Believe it or not, I really want 5e to work out and be the edition that unties them all. Based on some of the comments I am seeing from on high, I don't think it will be what I am looking for or would play. My understanding is that we could basically buy the the equivalent of the Mentzer red box, then buy a booklet that expands it with classes, one with skills, one with feats, one with powers, etc. That way we AS DM's can build our own system. The AS DM's is important.
In his latest column, Cook says:
"Now imagine that the game offered you modular, optional add-ons that allow you to create the character you want to play while letting the Dungeon Master create the game he or she wants to run. Like simple rules for your story-driven game? You're good to go. Like tactical combats and complex encounters? You can have that too. Like ultra-customized character creation? It's all there."
That's a problem for me. As a DM, creating a game I want to run is very much dependent on rules. I refuse to have skills, feats, powers, etc in my game. If the players want tactical combats and complex encounters, they can go play with a DM who wants to run that sort of game. Setting up an expectation in players minds that they can and should be able to make up whatever character they want, using whatever modules they want, and tough shit the DM will just have to adjust because the rules allow for it and it is simple to implement is a crock of shit. It's designed solely to sell the maximum amount of modular expansions. That's not a game I am going to play.
As for this:
"Second—and this sounds so crazy that you probably won't believe it right now—we're designing the game so that not every player has to choose from the same set of options. Again, imagine a game where one player has a simple character sheet that has just a few things noted on it, and the player next to him has all sorts of skills, feats, and special abilities. And yet they can still play the game together and everything remains relatively balanced. Your 1E-loving friend can play in your 3E-style game and not have to deal with all the options he or she doesn't want or need. Or vice versa."
Not going to happen. I don't care if they think they can pull off such a system or not, nor do I care if they do. The expectation among players that they can jump into my Basic game with powers and dailies is a complete turn off.
Maybe my point of view is a bit different, but I always thought it was the DM's role to pick system, setting and style of game, and the players either want to join said game or not.