I really dislike the new rules. Here is why:
ACP vs. XP - I find AP to be no easier. I strongly feel this was a change simply to make a change. I actually think it is easier to explain XP to a new player than it is to explain ACP. Two different explanations to a new player: 1) You've earned 300 Experience Points. Your character is now level 2. Your XP accumulates, and you can use the Player's Handbook or the free Basic Rules online to see chart that shows you how much XP you need to level up. 2) You've earned 4 Advancement Checkpoints. Your character is now level two. Every time you accrue 4 AP, you will gain another level. Until you reach level 5, then the amount needed changes. From there on out you'll need 8 AP to level up.
Treasure - I strongly care about the story. There is nothing story-based about the way gold suddenly just shows up when your character levels up. If they are concerned about the in-game economy, then the admins should better guide the writers so that they don't award too much in their modules. Is it easier to explain to new players? Listen to these two examples: 1) Great job, folks. Your characters each earn 150 gold. 2) Great job, folks. You each earn 4 Treasure Points. These only apply to magic items, not treasure. You actually get no gold at all. For gold, you'll have to wait until you level up. Oh, and you'll have to consult a chart to know how much gold you get each time.
TCP vs. Magic Items - See my point about story, above. When a party joins together and epically defeats a fearsome foe, they reap the rewards. Often, they gain a fantastic magic item. If more than one person wants the item, there may be a little tension at the table, but I contend that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The person that gains the item is a little happier, and the person that doesn't yearns a little more for the next desirable thing. Eventually, they will get something cool, and it will be all the more memorable, especially since they had to strive for it. Not so much when they simply accrue abstract treasure points and then pick something off of an appropriate table. In fact, I'm struggling to think of something less memorable than that method. Here are our two examples of new player explanation. 1) Okay people, as I described, the halfling bandit was extraordinarily strong. When you search his body, you notice that the gauntlets he is wearing look very special. They are Gauntlets of Ogre Power. One of you can get them. Who is interested? 2) Okay people, the halfling was wearing Gauntlets of Ogre Power. This item is now unlocked for all of you. In order to actually get them, you'll need to accrue 16 treasure points, then you can trade those in for the Gauntlets. If you find something else you want in the meantime, you can check your treasure point balance on the table in the AL Player Guide and then cross reference it against the magic item tables in the Dungeon Masters Guide, which, by the way, you will have to buy. Oh, yeah, there are also evergreen items that are always available to you. You'll have to check the ALPG for that too. Remember, treasure checkpoints earned at tier 1 can only be spent on items available to tier 1 characters, while TP earned at tier 2 can be spent on items available to both Tier 1 and Tier 2. You understood all that, right?
One of the story related problems with the new TP system comes from modules that are part of a series. For example, in DDAL08-01 to 08-03, the modules literally transition from the end of one module to the beginning of the next module in the same room, speaking to the same NPC. If a character is holding the magic item from the previous module, why do they suddenly not have the item in their possession at the beginning of the current module? It destroys the immersion. I have to say to them, "Well, you didn't expend TP in between the modules to get the item, so it's gone."
Really, the main reason I am so against the gold and treasure point rules is that it absolutely does not feel like D&D to me. I've been playing since I was 12, and one of the best feelings was the anticipation of completing a major quest or campaign, and waiting for the DM to tell you what amazing things you discover in the hoard/treasure chest/hidden cache. There is simply none of that now. I just recently had the pleasure of playing at an excellent DMs table, where he ran DDAL07-18. It was a blast, and a truly epic finale, culminated by... nothing. No gold. No found magic item. Here's an unlock for you, if you want it. I really found that to be deflating. Exactly the opposite of the Christmas morning feeling I used to get at the end of something heroic. Let me be clear, the DM did a fantastic job, the fault lies with the new AL rules, not the DM.
Renown and Downtime - There isn't much difference that I can see, but I'm not sure what to do with renown. Maybe I'm missing something. This brings me to the elimination of the Factions. It’s a bummer to have the Factions heavily utilized and the players encouraged to join, to the point that the Factions became part of some characters identity, only to see them devalued almost entirely. This elimination also makes the older mods somewhat less relevant, since the Factions were often the primary motivator.
The new module format. It is absolutely more difficult for DMs to prep. I think that most of you who have sat at tables I DM know that I try to prep for the mod. I can't stand the new format. Call it luck or call it intuition, but I feel Gygax nailed it when he came up with keyed encounters and box text. I do not see the new format as improving upon that. A DM, running a module cold, is absolutely going struggle with the new format.
I frankly do not think any of these changes are an improvement, and some of them are downright awful. 5th edition has been touted as a system that encourages collaborative storytelling at the table. I can't see how the gold accumulation and treasure check points have a single thing to do with story. They are literally antithetical to the story, which ruins it for me.
[1 of 5 Stars!]