Funcom has launched a radical new feature for their surviving but struggling MMO, Age of Conan. As of yesterday's 1.07.2 patch, players with active subscriptions will now accumulate levels for their characters even if they aren't logging on.

The new offline progression system, as Funcom is calling it, works as such: For every four days of your subscription, you'll receive a single level in your personal pool. This level can then be applied to any character on your account above level 30. Accounts active as of the patch today were granted four levels to start out with.

The character needing to be level 30 is the only restriction. You don't even have to log in during each four-day period to get your bonus level, so theoretically you could take a character from level 30 to level 80 without playing them during that process. If all of your current characters are level 80, your bonus levels will continue growing every four days until you choose to use them.

Funcom warns that you should choose who to give your levels to wisely; once they've been assigned, there is no way for you or Funcom to take them back. They also note that though this may seem like a cheap way to get a character to the level cap, it's completely optional.

This story may sound a little absurd at first, especially to non-MMO fans, but I can't count the number of times I've heard World of Warcraft players begging for some way to let their alts skip the leveling process and begin at or near the level cap. Most MMOs are top-loaded -- the leveling grind can be fun and interesting to a point, but once you've hit the top level with one character, you're usually just interested in end-game content.

With that in mind, do you think this was a smart choice on Funcom's part? Would you like to see similar progression systems implemented in other level-based MMOs?

[Via Massively]