I don't like the idea of being able to keep your level while changing archetype or even subtype for the following reasons:
1) Such a character won't have "earned" their powers. This leads to players playing at a high level while being unfamiliar with their powers. High level teams will suffer, the affected character may well get ostracized, Lose/lose situation.
2) No need to do low levels again, leading to an abandoned low level range. New players won't be able to find similar level team mates, forcing them to go into sidekick mode. They won't have a normal progression leading to frustration and not feeling "super" at all.
3) Abandoned low level tasks/missions.
I think SoH should do the *exact* opposite. Make it fun for people to create alts. Make it possible so that you can twink your alts to a degree (not making them OP though). A game like SoH will profit hugely from having a lot of low level alts running around. Make leveling from scratch fun and not too repetitive.
You may even consider a progeny system like pantheon will have, so that you get rewarded for retiring max level characters with small perks to a new character.
Please try to keep SoH from getting too top heavy. Keep it fresh!
First of all, I understand your argumentation and see the danger you are talking about. But I do not agree with it in some major points.
1. Of course you are right, that there is a danger, that people would change into a power set, which is unfamiliar and causing kind of chaos with it and might even hurt reputation.
But that is just a lose-lose-situation if you expect people in high levels being not willing anymore to accept failure and are just success-oriented instead of fun-oriented.
And it can be fun to a certain degree, seeing how somebody struggles to get along with his powers (like in the "real" comic world too - most heroes didn´t get a manual when getting their powers
). By the way, if players know that the lvl is not a guarantee, they will get along with that too - people tend just to get angry when their expectations are not met - and expecting somebody being a pro or you don´t want to play with him - I wouldn´t want to be a part of that group anyway, no matter if I earned my lvl or not because I don´t believe in the ability over fun argumentation.
Also I don´t really believe, that somebody who managed to level a character to a certain degree, will be completely incompetent with other classes by the way.
2. I totally disagree with that thought. Because I believe it to be totally unrealistic that players only have one or two characters. And THAT would be the only way, how that could happen! According to your argument you expect players just to play the lvls once and than switch between the powers? I mean seriously, do you really think, that players only have fun in one type of character and than they will try out another one and leave the old be?
I would never do that because I would like to have different characters in different classes and power variations. And according to what I have read here so far and experienced in the past there are very many players thinking as I.
The Argument could be turned around too by the way: lets say I have an Stone Tank (because nothing else was available) but since I do not know, if my "Ice Tank" will anytime near be available and I want to have a tank for the team I create my character thinking I will imagine the powers to be like I actually want them until I can have them. According to your logic I would have to delete the Stone Tank completely and start fresh, because of the lvl question - and than my team would have to wait for me lvl until I am of use for them again (so what I am trying to say - each card has two sides)
Anyway, rebirthing means, I can optimize my character, which I created before a certain power set, which I pictured for him/her was available. Still people who want to play a blaster, a healer, a controller, a commander and so on too, would have to start a new character every time again in any case, because getting online switching power sets regrouping inspirations and all that would be way too much work to be realistic.
Just think about past game sessions. You met some people talked and liked each other. But you realized, they had the wrong class to play a certain mission. What did you do? Just reload with another one and had fun. Rebirthing would never be spontanously possible, so it is highly doubtalbe, that people will not play fresh characters anyway.
3. When people lvl a new character, because they like to create and want to have a wide variaty to choose from, as written at point 2 already, than this question will not apply too.
Collecting the thoughts:
All in all Rebirthing means keeping things fresh, because it gives you the freedom, to optimize your character without deleting it. It most surely will not lead to players only having high lvl characters, because a major fun aspect is creating and having a variety to choose from. Since rebirthing does not mean copying but you lose one for another that still forces players who want to have different classes to start fresh every time they want to improve their character portfolio.
Also people tend to get accustomed to their characters and build a certain emotional bond to them - I am sure most will not just kick and change on a daily basis because there is that new thing they want to try out.
BUT it gives them the chance to have a character being named a certain way, having a certain history and when the idea you had with it is not completely possible with the only powers you thought you had available, than you can optimize that later
INSTEAD of having the danger of being completely pissed with the world, the game, the other players, the DEVs and so on, when you for example delete a character, because there is finally the perfect combo for you and you have to rebuild it and the moment you want to use your name for the new character another one picks it a second faster than you and your character name, which you build and used is gone! I for my part would have to fight with myself for not hating that guys guts every time I get online and see the name I once had and lost according to being not fast enough while trying to optimize my character.