There is quite a bit at the link noted above, with an FAQ and screenshots section, so I will not bore you with those details.
Instead, I would like to talk about what Funcom is doing with this expansion...
A Horizontal progression system.
I do not think we need to go on about how bad the launch of this game was...but it was, and if anything, people still feel the game is not even done. I beg to differ on this at times, as I can play the game EVERYDAY, and I enjoy it immensely, even if others cannot find that.
This may be my own personal changes in how I feel about MMO's (I have yet to get excited about any new MMO on the horizon, and all of the betas that use to excite me a year ago, now bore or disappoint), but everytime I log in, I am busy and having fun.
So, with this announcement, I think the major issue to me was...please do not add more levels.
Funcom did not (thank you!).
Instead an alternate system of new abilities, spells and combos will be added to the current level system. They also discuss the "Advancement Point System". Or, as I like to call it...achievements..
That is what it boils down to. Yet, it is not, and that is what rocks about it.
"You will earn points to spend on new abilities and combos, many of which will naturally have an Asian martial arts theme. You will also be able to train your abilities to a more powerful level using an offline, time-based skill-training system not unlike EVE Online's. The aim is more depth to combat and a diversification of each class, allowing them to take on more roles, according to Morrisson."
You can read a lot into this. And it almost feels very "Guild Wars", where you focus on specific areas of achievement depending on what types of skills you wish to use. I actually thought the idea of the offline system is ingenious for a Fantasy MMO, and have only seen one Fantasy based MMO try it...but, I cannot even remember that games name (PS: It has been shutdown, I know that...lol)
So, what does this do? Well, for new characters, they will have more areas to look into for training. The feat system is already pretty fun, but this new system speaks of "training" these attributes, which sounds way cool.
For older characters, it is another reason to play than to raid.
This system makes it viable for new and old players in so many words...no one is left out.
This also precludes another norm for expansions...new classes. RotG (hehe...new acronym...yea) by having this new system will make it so any class can learn new abilities, so why introduce a new class to cause more balance issues.
And THIS is the final piece of that puzzle that makes it complete to me.
Thanks to using this system, balance can be kept to a minimum and with a set of skills across all classes, they only need to balance that skill within the context of the current game. Not make it so this new set of abilities are balanced against all the other class skills.
Hope that makes sense.
If anything, Funcom took a very safe method with this expansion. They can continue working on the game, balancing classes, balancing PvP (which this expansion does not add a whole lot of, but is more PvE oriented...just what niche games thrive on), and let the new content add onto the current game.
Many other things were discussed and you can read them at the above links. But, with things like mounts you raise and train, new gear from factions, new dungeons (an AoC strength) and a new race with an alternate storyline in Tortage (which some people are still bummed about...meh, I can whip through Tortage in 3-4 hours, so a new story is cool,,,and does not hurt me.)...this looks good.
Hopefully it will be priced reasonably, and as long as Funcom continues working on the current game (the next patch session, 1.06, will be a major Guild system revamp), I am pretty excited about this expansion.