4th feels like a pen and paper MMO to me.
Pathfinder Yep, ok, so 4th was a step in a wrong direction for you. Why?
I actually never could understand this complaint. Yes, pen and paper MMO. This is WONDERFUL. It's like a computer game but you get to play it with real people in front of you. And you don't have any griefing issues. What not to like?
I'm more interested in role playing than seeing what random cool powers and one shots your character can throw at each encounter. In fact, D&D in general is pretty bad at encouraging people to munchkin and be combat focused rather than roleplaying. I enjoy Pathfinder because it's basically pen and paper comfort food, since I grew up with D&D, but there are absolutely other RPGs I'd rather be playing, as a player. As a GM, I can warp the system to whatever style I want, and I do.
As far as roleplaying goes you do not need anything as complex as DND to roleplay. There are zillion roleplaying systems and some of them can be described in just a few pages. D&D as far as I know included combat as an integral part of the game from the very beginning. So in a sense you get what you paid for.
Now my DND experience is very limited I played only a bit of 3rd edition a while ago but I own the core sets for 3.5 and 4th. I enjoy reading them (I'm a rule lawyer type) but you never can fully appreciate a game mechanic unless you actually *play* it as opposed to just reading the rules.
On the face value I liked the 4th chnages in my opinion they fix most glaring issues with 3 (wizards being imba in the end game, healers having nothing substantial to do in combat, etc)
Thus I'm quite interested to know *why* people prefer this or that edition. I never read Pathfinder rules but I understand they are not far from 3.5 with a few tweaks?
With 4th edition I understand Wotc tried to make the game more accessible. I think they succeeded but they alienated a big part of playerbase who can't embrace the changes. Now with DND next they are trying hard to please everybody by providing a slime core and the addon systems so in theory one can use as much or as little of the game system as they want. I'm not sure if this is a practicable approach, time will tell.
So if you guys can explain why you prefer one edition over another or what you take on DND next is, it would be most appreciated.