I appreciate people play the game differently, but anything more than one or two sounds like a meat grinder, and that's just not D&D for me.
I bet the player on his third character didn't bother putting much into the backstory (assuming he even did on the first one!).
Also, I feel gothic horror in D&D should be scary, and a splatterfest with a high PC body count just isn't frightening for me. There are other, and better ways to scare people.
Finally, aren't some of these Adventure Paths kind of dependent on having the PCs tied into the story? I'm thinking Jade Regent and Skull & Shackles. Doesn't it destroy credibility to have such a high turnover? I mean, even if you're killing off one PC per episode, you've replaced the entire party by #4. Fine if you play it as a boardgame or something, but that doesn't sound much like a story I'd want any part of.
Lastly, I've noticed that story-driven videogames (Dragon Age, Mass Effect etc) make death fairly rare, but when it happens, it's permanent. I like character death to mean something, and constant ressurections devalues the story as far as I'm concerned.
I feel the same way to a point. Yes , the characters are suppose to be heroic people tied closly to the story , but you shouldn't reward bad playing with a hand waved pass. If your PCs rush into a situation that they cant win and refuse to retreat they should be killed. The enemys that they are fighting arent suppose to be sitting around waiting to be killed by PCs. They are suppose to be living things with goals and when something goes wrong for the PC they dont say " Man you guys are getting killed....hey guys lets switch to nerf swords and go half strength."
One of the biggest diservises I see DMs giving to thier groups is not allowing a PC to fail. If you take out all the risk and dont let the die why are you even playing, the out come has already been desided for you. If you tell the guy in full plate " I know you just failed your athletics check to walk on the bridge over the gorge but thats to keep going" then whats the point of even having the skill in the game.
Edit - As a PC if I walk up to a bear at level 2 and kick it in the nose I expect it to eat me not for the clouds to part and be saved by deus ex machina. I've been in games like this and its exremely annoying. As soon as I realized I couldnt die I really pushed it until the DM finally killed me. Highlights included , Biting a bear on the ear only to have it "roll" a few fumbles and be scared off by passing gaurds and slapping the local crime boss and being tosses out instead of killed. Its just bad DMing to hand wave everything just so PCs dont die.
This kinda links into my theory of PC building as well. Killing a character teaches players to build a better PC. Your never going to improve as a player if the DM doesnt allow you to learn from your mistakes.
Edit 2 - Also I should probably say the group I play with on a regular basic are kinda insane action junckies. In book 2 they lite the castle on fire because now its more "extreme".