If you select "test server" before login, you can level up without needing the requisite exp, to test classes and class combinations.
I have been told by a user who has played from the start that whenever the programmers do a new build, all characters get wiped from the server. You have to start from scratch again. This is because they do not want characters from the older build being unbalanced in the new build. So who knows what changes will take place with the beta build. But your point is a good one. Funnily enough, in the new 3D NWN, one of the top ranked server worlds also has mortality removed from the game. Must be a "feel good" thing.
If you meet up with other adventurers, and you stand right next to them, their name will appear in your party list. Use the up and down arrows to highlight their name, choose, have a look at their character, and you can select the "follow" option. That you are on auto pilot goning wherever they go. Of course it might be a good idea to enter into dialogue and get permission to join them first. Press F1 for instructions. Your breakdown of the stats is correct. I do not know how the AC works. All very un-user friendly at the moment - lack of docs, user controls, website in general.
They are migrating to a new forum set-up, one similar to EAB. I suggest as newcomers, we post our suggestions, principally, making the whole thing for newcomers more accessible.