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February 26th, 2008, 09:14
Interesting that so few posters mention puzzles. I feel that the puzzle element is disappearing from the genre, and given the frustration I've felt over silly "find the lever or button" puzzles I must admit that I dont miss explicit puzzles much. I do like general problem solving (as trying to figure out a way to sneak past the guards and steal something from a room or figuring out a tactic to deal with a particular enemy) but that's not what one traditionally means by puzzles in RPGs.

I voted questing since it ties the other elements together by giving a context to the combat and exploration. I've enjoyed RPGs with crappy NPC interaction (Morrowind), horrid combat (Arcanum), so even if those elements are important they can be compensated for if the rest of the game is very good.

Exploration can also be fun but should be optional and meaningful (so no Oblivion/Daggerfall with endless random caves).
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