This was originally posted at Enworld.com, in their forum on 4E stuff. I seem not to have posting rights there, and wanted to comment about it to somebody...
"Jennifer Clarke Wilkes has a post up on her Gleemax blog about Paragon level (11-20) playtesting. It's short so I'll quote it all here, since some people don't have DDI accounts:http://www.gleemax.com/Comms/Pages/Communities/BlogPost.aspx
So I decided to push my at-home playtest group up to the next level of the D&D experience. We've been playing pretty steadily for the last little while and have become reasonably familiar with the new game. I decided to bump the PC levels up to 12th and see how it felt to take on a bigger challenge.
The party consisted of five characters: a tiefling warlock (infernal, naturally), a halfling rogue, a dwarf fighter (polearm specialist and opportunity attack monster), a human cleric, and an eladrin wizard. I put them up against a Large black dragon in a murky grotto. Then we had at it.
Obviously I can't say a lot about mechanical details, but the black dragon has a schtick that is truly dangerous--keeping the PCs on the defensive a lot of the time. It was able to hold out for seven rounds against an entire party and caused them to use up pretty well all their limited resources. Its ability to respond immediately to PC actions was a nasty surprise as well for those used to earlier-edition dragons.
I'm looking forward to more paragon-level play at our office playtest group next week. I wonder what Chris will throw at us..."
On Enworld, they're all commenting about dragons & warlocks & power levels & stuff, seem, to me, to missed the crucial point here: The PHB is supposed to be finished.
The rules are supposed to be done.
All but the final finishing touches, which they're going to smooth out over the next four or five months, then send it off to the printer.
They are only now starting playtest of the rules from 11-20th level, and the core rules go up to 30th.
This bodes not well for their publishing schedule, and very not well for game balance at the upper levels of the core rules.