In the wake of Monte Cook's departure from the D&D Next design team, Mike Mearls has posted a short announcement regarding the public playtests of the next edition of D&D. May 24th (yes, that counts as "Spring" for those counting).
I am surprised, and frankly saddened, by Montes decision to leave the D&D Next design team. Id like to thank him for his contribution, and we all wish him well. As we close the first phase of the D&D Next project, Im excited to share with you all what phase 2 has in store.

It is my pleasure to announce that our public playtest for the D&D Next project will commence on May 24th. The playtest is the single most important part of the D&D Next process. D&D is a game that has spanned 38 years of gaming, spawned countless campaigns, and launched an entire gaming genre.

Personally, I cant count how many friends Ive made through D&D, or how many hours Ive spent playing the game, building worlds, or just talking about it with friends. Yet while D&D is an intensely personal game, taken as a whole it cannot afford to become something beholden to one teams vision. D&D is a tool for creativity. The game must embrace the entirety of its past, and the entirety of its fandom, in order to create a compelling future. No one voice can rise above the others, unless it is the voice of D&D fans as a whole.

The public playtest is your chance to shape the future of D&D, your opportunity to share with us your creative vision for the game. If there are creative differences between the designers and gamers, then surely the needs and vision of D&D gamers will win out. D&D Next is your game.

In the coming weeks, the Legends & Lore column will provide insight into the materials in the playtest and our plans to roll out content. The curtain is about to go up on our stage debut. On a personal level, and I think I speak for the entire D&D Next team Bruce Cordell, Rob Schwalb, Jeremy Crawford, Rodney Thompson, Miranda Horner, and Tom LaPille when I say that we are all excited to hear what you think about our progress. We had a great response at D&D Experience, the UK D&D Tweetup, and PAX East, but those were dress rehearsals. You can never be sure of where you stand until you have a full, live audience in front of you. Maybe youll cheer, or maybe youll engage in heated and passionate debate. In either case, were absolutely dedicated to making D&D Next a modular game, one rooted in the traditions of tabletop RPG play while poised to blaze a trail toward a vibrant, exciting future. In the end it is you, the audience, who will determine the future of D&D. The game is too big, and too important, to stand for anything less than that.

--Mike Mearls