Let's round out a trio of 2014 previews with Panini's 2014 Donruss offering.
Something Panini could do in future releases is push for the Topps Total aspect, and issue a card for all players from the 40-man roster, or everyone who had playing time the prior year. The 200-card set includes Diamond Kings (30 cards) and Rated Rookies (15 cards), so only 155 base cards will be issued. I like the look, though the borders seem a little large; 1987 Donruss is one of the set's most memorable designs.
As far as parallels, Silver Press Proofs, Season Stat Line, and Career Stat Line cards appear one per box. Donruss has included Gold Proofs in the past, and there is a possibility for other unannounced parallels to be issued.
Panini has done some things right. They're bringing back several recognizable series names and including a lot of classic designs. There are big names in the release - the sample relic and autographs are all pretty big stars. And depending on your tastes, the insert sets are collect-worthy, unlike most of Topps' predictable flagship insert offerings.
However, there are areas to improve on, even before the release; mainly, the base set is too small for a flagship and the Diamond Kings should be art. I could be speaking too soon on that aspect. By recycling old designs and old series names, Donruss becomes another Topps Archives. I think that the Score name could be brought back as an inexpensive flagship brand, though, and Donruss becomes a mid-level annual release. But, then Panini has Pinnacle, which did the same thing with a futuristic throwback feel.
There's no reason the sets can all coexist. Donruss covers the traditional flagship line, Score a possible budget line with Pinnacle being a more modern line. Prizm takes care of the Chrome route, and Golden Age is the truly vintage throwback set like Goodwin and Ginter. And then there's Cooperstown, which has a lot of potential for a few years (if they honor enough of the more obscure players, as they should) before it just really repeats itself.
I know I'm down for the base set and the Diamond Kings subset. We'll see what those inserts without previews look like!