Turbine's Ken Troop has penned a new developer diary on the official Dungeons & Dragons Online website, in which the lead designer reveals their decision to implement "moments of advancement." Something tells me this is going to be very controversial:
We talked about it with WOTC, and they felt the same way -- we needed to come up with many more "moments of advancement" outside of the pen and paper system, but have it be such that level 8 in DDO felt roughly analogous to a level 8 character in D&D pen and paper. And that's where ranks come in. We'll spill some more dirt about ranks later on, but the basic core of the system is that each time you earn a rank you get an opportunity to customize and advance your character. Every time you go up a rank, you earn Action Points, which you can spend to purchase Enhancements. Think of Enhancements as mini-feats -- some of them are purely stat-based, some improve existing abilities/feats/skills, most are based off of what class and race you are.