. . . I'm tired of seeing, "4th Edition is not Dungeons & Dragons."
I don't see how liking one means hating the other.
Dungeons and Dragons builds communities. That can be as simple as a single play group or as large as the RPGA. These communities, in turn, are founded on social interaction that is mutually reinforcing when that interaction is positive. As a consequence, players become invested in that interaction, in that play experience. They do so not solely because they are getting a kick out of pretending to be a heroic fantasy figure but also, perhaps moreso, because of the social context of the game. When this social context is threatened, those most invested will protest.
4e threatens the social context of the preexisting play community in two ways. First, it is simply different, different to a degree where no conversion is possible, to say nothing of changes to the backstory. This compares unfavorable from a community standpoint with 3.0, which at least offered the possibility of a conversion, even if not a one for one conversion. Second, and more importantly, 4e’s focus is on tactical combat, rather than roleplaying or playing within the context of a story. To illustrate, 4e can be played perfectly well as just a skirmish game - no story or roleplaying, just some monsters and a fight. No prior edition’s combat system was so robust as to allow just the combat to function, 360, as its own game and a satisfying one as just that.
By both measures - the experential and the objective, rules dominant focus - 4e is not D&D in any accepted or expected sense except that it is branded so. Those who object to anyone saying “4e is not D&D” are proving the point that 4e is in fact not D&D. If 4e were D&D in an accepted or expected sense, there would be no need to object because no one would be saying “4e is not D&D.” That enough people are finding that 4e is not D&D to say so often enough to see some others object only makes the point - experentially and objectively looking at the rules dominant focus, 4e is not D&D to a significant segment of the community recognizing that, as noted supra, D&D is a game of communities. The community has spoken - there is no consensus that 4e is D&D, except in name.
But this doesn’t matter, right? We can all just live and let live, right? Wrong. The community, or at least a significant part of it, perceives a threat. Like a mob, the community does not stop to think the matter through. It reacts to the threat and seeks to neutralize it, avoid it or alert others in the community to it. And the threat is real.
Unchecked, 4e will replace existing D&D communities with 4e D&D communities. The new is almost always perceived as “improved” and certainly sold that way. Some will find it so. Others will simply follow the fashion. Thus, 2e communities replaced 1e communities and 3e communities replaced 2e communities, while 3.5 communities replaced 3.0 communities. Some held out but most older edition communities were replaced. Existing 3X communities are presently fighting emergent 4e communities for the right to survive and not be replaced. The internet, the OGL and Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG give the 3x community reason to believe they can succeed. The internet, the OGL and Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG give existing 3x communities the means to fight with a prospect for survival.
Why must it be a fight? It is a function of history. Gamers have been taught that it must be so. 1e replaced 2e as THE ONE GAME. 2e was replaced by 3e as THE ONE GAME. 3e was replaced by 3.5 as THE ONE GAME. The days when OD&D could be supported alongside AD&D are long gone. Gamers have been taught that there shall be THE ONE GAME and hence the 3x community and the 4e community have at it. Indeed, Wotc today has it that 4e is to be THE ONE GAME, when it might have allowed continued support for 3x (but one need only look at the GSL to see the contrary intent). The zero sum mindset continues and Wotc is its chiefmost sponsor.
So. 4e is not D&D in fact and by acclamation. And it’s a fight.