From Spinachcat at the rpg site:
I love 4e because I love fantasy skirmish boardgames. I thought 3e sucked decayed donkey nuts and wails of rules lawyers as they bang their heads against the simplicity of 4e's design is pure music to my ears.
Makes sense to me; from what I've heard 4e does sound like a really good tactical combat game, and I've often thought that 3e sucked decayed donkey nuts too (although not in so many words - I actually think it sucked worse than having one's testicles flayed with a rusty scourge).
On similar lines (tactical fantasy skirmishes, that is - not flayed testicles), this post from Odyssey after finishing off a 4e encounter:
And then the whole party cheered.And finally from this thread, at story-games, which you might have to register to view:
First time that's ever happened in a game I ran. But their lives were on the line, in a way that isn't usual in my games. They were smart--they have the tank wall plus snipers strategy pretty much down now, are learning their powers and how to use them to help each other, and and made some really rather inspired use of readied and delayed actions.
As many people have already pointed out, abilities like "I hit this guy so hard that you can heal yourself" are pretty abstract. One thing that's actually real nice about this is that you have a lot of freedom to re-theme things, as we did with our ancient-India re-theming, precisely because the connection is so tenuous. We got into doing some pretty elaborate narrations for the results of our attacks. And when the rules did something weird, we would come up with an elaborate post-hoc fictional justification for it.
For example, our paladin was a devotee of the raven queen what's-her-name, the death goddess. (Maybe we should have made this into Kali or Yama...) The player explained that the reason he can heal us by hitting enemies is because when we're wounded, invisible raven death spirits begin to crowd around us, waiting to carry our souls away if we die. When he hits the monster, he's like "Hey raven spirits! over here! This guy!" So they leave us alone (causing us to recover from the brink of death) in order to crowd around the newly wounded. Hey, that's pretty cool.
(I've noticed that Warhammer 40k players do this fictional-justification-for-weird-rules-result thing a lot, too. The rules feed into the fiction, but as a wargame, the fiction has no way to feed back into the rules, so it's just something you do to add extra color. I don't know if it's role-playing or not but it's still fun.)
I think that definitely is role playing, and it does sound fun. The fun is arguably in spite of the rules rather than because of them, but nevertheless.
Anyway, what's the conclusion of all this? Well, I'm not sure I'll ever play 4e, but it's nice to know that it isn't the horror show I was expecting.