One issue I have with D&D 5e is that I feel there’s really a lack of options when the character progresses. Don’t get me wrong, I like the concept of Bounded Accuracy as it makes room for epic situations where I can increase numbers as a challenge, instead of increasing levels, but I get the impression that once the player chooses a race + class + background, pretty much every level increase boils down to more hit points, better characteristics and an ability that is predefined for the class. Even with the inclusion of feats, I feel the characters are pretty much on a straight line with little room for the players to customise their character in non interpretative ways.
For example, if I’m interpreting the rules correctly, let’s say I create a pretty standard Dwarf Fighter. When I create the class, at Level 1, I get proficiency with all armours and all weapons and I get to choose two skills and a combat style. Then, at level 2, 5 and 9 I get a predefined new ability, there’s no choosing, I just get that one. At level 3 I get to choose a path, but still, once chosen it will follow from there with predefined advantages when I reach certain levels. My feeling is that every Warrior will be similar to each other, if two players choose to play a Fighter (even if they choose different races) they’ll end up with very similar characters from the capabilities point of view… Yes, they can personalise in background and history, but essentially I’ll have two players that can do more or less the same coming from different backgrounds.
The same logic applies to replayability. I have the feeling that running to adventures with two different warriors will feel exactly as if you were playing them with the same character all over again.
I have no experience actually playing the system so, is this just my misinterpretation of the rules or is it that lack of customisation real? If I’m misinterpreting the rules (I’ve reread over and over to try to find more flexible interpretations), are there any advice that you can give to make characters more flexible? Maybe an example of how two warriors starting at level 1 can be leveled up to look significantly different to each other.
To clarify, the main intent of the question is to verify if I’m misinterpreting or perceiving the rules wrongly and, in case I am, how to make character evolution appealing to players, as right now I can’t since it doesn’t look appealing to myself.
Example of answer would be: “Yes, that is a limitation of the system that streamlines character creation and ease of play” or “Not at all, you have the options to choose this and that and that will make your character significantly different at level 6 than if you had chosen this other advancement path”