Well according to Nikolas Llyod that is. Nikolas has posted a few videos(after the jump) regarding the evolution of Dungeons and Dragons over time and perhaps a better system for "role playing" is Runequest, or so he prefered in his earlier days of gaming. Nikolas even considers 4th Edition to be nothing more than a "miniatures skirmish game", a view held by many.
While Nikolas does have a few good points, overall I'd say that his viewpoint, like many others out there, regarding the various forms of D&D are a bit miss guided. It appears most of these people with similar views considers D&D to be literally played the way they are written, as if playing monopoly or scrabble. Which if for anyone who's been playing actively for a long period of time and DM'ing knows isn't the case. Even Gary said on many occasions that the rules are just guidelines. One example of this as Nikolas points out is that he indicates that in Runequest one character makes a roll to see if he hits, while the other makes a roll to see if he parries. While indeed this is more "true to life" it also bogs down game play. I certainly don't need to know how every spear thrust from a kobold unfolds, especially if this is an encounter that doesn't necessarily go with the story line. With that said I must admit to times where I too fall back upon this thinking while playing when my players ask over and over again about very mundane or extremely fanciful things. "Will I get burned if I jump on the fire elemental's back?", "What do the rules say?".
The original D&D was very simple to learn and play and why, if you craved more details and granularity, you would eventually move up to AD&D. However in D&D combat rounds were things where many things would take place not just "my character swings once and hits once" throughout the combat round your character was dancing, making feints, dodging, etc., all resulting in the culmination of your die roll which indicated if you scored a significant hit in which to cause harm. Now a lot of DMs don't elaborate on what else could be going on and just announce "you've hit" or "you've missed" in a combat, but other DMs will illustrate a story of the round if its worthy of the story, especially early on when characters are being established.
Just like with 4th edition, a lot of people dismiss it as "a WOW table top experience", and to some extent it is just that, but its also is much more, if you allow it to be. Nikolas even mentions that one play of 4th edition that the DM didn't allow for an action because "there were no rules for it" and he himself thought that "can't you just make some abstract roll for me to attempt?" Sadly that DM didn't allow for such a contingency, but that my friends is the mark of a poor DM rather than a good DM.
You see because these rules are guidelines you can "attempt" anything, whether you "succeed" well that's up to the dice gawds and your DM! You put in as much "role playing" as you like in any of these games. If a group you play with doesn't like the level of role playing you're craving, then I'd suggest either working with the DM and group, or find another group to play with.
Here now are the videos:
Hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for stopping by!