Grab It Magazine has been doing a profile on the different types of RPGs and the best examples of games for that genre.
I like RPGs but WRPGs would be my favorite sub-type. My main draw to them over the other sub-types is that they are open-world. Being open world hasn't just drew me to certain RPGs but to games of other genres as well.
I also love real-time combat. I think when a WRPG enables real-time combat without turning it into a button-masher (as in, you still need to think strategically) it hits a sweet spot.
WRPGs are to me the only "real" RPGs. They were the first and they are the best. JRPGs aren't really RPGs to me at all...they are hard-scripted stories with some grinding tossed in between.
In this day and age, most WRPG are a let down for me. I still pour hours into Morrowind here and there, while I've stopped playing Oblivion and Skyrim. Almost all WRPG within the last decade has been is just a facelift from it's prequels with little or no significant changes to the gameplay. At this point, I was hoping if I play a thief or assassin, I could do parkour once my level was high enough and use grapling hooks to climb walls. If I was a warrior, there would be different fighting styles. If I was a cleric, my powers would weaken or strengthen on the amount of people I convert. If I was a mage, I wouldn't just be able to shoot fire balls, I would be able to heat up swords or armour to convince aggressors not to fight me. Or, if I was in an enclosed area, a well place lightning blast can bring down a part of the roof or wall to hit the enemy. Different play style for different races. IE if my race can stay underwater indefinitely, let there be underwater societies and dungeons. If my race can see in the dark indefinitely, adapt the lighting of the game to 'less dark' when night comes. Passive classes - IE play the game as bard, black smith, merchant, inn owner, Doctor, or farmer. Classes where my ingame social abilities and real life memorization ability progress the games in a different manner than combat style gameplay. But it will still effect the overall story - but from an indirect way of gameplay. As a Black Smith, I need to better my craft, get in good with localk nobles, form contracts with them to get cash. As a bard, write witty words to songs I construct. Get hired to play at events or entertain nobles and soldiers - with my songs having various support effects so I can be part of a exploration party. As a Doctor, I need to learn about certain herb mixture to being able to perform surgery - but needing to learn certain anatomical differences between the races. People keep saying Skyrim was their definite open world fantasy RPG - I'm still waiting for mine.
The development time to make a game that supported all of that would be pretty long and/or the game would be buggy as hell (though most Bethesda games are buggy as it is). Something like you're describing would be awesome...and would probably be the most expensive game ever made.
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