The Dungeon Tactics 2.0 character progression overhaul was designed to improve character and party development, flattening the vertical model found in the previous version in favor of more even horizontal progression. This new system has been engineered with two very specific design principals; increasing depth of gameplay, and empowering the user by giving them more control.
Individual characters no longer earn experience points. Instead all XP earned is shared between a party, so users can now choose which characters they want to level, and when. Each character now only has 4 levels of experience; Novice, Regular, Veteran, Elite. As characters level up through the 4 tiers, their attributes and stats become more powerful, and they learn new class abilities. Each class has exactly one special ability corresponding to each tier of experience; a novice level special ability will be weak, while the elite skill will be vastly more powerful.
Perhaps the biggest new addition to Dungeon Tactics 2.0 is a mechanic called the "class tree". There are 4 class trees; martial, mystic, divine and worldly - each with a number of tiers. More then 20 new classes will be able to be unlocked using the class tree, although not all will be available at launch. Advanced classes are not necessarily more powerful than basic classes, however they are more specialized and will fill a specific role better. New advanced classes are unlocked using experience from your shared XP pool.
For example, in the Martial class tree, the tier 1 class is the Fighter. Fighters are good at everything you would expect them to be good at; attacking with a wide range of weapons, able to use any armor, able to tank a few hits, and able to dish out lots of damage in the thick of a fight. Tier 2 Martial classes split into the Knight and the Man-at-Arms. The Knight specializes in the heavy armor/tanking aspect of the martial class, while the Man-at-Arms eschews heavy armor in favor of a polearm and more potent area effect attacks. From Knight the class tree branches into the tier 3 classes Crusader, which is basically a Knight with skills more focused on attacks, and Paladin, which is a more defensive version of the knight.
The character progression overhaul is only one of 4 major features in the new version of the game. In addition there is the interface overhaul (described in Development Preview #1), a new attribute system (described in Development Preview #2), and a revamped loot system, which we will be talking about next time along with a few extra surprises like player versus player combat. I saved the best for last!