I am so tired of this fallacious argument. Roleplaying is about how you play your character, not about the seven different skills you possess so you can roll a titanic number and put a quantitative result on how !!!AMAZING!!! you are. The people who complain that roleplaying "took a hit" in 4e don't understand what actual roleplaying is. It's all up to you (and your DM, to a lesser extent). How you play your character and interact with the world is up to you, not your list of +9s. If you think roleplaying is weak in 4e, that's your fault.
Originally Posted by UmbreonMessiah
I disagree. I understand the point you are trying to make, but if we accept that rules influence roleplay at all (which I suppose you don't think is true) then 4th edition definitely stepped away from it.
There was a shift in the mentality of what rules were actually supposed to represent. There have always been strange abstractions in Dungeons and Dragons. In AD&D, hit points, for example, somehow enable fighters to fall a hundred feet and survive with regularity, and all battles took place in increments of 60 seconds. But the underlying idea was supposed to be that they approximated what should actually be happening - if we allow a certain amount of suspension of disbelief - in the game based on what everyone is doing. Part of the GM's role is to discount the rules when they say something is happening that shouldn't.
That mentality simply doesn't exist in 4th edition, or at least, I personally don't see how it can without undermining the point of the game.
One of the most striking examples of this I found when I read the rules for the first time. One of the base classes in the Player's Handbook had a trick where, instead of attacking, she would instruct another character to attack, and they would instantly get the opportunity to attack their foe outside of their normal sequence. It was a neat little trick, that allowed two characters to work together, while mechanically enforcing the first character into a leadership role, while requiring that she have other people in her party to work with to be able to function properly.
But say you were playing the second character in that scenario, and you were commanded to attack. Consider for a moment, what would happen if you had an In Character reason to dislike the first character. Could you refuse to do your free attack? Could you disagree with their tactical assessment and do something else? What if you were in the middle of a leadership struggle with that person, because you thought they were leading the party down the wrong path. If you did choose to make the free attack, after the battle, would you be seen to have lost face, by obeying the leader and tacitly agreeing to their role?
If that maneuver is really balanced, so that the leader character isn't at a disadvantage against a similar character who simply doesn't have fluff that undermines how it can be used, you cannot be expected to make those sorts of decisions. There are times when you roleplay, and there are times when you play a wargame. There is a wall that didn't exist in previous versions of the game, and the mentality has clearly shifted from story informing mechanics, to mechanics informing story.
You can ignore that wall and roleplay during combat, but to my mind, if you do that, you are ruining what is the core of 4th edition: its carefully crafted balance. And considering how much 4th edition had to give up to allow for that balance, that seems rather pointless to me.