What I Want is a Dodge Challenger
What does that have to do with D&D? I don't know if you've seen the new version of the Dodge Challenger, but it's pretty awesome. Is it an exact clone of the original? No, but it looks the way you expect a Challenger to look. It has the big V8 you expect a Challenger to have. It has the horsepower (470 or so) that you expect a Challenger to have. In other words, you're not embarrassed to call it a Challenger (unlike that 4-door family sedan maquerading as a Charger).
So back to the question of what this has to do with D&D. This is what I'm hoping D&D Next (whose name I hope ends up just being "D&D") will be. Something that is not an exact clone of any particular version of D&D, but that feels, looks, and acts like D&D and that we're not embarrassed to call D&D. I've seen people on forums (not necessarily here on Wizards) who want D&D Next to be something completely different and new from what's come before and I don't understand that thinking at all. What you are saying, IMHO, is that you want D&D as long as it's nothing like D&D. There's been alot of talk about what D&D is lately, and you'll find every kind of opinion on this issue, but for me D&D is a combination of everything that it's ever been up to this point. It's the story, fluff elements that describe the "world" of D&D (I'm going to talk core for now leaving various campaign setting to the side), and the rules mechanics that define the physics of the game. More importantly it's the feel of rules at the table. This is why I say it doesn't have to be an exact clone - I already have BECMI, 1E, etc. - but I do want it to feel like it belongs in the D&D family. When I play I want it to feel like I'm playing D&D and not RuneQuest or Savage Worlds. I don't want a D&D that works like the FATE system, I already have a system that does that - it's called FATE. I don't know how else to say it, but to go back to my original analogy of the Challenger - something new that feels like it belongs with the older stuff.
Also, I actually do want a 2012 Dodge Challenger so if you have $30,000 you would like to donate let me know.
Avoiding Choice Traps and Wizards with a License to Kill
I enjoyed the "Wizards with a License to Kill" article although I didn't get anything out of it that I didn't already know (or felt I knew). It did clarify somethings about using different backgrounds with the various classes and what doing that would mean compared to Multiclassing. I was guessing that's how it all would work so I wasn't surprised by the article, but it is nice to see it in words to confirm.
I was not excited by the "Avoiding Choice Traps" article at all. It was the first article that actually made me dread a possible design decision. I don't want traits, I just don't. I was happy with the Backgrounds and Themes and I don't want a third item thrown in there for no other reason than to say that they addressed all three pillars. If Traits are for "roleplaying purposes" will they have mechanical weight or are they just something you put on your character sheet? If there is no mechanical weight then what is the point? Do you need an option out of the book to say your Elf Wizard is left handed? Why can't you just write that on your character sheet without it coming from a book? I'm not sure if Traits will address handedness but you get the point. If Traits are to be just "roleplaying notes" they don't need to be a rule or a system. Put a list of roleplaying character gimmicks in an appendix and be done with it. The more widgets you tack on to character creation the more complicated you make it. If you give Traits mechanical weight then you make it harder to ignore them as an option. Wizard's has already said that if you leave out Backgrounds and Themes that your characters will be slightly less powerful (compared to characters using them), won't adding a third choice just worsen the situation?
I'm flat out against Traits unless Wizards can come up with something really clever to convince me.