I've been poring over the D&D5 PH again. I still like what I see. There's far too much to comment on everything, but a few aspects have caught my eye.
One of my pet hates in a lot of fantasy games and settings is the prevalence of Ye Olde Magic Item Shoppe – a shop, usually run by a level 20 wizard, selling a wide range of magic items.
Such places miss the point about enchanted objects. Such things should be rare and wonderful and extraordinary – not just commodities made in their thousands in a magical factory somewhere. There needs to be a sense of wonder.
D&D5 agrees – the PH expressly comments that “you won't normally come across magic items... to purchase. The value of magic is far beyond simple gold”. Yes!
The new PH also contains about four pages of trinkets – odd objects that characters can have in their possession. I've seen a review on Amazon hotly complaining that these trinkets are useless, with no powers or benefits for the character possessing them.
This proves that the reviewer has not understood the point of these items. The trinkets are plot hooks. Objects a DM can seize upon to build a scenario, or even a campaign around. I've used such things more than once in starting a campaign – one character had an amulet that after many sessions proved she was of noble blood (and that the noble family in question intended to sacrifice her for evil purposes – but that's another story). Another character had a bracelet which turned out to be one third of an artefact that would open a portal to another world. Trinkets are the kernels of stories.
And that, once again, is why I like the look of D&D5. It is not setting out to create complicated mechanics systems so you can minimax characters – it is trying to tell stories.