Tycho is right.
They have grown fat.
Lately, I’ve been looking over the Pathfinder rules (I love the fact that all the rules can be found online at Paizo’s site). During the point at which I thought the Godfell Stone was done for, I set up an online Pathfinder game (which, fingers crossed, starts this weekend). It seems everyone is switching to Pathfinder, from Gabe and Tycho to Brian Patterson.
As I say in the next episode of Dice Monkey Radio (due out in a couple weeks), I don’t think people are abandoning 4e. I just think they’re burned out from 4 years of 4e. They need a break, but want something still familiar to them.
Pathfinder harkens back to a time just before our heroes became superheroes, as 4e has made them. Back when you could still end up with a character that could be killed with a single hit. It recalls characters whose entire character sheet could fit onto an index card if you really wanted to. It recalls a time when no one even thought about using a card to depict character’s abilities.
The simplicity is what people are going for, I think. What I’m going for with the new campaign. Less prep, smaller stat blocks. Cursed items.
Pathfinder has successfully avoided system bloat, a disease that ravaged 3e during its reign. Every RPG company in the world was making OGL books, creating rules for everything (Again, this is all stuff we talk about in the upcoming Dice Monkey Radio episode). Pathfinder, though it uses the OGL, has avoided a ton of books. It’s been out almost as long as 4e, and has a total of… I think 5 hardback books. Other companies make products for Pathfinder, but mostly in PDF, so it’s easy to ignore it if you feel like it.
These are the reasons I think 4e is losing ground to Pathfinder. However, sometimes you like vanilla, sometimes you like chocolate. The same people who are flocking to Pathfinder will eventually wander back to 4e, I imagine. There’s enough room for two games in this small town.