Some remarks on last comments, personally...
- no cutscenes, scripted events that take place while you play. You can choose to ignore the event. Tho if you do you'll miss out, find yourself in a nasty pickle. Have the player look around for clues, events taking place.
to illustrate with Tutanum's setting:
You near a castle, see an army beseiging a castle, you here a whistle as you turn to the forests edge a couple of children wave at you. So you approach the children "come here, quick hide before they see you" one whispers, "They don't know about the sewers" another one says to his friend wich replies "no no, you're not suggesting we'll go in? not me, no way!". "Somebody has to has to bring Elias his bow, if Elias has his bow this will all be over soon", "Yeah but you stole his bow, you go!", "Can you go sir?" the first child asks "I'm afraid we're to freightened" [questlog updated; find the sewers, locate Elias and hand him his bow]
- battlegrounds, if you have large world, there would be lot's of nothingness, areas wich could act as battlegrounds, away from areas you'll need to go for quests. Enemies will respawn there at reasonable pace. For example you can walk into orc controlled territory slash some orcs, come back later slash more orcs. While in allied zone's respawning is much much slower.