(Main source: Design Docs - Progression)
Camelot Unchained features a unique horizontal progression system, connected with the very deep and rich stat system. The progression system is use-based, where players increase the power of an ability's components by using them. Rather than getting generic rewards, players receive a Daily Report and Realm News from their King, gain specific benefits based on their hard work, their contributions, and their Realm's achievements.
It`s important to note that the progression in Camelot Unchained will be slower than in many other MMOs , and that crafting, building, mining, gathering, trade etc. (and not just PvP or RvR) also count in for the progression and rewards from the Daily Report.
- 1 Overview
- 2 What is "Horizontal" Progression?
- 3 Stated Progression Problems CSE intends to solve
- 4 Planned Progression System
- 5 Character Progression Rewards
- 6 Progression Limits
- 7 Developer Quotes
- 8 Videos
- 9 References
- CSE’s experience point and progression systems are unique among MMORPGs and most, if not all, computer RPGs
- The system is intended to add fun and increase immersion by tying players’ actions directly to their progression in stats, abilities
- The system collects data over 24 hours to yield scaling rewards in the Daily Report and create the Realm News
- The aggregation of data over 24 hours allows a very realistic snapshot of what occurred over that period with advanced data mining
- The progression system rewards players for playing the game as it was intended (prevents cross-Realm keep trading), and yields rewards based not only on individual actions but those of the Realm
What is "Horizontal" Progression?
Horizontal progression in Camelot Unchained means having a great number of "shorter" stat/skill bars (such as, say, strength or some crafting skill) that are leveled up separately, independently of each other. On the contrary, in vertical progression players often have all of their stats/skills increased simultaneously once they get another level (typical example of vertical progression is World of Warcraft).
What this means in practical play is that the difference between new and veteran/high level character in Camelot Unchained is going to be much smaller than in many other MMOs. Veterans will certainly have better stats, more skills and choices, likely better gear etc. but they won't be able to one-shot newcomers, or anything like that.
Stated Progression Problems CSE intends to solve
- Leveling up in most modern MMORPGs has become too easy, lessening the players’ sense of accomplishment
- Typical theme-park style MMORPGs push players through their linear content too fast; players don’t have time to enjoy the world around them
- Some modern MMORPGs’ streamlining actually increases the “grindy” feeling, due to constant progression feedback with little downtime
- Players are encouraged to rush their way through the game, leveling quickly to get to the “end game” or to “cap out” their characters
Planned Progression System
- In Camelot Unchained, players gradually improve their performance by small amounts
- CSE is designing Camelot Unchained such that players don’t reach the soft cap in a short period of time. The slow but steady progression system uses individual stat and ability progression, instead of generic experience points
- The progression system's mantra is “Use it to improve it!”, meaning that if a player wants to get stronger, that player must do things that increase strength. This system is intended to enhance immersion by tying the players’ actions directly to their character
- Character progression in specific areas allows players to unlock access to new skills and ability components
- Players receive their progression rewards based on a “Daily Report,” rather than instantaneously
- At the end of each “game day”, players are rewarded with improvements to their character’s stats, skills, and abilities
- Players also get bonus resources based on heroic achievements and defensive actions, such as guarding player caravans
Character Progression Rewards
- The Realm News and Daily Report will determine the rewards a player gets
- Players improve a stat by performing actions that use that stat: Swinging a heavy sword increases your strength, allowing you to use heavier swords
- Players increase proficiency with ability components by using abilities that contain them: Using Fire Ball increases proficiency with the Fire and Ball components
- Players improve passive skills by using abilities that trigger their effects: A skill which reduces enemy fire resistance when a player deals fire damage becomes more effective through use of fire damage abilities
- A small amount of vertical progression will reward players for using stats and skills, but the system is heavily horizontal in terms of power gain
- Very few hard limits: stats, skills, and ability components have soft caps for progression, after which advancement slows considerably
- Even with nigh-unlimited advancement, vertical progression is carefully designed so new players will always be competitive with veteran players
Question: "As MMOs are very progression-based, how will you keep the interest of players in focusing on horizontal progression? What will the carrot on the stick, so to speak?"
Mark Jacobs: "Some of it will come from the more traditional rewards (skills, abilities etc.) but we also have to do more than just rely on them to keep our players happy. We can draw on some historical methods such as titles, land grants, etc. and I plan on doing just that." 
Mark Jacobs: "The races/genders will be very different from each other in terms of their starting stats/abilities but also in numerous other ways. For example, certain races/genders are better attuned to the sources of magical power in the world. I know some people will complain that this is not fair but that is how it is going to be in CU, where these choices matter.
We want the player to think carefully before they create their character, to run the various character generators and read the guides before beginning the process. We are not seeking to gain traction among traditionally non-gamers but rather amongst experienced RPG and MMORPG players." 
Mark Jacobs: "If you are looking for a game with a slower level progression than most of today's Western MMORPGs, you have come to the right place, that's for sure."; "You won't be able to level up your character in 30 minutes or even in 30 days." 
Mark Jacobs: "The key for CU progression system is that it is a horizontal, not a vertical progression system. There will be a difference between every experienced players and new players but it cannot be so great that if the experienced player breathes on the new player, the new player dies. Without the safety net of a PvE leveling system, our players will need to get into the fray right from the beginning. Since I've also said that CU will be an open world game with no instancing, we have to ensure this." 
BSC Days Presentation
Part 1 (skip to 8:00):
Kickstarter videos concerning the Progression System
04-27-2013 (video is inside): Afternoon Update - Mark-A-Thon Part 4