How is it better to have a combat than an encounter? That's like complaining movies have scenes.
pre-4th Ed: get description of room, ignore room for fight. kill monsters. search room for loot. check to next room. no interaction between montsers, rooms or other monsters, rooms. (any interaction between them was usually ad hoc by DM, not part of standard design).
4th ed: room description, monsters, loot all presented together as an encounter. DMs are strongly encouraged to mesh all the elements together at once, including events that change the encounter during the encounter.
The emphasis is on creating a scene (encounter), using the elements to create a story with the scene.
Seriously, were you playing the same game? Ever use reaction rolls? Ever read the modules all the way through and read the complex interelationships the writers created for the monsters and ways they might interact with players? Sure, not every adventure but many of them. Ever notice that combat was expected to extend beyond the room, perhaps spilling into the hall and out of the dungeon? Have you looked at the introductory adventure? It's a completely different thing. It's a series of complex D&D mini's scenarios plain and simple.
And I'm not just talking about comparing this to 1E or 2E. We know they had problems. We don't need to rehash that. But they set the groundwork for future RPGs. Take a bigger look at RPGs. Look at the full breadth of RPGs out there today. Savage Worlds. RIFTS. HERO. White Wolf games. The Monte Cook materials. Pathfinder. And yes, even 3E and 3.5E. These all have distinct qualities and presentations that encourage the players to break out of the situation, to explore the world around them, to change the course of the adventure.
One of the things that makes an RPG VERY different from any other game is that it is a living, breathing environment that doesn't require a specific map of actions for its exploration. RPGs are written with this in mind, knowing that characters might ignore a doorway, flee from the enemy, fall back and set a trap, or handle the scenario in any one of a million creative ways.
I'm just not seeing ANY of that in the now published materials, the posts about what is to come, or the previews others have offered. I'm sorry, I DO think this game is cool but when I read these rules, I'm not seeing a role-playing game.