One of the things 4e did that I’m really, really hoping 5e does not do was “hold back” content. Classes and races were kept behind the curtain for a year until the second Player’s Handbook and many Name monsters were  not released until the third Monster Manual. While it was said that the classes were “not ready” it would not have been hard to release some of those options as playtest and preview document, like they did for the barbarian and artificer.

From a business perspective it makes sense. Books later in the edition have a more important feel and seem less tacked-on content, because they contain important and classical content. But being able to play the character you want is often the difference between buying and playing the game and sticking with an older edition. It’s a hard fact but it’s true. I’m probably holding off on purchasing 5e when it comes out until I think there’s an acceptable amount of content that appeals to me. I spent half of my time DMing 4e updating monsters because I knew what monster I wanted to use but it didn’t exist yet.

Reflavouring does help. Realizing you can just tell your players the monster is an intellect devourer and throw that mini on the table but  actually use the statblock from a wolf is a huge revelation. But it seems less satisfying for players, at least in terms of class. It’s fine to say your berserker fighter is a barbarian but it’s another to actually have his rage do something at the table.