The CWAL Rubber Room
"I want to do this paper because my therapist says it's better than having me out in the street stabbing people again."
Maybe gimme like 10-20 levels max if each one unlocks a substantial new ability that I'm actually going to notice but otherwise just let me play the damn game and stop making me pause to invest arbitrary tokens in incremental improvements that I won't even notice because the monsters get more powerful anyway.
Mass Effect 3 has the best progression mechanics and everything more complicated is just annoying busywork.
... no tangible payoff. Like, building Lulu as a strength fighter isn't really something anyone's going to do without a LOT of time and effort invested, and I'm not sure catering to that edge case is worth the quality of life issues you can introduce for the 99.9% of people who don't do that.
Also tbh, you can do some pretty interesting playstyle customisation with a good equipment system without adding too much complexity or asking too much commitment from your players if they want to go a little off-script.