Two things in particular grate for me though.
Firstly their insistence on giving monsters ability scores. This leads to a plethora of ludicrosities (such as having to decide how charismatic a beetle is), and apparently is only for the benefit of opposed rolls (sicK) and saving throws. The latter could obviously have easily been implemented using a different system (in fact I'd say that for monsters who ever needs more than a single save value, really?).
The second, and primary reaction I have to the playtest rules actually just reminds me what I dislike so much about all WotC incarnations of D&D: this idea of a "core mechanic". I find it hard to explain exactly why I find this so distasteful, but here are some reasons:
- It makes the game bland. Imagine a game of monopoly where all rules subsystems (such as the auctions and the various types of cards) were replaced by a simple 2d6 roll... Charmless.
- It leads to players having a knee-jerk instinct to start rolling d20s whenever their character does anything. Before the referee has even told them if it will "just work", is impossible or will require some kind of roll.
- It makes some things which should be easy too hard, and makes some things which should be hard too easy. I'm no expert on mathematics or probability, but whenever I've played d20-based games (which D&D Next is, from what we've seen so far) I've gotten this annoying feeling of my character not being able to do anything successfully. The to hit roll in combat, which is where the whole d20 roll originates, is designed to be very random. Other things in life just aren't that random. Using one single die type for everything assumes that everything is equally random. I find it extremely unpleasant to play with such a system.
- It leads to a kind of fallacy that rules simplicity == a core mechanic. (D&D 3.5 was undoubtedly the most complex and fiddly form of D&D so far, yet had a veneer of having been "optimised" and "rationalised".)
I guess my point is that, though they've made this big deal about having modular rules systems which can be added and removed to taste (like the "feats" and "skills" systems), I find the core of the game (as far as we can see it now) inherently unpleasant.
It has definitely reinforced my love of TSR D&D though, which is a nice thing :)
Long live B/X, AD&D, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardy, LotFP Weird Fantasy, etc etc!