A long time ago, when I first started in Lineage 2 the level cap was 75. To reach that you had to go up through a very steep leveling curve, almost like a mountain. At times it seemed impossible to reach that level while others it just didn't seem to matter because it wasn't like the game was going to fundamentally change if you got to the cap. Yes, there was the whole subclass thing that you could only start at level 75 and it looked cool. But it still wouldn't magically transform the whole game into something else.
Anyway, for guys like me, the whole point of the game was to climb that mountain. It didn't matter so much getting there as being able to continually advance through the levels. Even as leveling up became increasingly slow to do so we still kept at it. The level cap of 75 would always be there, always challenging us to reach it and if any of us did it would be an achievement in itself.
Then after I left many updates came making the leveling curve less and less steep. To the point now, with the Goddess of Destruction update, where there are several shortcuts one can take to reach the higher levels. We have the mentoring system now, XP runes, vitality, etc. Save for a couple couple revita-pops I've used recently to keep my vitality from going to 0 and using the free gear and shots from the "Path of Awakening", I haven't yet taken those shortcuts. Even then I am surprised as how fast I have been leveling. Is it so fast that you can sleep through the levels and find yourself at the cap? No. But it isn't as slow that watching paint dry starts to feel more fun either. At least on the levels I had personal experience so far.
GoldheartXVI is level 71 now. The former mythical level 75 feels just close enough for me to finally grab it. It is not the level cap anymore either, it is just another step towards a much bigger goal. Yet it still feels strange in a way.
I guess the only thing that hasn't really changed that much was my attitude. I am still playing just to climb the mountain. My goal however is not that of level cap anymore. It is a much more humble one, of just hitting 86, to turn GoldheartXVI into a Tyrr Warrior. If I can reach that I can leave the game satisfied, knowing that I reached the goal I set to myself. That I finally climbed the mountain that was in front of me.