I personally love the new format, but there's a couple things that do make a little tough to follow even for an experienced vB user. My biggest beef is the greying out of topic titles.
In other forums I frequent, topics with unread posts and previously read posts are the same color, but topics with unread posts are bold. When you click a topic title and then return to the topic list, the title is still the same color, but it's simple no longer bold.
On this site once you have clicked a topic title it goes from bold to non-bold, but it also turns from maroon to grey. We've all been conditioned to understand that topics we've already read turn grey, but when someone adds a post the title turns bold again.
Sorry if that is hard to follow, but basically you have conflicting info. You have Bold text that says, "You haven't read this yet," but you have grey text that says,"You read me already..." That has been a little tricky for me to follow. I've gotten the hang of it, but it still makes me think twice when I'm opening a topic I read previously...
It's not too hard to remember the title of a well talked about topic, and I think the greying out of titles needs to go.