Help Wanted: Being a good DM
Alright. I admit it. I love D&D. There's something magical about it that makes me like it. Maybe it's the fact that other than that, I've only bought Exalted (Which is fantastic), but I digress.
I've been a player for a few years, and a DM for even fewer. I've ran some campaigns that my groups have enjoyed, but I have not. The problem? Not enough immersion for my taste.
While my group seems to not mind the hack-and-slash "kick down the door" style of play they are currently pursuing, I have searched for greener pastures. But since finding a gaming group is for some reason difficult around my parts, I am stuck with my current group. Which to me doesn't seem like a problem, given enough time. But, I am at the end of my rope when it comes to this, as inexperience hinders me.
Thus, to the meat of the matter: As with all things, I'm sure practice and experience have much to do in this, but...
How can I become a better DM? Or more accurately, what can I do to encourage more roleplaying among my players? How can I make combat a more important and thrilling yet less-often thing in my sessions? How can I help my players become more immersed and better roleplayers?
As of this moment, I must admit that I'm a bit lost. I've read the impressively long debate over 4th ed. D&D, and it's made me a little wayward. I really love D&D, but the discussions there have really made me think. Equal parts loyalty and financial parts make me want to stick with D&D, so I've really started using a 3.5/4.0 hybrid. But the point is moot if I can't become a better DM and encourage my players to become more immersed in the worlds I create. Thus the questions above, as I have no idea how to proceed. I want to give my players a fun roleplaying experience, but at the same time I'm worried that they might pay too much attention to the rules to be creative.
Any advice is much appreciated and I thank every person who takes the time to read this.