Here’s what I love about 3.5: for a great experience, all you need is the three core rulebooks. That’s less than $50 per player (Player’s Handbook, dice, some stationary) and around $100-150 for the DM (all three core rulebooks, dice, more dice, stationary, a decent calculator), which can provide years of gameplay.
From previews I’ve read, they’re taking out a lot of “core” races and classes from the Player’s Handbook and adding them to subsequent books or, in the case of the Half-Orc, the D&D Insider program. Here’s the link, though Mr. Baker fails to mention what this may cost. And I have a feeling this marketing ploy will grow worse and worse.
This seems especially true after looking at the 4th Edition character sheets, where movement and spells/abilities are listed solely in squares, without bothering to list anything in feet. This doesn’t simplify or clarify anything for gamers playing the old-fashioned way, and it means Wizards expects – wants – people to use their miniatures or electronic tools more often than not. The issue itself is a small, nitpicking detail – but it shows Wizards’ desire to sell product may spoil, to some degree, a great franchise.
But I’ve already pre-ordered the Player’s Handbook, regardless of misgivings.