Diablo 3's expansion pack Reaper of Souls will revamp the Paragon progression system implemented last summer. This weekend, game designer Travis Day laid out exactly how Paragon 2.0 will work.
The Paragon system was designed to give players a way to keep improving their characters after hitting the level cap. Characters who are level 60+ still earn experience from killing monsters. However, these experience points now earn them Paragon levels that boost their stats.
When Paragon 2.0 goes live, these Paragon levels will be retained. However, they'll no longer be tied to a specific character. Instead, all of your Paragon experience across your characters will be consolidated into two account-wide pools of Paragon levels. One pool is for characters in the permadeath Hardcore mode and the other pool is for non-Hardcore characters.
"This means you will have a paragon level associated with HC characters that can not be increased by playing non HC characters. We didn't want players to feel like the 'right way' to level their HC paragon was outside of HC," Day said on the Battle.net forums (via DiabloFans).
Your Paragon Levels in the new system still have no cap and will still grant you stat bonuses. However, it's up to the player to choose what bonuses they receive from each level. Each character can have a different point allocation, so you don't have to take a one-size-fits-all approach to this progression.
Blizzard is currently undecided on whether the Paragon experience earned with dead Hardcore characters will count toward the account total. It's possible to do, because the game retains the information on your deceased heroes. Day said elsewhere on the forums that he "leans toward" allowing players to keep the experience from their fallen characters.
The idea behind making Paragon Levels account-wide is that they want players to feel comfortable switching between characters. In the current system, a player who has earned several Paragon Levels with the same character might feel too invested with that toon to try out other classes. Conversely, a Hardcore player would be living in constant fear that they're going to lose all of their Paragon progress by dying.
Reaper of Souls will add a new act to the game's campaign as well as randomized loot runs. The expansion will allow players to gain 10 more levels, either with their existing characters or with the new Crusader class. A new NPC called the Mystic will allow players to enchant their items.
Blizzard has only announced Reaper for PC and Mac so far but they've indicated that it could come to consoles as well.