There's a reason why I prefer the "older" Editions and that's because of all the changes that took place between Editions. With the advent of 3rd Edition – quickly followed by 3.5 – the "min/maxers" took over the game at the creative level.
I haven't really given it enough thought to put into words my thinking, but then I never had a blog before now either. Two posts rally got me to thinking about this again and I think that these are two posts that should be read by anyone truly interested in the game's development. One can be found at boingboing and the other is located at Gnome Stew.
The first post – Old School Dungeonsand Dragons – talks about how the game started to become "rule bound" and "combat oriented" and both statements are true. The new "Rules" were accompanied by more than a few Charts and Tables; it seems everything would be left to the dice, rather than to the DMs imagination.
Rather than "storytelling," the emphasis was placed on making the most powerful character possible using the "new" Skills, Feats and Combat stats. Role Playing was almost completely taken out of the game. When you consider the fact that the game was originally built upon Role Playing, that's quite a reversal.
The second one -- Classical Play;Niche Protection -- talks about the limitless "Skills" that were created for the new Edition, which only serve to make some Character Classes obsolete and unnecessary. One character can do anything! Man is that boring.
This post points out how a character can become unnecessary by certain other characters taking the appropriate Skills needed to eliminate the need for some characters all together. A character in the "new" Editions could legitimately become a "one man show."
At any rate, I'll allow these posts to "speak for themselves." I encourage you to read them. You might just find them as interesting as I did. They reflect my own thoughts and views on the matter quite well.
Thanks to Peter Bebergal and Walt Ciechanowski for sharing their thoughts with the rest of us.
For myself, I'll stick with the older Editions, like 2nd, and let my imagination run wild!