In a post on his blog, John Wick makes some very good points about the differing goals of a board game (victory) and a roleplaying game (character development) and argues that D&D, especially 4e as it’s cast, is more of a board game than anything else.
Now, a lot of the people in my gaming group hate John Wick with the fury of a thousand suns, because he is an asshole. I concede this point; however, he’s an asshole who frequently makes good points. I see their point too, however – his anecdote about his thief named Rav seems to be an example of people who “roleplay” as a thinly veiled excuse to make the other gamers’ lives more difficult. Although perhaps he would have stuck by his ideals and, if the rest of the party had caught him stealing and decided to lynch him for it, applauded the resulting story.