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February 26th, 2008, 11:02
It has got to be character development for me.
I play various different games at diffferent times, from story driven to hack'n'slash to exploration, but a deciding factor in my enjoyment always seem to be the ability to shape my avatar to my liking. This includes both in appearance and when it comes to stats and skills.
I've sat hours pouring over a notepad distributing skillpoints and stats for NWN, and I love the TES series where I can build my class just the way I like it. (So, she's a paladin who uses a bow… can't see why it's a problem )
I've recreated characters because I didn't like their looks (mainly in MMORPGs) and a big turnoff for me about the Witcher and Gothic is having to play a male. (I was delighed to find a mod for Two Worlds that let me play a female in the SP campaign)

The other components are important as well (except puzzles which are a turn off) but the one thing all my favorite games have in common is the ability to craft my character as I see fit.
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