As a second bit of input, what I'd like to see above all is space for player agency. Too often players are told where to go, what to do -- whether it's by being given actual missions or by having exposition thrown at you.
So what i'd like to see is a game that does a better job of recognizing player agency. If I decide to wipe out a town somewhere, I'd like to see that represented somewhere, even if it's just a Fallout-style flashcard that says 'and town X is dead'.
At the pinnacle of this, and this may not be feasible, I want a game to recognize the player as a power in the world. If I want to become king, and I have the power, well, let me pull a Conan and actually become king (or mayor, or Caesar). Sculpting an empire would be interesting, but not necessary.
This ties into what another poster said, which is a fear system. I excel at everything, and in the fields I favor, I'm unsurpassed. I'm wearing shining armor from the lost Golden age and carrying weapons of incomprehensible power. I've wiped out every slaver, raider camp I've come across and even a couple of armies. So maybe people shouldn't be so eager to start fights with me.