Now that we've established a little of the tone and background of this blog, allow me to present my bona fides.
I started playing the D&D game before I knew what the D&D game was. This was around 1979 and some older acquaintances were playing this game with three brown booklets, saw me drawing dragons, and asked if I wanted to play. I ran a dwarf that died in furious single combat with the royal guard of the goblin king. It was the best thing ever!
A few years would pass before I saw the D&D game again. In 1983, some classmates were playing D&D at indoor recess. The books were different, but the game was the same. Having a paper route at the time, I took my next paycheck and hied me to the mall. I came home with the Moldvay Basic Set. A week later, I got the Expert Set and the AD&D Monster Manual.
I didn't know AD&D was an entirely different game - I just drooled over the hardbound book filled with cool monsters. I read through the Basic Rulebook from cover to cover and immediately started drafting a map for my own campaign world, writing adventures, and creating new monsters. What else was I going to do? There were very few campaign settings, adventures, or new options available and I was just that kind of kid.
The next fifteen years went by in a blur of D&D to AD&D games, but all of the games I DMed were set in my own world. That has never changed. In fact, the campaign setting I use now is an evolution of the very first map I ever drew, with all "the good stuff" from every campaign between. As much as I loved AD&D, it was with little hesitation that I picked up the first D20 3.0 books at the turn of the century. "Oh look!" I thought, "Almost all of my house rules in an official book!"
While D20 was great for putting the entire game into a sensible and logical structure for everyone to get on board with, it never felt like an adventure to me. It was more like a homework assignment. New monsters that used to take me five minutes to create were now taking five hours. A player character turned into a day-long venture. And let's not even talk about writing an entire adventure. The sheer investment in time and page-turning was crippling for me. Even after I got used to the rules and structure - it just seemed more work than fun.
With furious anger, I moved to 3.5 a while after it was released and I saw that it was mostly a step forward. When 4.0 was announced, I jumped the Wizbro ship and tried my fortune with Pathfinder. Wizbro will probably get no more of my D&D money, forevermore.
For my D&D future, I see OD&D and Pathfinder - for the duration. I have more books and supplements than I will ever need and I run campaigns in my own settings. The vast majority of my D&D experience has been "behind the screen." Even when I manage to join a gaming group as a hopeful player, the DM tends to abdicate the screen in my favor within 3-5 sessions.
Still, I remain a devoted fan of the game, if not in its future incarnations. Moldvay Basic and Cook-Marsh Expert will always be "my D&D" since they were the books I started with. They showed me what heroic fantasy adventure could be and none have equaled that thrill since. For rules-heavy D&D, I favor Pathfinder. It just feels more like D&D than 3.0/3.5, 4.0, or any of the rest so far. Even if 5.0 turns out to be just what I've always wanted, I can't justify the investment in my mind. Wizbro lost me when they abandoned 3.5 to give us a MMORPCCG tabletop experience. Then they took away my Dragon Magazine and put it online. For that, they have earned nothing but my scorn.
As a DM, my forthcoming D&D adventures will carry me back to the glorious past where heroes lived by blade, spell, and wit - and monsters had d8 hit dice. Game on!