Now I know I haven't addressed it but I really like pen and paper role playing games. Honestly other than the Penny Arcade game I don't really like computer/console role playing games. I don't like the time commitment, and really it feels like a choose your own adventure where every choice points you back to the correct choice. And its insular. You sit alone and play alone and really have no contact with anyone, and my wife hates it. MMO's are another animal all together, with a whole separate raft of issues. But it all goes back to DnD. Really for me the first rpg I played was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was really great. We were just kids goofing off and wanting to play super soldier porcupines. Who knew we would continue to play for so long? We went to Superheros Unlimited, Rifts, some home-brews, Dnd 3-3.5 and my friend and I got interested in the Star Wars Saga Edition but we really haven't played. But now that Dungeons and Dragons : 4th Edition is here I'm fired up again. I ordered the books but I didn't feel like waiting for them so I went and downloaded them in PDF format :). I'm actually more comfortable reading on a computer at this point in my life. More than likely even after the books get here I'm going to continue to read them digitally.
About the changes. I gotta say I understood how spell casting worked on the first read through. I played 3rd and 3.5th editions for about a year each and I never quite understood how it worked... Everything has been streamlined and 99% of the changes Ive read so far have been improvements, and 1% fluff. Not just changes for changes sake but honest to goodness improvements. Every class and race has been improved in my eyes. The Halfling is not tiny like a child. The Wizard and Warlock are playing in seperate sandboxes. Even the Paladin and Cleric have clearly defined roles. There are new races on the scene now that I would like to touch on, the Eladrin, Dragonborn, and Tiefling. I was a little confused why there are Eladrin and Elves after a cursory reading of the preview I really didn't see a mechanical difference, just a story flavor difference. But after looking over the PHB they are both really clearly defined and makes each unique and cool. I took the lack of Warforged and the addition of Dragonborn as kind of a tank shell game, but again I was pleasantly surprised that wasn't the case. The Warforged are in the Monster Manual but the character creation rules in there are a little thin, WotC released them as a PDF on their website, but it really should have just been in the damn book in the first place. And the Addition of the Tiefling is just cool. I really like them.
So far I'm pleased. I cant wait to start playing.