I'm afraid I can't guarantee any continuity in between Alpha versions. Too many things are added or changed. I may entirely change quests you are in the middle of finishing. Remember, this is alpha testing, not production.
Likely, you won't lose your characters when you start playing 0.4, but honestly, guarantying compatibility between versions is a big effort, and I'd rather invest that time into adding more features and content. So yes, there's a chance your game doesn't load correctly and you have to start over.
On the other hand, from Beta and onwards, I'll make sure all saved games are 100% compatible.
The idea is good, and I have considered including some kind of "cheat" option to get XP and gold quickly. But I won't. The reason is, players would bypass the early levels and that wouldn't allow me to test the gameplay balance. Which is actually my main goal with all the alpha-testing, as there's actually not many bugs on released versions.
In sum, the most useful feedback for me are not the bug reports, but the in-game implemented metrics that tell me how people is playing the game. Including a cheat mode would contaminate all the data.
Right now there's only content for up to level 7. If there was 20 levels of gameplay worth of testing I certainly would add an option to start the game at a higher level. But as it is, I don't think I will. Of course I understand if people doesn't want to start all over... for the third of fourth time just test as much as you feel you must, friends. No obligation.
Okay folks, after feeling your pain for having to start all over, I will try to make all future versions compatible with old saved games from 0.4 and onwards. Unless there's very big changes, or I decide Alpha is terribly unbalanced once Beta is released, I'll make my best so you don't lose your precious saved games. There you go