D&D will be coming out in 2014. I was surprised that Mik hadn't heard about it. In any case, if you somehow haven't heard about it, the news is that they are planning for a 2014 release after a two-year development cycle.
I perused some of their early playtest materials and thought it was...okay. It was definitely recognizable as D&D and much closer to the 3.0 or 3.5 editions of D&D than it was to 4th edition. However, it just lacked oomph.
This latest playtest packet, however, I have been impressed with. Making characters was an exercise of interesting choices. The whole game seems to invite houserules as well. Throughout character creation, you are given lots of guidelines, not hard and fast rules. For example, whenever you start taking feats, you can just pick whatever feat you want or pick a themed feat list (called a specialty) which shows you what feats you get and when.
I suspect that most people will want to pick whatever abilities they want, not abiding by any list. However, what the specialty lists did was to help me make my choices. For example, I built an archer and looked at their Sharshooter Specialty list to get ideas. More importantly, all of their theme lists have a decent amount of flavor, giving you character ideas as you build your character. As I was building characters, I got all sorts of ideas for different characters, different settings, and different games.
Most importantly, I was impressed that when I built some sample characters, I was "forced" to give them all backgrounds. You cannot make a generic fighter. When you sit down to make a fighter, that character will have a personality and a background. This is accomplished by Character Backgrounds an aspect of your character which determines what skills you get and gives you a cool story ability as well.
Anyhow, the playtest went well, but I'll talk about that next time. In the meantime, if you want to see the state of their current Beta Version, check it out here!