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Defies existing conventions? Yes. Absolutely.
Active combat? Yes. New? Ehhh kinda. There are mixed opinions about this.
Is the event system fun? There are some timing issues but in general they are far more engaging than traditional quests. (If done correctly)
Painterly / artisanal and hand crafted? It's pretty damn good.
Branching personal storyline? I've yet to see the far reaching effects of my choices but it is clear that different things can happen (to your home zone) depending on what you choose.
Are quests happening in the world? Yes.
Do I effect things around me? Yes. Depending on the DE. Not all events have world changing effects.
Does a single players decision eventually fan out into something huge? If you do DEs correctly then yes. I personally experienced this.
Does the game remember you? Do towns remember you? No. I most definitely didn't experience this at all. Perhaps I wasn't paying attention to NPCs enough but I am pretty sure I was just another faceless hero to them.
Did they build a game for us? Hard to answer. For the most part yes. There are so many things designed to SAVE my time, not waste it.
From what we've seen so far they live upto most of their claims. They've put in changes we've been demanding from them. Namely chat bubbles, taking away/modifying a few of the CS boosts and first person camera view (to come later).
What more can we ask for?
Play for fun. Play to win. Play for perfection. Play with friends. Play in another world. Why do you play?