So overall, the point of this entire thread is that when you get down to it, BG3 actually has a lot more similarities to its predecessors than many would like you to believe. It isn't really all THAT different, when the rubber meets the pavement.
I disagree. Of course there are similarities. There are similarities between games from different genres, even more so between two titles within same broad cRPG categorization. Many designs are universal across many games. The fact that the same or similar elements are present doesn't mean that they fulfil same function or achieve similar effect.
- Few timed events (there were maybe a few in BG1 and 2, but nothing substantial). You, the player, could literally go to the manor with the trolls infesting it, fight a few trolls, leave, sleep for a few days, go do a bunch of other things and come back and the trolls would still be exactly where they were before. Staged enemies was something BG1 and 2 both had. So, nothing new with BG3. If they decide to do some timed events, it may not be very many.
I will not disagree - while BG1&2 had some timed quest I don't think they were defining the experience. Still, it doesn't change that BG3 has timeline issue, which you yourself explored in a different thread. While you can point out issues with BG2 quests not progressing, it is not something that activaly creates a problem. Yes, from metaknowledge you know that things won't progress without you, but from playing experience nothing sticks out as particularly wrong.
- Long rest at minimal cost or with minimal limits.
Yes, I strongly believe that rest system doesn't work well with handcrafted and limited content of cRPGs - limited resources, with an unlimited ability to replenish those resources is simply a bad system. It was problematic in BG1&2 nd it is problematic in BG3. I frankly didn't like BG1&2 solution, and I am not fond of camp of BG3. Now with minicamps it is more "immersive" but I have FOMO when it comes to story content that happens in "real" camp only.
- Picking up and reading lots of books and tomes. Oh man! BG1 and 2 had LOTS of books and tomes. Nothing new here.
Books, even well written and interesting books aren't replacement for good story telling though (looking at you Pillars of Eternity1). I also think you oversell how many and how long BG1&2 books were. More importantly I never really read any of those - those were a side addition, not main story exposition dump.
- Picking up lots of useless stuff. Yep. BG1 and 2 had that too. Inventory Management was 50% of the game.
No it wasn't. Even playing recently on iPad BG1&2 inventory managemenet is very modest when compared to BG3 or Pathfinders (albeit mass looting feature accelerated looting quite significantly) - there is no stash for one, so you carry only what you need. Containers for valuables, scrolls and potions are vast enough to last between visit from one shop to another, as you mention basic items have little to no value, and once you have enough interesting items to carry the game gives you bag of holding - essencially limitless stash. The only management to make are projectiless - which apply to only some of your characters. Yes BG1&2 also had inventory. But no, it wasn't as tedious.
- Exploration Maps with Map Gates. The only difference between BG1, 2 and 3 is that right now everything in EA is one great big ginormous Exploration Map. The Map Gates are there and even pop up the regional map. We just can't use them yet to move to other areas. Yes, BG3 feels a bit crammed together, since it's all one ginormous Exploration Map instead of one we can explore in a matter of minutes, but it is still the same basic concept.
Well, no it's not. One big map, and bunch of smaller maps aren't the same thing. Not that I necessary think BG3 would be better of using smaller locations connected via world-map, but as a single map location Act1 has serious issue (as had D:OS2). Mostly - It doesnt' reinforce the narrative. Once again the game seems to exist in "zones" which character simingly unaware of what is happening a minute away from them. Goblins can't find a grove, with a road leading straight to it. A series can make a good transition into openish design (cough, witcher3, cough) but it needs to know what it is doing. It doesn't seem to me like narrative is driving the map design, and in story focused game like an RPG IMO it's a big issue.
But as far as I am aware the criticism isn't that Larian is making up new stuff - it's that instead of making up new stuff they use existing monster and change them entirely. And it's coming on top of all the other changes Larian is making to the IP. Not something I am terribly concerned about, but I faithful or not, I didn't think that the spider fight sucked.
- Standard D&D rules with some tweaks.
I don't care for D&D, but Larian's combat is baaad. It's better now, but homebrews aren't good modification. I didn't like Larian stuff before I played Solasta and tasted something more faithful to the original, and now I really don't like Larian stuff. And while they made steps in the right directions, high-ground is still OP, shove should still be an action, and reactions are still a gutted system. To me it's not being faithful to D&D - I am first one to criticise it's systems. But changes need to make the game better, not worse. BG1&2 combat wasn't great IMO, but being real time and vague it hurt less. Turn based games live or die on good combat system - you can't help but notice the problems.
- Varied Dialogues. BG1 and 2 is well-known for its dialogues and game choices.
Well, no they are not. They are know for a pretty well told adventures. As far as variety and reactivity BG3 might as well top any other RPG in history. Unfortunately, personally I will take less choices that I care about, then plenty of choices I don't care for.