I'm not a grognard. I haven't been around gaming since the beginning, even if part of my gaming pedigree touched on the Moldvay D&D Basic & Expert Sets and the 1st Edition AD&D modules.
But I am getting a little whiff of that generational gap that creeps in when talking to younger folks. You know, the ones who think that a remake of a song is the original version, or that a movie that they saw on HBO only came out a few years back instead of a couple of decades back.
New gamers that I meet -- excited about RPGs and settings -- begin talking about something I think I know, like Forgotten Realms, and then veer away from it by mentioning D&D 4E.
D&D 4E is a game I only skimmed and then avoided. It wasn't what I was looking for in D&D. I did like the initial work in D&D 3E -- I liked a manageable list of Feats, I liked the options for multiclassing, the rationalization for saving throws, and so on. I was a bit perturbed by things like attacks of opportunity, but I rode along for a while. But then it started to get larger and larger in terms of rules.
This was different from what I was used to -- most of the books that came out for D&D were settings and adventures and that kind of thing. Now the rules expanded to eclipse even HERO at the time, and the streamlining in certain areas was now overwhelmed. I mean, I might as well just go back to HERO because, while there is a fair amount of ruleweight to learn, it's pretty much the same core rules all throughout, just different applications here and there -- a steady block of rules instead of a constantly growing one.
And then they shifted to 3.5, which totally pissed me off and alienated me. I stuck to 3E, but then drifted off to other games.
But for the new generation, 4E is it. It's the new thing, its the current thing, it's the gateway into the hobby and I don't want to kill their enthusiasm -- but I can't share there exact same passion for RPGs because our preferences and landmarks and experiences are vastly different. I end up being this aloof 'game veteran' who tries to change the topic because he doesn't want to be rude and belittle someone's current passion, but risks doing that very thing by changing the topic.