Driddle said:Am I way off base?
Sorry to say it, but in a word, yes. Or so it seems to me, anyway.
"Number-crunching, min-maximizing, strikeforce team tactics, and building new characters at higher levels" have been in gaming since the beginning, back before desktop computers existed. Remember that D&D has it's roots in wargaming, where all of that is essential to success. Those things remain an obvious playstyle choice, and there have always been gamers who choose it.
The fact that you hear about it more now doesn't mean it is more prevalent in the gaming population. It probably only means that bulletin boards like this one make it easier to communicate with more gamers. If only 10% of the gamers choose this mode, and at home you know 10 gamers, only one of them will show the behavior. But on EN World, you may see 1600 such people, and it looks like a mob compared to your previous personal experience.
Character construction may look like computer gaming modules, but that has nothing to do with actual play. In the past with D&D, there were relatively few choices to make in character construction. 3e gave us much more customizability, and did so in an organized manner. Some may use this as a tool to min-max. Others may use it as a tool to create a specific persona. The tool is a tool - it doesn't make you use it in any particular way.