I'm sick of reading the B.S that "4e doesn't focus enough on role-playing".
<rant>I've been reading up on lots of blogs about 4e lately. Its fun to see how people are viewing the game. In general, I think that our Lords of Tyr group ranges from neutral to highly positive when it comes to 4e. I've noticed a lot of posts out there in the blogesphere that complain about how 4e is too much like an MMORPG and is totally focused on hack'n slash and not enough on role-playing.
What a load of rubbish! Do you need rules to give your character a personality? Do you need rules to interact with the DM and the other players in fun and entertaining ways? Do you need rules to ask the DM about what kind of people are in a local inn and then interact with them? No! Here is rule number one for all you players out there. You are responsible for your own role-playing.
No DM or other player in your group can make a role-playing experience for you. If you want more role-play, than role-play! That being said, I think I know why many people seem to be thinking that the game is all mechanics now. It is because the mechanics are new and different. 4e changes nothing about role-playing. No one is interested in how their role-playing will change. However, everyone that is playing 4e is very interested in how the mechanics work. This is especially so for the more advanced players. So yes, I think the first few sessions of 4e will end up being more mechanics based than anything else, because that is what people are interested in learning.
My suggestion to everyone, is that if you are missing out on some role-playing because of the high interest in the new 4e game mechanics, that you just actually start role-playing. I think that because the game is streamlined, compared with 3.5, that it bodes well for the role-playing centered folks and the hack'n slashers out there. Faster paced combats mean more time for role-play and for combat.
I noticed this during our first 4e game. We ended up getting through 3 encounters. Usually we would be able to get through 2-3. Even with our slower uptake with the rules we got through 3. In my mind that means we can easily get through 3-4 encounters per session and be able to chew through more storyline and role-play because of it. </rant>