If I get it right, DnD next will have some quite interesting features in character design. I've been tinkering my own game systems (but dropped the design when I found savage worlds which filled my rpg needs for now) and one feature I've been think of is having classes as a less rigid packages you can 'buy'. From what I've read, DDN will have an approaches to classes that resembles this. What I hadn't thought of was buying races as this kind of packages. If you have read the collected info page of enWorld you have probably read the part about "allowing a character to play 'elf' class if he wants to".
This is brilliant way to approach character building. You have classes, but they aren't classes in traditional way, so those that don't like classes can think of them as 'training'.
Example of character creation this way
My vision of what character creation could be would allow 3 picks for example, allowing following builds:
-Fighter. Perhaps the fighter could get 2 or even 4 extra feats, or extra attack bonus/hit points for additional picks invested for the packet.
-Fighter, Thief, Wizard. A classic.
-Elf, Fighter, Thief. You choose race instead of one of the professional picks.
-Elf, Human, Thief. What an excellent way of implementing half-races this would be! I wouldn't mind having best of both races, as you lose elsewhere.
Races could of course be picked only in beginning, unless something else gives you for example 'Celestial' race. Professions might be bought as two steps, by one feat allowing to pick one feature from a class package, second making the character fully multiclass.
What speaks against this is what I remember reading about different classes having different progression, requiring different amount of xp to level up. I didn't find it now so perhaps it was just someone's speculation I read, but this might also work if amount of picked packages defined the amount of xp to level up.
I really hope DnD next would be implemented this way - at least it would be my ideal of how to handle classes; Not strictly limiting molds but rather add-ons you can attach to your character. I like classes but not as they have generally been presented in D&D. Focusing on one or few options should also be rewarded in format of stronger skills and abilities.
One thing I'm wondering is how is character development going to be handled; by bringing the character development slower (making levels matter less) perhaps needs you to choose from what to take instead of increasing attack bonus, hit points, defenses and abilities. I like how Savage Worlds has done this, as pretty much every 'levelling' feels meaningful. Perhaps hit points and other abilities are capped