story and your actions. And just for clarification, I think MMOs like WoW fall into the same class as Dirt 2. The game can be very content rich and fullfilling and fun, but it will still be very simple.