I get it, it's interesting to see what the new standard guidelines for D&D will be, especially because 4e was such an outlier. But as far as I'm concerned a different set of standardized guidelines for play is not what I need. And I'm not talking here about having perfectly good older standardized guidelines for D&D.
Are you really concerned that you track ammunition like the DM across town? Or that your players are leveling at the same pace as everyone else at the game store? I doubt it.
I'm guessing the kind of things coming out in the new rule books are the things you are probably very familiar with: classes, xp charts, spell lists. I think of these as the "What" of D&D: "What armor can a wizard wear? What can I do to get my hit points back? What do I need to hit?" They often lead to binary questions: "Can I climb up the wall and onto the ceiling?" "Can I use a sword in each hand?" They are about what is allowed. They seem to be defensive to prevent player creativity from "taking advantage."
I'm much more interested in the "How" of D&D, doing things new or puzzling to me. And I think WotC could still make money selling tools that help with these "Hows." I think a good example is the monster manual. Instead of worrying so much that goblins are the same from campaign to campaign, give me some tools to make my own creatures. But maybe a better example of what I mean by "Tool" is to recount a bit of my session fom Friday night.
Friday Night in Ulminster
My players are in a city. One of them happens to be able to see the future. How the heck do you handle that? Well I made a chart. I let her roll on it each session and we (mostly I) interpret the results. This time someone beloved would be destroyed by sacrifice. Interesting, because she has a great grandfather in the city. How did I know that? Well, I had her roll on this table earlier. So, I said" "You see your great grandfather on a table surrounded by people and they are ceremoniously putting something serpentine down his throat, killing him." So she decided to visit great granpappy. And now I wonder what he's up to, or what he might have to say to her? How do I determine that off the top of my head? We go back to the dramarama table, I have her roll the other three columns, but this time I let her pick the entry rolled or those above or below it (a great technique I learned from ZakS). We find out he is in love but wants her to kill the women. Interesting. Why? Well, if we tie it back to her vision it would be neat and help me out, so I decided she was involved with a cult that my player saw in the vision. But how do I "play" great granpappy? What is his personality? Oh, I've got a table I made for that. I roll and find out he is missing teeth and has a great abundance of . . . talkativeness. Haha, and thus began a goofy monologue, by me, relaying his love for this woman and how she has to die anyway.
Later in the evening the players were at a bear-baiting. How do you do something like that? Cock fights, dog fights? Well I suppose you could run them like regular combat with initiative and everything, but I came up with a simple method of my own. Another player just got rich betting on the bear. And he intends to use that money at an auction of several barges worth or fireworks. An auction, how do you do that? Umm, I think I'm going to come up with interested parties, write their goals and money on index cards and let my other players roleplay them in the auction. But I'm not sure yet.
So that's four tools right there, that I feel I needed to get me through that session and one I need to devise for next time.
I suppose other DMs might consider improvving these details an expectation of being a DM. Or maybe other DMs figure you are supposed to prep all that detail on your own ahead of time. But my guess is that there are a lot of folks out there like me that could use tools to help them run D&D. And I don't see many people selling that (Vornheim is one I know of, giving you a tool for dealing with players searching a library, for example).
I suppose the things in the rulebooks might be tools for folks that are having trouble with different things than me. So, an explanation of skill checks, for example, helps a newer DM know what to do when a player wants to run across a wet log over a stream, or something. But for those mechanical questions we have stats and dice and you can use the two to figure it out. It isn't like there's some optimal solution game designers are trying to suss out like the Higgs boson.
I think I realize now that most of the tools I mention are about generating things on the fly. But not all, auctions, searching libraries, foretelling the future are more prickly problems and not just crutches for DMs with poor improv skills. Anyway, I wish our hobby and the industry attached to it would spend less time worried about standard rules and more time coming up with cool new tools that help me run my game.