I'm a relatively new player who was introduced to Fantasy RPGs with DnD 3.5 and have continued with 4th edition. Now I'm active on forums and I know how they are developing 5th edition, but honestly I think it's a huge step back and want nothing to do with it.
I've seen 13th Age being offered up as the Pathfinder for 4E, but looking at how they present themselves ("13th Age is a love letter to D&D: a rules-light, story-oriented RPG that honors old school values while advancing the OGL art.") I don't like it.
Basically I'm looking for a game which is:
Fantasy Knights and Sorcerers take on Dragons for fun, profit or the hand of a princess.
A class-based system, with as many classes as possible. I have no limit on the number of classes.
A more rules-heavy game. I understand that DM's will fudge rules, but I'd like as many defined rules as possible so there's no heavy burden on the DM. Also, spells/actions should be distinct. For me 4E is distinct. A "This is a blast template, create your own fireball/thunderball" approach is not distinct enough.
None of the rules motivations should be "That's how we did it back in 19XX".
None of the elements should be old school. No "black and white pictures because that's what I had as a kid," and nowhere in the books or press releases should there be lines about "bringing back the good old days of 19XX." I want a game designed for 2012 not 1982.
Balance is desired. Please no Exalted-level rifts between the PC classes for any reason.
I'm sorry if the list is long but does anyone know of a game which fits these criteria? 1, 4 and 5 are especially important to me.
4e fits these criteria somewhat but I don't want to stay with 4e because it's on the road to being obsolete and I want something in print.