Originally Posted by James
The game only goes up to level 20, and you can START at that level, according to Chojin.
You know, because working for things is for faggots.
You can start at level 20, but you won't have any skills. You unlock skills (spells, etc.) by playing through the story and learning them with your character. The best armor in the game (stat-wise) isn't hard to get, but there are really expensive and hard-to-find armors that - while having the same stats as the aforementioned armor - Look different and offer prestiege to someone willing to waste their lives on the game. Finally, PVP-only characters can't go to the Fissure Of Woe or Underworld to get some of the best weapons and items in the game. There's essentially 2 games here, a diablo-esque one and a sort of team deathmatch in medieval style.
But in general, a character that you build up from 1 will be better than a level 20 pvp-only character, because you unlock skills, weapon components, and runes. These characters can also look very different, as there are limited armor and color options for pvp-only characters. The hype for the game from the developers is that it's a game "meant to be enjoyed, not endured." I believe it lives up to it, and gives you something to work for with your story characters - When you get to level 20 and get ascension armor, then you move onto the completely different PVP game, or build up more characters to unlock more stuff for PVP.
PVP itself is more strategy-based than 'work for 2 months at making a character that you can then basically leave on its own to kill people.' Working through story mode and spending weeks getting the best items will certainly give you an edge over people who just get the skills they want and then make Level 20 PVP-Only chars, but if they're smart, they can still take you downtown to Chinatown. The game rewards dedication to it differently than MMOs, and in a fashion that doesn't ruin it for everyone else. For the casual gamers who make up 99% of the game's player base, that is a very good thing.