I started the game yesterday, and although I now have a level 7 account (and got to GM league :p), I would like to give my feedback about the level-up system in the game.
The tutorial felt great, but then, when I realized that I had to play with very limited tools, and spend time optimizing my AIs with these limited tools before being able to play the "real" game, it felt very frustrating. What I actually did was to use a very basic AI (was stuck elo 11xx) and just brainlessly spam ladder games until I got the real tools.
I understand that the level-upping system is here to give a feeling of progression, but I think that the tools should be either unlockable in the practice missions or that all options should be available upfront and the level-up should simply unlock cosmetic changes (I'm thinking about the Starcraft 2 level-up system for example, which is similar, but gives you profile icons as rewards and not in-game abilities, and is much better imo).
Being forced to play against other player, stuck with limited options, and having to choose between wasting time optimizing a bad AI without the invaluable actions filters and machine-gun/sniper bots or farming the ladder until getting there is a very frustrating experience. I loved the game on first sight, so it didn't stop me, but I think that it can definitely drive new players away.
Please comment if you agree or disagree, I'd be happy to see what other players think
Have a nice day