In his latest Legends & Lore column, Mike Mearls talks about some of the thoughts behind this version of the playtest and why certain aspects were designed that way. He also makes some suggestions for people who want a more old school game.
Those of us who are doing the playtest know about the whole removing themes and backgrounds on the character sheet, but Mearls has offered up a couple of other suggestions to make D&D Next a bit more like AD&D. Obviously this is purely to experiment with the game's modular mechanics, but it would be worth doing.
For example, he suggests getting rid of the cleric and wizard's minor spells and equipping the wizard with a brace of daggers. Back in the day, when the wizard was out of spells he'd spend the rest of the fight lobbing knives at the enemy, which in my eyes is kind of dull, but if you prefer that way of playing then go ahead.
Another thing he said was to remove Hit Dice as far as healing goes. A lot of people are unhappy that players can heal, although Mearls does point out that in the Friends and Family playtests many people were vocal about the lack of healing. So if you think that Hit Dice should be tossed aside, feel free to do so and see how it goes.
Although not a suggestion to make the character sheet simpler, Mearls does point out that they are thinking of giving fighters the ability to choose two themes instead of one, so he suggests taking the Guardian theme of the Cleric or Moradin and also giving it to the fighter to see how it plays.
I think that the modular format is a good one, although I can't see myself getting rid of themes and backgrounds, since feats and skills do give you a lot of good advantages and it would be a shame to lose them, but I understand if they're not everyone's cup of tea.