In my Exalted game, a few comments were made about the lack of character advancement.
Now, first of all, I feel that character advancement is not entirely necessary, but that's not the main point here.
The point is that it does have advancement. It may be a bit more subtle and/or non-traditional, but it's there.
Advancement comes in the form of
A) Building up Relationships. This shows a story gain, while also creating a bank of dice to be drawn from.
B) Lowering Drives. This decreases penalties taken, and also creates a bank of points to be used.
C) Creating beneficial Locks with excess dice.
There may even be one or two more ways, but these are they main ones. They are forms of advancement. They are, I admit, not in the standard model of 1) Get XP - 2) Level Up / Spend XP... But they're there.