Character advancement feels like an arms race: as our protagonists get uniformly stronger with cooler stuff, I’ve got to start bumping up the opposition. We start off in a cyberpunk dystopia battling biker gangers for turf and — if we want to stick with that storyline — soon we’ll be seeing go-gangers that just happened to be flesh-form Wasp spirits, jacked up with move-by-wire 2, using dikoted monofilament whips, just to provide a hint of challenge.
This leveling up of skills and abilities and attributes, in my mind, comes from the early days of D&D play. Remember wading through six levels of suck until we could do anything? And then the next six levels were all scope creep: instead of wearing burlap and waving pointy sticks at goblins, we’d have to be dealing with much more powerful villains to vanquish.