- Excellent Player's Handbook: The latest edition of the Player's Handbook is at the top of the list, in terms of the rules themselves, organization, clarity of content, etc. The D&D team managed to create a product that serves newbies and RPG veterans equally well. While it is more complicated that AD&D 1e, the rules are more cohesive. And it is far less clunky than D&D 3.x/Pathfinder.
- Advantages/Disadvantages: What a simple and elegant system! By adding a second die to a die role, the game gains more texture and variability at the cost of a tiny bit of complexity.
- Death Rolls: This adds a clear rule for how to handle that often vague zero hit point thing. At the same time, it adds high drama to that otherwise passive act of lying in a pool of one's own blood.
- Groovy Character Classes: I like what WotC has done with the character classes in 5e. Lots of player choices without a lot of overlap. And the choices matter, each class has strengths and weaknesses. There are a lot of strategic and tactical options for players and DMs alike without creating a creaky clunky Byzantine ruleset.
- The Monster Manual: The monsters actually get the biggest overhaul. I have only started reading the MM, but it is very well thought out and every monster has a twist that will matter a great deal in play.
D&D 5e is definitely in the D&D family, moreso than 4e, for sure. That being said, it is its own version. It is clear that, beyond the character class system and d20 foundation, the designers held nothing sacred. The ruleset is elegant and well-designed. While I will almost always go for the simplicity of Swords & Wizardry Core or Delving Deeper, I am really enjoying playing D&D 5e.