When it is a computer game which describes itself as a Role-Playing Game as in the strictest definition it is not a Role-Playing Game but a computer game which allow the player to follow a main story with a few quests to distract them and definitely with no real input by the player into the story itself.
Those of us who have played real Role-Playing Games, now also called Storytelling Games, know that Role-Playing is an interactive game in which both the Game Master/Storyteller and Players create the story together by their actions and reactions to scenarios created by the Game Master/Storyteller. If anything what is created by the real Role-Players is a living game/story with infinite possibilities created b the interactions of the Game Master/Storyteller and Player’s imaginations.
From my personal experience the best Role-Playing Games I have run and played have been created by the players themselves usually with a lose plot but always a good backdrop to the Role-Playing Game.
Computer Role-Playing Games will never be as good because of their limitations of plot though sometimes the beauty of their virtual worlds can make up for it’s lack of flexibility. But Computer Role-Paying Games end up the same as a series of quests with manipulation of the strategic Player Character manipulation to get the best out of the game play. Both of which do not make a good Role-Playing Game in the end.
Myself I have tried so called Computer Role-Playing Games and eventually found them boring, inflexible and do not stretch my imagination if anything dulls it! I can play them for a few months but my interest in them soon goes and I have done this twice with World of Warcraft.
Personally if people really want to Role-Play it is worth the effort to find a real Role-Playing Game near them than immerse themselves in a sterile world of a computer game as they may find the Real Role-Playing Game far more rewarding and stimulating.
Though I am bias as a real Role-Payer but what the hell it can be far more fun than a computer game.
Please note: If want to see my second life journal then go to the Journal of a Spectral Traveller.