I know that I am late to this party but would like to dance just the same. I just finished watching the video of Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford doing a Q&A during PAX East 2012. I have not played D&D since the Second Edition, so my knowledge is based on others’ comments. I found a few systems over the years and played those, mostly GURPS. I do have a few opinions and questions about D&D Next.
When Mike and Jeremy spoke of taking the older versions of D&D and coming up with the core reasons that make it Dungeons and Dragons, then putting it into the ruleset of D&D Next I was intrigued. The way that I understood this is that they are going to revisit all previous editions and find out what made them Dungeons and Dragons at their core. Then, with all of that information they want to be able to bring that feel to the newer edition. That sounds exciting.
However a question I have is about combat. I have never played the 4th edition but have heard that combat can take hours to complete and DM’s generally run one combat per session. I have read where some have tried to cut that time down, but certain allowances had to be made to do so. Will the next iteration address the long combat issues? Another question I have is with party dynamics. I would like to see something that redefines how players create a party. Will it be possible to make characters that do not resemble a MMO raid party? I think that combat dictates how players make characters and select traits. I would like to see the emphasis on role playing.
I will say that if D&D Next arrives with those core reasons that make it Dungeons and Dragons, I shall have it. A reason that I enjoy tabletop role playing games is that it is rooted in imagination. I want to reinvigorate my imagination.