I read through the D&D Next playtest stuff. Well, I skimmed through it once it started loosing my attention. Then I got an e-mail asking me about the D&D Next playtest material.
I figured that if I went through the trouble downloading the material, I might as well actually let them know what I thought.
I got about halfway through the survey when it started to strike me that the assumption seemed to be "we know these elements are what we want in the game, were they fine tuned right?"
Now, I'll be fair, there is a section where they ask in general what you thought about a lot of the elements and had you rank them, but once you get past that, you shoot right into "so, how good is this, is it good enough for you to buy a lot, or good enough for you to just buy."
It just seems like they get very locked into "knowing" that they are onto the right path, and that all that really needs to be done is the fine tuning to make it "balance" right. They are very focused on the rules, but not on the overall package.
What do I mean? Nothing about this game jumps out at me. The only compelling reason to play this version of the rules is if I'm the kind of guy that things role playing begins and ends with D&D. If I want a fairly complex tactical examination of level based fantasy, well, Pathfinder is a lot more flavorful and developed. If I want "old school" dungeon crawling, well, I'm starting to really like DCC.
There is no personality, no verve, no vitality to the playtest document. And before you say, "it's a playtest document," I've seen the playtest documents for Pathfinder and DCC, and they both did a lot more to convey the "feel" of the RPG than these documents do.
It's just that WOTC seems so sure that the key is somewhere in the numbers. It just seems like more and more D&D's claim to fame is "we still have Drizzt, Mind Flayers, and Beholders!"
But hey, what do I know. This came from a playtest document and a survey. I could be way off.