You really wouldn't know it by the editorial's title, but this two-page write-up on Blogcritics Gaming is essentially a very brief Baldur's Gate II retrospective that also breaks down four primary tenets that the author looks for in an RPG:
Clear goals. Kill that ogre, retrieve that magical spear, uncover what the ambassador is really up to.Have you ever read a corporate vision statement? It's never (Sell 5 million widgets.) It's more along the lines of (Maximize ROI by pivoting on key granular innovations in the widget ecology.) Neat! Now what am I supposed to do again? Shut up and get back to work? Yes, sir.
Proportional rewards. Namely, experience points and gold. Most of us have put in time with a guy or girl we're crushing on only to discover that he or she has long since relegated us to the (friend zone.) Or worse, you're happily married until you discover that your partner has mentally left months or years earlier. That stinks, but it happens a lot.
Progress. You advance in levels, becoming demonstrably more powerful. Don't get me wrong I've made (progress) in jobs, relationships, and even happiness over the years. But it often seems to be the result of happening to be in the right place for something to happen. Too often in the workplace, hard work might be taken for granted, but sucking up is always appreciated!
Do-overs. Demogorgon making mincemeat of your party? Try again with different tactics. Or different party members. Or say (to hell with it) and don't fight him at all. I once called a friend's fiancÃ©e his (human ATM machine.) Oops. Would love to be able to reload the last save before that unintentionally ugly statement came out of my mouth.