A little background is required here.
My friends and I resisted switching to 3rd edition D&D from 2nd edition until one of us actually sat down to look at the rules. Even then we had to drag on gamer out of his comfort zone, basically saying we aren’t playing 2nd edition anymore, 3rd edition is good.
We switched to 3.5 when those rules came out because we enjoyed 3rd edition and 3.5 made some welcome changes.
When 4th Edition came out, I bought the rules, but was frankly disgusted with what they had done to game I had been playing in one form or another for nearly fifteen years at that time. We stayed with 3.5 for a long time.
Eventually we heard about Pathfinder, bought the book, and realized that it was what 4th edition should of been if you were progressing from 3.5. Our group switched and we’ve been playing Pathfinder for the last few years.
I love Pathfinder you can do anything you want with a character and it has an amazing depth of resources to pull from. However sometimes Pathfinder gets a bit unwieldy when it comes to rules and the same depth of resources requires looking at almost lots of scenarios and saying “How will this work here?”
Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition is a new thing, it has the feels like the D&D of my youth some of which had been lost in successive editions. However it’s not a complex machine like 3rd Ed, 3.5, or Pathfinder. The rules are much simpler and straight forward than any of the previously mentioned systems. The unwieldy and complex rule systems that required looking things up has been replaced by something much more slimmed down and and straight forward. The book is well designed, and the game seems geared to encourage role-playing.
When I’ve watched people make characters, the system seems to scream to them to role-play. I haven’t seen anyone make a character and min-max in the way I’ve seen people do this in Pathfinder. This could be because it’s a new system, but I think things like backgrounds and the way things are presented really drive home the fact that you’re here to role-playing, not just wade through the bodies of monsters unfortunate to cross your path.
When it comes to the actual rules they are light and easy to wield, the only time we’ve had to look things up is when we’ve never done something before. Usually whatever the answer it is usually the simpler one. That being said to be a fair review, the index of the Player’s Handbook is terrible and looking things up is a pain. So it’s good that the rules are simple.
As a GM the monster stats are much easier to read than those of previous editions and Pathfinder. That being said they are laid out differently enough from character sheets that I sometimes have to take a moment to find the information I’m looking for. This will probably go away with time, but I might make monster sheets over time.
I’ve only played a couple sessions so far, but I am very happy with 5th Edition and am looking forward to playing it more.