On the other hand I think those optional rules are awful and only got there to satisfy some old players, not to simplify things for newbies. There is no marketing.
A friend got me The Lone Wolf Adventure Game
for Christmas (surprise!), and I've been reading through it for a few days, on and off. It's an RPG based on those old Lone Wolf choose-your-own-adventure books.
In the box there is a 'Read Me First' sheet, and it tells you that you (gamemasters AND players) can start to play straight away, without knowing the rules!
How? Because there are two introductory adventures which give you the information you need to play that scene, and both players and 'Narrator' learn the rules as they play.
There are two levels of rules: 'Initiate' and 'Master'. The box includes six pre-gens (the game includes full rules for making your own PC and some blank character sheets), and they are double-sided. On one side is the Initiate character sheet (called 'Action Chart' - they really are targeting this at people without any previous RPG experience; for example, instead of rolling a d10 they have the box lid inscribed with random numbers from 1 to 10 into which you flip a token. Where a normal RPG would instruct you to 'roll a die', this game instructs you to 'pick a random number' by flipping a token into the lid) and on the other side is the Master character sheet/action chart for that same character.
The Master rules are simply the Initiate rules but with more rules added on to that basic framework. Altough it says that the players and Narrator can decide between them which Master rules they want to use and not use, it seems as though the expectation is that you will soon use all or nearly all of the Master rules as soon as you've got your head around the basic Initiate rules (which you could write on a napkin BTW).
How do I know that the expectation is to move away from Initiate and on to Master rules ASAP? Because the first of the two adventures uses (and teaches as you play) the basic, Initiate rules. The second adventure, which the first segues into, uses and teaches the Master level rules. You are expected to learn and use the Initiate rules for ONE (short) adventure, and then move onto the Master rules and never look back.
Over the years you notice trends in gaming. For the last few years the trend has been to simplify game systems. The Grognards are going to play anyway, but the money
is with the huge, untapped resource that is the vast majority of the population that has never played an RPG and who would be put off by complex rules from the get-go. Games nowadays either have simple rules or they start
with a simpler version of the rules and add complexity later. D&D 5E is no exception.
D&D 5E not only has simpler rules than 3E or 4E, but also has made a couple of rules which were 'normal' in previous editions (MCing and feats) 'optional'. Is the intention that MCing and feats are only there for a few people who want a complex variant while most will stick to the 'basics'? Or, like Lone Wolf, do they expect us to start using MCing and feats as soon as we've got our heads around the basics?
We can tell by looking at the expectations of organised play. In AL, MCing and feats are no longer optional. The expectation is that players will have learned the baby game pretty darn quick and want to play the grown-up version as soon as they are let out of the house.