Avadon - PC Preview @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee's Brother None has penned the first PC-based article on Avadon, writing about the new setting and character class changes in particular. Here's a snip:
There are three branches for each class: battle, power, and utility. "Battle" tends to be direct damage and combat skills, "power" features a range of passive supporting skills, and "utility" sports a variety of boosts and curses. Each class has two "top" skills, which always root into the power branch, as well as either the battle or utility branch. For example, the Shaman has an earthquake skill rooting into battle and power, and a higher-level summoning skill rooting into power and utility. Specializations unlock at levels 7, 15, and 25, but rather than unlocking new skills, each one gives passive +1 bonuses to one of the three branches.
The advantages to this system are obvious. It allows for easier balance, something the Avernum games sometimes lacked as certain builds or skills were excessively powerful or useless. Furthermore, this system lets the player jump right into the adventure, and leveling up is an immediate and satisfying affair, as with each early level up you can opt to unlock a new skill, and many later levels-ups unlock bonus abilities that become available when a skill reaches a value of 3, and again at 6.