It's been a while. A little over a year in fact, since the last time I had something to say about DnDNext (or "5E" if you prefer).
The reason for the absence? Boredom would be the honest answer. Our group did what we could with the materials WoTC released, and that lasted a couple of weeks before we got bored. We ended up going back to Pathfinder, then we all got busy. For the last six months we've played more boardgames than D&D of any flavor.
We're now looking to change that and return to D&D, and 5E in particular. There's certainly much more material to work with in the playtesting packet. Good to see that the guys and girls at WoTC haven't been as idle as us.
In prepping for Crwth's next campaign, I've read through what I could (as a player, so I can't speak on the Beastiary or DM's Guide) and I'm left feeling pretty optimistic.
1. Advantage/Disadvantage - really liking where this is going.
2. The spending of "hit dice" during short/long rests - I'm on the fence. I guess it reduces or outright removes the old need for a cleric.
3. Feats and skills - Big fan of feats from 3E, so I'm glad to see them back. I really like the new skills implementation of adding a d6 to a stat check. Hopefully it solves the impossible-to-fail-no-matter-what-I-roll-because-I-have-a-gajillion-ranks problem.
4. The Ranger - no more of the "fighter with a bow" cliche. They've come right out and stressed that first and foremost, the ranger is a hunter.
That's just the three things off the top of my head. There are also a bunch of the class features that I really liked, and the weapons and armor changes are mostly good. For the latter, I particularly like that you are at a disadvantage when using a weapon or armor that you're not proficient with. That said, a part of me will always miss the days of the arcane failure check.
Now if they'd just bring out the sorcerer class...