when warhammer 2nd edition came out, I did'nt have any advance warning. I was in the comic shop picking up my weekly comics, and saw it on the new release shelf right across from the register. I picked it up and put it with the comics I was buying without even looking at the price or opening the book, I was so stoked.
If I saw this monster box on a shelf, I'd take one look at the back, see the funky dice, and look a bit more. Then I'd realize its was far too different from the old system, and with a $100 price tag, put it back on the shelf. I wouldn't be able to us any previous expansion material.
1st and 2nd edition were largely compatible. Stats and combat systems were basically the same. Career advancement was nearly the same. It refined the combat by using more well defined actions, and broke the skills into talents and a deeper skill system. The magic system was the most drastically changed (still not 100% happy with it) but was easy enough to learn.
When Dark Heresy came out, we see a system that is basically a V3 of warhammer: Deep classes replace careers and advancement, variable stat and advancement cost provide a logically scalable progression, psychic powers replace the magic system, the combat system has more defined actions reflecting the technology of the setting, and again: skills and combat system are basically the same. Its is easy to learn and pick up because of our familiarity of the setting.
With WFRP 3E, the initial release is more expensive. $100 vs. something like $30-35 for the core rulebook when it came out a couple years ago. Gone are the familiar combat and skill system - indeed, there is no resolution system like previous editions due to the different dice. The cards are there as 'gaming aids' for the players, to speed up play so that we can focus on storytelling. Well, if something is optional, why isn't it sold separately? How much would it cost to buy just the rulebooks? All the information is there isn't it?
My impression from the preview photos eveybody has seen is that no, it isn't optional. The shrink wrapped books in the cases appear to be thin and staplebound - there isn't much meat in there. All the stuff is appears to be in the cards. Its not a board game - but it has all the hallmarks of one - one look at FFG's Descent or Arkham Horror (two board games I enjoy) shows much the same items. In FFG's defense, they weren't the first - WOTC did that when they brutalized D&D's 4th edition, and released all the powers on cards. Many of my friends and I play that game, and enjoy it. It is a fun little game, but it doesn't in any way feel like D&D to me. At this point I estimate that will be my opinion of this new edition. It may be fun, it may be easy to learn and play, but it won't "feel" like the old editions, which I think is the problem.