Your right, and bring back THACO while we are at it
Game Systems evolve, nothing wrong with that. While we may not always agree that the direction the game has gone as a good one, it shouldn't stop us from trying new innovations.
I agree that game systems should evolve. The current to hit and defense model is better than THAC0.
I have a bit of a problem with the automatic assumption that if a new mechanic is written in ink in a book, it must be a good rule. One sees a lot of that type of argument here on the boards. It's great because it is 4E. Err, no. It's only great if it is great.
Another problem I have is that of momentum. Once feats came out, they were probably never going to disappear. Feats probably aren't mechanically that good of a solution to whatever problem they were intended to fix (presumably the ability to make unique PCs), but now that we've had them for almost 12 years, they're here to stay. Feats (and items) cause a lot of the balance problems in the game system mostly because there are so darn many of them that the designers have no handle on the synergies feats can create until someone posts an uber PC design on a web page, then the designers have to go errata the feat(s) and item(s).
I am all for the game evolving to something better. Except for feats, I was a very big proponent of 3E when it came out. It improved many many many facets of the game system. It had it's warts as well, but nothing too egregious (at least until Polymorph and Haste tricks came along).
4E, on the other hand, did improve some facets. It made the DM's job easier. It simplified monsters (although it didn't quite balance them and it didn't quite have enough info on them).
But from the player's side, 4E had some extremely radical ideas which just didn't jive with some players as to what D&D is all about. Granted, many people play 4E now and people are comfortable with it, but it (and the WotC business model of not giving players what they want) has some, IMO, significant game mechanic flaws. The math problems, the plethora of conditions and effects that slow up combat and increase bookkeeping, the fact that every PC is a healer, miscellaneous spells cannot be cast in combat, the inability of monsters to keep up with the PCs at higher levels, the issues with Dragon and Dungeon, Character Builder being online, the promised online tools not appearing. These and others issues created a D&D schism where many people chose PathFinder (or 3.5) instead.
All 4E fan claims to the contrary, 4E in some ways was an eventual major disaster for the franchise and it's VERY telling that they are putting out 5E probably less than 5 years after 4E and 2 years after 4.5 (i.e. Essentials). Putting out a new version of a game system and convincing your customer base that it is actually something they want to spend money on is a very costly decision.
I want 4E to evolve into 5E. I just don't want it to evolve into something that will create an even greater schism in the D&D community. I actually want 5E to be better than 3E through Essentials so that it will bring a significant portion of the D&D community back together. I don't think it can do that by going away from 3E/PathFinder even more with fate points, powers, feats and magic items that are super specialized for each class as opposed to a group of classes, conditions that last for a differing amount of time in an encounter which effectively boil down to 0.5 to 3 rounds, but with just different mechanics, etc.
I think 5E has to do that by being somewhere between 3E and Essentials, taking the best from all versions in between (possibly borrowing some ideas from PathFinder, but not blatantly), adding some other new good ideas (and possibly some old ones from 1E or 2E), and jettisoning the rest. This too is an evolution. The 4E stuff that didn't work so well (especially stuff that split up the D&D gaming community, regardless of how eloquent specific mechanics might be to 4E fans) should be evolved away from and merged into something that a higher percentage of all D&D players would enjoy playing.
Not a simple task, but probably a necessary one if the business is to not just rest on its laurels and gradually fade away.