In the past three days I’ve played 3.5 edition D&D (granted with tons of home rules), Savage Worlds and 4th edition D&D.
D&D has never been my favourite roleplaying game. When I first started playing D&D in 9th grade, I immediately started writing my own rules system (Power Enterprise). I don’t pretend my teenage d30 system is any better than D&D rules in any of it’s various incarnations, but it wasn’t the fact that someone else owned the rights to the D&D game rules that made me want to make my own.
I have played D&D more than any other game system for the following reasons:
It has decades of resources numbering in the thousands, more if you include miniatures (which I seem to collect).
It’s far and away easier to find people who know how to play and are interested in D&D than any other system.
I do enjoy the tolkeinesque genre and there’s something to be said for nostagia.
I’m reasonably intimate with the rules of 3.0/3.5 D&D not because I’ve studied them intensively, but because I’ve been playing it for 8 years. Fourth edition has many changed/altered/streamlined/new rules from the previous version but it is still very much Dungeons and Dragons. If you don’t like the previous D&D rules, then this is bad news. If you like the previous D&D rules – any of them really – then this is good news. They are still convoluted, require lots of math, are made for cheaters, and are legion. Fourth edition D&D doesn’t seem to have any less bookkeeping than previous versions. I only played one game, and since I was a player I can’t comment on the claims that it’s much easier to DM. From my perspective, combat isn’t any quicker. The character who is attacking an orc will still take 5 minutes and the character who is lighting the lantern will still take 5 seconds.