Alright, I know that there's about a million of these out there but no one is making you read these just remember that. Now on to buisness. Unless you work for WotC and they're shifting through everyone's blogs then I fell sorry for you, but look on the bright side! You work for WotC I know people who would kill or gravely maim, in order to work there. So be happy.
Onto my thoughts on Dnd Next, now I've never actually played any of the previous editions except for 4e and a bit of 3.5 so a lot of the concepts were new to me and my role-play group since we've all mostly played 4e and haven't had much interactions with other editions but we use the 3.5 morality system because it allows use to get a better idea of the morals someone has (My Hack'N Slash group is mostly 3.5 players and some who are also new to the game but I made them all play 4e since I refuse to buy more books and learn an entirely new system since I'm doing that with Next already).
Jeez, I need to learn how to get to the point faster, but overall we felt it was good and it wasn't slowing us down from what we wanted to do which was the role-play. The combat was really simple and went quickly so we could have more time to describe exactly hat our characters were doing and not also have to discuss strategy and powers and effcts and the such. The simplicity of it also made coming up with new ideas (like running up a wall then doing a backflip off it to land on a monster and attack it).
The only thing they really had problems with was the hit dice because it was so new to them not using healing surges and instead using a some sort of a med-kit. I encouraged them to keep an open mind and try to use it though at the end of the day they were still neutral towards it but they grew a little more accepting of it.
This is the attitude that I hope people keep when they playtest the new edition that this edition is meant to join together all Dnd players so the wars on which edition is best will end and the entire community will stand together and be able to reach a general consensus on things like the map vs. no map that is something that people want to choose between and the map should be optional like how they made it in Next so that people can run it their way without forming a large divide between players. From my point of view Dnd is in a bit of a dark age right now. Video games are huge and I'm happy for that but I feel like tabletop gaming in general has become like the underground of gaming today. While looking on this site I can easily see a large and diverse community as soon as go somewhere outside of home or on news sites or school; there are so many people who don't know anything about it. And I'm talking about if I tell someone random that I play dungeons and dragons there's like a 60ish% chance that they don't know what I'm talking about. Maybe its just the area I live in or its my generation thats been surrounded by consoles and computers as long as they remember or even a mixture of both but its not a good sign for people to ask me "What the heck is dungeons and dragons?" instead of giving me the "You have no social life and live in your mothers basement" look that I expected.
Dnd Next is probably our best chance to create a game that everyone can agree is the best edition. But it won't be easy, it's gonna take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears from both WotC and the gamers to get through this and make Dnd better for everyone. So everyone needs to do the playtest and put it through as much work as possible and give good feedback, constructive criticism, and ideas to be added in. Everyone has to make their voice heard while listening to all the others as well. It's the responsibility of everyone to not start flame wars and come up with creative solutions to disagreements in a calm manner that dosn't involve people shouting at their moniters which does NOT help your public reputation or the community as a whole. The optional map creation is an amazing solution to a problem like that and one we should look towards for inspiration instead of starting large internet battles. Save that for Planetside 2.
Let me know what you think about any of the subjects that I touched on above since I did jump around a bit. Feedback and comments always appreciated! Thanks!