Well, they have said that's the goal: if people can keep playing with old books and not feel undue pressureto upgrade, that'sworking as designed. If people are interested enough to mix and match, say buying only the new Monster Mnaual, but keep playing with old PHB options, still as designed. OR if only some players upgrade their PHB and keep playing...
The important part to WotC isn't upgrading to new books, it's that people keep playing.
Oh, they are: the unambiguous upgrades are more the MM and DMG, it seems to me. And they said the new Ranfer was a massive hit compared to any prior survey on the 2014 version, so most Ranger players are going to want to upgrade. If they can get that reaction from 70-80% of people who like each Class...
Couple big takeaways I got from the video. "Focusing on the design needs of the players seems like the focus of all this" >"absolutely" then mentioning the other books for the second time in the video and avoiding mention of the DM or the DM's needs... When I'm running D&D I am not "playing" d&d because I'm "running" d&d. That exchange & the fact that DMs aren't even mentioned in the entire video very strongly tells me that 2024d&d will continue the 2014d&d focus of ignoring the DM's needs while going all in on empowering the biggest munchkin player at the table. Somehow I don't think it's a positive development in being so obvious in telling DMs that DMs will need to look towards Daggerheart, the upcoming MCDM thing, & perhaps Tales of the Valiant if they as a DM want the system to consider their needs
Yeah, I personally thought it was a pretty great change that opened up some real potential design space. But, it was at the cost of creating the biggest barrier to interoperability in what we have seen, ao if the player base wasn't enthusiastic in general, it makes sense to me that the guiding principle of making compatability easy and seamless would have militated against it. And at this point they've made it clear backwards compatibility is an enormous design value to them.
Getting all Aubclasses at 3, however, gets about a quarter of the way there, so maybe in a future rules revision if people warm up to the idea.
I saw a lot of people say in response to that Perkins video that they weren't sure about the new PHB, bit would pick up the new DMG. And I'm sure the siren call of new stat blocks will call to many who won't go for the PHB.
And that mixing and matching is something WotC wants.
I mean, I’m sure the game will be fine. The question is if it could have been even better had it spent that time experimenting, innovating, and iterating in bold ways instead of conservatively trying to change as little as possible at a time.
Monster changes aren't a thing that exists in isolation though. A GM can make their own monsters or use monsters from any number of third party products already, that immediately starts to crash into the fact that the GM lacks much in the way of real mechanical hooks for those monsters without system alterations before you start winding up with monsters that are changing the function of specific PC abilities or whatever because all attacks are made with the same bonus and things like flat DR/Resist rather than half damage from magical sources (ie any cantrip & any +N weapon). The GM can do things along the lies of making changes to blunt clubs like legendary resist like some of the levelup monsters sure, but that only gets so far before the lack of hooks on the PC side nudges it into irrelivance unusability or Bob's heartbreaker fork of 5e.
Improving monster math as previously mentioned is good sure, but it's a continuation of 2014's you're the gm, you fix it status quo & even the "very experimental" rule changes were things like limiting monster crits rather than focusing on the needs of the DM. We saw an influence action that would have left even those NPCs with the most favorable statblock conditions possible hilariously vulnerable to diplomancy beyond anything possible in the old days when diplomancer builds were a thing. The most recent packet finally did something about wackamole/yoyo healing, but we also saw a past packet with a hit point recovery cantrip.