Mortal Online and Darkfall (new one) are 2 exemples of those kind of games.
It just can't work with themepark MMOs because they usually want to appeal to a larger mass. So new player has to have a chance to catch up with that masses or their friends if these are the one that dragged them in.
Edit: TRing and PL are more like a replay value than infinite power creep. It's still a bonus and makes some say : "Look, I got everything I could, my toon is the best."