I would LOVE to talk about this topic.
This is my personal opinion, but I HATE not having the option to control my characters directly. To be clear though, I'm also a fan of AI controlled party members that behave moderately intelligently. So how can both those things be true? Well, I want to have the OPTION to be able to take direct control when I want to, but not be forced to (by idiotic AI) all the time.
At the same time, I'm all about speeding up battles in the traditional turn based RPG setting. Here are a few things I love seeing in games:
- A kind of Macro command system. The Player can define a set of actions that they want there characters to take ahead of time and hit one button to execute that whole set of actions. IE Macro1 commands char1 to attack, char2 to defend, char3 to cast magic missile, and char 4 to heal. (Phantasy Star series)
- Giving players the option to turn off elaborate battle animations if they wish. (Disgaea series)
- FAST MENUS! This includes keeping text to a minimum, and requiring as few key presses (or button pushes) to advance as is possible.
- A plain old "Speed up" option. This may not be as practical with AAA games that are maxing out a graphics processor, but there was an old genesis game called Master of Monsters which had this option. When enabled it literally just played animations twice as fast. I think for most hobby projects, this is probably doable if desired.
- EDIT: Almost forgot one of the biggest ones... can we please get rid of the 10 second long splash screen when a battle starts? Sure they look nice and all, but when, over the course of a game, I'm going to be getting into hundreds if not thousands of battles I don't need to keep seeing it over and over again.
Well, food for thought at least. I know in the RPG I'm currently making I've been meticulously planning to make sure my battles move as fast as is possible...