I typed this as a reply to this other thread but decided to branch it to not troll/derail the thread about LOTRO.
You aren’t alone. (click the linkie to win a Koontz quote! You know you want it!)
1- Transform passive, ‘extra’ text as subject of the gameplay and not as just an inflated backdrop that the players would rather skip so they can go back at “playing the game”
2- Recover the interest and fun in “reading”, bringing back that special flavor from the old RPGs that seems now lost for good
3- Detach the “functional” purpose of the questing from being just an artificial excuse to add some bland variation to grindy treadmills and level-up mechanics
4- Reward those players that read and ‘explore’ actively the game this way
That I tried to deliver and concretize with this suggested list of "no more"s:
No more advancement through quests, all the player’s skills should increase through a natural use and new skills and powers should be learned through realistic means such as: discovery, exploration, training etc… Everything happening “in” the game, meaning not directly directly spawned by a non-immersive element, like the UI itself, a “ding. grats!” or another abstract game mechanic.
Quests or “journeys” (a “journey” is a chain of quests) to learn new spells, acquire new powers, discover other zones, find your way through the world, learn about it.
No more logbooks or journals, no objectives, no exclamation marks hovering NPC heads, no coordinates or waypoints. No abstract mechanics such as “quest levels” to deliver content.
Dialogues with NPCs made through branching trees and multiple choices. No more one-way text. No optional, “filler” text.
Different NPCs all talking and offering more informations about the same quest paths. No more isolated quests and unconnected, oblivious NPCs. No NPCs standing one next to the other and knowing nothing about each other.
No more NPCs sitting in one place and waiting to be clicked-on like cheese dispenser. Every NPC should have and follow a simple schedule. The NPCs should go sleep at their homes during the night and their existence in the world should be always “motivated”. No more just a “service” for the player or for a strictly artificial purpose. The NPCs should be there for their own life and motivations, not just for you. You are there to learn about them, discover their world, not just to use everything as your own tool. The world is the pivot, not you.
The PvE areas and instances should have no maps (possibly with the exclusion of in-game drawings manipulable by the character). No more radars, or on-screen compass. If you have a compass or a map, it’s an item in the game, used by your character.
More quests should have the purpose to grant access to new areas and develop the story. So questing should be mandatory to progress in PvE. All the areas and the instances should exist with the only purpose of enacting stories and immerse the player.
(dated December 2005)