Regardless of what game system I've played, its the GM/DM that makes the biggest impact on whether I had fun playing. Sure, as a player I can decide my own characters actions, but without the support of a DM who works with you, things get boring / frustrating fast. And when I'm the DM, which is often in my circles, the game system we are playing doesn't matter -- call me static, tired, old, or stuck in my ways, but there is a certain way I like to run a game regardless if it is D&D, Shadowrun, or Teddy A. D'Ventures -- loose scripting with tons of room for player direction and development. It hasn't changed in any of the versions of D&D I've used.
The edition or the game we choose does not determine whether or not we can play how we want to play.
I'm increasing convinced that many people are choosing "sides" and picking a banner to follow because it is just easier that way.
"I'm Old School! Check out my badass tattoos!"
"I'm Pathfinder! Check out my arty style!"
"I'm 4E, Look at my Rinestones! Aren't they purty?"
It's really sort of funny.
I would argue that people might not judge a book by its cover. the book being the DM behind the screen. What DM's do off the clock, planning for the campaign/ adventure/ encounter is their business. What they do behind the screen during play is their business. Fudge a roll? Sure! Roll dice and just ignore the results all the time because they just want to? Sure! Use / Don't Use Random Encounter Tables? Sure! ... what do I care anyway?
As a player all I should be worried about is one thing:
Are we, as a group, having fun?
Sry if this comes off as sort of a rant -- its just beginning to be funny to me that so much time and wind (ink?) is spent arguing about the good ol'days and how people should / should not play the game. Are they having fun? Great!
So many excellent blogs are devoted to fighting the good fight against the armies of Paizo, WotC -- I would much rather be reading game content from those authors. Have we lost our way?