I'm a conservative gamer - slapping the space bar to manage the combat in the original BG games while keeping an eye on the status box still seems exhilarating to me.
Yeah I feel the same way. That combat is too "chaotic" is the criticism of RTwP that I especially just cannot relate to. For me combat being chaotic is precisely what makes it interesting and entertaining and realistic and yes, exhilarating. A good combat system should be sub-optimal, messy, chaotic, and imperfect in terms of battle results.