The thing is, I've been playing D&D in its various forms for over 25 years now. There are things in AD&D that still really bug me. I have half a mind that, once I get a replacement laptop, I'm going to embark on my own, personal redesign of bits and pieces of the game. Not a redesign in the sense of adding a skill system or rebuilding things from scratch, but more from the perspective of having played a lot of (A)D&D and learned what I think works, and what I think doesn't.
Really, the list of things to change is short and almost entirely wrapped up in character classes. To whit:
- The fighter could use some other toy to play with. Rangers and paladins are strictly better, and that bugs me. I'd want to see something simple and in keeping with the spirit of AD&D, more like "+1 attack when using a weapon you are proficient with" than a feat or maneuver based approach of 3e or 4e.
- The thief, oh the poor thief. From those who curse its appearance in OD&D, to people like me who really want to play the Gray Mouser without feeling like a chump, I'm not sure this class really makes anyone happy. I'd look to do a radical revision, though I'm not sure exactly what I'd want. Remove the proto-skill system? Make it a fighter sub-class more in-line with a swashbuckler? I'm not 100% sure.
- The assassin is stuck in the same boat as the thief. This is the class I'd like to see embrace the backstab/assassination mechanic. To me, that's interesting, but I think the thief's backstab makes the assassin semi-pointless.
- The monk! OK, I love the concept of the monk, but I always disliked Gary's implementation of it. The monk falls into the same category as the magic-user, in that you have to manage to survive low-level in order to gain massive power at higher levels. However, the magic-user's fundamental weaknesses remain at all levels. Whether a lowly prestidigitator or a mighty wizard, the M-U breaks into a cold sweat when a nasty ogre shuffles up to him. The monk, on the other hand, carpets over his weaknesses with innate, constant abilities. Having played a monk at low and high levels, it is essentially two classes. That shift in playstyle bugs me, and is far too bald a filter between a weak and strong character. I'd seek to balance the monk, strengthening it at low levels and toning it down at upper levels.
I'm not sure I'd change much else. Sure, initiative needs to be fixed up, but that's not something I see as critical. After all, people have played the game for decades without that getting in the way. The class issues are more topics that, for me at least, make the game less enjoyable.