I know it's a month late -- my defense is that they're overwhelming me with all of these Excerpts. But after reading the entries on Multiclassing and Paragon Paths, I'm more than a little disappointed.
I know that one of the tenets of 4e D&D was to make things simpler, and classes were certainly something that could overwhelm the newcomer. With the near-dozen classes in the 3.5 Player's Handbook and fifteen prestige classes in the 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide, players already had quite a few choices with single-classing or multiclassing.
Then add in all of the accessory books, which, whether a book on magic, evil or monsters, seemed to provide at least one more class or prestige class to the list. With so many (too many?) choices available, it became daunting to try and decide what the next hero of the world would look like.
Of course, there's nothing saying that you had to look through them all, that you had to stray from the starter classes, or even consider multiclassing (or prestige classes). In fact, I'd say that the idea of customizing your character to that extent (whether for power-gaming purposes or that perfect character theme) was the purview of advanced players who could handle an overwhelming amount of choice, and who relished piecing together that obscure combination that exemplified their character vision.
I think 4e has gone too far with simplifying these choices. The multiclassing article basically reduces the idea down to a few feats that give you another class's abilities. And instead of prestige classes, which had a minimum level at which you could start down that path (unlike a true multiclass), we now have the paragon path, which always starts at 11th level.
So, instead of being able to customize your character's training and destiny level-to-level, you're restricted to being different from the fighter down the block only once you've survived a third of your adventuring career. Yes, sure, your feats still allow you to be unique, so now you're the fighter who uses a longsword instead of that guy beside you with the axe. Fighter, meet fighter.
"This approach lacks the intuitive elegance of the 3E system," the Multiclassing post says. I'll say. So much for my human monk/fighter/sword of righteousness/forsaker/initiate of Pistis Sophia gestalt NPC that I never got to use. It will be interesting to see what future class-related releases are produced, either by Wizards or the fanbase, because I don't think the long-time players will stand to be throttled in this way.