I recently started running a new campaign and I wanted to give the players a chance to build their characters, but I also didn't want to spend half a year playing at the heroic tier. My answer was starting the campaign episodically. My players started as adolescents and members of a group called The Lookouts (nod to penny-arcade.com for the idea), which are basically fantasy boy scouts. I am even using the American Boy Scouts' badges when my players earn a badge. They love it.
The best part is that I can plan short "episodes" that earn them a major badge and then they level. Now my players get to level up every two sessions or so. It lets them build their characters organically before they're too powerful and gets us through heroic much more quickly. I've just got time lapses in between episodes to account for in-camp training time.
I didn't want it to feel too disjointed though, so I have started to build in some recurring things that may become major plot points later when the game opens up.
I think that episodic play is the ideal way to bring experienced ayers through heroic quickly without Taking away what a player gets from building their character one level at a time.
What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.