The need to go to a training centre to purchase the new level is essentially the same as in the previous game. I don't think that you actually needed to find a training centre to do it, but when you reached a town you had the ability to train someone to get that new level - and the higher the level the greater the cost.
The difference I find in the new game is that I never seemed to be hurting for gold as much in the original. For each encounter there was a chance that you'd pick up gold in addition to anything from the final room. In the new game you're never really getting more than a couple of hundred gold for an entire dungeon - the most I've gained was perhaps 350. When it starts out at 100 gold per level trained and goes up 100 per level, it's very tough to get enough money to get all those levels.
In addition, in the original game you could see that at certain levels you would gain a skill. It may be random, but you knew that would be the case. In the new game it seems far more random, and at many levels I've gained nothing other than all hit points healed. Rarely you get an extra action point, more often an extra inventory slot, sometimes extra hit points or skill (intelligence, strength, or dexterity) points, but not the skills or spells that the original game brought. So it's a bit frustrating when you pay a chunk of gold and don't really seem to get much benefit for that.
That said, I am finding the game very addicting and really enjoying spending my time there - especially some of the side quests. I have, however, reached a point where many of them yield a new character as the "reward" but since I already have 9 to call upon I'm not really interested in doing them and there's no way to get more unless you complete the quest,