When I get back to a point in my life where I can DM full time again, I'll still likely run Classic D&D/Labyrinth Lord, but I'd be really happy playing in someone else's game of 5E.
Some random observations of things I appreciate, in no particular order:
- The Paladin's "detect evil" ability has been changed to only allow them to detect the presence of certain monster types (celestials, infernals, undead), plus hallowed or unhallowed grounds and holy/unholy magic items. I mentioned this one in my G+ feed a couple of days ago. No more worrying about the Pally trying to determine every NPC's alignment and smacking them down simply because they're evil.
- I'd actually consider playing an Abjuration specialist Wizard for the first time ever!* While I still haven't tackled the 90 or so pages of spells, the special abilities that Wizards get for specializing all seem interesting.
- Creation of additional or specialized subraces looks quite easy to do. Ditto for Backgrounds.
- I could see allowing certain class specialization paths to be used by different classes. They might not fit exactly, but why not let a Barbarian or Ranger take the Eldritch Knight specialization, or allow a Sorcerer to have a pact with Cthulhu instead of draconic heritage?
- The art of the edition pleases me more than the video game/anime inspired Dungeonpunk look of 3E/Pathfinder. And diverse. The art actually looks (despite the insistence of the troglodyte comment in the link there) like it comes from a fully fleshed out, consistent world rather than a Star Wars single-ecology planet. Except for that Halfling with the bobble-head and bound feet. God, that's a terrible picture.
- The actual rules needed to play/run the game only take up about 30 pages or so of the rulebook. Most of the book is options for character creation.
- The list of "monster" stats in the back aren't really intended for use as a stop-gap until the MM's released, they are the stats players might need for animal companions/wild shape/familiar/animate dead. Useful to have them here instead of having to look through the monster book for them.
- Every PC is assumed to be competent. They got the Skill system right, I think. Everyone can try any of the skills simply by rolling an ability check. Proficiency grants a set bonus to the roll depending on level, but no one is excluded from trying to climb the wall or disarm the trap or decipher the runes or look for the clues to who murdered the bishop on the landing.
- Continuing with the Skill system, careful (or careless) play trumps the die roll. If the description of what you're doing would lead to "success" there's no need to roll. Conversely, if you don't describe what you're doing properly (reference to the Perception skill for searching), it doesn't matter if you roll a natural 20, you aren't finding the loose brick in the fireplace if you say you're examining the ceiling.
- There is a focus on doing stuff besides simply fighting monsters (although that's still a big part of the game).
*In the past, I've played two Enchanters, a Conjurer, a Transmuter and an Illusionist as specialist mages, but never in my life considered specializing in Abjuration. Until now.