A few years ago, I was a staffer on an online roleplaying game. For those not familiar with RPG systems, the one involved here is point-based: everyone gets a certain number of points to build their character, buying skills (diplomacy), advantages (wealth), attributes (strength, intelligence), powers and other aspects. As the game progresses, the character is awarded more points to spend so the player can develop them.
So the staff of this game decided to have the game jump forward four years. I argued hard for characters to be awarded a lump amount of points to reflect their development. I was vetoed because the other staffers were concerned about character inflation. They pointed out that people could rebuild / restructure their current points. We finally compromised to allow people to spend a small amount of future points ...
But the discussion stuck with me. Was it realistic for an individual not to improve over four years - merely shift their focus? If someone focused on studying archery and fencing, would their academic skills degrade? To what extent do we get better, and to what extent do we simply move our points around? Can we really do it all, given enough time, or do we start dropping balls? Even if we find that balance, does the universe find ways to keep us within our point limits?
For the matter of that ... when do we level up?