Instead I'll just say my piece here.
I chuckled a bit when I read this. As much as 4e might have “failed” to meet its objectives in any broad sense, it seems to have worked exactly as intended for me. The “mistake” as you called it, allowed me to dip my toes in the water. But I realize that I’m not everyone and, even if I was, at some point, representative of the non-playing masses, many of us required people already invested in the game to show them how to play. If those invested players hated the game for the reasons you gave (and I know a number who do), then we blind newbies would either move to earlier editions/Pathfinder recommended to us or give up in disgust over the edition wars.
This is likely to get me into trouble, but I’ll say it anyway. One of the biggest positives and negatives of the D&D community is that we care too much. We love the game, we love sharing the game, but we want to share our own version of the game. We will repeat old stereotypes, gather around our “the right way to play” banners, and drive off most of the uninitiated. Honestly, it sucks sometimes.I realized at that moment exactly why I dislike so much of modern gaming. It's the Big Mac theory and a direct reflection on the industry.
To me the whole point of the RPG is to, for a short time, live inside a different world. And everytime you sit down at the table with a new Dungeon Master you'll visit a different place. Some will suck. Some will be awesome. That's life
McDonalds was so proud of the fact that whether you bought a Big Mac in New York or California you would always get the same burger. The experience would be the same everywhere you went. This became a big part of the reason why they became the huge multi-national they are today.
But not everything should be a burger.
Imagine walking into a bookstore and finding only one book on all the shelves entitled 'Book'. You laugh a little, buy a copy and go home and read it. It was pretty good and you head back to the store only to realize that ever single book is the same one you just read.
This is the modern gaming attitude that I have found where ever I go. I made a comment one time that no rules were perfect and that imagination came in really handy if you're going to be a gamer and the response was ' If I wanted to write my own F'ing rules I wouldn't have bought the game'.
As the guys said over at 'WTF?, D&D!?' said:
Steve: People cried about them dying (Arneson & Gygax), but when Gygax went what we really lost was a final authority on all rules arguments. And even though the number I had for Gygax was probably no longer in service, I always had that reassuring feeling like if I was really in a jam and my characters were insisting they wanted to grapple someone I could call up Gary and ask him how to resolve it.
Zack: He's gone now, Steve, but his spirit lives on in the exciting new 4th Edition of- I can't even type that out. Does anyone play that?
Steve: It's pretty fun.
Steve: For stupid babies.
Zack: I would imagine Gygax had his detractors back in the day.
Steve: Gygax didn't have 50 writers and 100 artists and color printing. He just went out there and said, hey, here's how you subdue a dragon and sell it as a slave. Here's what a robot is doing in a fantasy game. Deal with it. I made it up, deal with it.
Zack: And now a committee has designed everything.
Now I have to get back to the feast table. Lord Hurgamurga, is about to regale us with tales of his heroic balance.