Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 3rd Edition
After reading the description and blog postings on the FFG website, I'm not sure it's such a great step forward.
First off, no matter how many goodies go with it, $100 is not a good price point for a Core Set, even if a group only needs one. Compare that to D&D 4e's Players' Handbook, which retails for $35. Sure, by the time you buy PHB2, PHB3, DMG, DMG2, MM, MM2, power cards, miniatures, tiles, and so forth, you've plunked down a huge chunk of change, but front-loading the cost isn't good business.
An even better example is an indie game like Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies: just buy a $30 book and buy or scavenge a few dice, and you're ready. Indie games are light on mechanics, so you seldom if ever need extra components to streamline the rules.
Second, basing an RPG's rules entirely around special color-coded dice with special symbols, special cards with rules written on them, special printed character sheets, special career cards that align perfectly with the character sheet, and special cardboard components that link together into a cautious/reckless track (whew) sounds overwhelming. All these measures tame what might otherwise be horrendously complex rules by putting intelligence in the objects ... but is complexity really the right trend?
Unless you're in school full time, and maybe not even then, spare time is a valuable commodity. The current game I'm in is on the rocks because players have quit and the GM acquired serious real-life responsibilities. Will enough people have time for an RPG involving four booklets and an explosion of components? Maybe, if they're drawn to the shiny ... but how long will that last? Compare this to Spirit of the Century which introduces the idea of a pick-up game: a self-contained game session, with previously-created characters, fit in where enough players have time. If anything, simplifying mechanics so that players need only a small one-sided character sheet and dice (funny symbols or no) appeals more to harried adults.
Third, if this becomes a trend then independent RPG companies need equally elaborate and expensive components just to compete. If this doesn't become a trend, this version will sink like a box of carefully crafted stones.
I might end up getting the Big Box of Warhammer anyway, out of sheer curiosity ... but, given how hard it is to find someone who doesn't play D&D 4e around here, I don't expect I'd use it.
"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
- Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)