2. I hate it when Diablo-style games get called RPGs, but it's mostly a pet peeve. I think the advent of action RPGs has diluted the meaning of the term. A lot of people now think that pretty much every game qualifies, which makes the label meaningless. Action RPGs generally remove both the need for player skill (twitch or whatever) by not providing the player agency that allows it, but they also remove thinking, story interaction, and choice/consequence, so they end up being the worst of all possible worlds by design. Not that these games can't be fun or well-made for what they are, I just hate that they're called RPGs.
3. I've had variations of the LARP argument before, so again I'm carrying baggage about the issue. Technically, anybody who's sufficiently lazy can define anything as a game. And you could call staring at a wall and imagining things an RPG. And that's fine if you want to tweak a definition to suit your purpose. The problem is trying to force others to alter established terms to suit your purpose, even if you've got a particular sub-culture backing your definition.
But that might sound more harsh than I mean. And words change over time, so it's silly for people to get uptight about it. Anyway, to me, part of the RPG is defining and customizing a character. And the game world should recognize and acknowledge what makes a character unique to the greatest extent possible. As a simple example, when LARPing, if stats don't exist, how does combat get resolved? How does it treat a fast, agile rogue who's lightly armored and skilled with daggers versus a slow, immensely strong knight who's heavily armored? How about if that knight is on horse during the encounter? (I know this is the most stereotypical example possible, but the point is valid.) They could draw cards, or ro-shambo, or have a dance off, but how does any of that reflect the qualities of a particular character?
4. As I admitted above, don't take my dislike of aRPGs too seriously, at least in terms of a formal definition.
I like FPS-hybrid RPGs, when well done, because they provide player agency (a lot of control over the character), but also use RPG stats to constrain or amplify that agency according to the particular character. That means I get to use personal skill to play the game, but also get to roleplay in the provided world.
I like tactical RPGs because they provide free-form interactive puzzles that are defined by your character design. Some agency might be lost, but often the requirement for engaged thinking is substituted.
I don't like action RPGs because they remove or reduce player agency and don't substitute anything for it. You have limited control over the character(s). You press a button, watch an animation (waiting for it to end), press a button, etc. There's usually not much player skill or thinking involved, and often even the character and story scope are narrowed to a linear corridor with very little choice and consequence. Again, action RPGs tend to be the worst of both worlds.
5. I will accept that your knowledge is greater than mine, and that I overstated my point. But I used to own a crossbow, and I don't think I or anybody I knew could have easily put a bolt through the eye of an opponent who was more than a few feet away and actively trying to avoid it. Granted that a near miss is all you need, but I don't think it's as easy as you say.
I was reading through some SCA discussion a while back, and a guy was talking about how they did some testing with longbows and armor. They were surprised at how often the plate armor would entirely deflect the arrows from relatively close range. The curvature of the armor was very effective. It's not that the armor was totally safe, it was that a group of folks with bow and armor experience had greatly underestimated how effective the armor was in real life. I think we're all skewed in our judgement by a combination of movies, games, and lack of real-life experience. Even gritty and "realistic" is more like "Disney gritty".
But my original point was that one-hit instant kills in games aren't necessarily more realistic than hitpoints. Hitpoints aren't supposed to be about a guy standing there unfazed with an arrow sticking out of his forehead. They're about glancing blows, less than ideal angles, dodging, the sun in your eyes, wind interference, and all of the other factors. Little or none of which are modeled in games.