Change is hard to swallow, it is the human nature and we cannot do anything about it so like every change, the new Release Editor can be a surprise for some.
To be fair with you, I think it is a major step ahead, for a few reasons. Usability is on top of the pile of course, as I can have a high level overview of what my pipeline does without digging into the technical details of the process.
Then if you look at the Artifacts section, you will see the amount of sources you can choose from:
Being VSTS a truly interoperable DevOps platform spoils you for choice – I really appreciate the having Package Management in such a prominent place, because it enables all sorts of consumption scenarios for NuGet packages as a build output, including a cross-organisation open model.
Then on the Environments section, the templates provided cover lots of scenarios and not only with cloud technologies. One that is going to be really appreciated in hybrid DevOps situations is the IIS Website and SQL Database Deployment.
This template creates a two phase deployment that serves as a starting point for most on-premise deployments with IIS and SQL Server.
The Web App Deployment supports XML transformations and substitutions by default:
The data side of the story is really interesting IMHO as it employs DACPACs by default, together with a .sql file and inline SQL options:
I think it is clear I really like it