-The more I see the reactions to 5E the more I realize that there is no single vision of D&D. I know this is not a new insight but it is relevant to 5E. Can they truly marry all the visions into one package? That seems to be what people are expecting, but this is not inherently what they have "promised".
People are taking various interpretations of what WotC is saying they will provide in a D&D system.
1) 5E will be able to accommodate every game table's visions of D&D.
2) 5E will be your vision of D&D.
3) 5E will allow you to create your vision of D&D.
I believe they have said, and their goal is to, provide the 3rd option. However, when people hear that 5E may include something that their vision does not include (save or die, clerics, vancian magic, xp is kill or loot, etc) they feel WotC has suddenly strayed from their initial promises of what 5E will provide. However, I think they are missing the point. 5E is not about providing the perfect system for all visions of D&D, but rather, 5E is a framework that individual groups can build their own vision of what D&D is.
-Going with the postulation that 5E is nothing but a framework for designing your own individualized version of D&D, is 5E even necessary? For instance if I want 5E to run like 4E then why don't I just get out my 4E books and use them. Or if I want 1E then I can get out those books as well and run D&D with my 1E books. And then I can add in all those house rules and tweaks we've been playing with for years.
Really, 5E is not needed for the old-time D&D players. We have our own way of doing things. However, 5E could become the common language that all D&D players speak, whether old grognard or new player. Will 5E become that common language? Who knows, it really depends on how well 5E is received.
However, this then leads to the question, is there a need for a common language of what D&D is or can be? Need? No. But for the growth of D&D and rpgs in general it can certainly benefit from the ability for everyone to be able to "speak" the same rpg language.