An interesting scoop has been released regarding the "direction" of 4E. Richard Dumbledore, an Associate RPG R&D Developer at WotC, had this to say:
Any big announcements will have to wait until GenCon. But we already have a fair idea of the direction we're going for 4e.
Just like the 3e Design Team, we took a hard look at the "sacred cows" of D&D, and decided which make the game a better experience, and which we've been hanging on to for nostalgia. We've already decided to ditch hit points and armor class, for example - if you look at some of the sneak peeks of the SW Saga Edition on the site, you'll see we've already implemented some of it there.
One of out aims with 4e is to make the game easier to understand and of a more uniform quality, so you can sit down at a table anywhere in the world and understand what's going on. To achieve this, we'll be introducing a registration system for DMs, and a ranking system supported by regular seminars and training courses. We're not sure exactly how the pricing structure will work out yet, and we may offer some sort of subsidy to international DMs to offset the costs of flights to Seattle. DMs who aren't yet charging their players a monthly membership fee should perhaps consider instituting one, because otherwise they'll reap the benefits of a 5th, 10th, or 15th level DM while he or she pays for all the courses to get there! As well as the training, we also hope to see an increase in the standard of excellence of licensed DMs as they reach higher levels and devote the expected hours to preparation and playtesting. It's going to be exciting!
The pressure from the MMORPG market has also led us to include a lot of features from those games. You've already seen the start of a shift to a "per-encounter" philosophy with 3.5e products like the Book of Nine Swords. This will be inherent in most aspects of 4e. The prototype Monster Cards I've seen so far include a lot of creatures with the Spawn ability - not the 3e ability to create new wights or shadows, but the ability for monsters to reappear after a set period of time. The new stat block format includes an Aggro Radius, though I understand this is a working term and will likely change before publication.
While a lot of the MMORPG companies discourage or prohibit online trading relating to the game, we're going to embrace it. One of the complaints we've heard over and over for the past few years is that the character creation process for characters above 1st level doesn't lead to "organic characters". We're hoping the online trading will address this problem; instead of creating a 5th level character, for example, the player can log in to the D&D Trading Post and purchase a 5th level character that another player has played through from 1st level, thus avoiding the "organic character" complaint. The Trading Post will also permit players to trade gold, magic item cards, and experience points, all for a very small transaction fee.
I've probably already said more than I should, but around GenCon time, keep an eye on the site - I expect there will be some snippets posted showing the contents of a 4e starter pack, and maybe even a peek at a booster pack. I'm really excited about the work we're doing right now.
Associate RPG R&D Developer
Wizards of the Coast
Well, I think it's a pretty good attempt at April Fools humor. I've seen better, but they put the effort into writing this, and I think they deserve at least a smile and note of appreciation.