DDN Playtest Observations

My group consist of myself (DM) and 5 friends, 3 of whom I've been playing with since AD&D.  One person is totally new to the game and his first experience are the 5E play test rules.  The other guy has played for years with a different group using 3.5E.

We all have a good, diverse background in terms of RPGs and especially D&D.

To start with, our general consensus is "job well done".  DDN is shaping up into a great game and all 6 of us are itching to get our hands on the final rules someday.  We also understand that the packets are snippits of the whole and liberties are taken in some parts of the mechanics on WOTCs part.  We have faith things will balance out by the time the game goes to final print.

My thread is not an edition war.  Im not comparing editions.  I started off by simply describing my groups history and experience.  Now I want to give some general feedback about the 6 games we've played over the last 12 weeks.

Making a Character
Great process.  Easy and quick.  Im not going to break down every little nuiance.  Thats already been done.  I will just say that all the races and classes are coming into their own and generally feeling good.  We are looking forward to teh new character sheet layout.

Streamlined, effective, and ready to go.

As a DM, I do have some complaints here but nothing others have not already expressed.  I also understand the packet is, well... just that, a test packet.  As is, the encounter building and monster difficulty is off and unbalanced.  My encounters typically are easily overrun.  I'm sure this will be balanced out before the game gets finalized though.

Some Specific Feedback
Im not sure how I feel about mixing swift actions with spells and other abilities.  This is a dangerous line to cross.  MOre attantion needs to be given to it.  It has a feeling of being to over powered.

Take a second look at the paladin.  Divine Smite seems way to powerful.  A level 3 paladin should not be able to do 40 points of damage in one round.  To top it all off, he can do it twice before needing it to rest.  Scale it down just a hair.

Paladin Blackguard - Personal taste, but I dont like it.  The idea of the anti-paladin does not fit along side the rest of the classes.  It can most certainly have its own book that also provides ways on how to deal with blackguards.  Right now, its difficult to DM a blackguard mixed in with an LG Cleric, Wizard, Rogue, and Ranger.  He gets cool Paladin powers but doesnt have to pay the alighment penality to keep him balanced out.

THere more but this is a good start.

Overall, Next is shaping up to be super good.  WOTC just needs to stay focused on the feedback and work out the bugs.