Gamasutra has a partial transcript of a speech given by Chris Bateman (Kult: Heretic Kingdoms) at the Austin Game Developers Conference on writing in games. It isn't RPG-centric but this bit caught my eye:
"A linear spine is a very efficient way to make games. It's cost-effective" and, he suggested, much easier to write for. "If you're completely insane, you can approach a branching structure. If you hate your company why don't you suggest a game with a branching structure? Most players are going to play through the game once or twice. It's too much work for what it is." The need for a player to make arbitrary decisions is "just nonsense. It's not entertaining," Bateman claimed.
"A game like Deus Ex," has parallel paths, Bateman put forth, "where the events combine and return to a central path. But it also has side routes. You can draw equal or different attention to the different routes. You've got this option here to point the player in a direction but have little intriguing things off to the side — which gives the player more of a sense of agency. Again, it's slightly illusory because you're going to combine them back at the end. This is a reasonable compromise."
I liked his observations about temperament types:
The strategic player is really quite happy to work through the problems the game puts in front of them. The logistical player wants to know what to do and go off to do it. The tactical player wants to do what needs to be done — most FPSes rely on tactical play. Lastly, diplomatic play — 'I'll make everything as it should be.'" …
…According to Bateman, research indicates that one-tenth of players fall into the first category, half into the second, a quarter into the third and one-seventh into the final diplomatic category. "Half the players would like to be told what to do, and 10% would like to work it out…
I would say that makes me definitely a logistical player. It doesn't have to be spelled out to the letter, but having a clear direction works better for me. I find complete freedom in a game tends to make it more of a job than an entertainment.