Divinity: Original Sin, Tyranny, and Wasteland 2 are all guilty of a different crime. They're using the same tabletop inspired mechanics that cRPGs were using 20 years ago. There are many people, including myself, who still enjoy those mechanics and don't really mind it but I really wouldn't put those games on a pedestal as in terms of gameplay they do almost nothing to differentiate themselves. Tyranny has some really good writing and general theming but the combat might as well be Neverwinter Nights or Baldur's Gate.
Well, then we have somwhat different ideas what makes up an RPG.
Combat from me is not essential to an RPG (I am looking foward to my time with Torment: Tides of Numenera
which according some reviews I read can be played without engaging in combat
), playing and defining a character is the
essenital. Combat can have an important role in this, esspecially as an expression of character traits. But beyond what purpose does it really serve and are they no better way to do that?
As for TT-inspired mechanics: They work, they are proven to work. That is primary concern of any system.
On the flip side you could ask why Mass Effect needed cover-based shooting, why Dragon Age 2+ needed their speedy animations, or why Fallout 3+ needed a first person mode...
And I am not putting them on pedastal because of that:
- Divinity: Original Sin came with a system to role-play two not one player created character. Allowing them to define them off each in addition to the game world. Granted this was made mainly for Co-op and had its flaws (e.g. Rock-Paper-Scissors resolutions) but a welcome single player feature regardless. And personally this is something I wanted ever since my first dungeon crawler in which I played a party of self-made characters.
- Tyranny brought us a system to shape a character's backstory with its Conquest of the Tiers "pre-game" section. The same could be said about Dragon Age: Origins but there it was much more restrictive, as Conquest of the Tiers has a) more possible outcomes and b) real consequences in game (e.g. when you deliver the Edict of Storms during the Conquest, there is no option to reason with the locals of one region and they will attack you on sight; other example: one choice locks out of all instances of parley with Tiersmen in the opening act).
(... okay Wasteland 2 was just on my mind because it is staring at me from the bottom of bucket list)
re: your comments regarding MMOs and MOBAs
I don't know where you get information from but you are grossly misrepresenting reality here. No one of the publisher side was expecting player to play multiple entires in the same genre, each time however companies that went to market were sure to have the superior product and could either steal the audience away from the competitors or gain a new audience that "had just been waiting" for just their offering.
What they underestimated were (in different combinations) their competitor's product, their competitor's community work, brand loyality, the sunk investiment-bias (?), audience size(s) and their own investment-to-return-ratio. Considering some of these are hard to quantify (not that it stops some M.BA. from trying every year), the flaws of some of the consumer research that is being done (e.g. desirability bias-problem) and that there isn't quite a similar product like games in the market (e.g. movies don't foster the kind of engagement and indentification as product), wrong decisions happen.
EDIT2: In that vein, we can be thankful that Star Citizen as it is quite a revealing exercise in some of these effects...