Okay, I've avoided replying to this thread as asked, but there are some questions directly for me, so I'm going to break silence. Posting has slowed down anyway.
First off: everything I'm about to say here has been made more explicit in Beta 2. That said, Beta 2 is in editing limbo since Adam is on vacation, so you may not see it for a week or so.
Dungeon World is a game of fantasy adventure. Your characters go on adventures that range in scope from saving a village to saving the world. Those adventures usually revolve around a location, possibly an underground dungeon. An adventure isn't a series of set encounters, it's a bad thing that will get worse unless the players do something about it.
The adventures themselves are serious stuff. People's fate hang in the balance, life and death are on the line. The adventurers involved in them may be wise cracking and fun. The tone ranges somewhere from Indiana Jones to Ghostbusters.
Just like those films (and similar TV shows from Bones to Psych) the threat is serious but the player characters are competent enough to meet it with some humor. Humorous events may happen too, but there's rarely a comedy of errors. Along with the wisecracking adventures there are occasional moments of drama, usually based on Bonds.
Adventurers are prepared (they all get rations now, by the way) and well above the average person, but the world is a dangerous one, and they will face tough challenges. It's not grim, but if the players don't act it'll head that way.
Death happens. When you start play you make your first character and then find out how long you'll play them. Characters occupy the perfect level of investment for this: they're interesting in and of themselves but making a new one is quick and easy and they're instantly linked to everyone else.
Death is also reversible. Resurrection becomes an option at 3rd level (a change from Beta 1.1) so that if you so desire you can keep playing a character you lost. Resurrection has been rewriten a bit so that it both poses minimal delay in the action and still requires decisive action to actually bring someone back.
You don't always need to Resurrect because death is a present. It's a goldmine of adventure. You can have a new character in minutes and meet up with the party ASAP and from there your old character's death is just a motivator for more play: who wants revenge? What was left unsaid? Who will miss them?
As a side note: monster damage is high because monsters don't have very long to do damage. They don't nickle and dime you. We're always balancing, but a typical low level monster will likely always be able to kill a first level wizard in just a few attacks, maybe 4 or so. (This isn't quite true in the current rules partially because people love answering those questions "yes," something I didn't quite expect.)
Looking at our influences, we want to draw from the clear focus and simplicity of Moldvay but take some of the broader scope of 2nd and 3rd. That's not the only way to do it, but its the one that I most enjoy playing, so it's what we're designing for. By broader scope I mean that adventures may have clear effects on the broader world that the players will have to deal with, the typical cycle goes something like: adventure -> effects -> deal with effects. The entire thing snowballs through the Campaign Front: your adventures have effects which lead to changes in the world and more adventures. Some of those effects may play out in cities or among noble courts, those can be adventures too.
We're definitely not OSR. We've never really tried to be. That's not an area I quite know enough about to be part of. We certainly draw inspiration from Moldvay in a lot of ways, but we're not trying to make that game. As John is fond of saying, we're kind of going straight to 2nd/3rd Ed Dungeon World. There could be a hypothetical 1E or 0E Dungeon World that was more directly related to Moldvay, but that's not what we're making.
A few direct answers to Dan: I don't quite know what the definition of Sandboxy is here or how in media res runs counter to it. You start an adventure with the players about to do something because any other opening is pretty boring. We're not going to carry over that weird D&D trope where you start an adventure by basically agreeing to play an adventure by taking a job or something.
Actual play is sandboxy, I guess? I'm still not quite sure what that means. Sandboxes are boring, they just sit there. In Dungeon World there are bad things happening, things which the GM is going to make evident. You're going to stop them for gold and glory, or they're going to get right in your face. I don't see where the Front rules say anything about making them relevant to the players, except in that your Fronts are going to mess up the world unless they do something about it. There's nothing there about taking the players into account at all, actually. You're just adding these big bad things to the world that will happen, those kind of implicitly run counter to the players, or at the very least give them an opportunity to make money and gain glory.
It'd be great if you could explain what you find vague. I've edited the hell out of the GM chapter again, but I didn't find much vagueness to begin with. What's not clear?
I haven't had a chance to list the The Podge Cast yet and likely won't get to it for a bit, could you give me some ideas what you heard that doesn't mesh? I've read over much of Josh's stuff (he was kind enough to send a preview copy) and it seems completely in line with the tone we've had in the books so far. The adventure deals with big godly threats and dangerous places, the writing is casual but clear. It reads a fair bit like the Bloodstone Idol, actually.