Originally Posted by CountChocula
I'm quite familiar with 1e and 2e rulesets. The random loot, random dungeon, random encounter generators are very important tools in the GM's arsenal which greatly enhance the roleplaying experience. There are even random tables for figuring out an NPC's backstory and personality on the fly.
Never played 3e and although what you are saying sounds ridiculous, I'll take your word for it. I know the 3e ruleset has a bit more focus on battlemaps and minis.
However, regardless of whether you start your adventure in a dungeon or not, you still have a character (not "someone who bashes monsters") and the GM still asks you, "What do you want to do?" At that moment, you choose to do whatever the hell you think your character would want to do. Perhaps the story involves more battles with goblin tribes and less interesting NPCs, but that narrative is still going to unfold through the choices and actions of those characters. And you are playing with other players, who also make choices based on what they think their characters would want to do.
Perhaps your thief slips the GM a note having decided to try to pickpocket another player's mage. Perhaps your paladin is a brave soul with an unnatural fear of rats, who flees at the sight of them, only to be later chastised by his comrades, etc. Or maybe your elven mage speaks a little goblin, and wishes to use an invisibility spell and listen closely to what the goblin chieftain is saying to his underlings in hopes of finding some lost arcane book rumored to be hidden in this dungeon.
If you are contending that some folks are playing D&D without characters and without being able to choose what they think their character would want to do, in some way pretending to playing a video game with minis, then absolutely, those people are not role playing. The sad thing is that the video game they are emulating was influenced by some of those earliest computer games from the 80s where you pretend to play a role playing game.
In order to role play, you need a role and you need to be able to "play" it, by choosing what you think that character would want to do