I don't want to bash on your comment, but it gives me the impression that you just skimmed through the material without reading it.I got the physical books a week or so ago. When I sit to read them, I see mostly "this is just 5e" and I lose interest in reading. I realize that this is a feature of the system, and it relies on compatibility with 5e. But I'm having difficulty finding the reason to get excited about running it. [This is likely due to my being tired with 5e in general, and that LU isn't bringing enough new content to the table to revitalize my interest.
A few examples...
What's your way in? Is there something that makes you say "wow! this is a big departure from or enhancement to 5e."? In short, I'm looking for that "killer app" to excite me about Level Up.
- I see magic item prices and I think "that's a cool little addition," but it's just a little layer I can add from the DM/Narrator side.
- The creatures are mostly the same as the Monster Manual entries from what I can tell. They don't have like the cool recharge abilities and auras like 4e (or Matt Colville's recent Kickstarter). A goblin seems like the 5e goblin.
- The classes seem largely unchanged.
[Note: I'm not making any of these comments to criticize the designers and writers. I'm honestly curious about the hook of the product.]
LU's choke full of changes, some large, some small, but it has to be 5e compatible. You shouldn't expect too drastic changes.
That said, here's a few significant departures
- races are heritages that can be freely mixed and matched (half-dwarf/half-dragonborn is entirely possible for instance). You don't get ASI from them, but you get some features (many are up to your choice), and at level 10 you gain a paragon feature.
- cultures give yet more features, most with direct mechanical benefits, and play quite well regardless of the class
- there are rules for destinies, which give both a different way to earn Inspiration and also a distinc mechanical benefit when you accomplish your destiniy
- classes have been redesigned. Every class has way more choices than o5e, much more often. Just pick a 5e class and LU's equivalent, and see for yourself. For instance, you can have a Juggernaught Berserker (i.e. a heavy armored barbarian), RAW, from level 1, without losing any class feature (as opposed to 5e). Or you can have a Str focused armored monk (adept).
- there are synergy feats, which combine and compound features for truly unique multiclass characters
- there are feats to turn you into a vampire, or a werewolf, progressively.
- Melee martial classes play totally different due to combat maneuvers, an entire layer that was non esistent in o5e. This alone is as significant as the "spellcasting" feature for pure spellcasting classes.
- equipment is much more fully flashed out. There's also rules for materials, armor breaking, etc.
- combat is more tactial and reactive. You can sacrifice a shield to negate a crit, or take strife/fatigue to negate a crit, but the penalties they imply become more and more burdensome. When dual wielding, if you have the extra attack feature, you can attack twice with your off-hand weapon using a bonus action.
- Expertise has a different implementation, based as a variable sized dice, applicable both on skill checks and as a situational bonus also to attacks.
- Getting to 0 hp causes longer term problems (strife/fatigue). You cannot recover from those except at havens.
- there's an economy layer. Even in a very mundane campaign, there are ways to spend money, especially on strongholds and followers Strongholds are upgradeable, and can give ASI as well
- there are rare versions of spells
- monster math is right, especially the CR and EL computations. It's impossible to overstate how much better Monstrous Managerie is wrt core 5e MM.
- there's an exploration pillar built in the game, and all classes have multiple exploration features unique to them. These are not ribbon features, and exploration is not a weird balancing mechanic among different classes (ranger)
And these are just a few on top of my head.
In all honesty, given the depth, amount and quality of LU material and 3rd party compliant LU material (shout out to Homebrew and Hacking, with point based systems to create feats, heritages and cultures), I see no point for me to purchase any more WoTC product, at least regarding game mechanics. If you have complaints about 5e's "shallowness" wrt 3.5, for example, LU will definitely fill up the void, while still mantaining the core tenets of bounded accuracy and quicker play.