When a game offers expansive lands, hours upon hours of quests, side quests, alternate routes, branching story lines, Easter eggs, what that game is really doing is challenging the player to invest time into the game.
Want to farm a bit and makes some gold? Go ahead. How about traveling across the great mountainous region to collect some materials for the Gold Shield of the Sleepy Dragon Person of Great Power? Have at it! How long would it take to finish it all? 12 hours? 46 hours? 1 month? 7 months? A year? And even then what does one do with their gold and shield? Tackle the main quest with new weapons that would make overcoming the adventure easier? Use them to equip themselves to face even larger challenges? In the end it really is an investment.
A player�s initial input of such and such hours would have returns of such and such rewards whether they be items, story pieces, areas and quests. The more time that is invested, the greater the returns. Of course in all investments there are of course losses. With every new side quest completed the demon continues to destroy villages. For every flower collected into the log book a family waits for their father. For every chicken kicked a princess waits in her tower.
And I bring this up because I have yet to play a game like that. A game in which every hour lost to racing villagers in a local Dodo race or betting on a herculean reptile fight, the princess still waits in her tower, the Evil Emperor puts off his plans of world domination another day, and a family is still waiting for the father that promised to return to them in a month.
LOOK WHO CAME: