things that they are working on, namely classes, backgrounds, and specialties.
It sucks that the sorcerer and warlock are getting pulled back, as they were far more interesting than the pseduo-Vancian, fire-and-forget wizard (at-wills or no), though I am hopeful that wizard traditions will close the gap...at least somewhat, anyway. While I like the added oomph of signature spells (aka 4th Edition encounter spells), they muddy the waters in terms of explaining how magic works.
The sorcerer tied with the warlock as my favorite class, and it sucks that they might rename the class and recycle it for a fighter/wizard archetype. I like the concept and mechanics quite a bit, as well as the ability to have a capable, interesting melee-spellcaster. Eh, I am least willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.
I am a bit iffier about the whole "magic-user" blanket class, mostly because I am not sure what it implies. Will the classes be packages of mechanics? Will each class have a variety of mechanics, or still have unique mechanics? I really liked where they were going with the sorcerer and warlock. I had heard that they were going to make various management systems that you could apply as desired, which sounds nice so long as classes still retain unique features.
Turn undead has been moved to a class feature (again), and channel divinity has been removed in favor of "special abilities based on your god" (which basically sounds like channel divinity by another name). The idea is that there will be generic deities that can be applied to archetypal gods. The given example is using the Trickster for Loki or Olidammara, which grants invisibility (and other illusion-based magic), training in Sneak, some ranged and Dexterity-based melee weapons. I love this because for the first time clerics will be able to more readily "act" like their gods--especially right out of the gate--instead of almost universally being heavily armed and armored melee-warriors.
Fighters went over well, but they are looking into making the fighter even more simple than simply stating that you add your Expertise Dice to damage rolls. Given how boring people thought the initial fighter was, I wonder if they can find a middle ground in there.
I am glad to hear that while rogues will get more skills, that they will be dialing down the chances of automatic success; they should be able to fail at least rarely.
Speaking of skills, backgrounds will now give four skills instead of three, and they are going back to the original floating bonus method; instead of linking skills to specific ability scores, you can add them to any relevant check. Personally I think that this encourages more clever thinking on the part of players. No mention of whether traits will remain, and the skill list might expand. Given how many Lore skills they are, I am not sure if this is a good thing.
Specialties are being more clearly defined as "something that your character has focused on and developed", ideally something that is easy for other players to understand. No word on if/when other specialties come into play.
And now to wait for the next packet, which is thankfully coming soon.