Every so often I go by RPGnet, just to check things out, and see what the latest word is on noisms's Monstrous Manual reading. I'll see this wall of [4E] tags, generally in front of character optimization threads or arguments, and occasionally I'll get this very strong sense of not belonging to modern D&D.
Which is weird, because it's not like the content is that different from the usual talk on 3.5 forums. While I do enjoy a bit of character optimization, my tastes usually run towards poking around the strange corners of the system rather than actual character optimization, and even for that I have a limited tolerance. So I never had much to say on the usual 3.5 forum, either.
But I still felt basically at home there. 3.x D&D was my game, the game that I started on, the game I knew and loved. Even when I wasn't playing it (which was most of the time, my major campaigns being based on d20 Modern and Arcana Evolved) I still basically understood it, and could discuss it, and cared about it.
But now? I go into the D&D forums and it feels like I'm not even on the same planet as some of these people. Even the people saying things I've said myself about the game in the past -- it's easy on the DM, combat's fun, fast, tense -- I just can't quite grok, because I keep wondering when they're going to notice that the tension is completely artificial. And the ones who are talking about this or that supplement and how humans are suboptimal and how this power combines with that other one--no clue, man. None.
Not that 4e is a bad game. On the contrary, it's a very good game. But--it's like this. I see someone say "D&D," no qualifiers. I know what that is, I've been playing that since I was twelve. Then I see the words like "starlock" or "dragonborn," and I have to do a double take. "That's not D&D," I think. But it is.
It's an unsettling feeling.