Mod 16 is not out yet.
What is currently on Preview is not final. There are bugs (like serious scaling issues with stronghold mobs) and there are various features that will get tweaked or changed before release - however, other things are pretty much set in stone at the moment.
I was a part of the Alpha playtest, so I have had over a month to think about the changes coming with Mod 16. As you might expect there are some things I like and others that, well...do not improve the game as far as I am concerned, but anyhow, here is my personal opinion:
- The campaign. The new areas look great, and the storyline is fine. OK, maybe some bits and pieces are slightly silly, like the sandcastle-building Kuo-Toa and the Sword+Dragon combination, but overall the new campaign is enjoyable and well done. Sure, there are bugs and issues here and there, but those can get fixed - the campaign design is solid.
- ID scroll removal. The ID scrolls were just an annoyance - I am glad to see them gone. I would have liked the VIP ID scrolls to be replaced with something, though - maybe some healing potions.
- Enchant exchange. With all the changes most players will have to change their builds - they may find out they have too much of one rating and too little of another. Being able to swap enchants and obsolete insignia solves that problem really nicely.
- The ward use cap. No risk of needing 10 wards on a 50% chance. Great.
- Companion changes. Previously everyone would run with one of a few "BiS" companions, but the changes make a larger number of companions viable - at least in certain situations. Decoupling gear from companions also makes it much easier to swap companions in and out as needed.
- Discouragement of bad practices. Things like "standing in the red" or rushing ahead of the group are now actively punished. People have to actively work together, which is a good thing.
- The stats/counterstats. The implementation is not perfect, but the basic idea is good, and should help with the long-term viability of the game - it is easy to add new areas with even higher rating requirements and corresponding new ranks of gear.
- The new level cap. Going from 70 to 80 had to happen at some point, and it opens up progression, but at the same time it makes a ton of gear obsolete. Blue level 72-73 random drops outperform BiS level 70 gear, but that is simply the nature of games of this kind.
- The game is harder - partly due to the removal of lifesteal. That is a good thing...it brings back a sorely-needed challenge for well-geared players. At the same time, the game may have become annoyingly hard for less-geared players, who might have to grind or spend money to get back to actually being able to handle content they could manage before.
- The "1DPS+4Buffers" meta-group is effectively dead. Group content is intended to need a healer now (In some cases it doesn't, but that is partly a tuning issue). Some people may enjoy that - there are people that want to play healers and have been annoyed by the fact that they are not needed. Others liked being in a more generic buff/support sole and may not like the restrictive choices now open to them.
- Companions now take only companion-specific gear. That's logical, really. However, many players are now stuck with rings they previously used on companions and those rings are now essentially useless.
- Scaling. I can see the point of scaling down when you go to "easier" areas, but I am worried they might not get it working correctly - it is way, way to buggy at the moment. Also, some people get a kick out of going back to "easier" areas and smash through content they struggled with before, but that is not really feasible any more.
- Character creation is being dumbed down. Initial primary stats (STR/DEX/etc) now depend only on your class (modified by racial bonuses and later choices). We lose our ability to customize characters and gain nothing. Character creation is a big part of what D&D is about for me, but this makes me feel like I am not trusted to make my own choices.
- The bonuses from primary stats are the same for all classes.. The is fine for some classes, but not others - the highest stats may give bonuses that are just inappropriate for that class.
- The bonuses from the primary stats are so bad that it really does not matter what they are (which somewhat invalidates the previous complaint). Maxing out a stat, and getting only a 0.25% bonus to damage or something that is just unacceptably bad.
- The boons have been dumbed down too. No more hard choices to make. No chances to customize characters based on playstyle.
- Feats used to be meaningful, and have an impact, but the current arrangement of 5 pairs is just bad. There is just no logic to the feats for many classes - and sometimes you have to choose between two good or two really bad ones.
- Professions are practically useless for now. There is not a single Masterwork item worth making. Crafters can make +1 Armor kits (for the new level 80 armors players are getting) or healing potions, but that's about it. There may be new recipes in Mod 17, but for now crafting is effectively dead. I would have liked to see something like craftable BiS shirts/pants or (better yet), craftable Masterwork companion gear.
- Healers are effectively required, but no real attention is given to them. There is a primary stat that gives a bonus to incoming healing, but no stat helps improve Outgoing healing (you can improve that in other ways, though). None of the new weapons, artifacts or artifact gear seem to be designed to benefit healers - they all seem designed for DPSers or Tanks. Forcing players into one of three rigid roles and then ignoring one of the roles like this is not fair. Quite frankly I cannot imagine many people being enthusiastic about playing healers.
Having said all this, I am hopeful that some of the "bad" things will get fixed before release.