Honestly speaking, I have already written something on the subject on my blog in Polish (it's title could be translated as Scribblings of a Part-time Monster), but as some linguists try to prove, the character of a person changes while he or she speaks in another language, so I decided to give it try and see what my "English self" has to say about D&D Next, or rather this little part that we've gotten our hands at for now.
But before that, I have to state something: I am by any means not a grognard. I'm far too young to remember the Golden Age of RPG as some people call it. Or the beginnings of the hobby, for that matter. Hell, in 1974 my father was 9 years old! So all I know about D&D of that time I know from reading.
That being said, D&D Next seems to be a step backwards, but this time it's not a bad thing. I mean, I ran a couple games of 4ed. But I do tend to play by the book (I have something around 30 games on my shelf, not to mention all those available as legal, free pdfs), and before DMG 2 that was not a game for me (and when it came out, my group did not want another run of that game, as I could run loads of other things). Honestly, I'm not the type who likes to design multiple encounters in order to let the team advance.I like to improvise, and on my sessions people sometimes don't even unsheath their weapons. I do remember a game in which the PCs spent half of the time in a tavern.
I began my adventure with the hobby with D&D 3,0. And the current iteration of the playtest goes even further in terms of some aspects of the game, but onwards in others.
I do enjoy the idea of a more static AC, of simplified weapons etc. Right now I don't see any rules for BAB, and it's possible that there will be none. Getting rid of the majority of the skill system is a great thing (but I thing they will be included in the final version, as Backgrounds provide training in certain skills).
The new statblock for monsters is marvelous. It's simple, without things that you can't use. I do get the impresion that some of them have too many hit points, but that will be verified as soon as I give the game a try (damn you, Finals!). Oh, yes, the fact that the hit points for a given monsters are set is another thing that I don't like, but the format being neither as long as in 3,x nor as complicated as in 4 ed (yes, everything was written in the statblock, but the monster could have one attack normally, one if you rolled a 5, other when he's bloodied etc.) really suites my taste.
And the great novelty: Advantage/Disadvantage. I've read the article of the curve of probability with the additional kept die, but... Honestly, I see it as a great thing. Again, testing will verify my opinion, but I always preferred die over static bonuses.
That's all for now, if I have any more musings regarding D&D Next, I'll definitely post them.