Dungeon World has been pretty superb (only been playing it for a few months). Vastly more interesting that D&D in my experience. Definitely an adjustment for D&D players though who are far more comfortable in the "rules" thick kind of game style.
Yeah, I don't think either rules-light or rules-heavy systems are inherently better, I think they just work better with particular groups and particular styles of play. Honestly, I don't even want to describe either because it almost automatically results in someone perceiving one description as intended to be "inherently superior" to the other.
If I am able to carefully curate the group I'm playing with and I know that everybody is on a similar page in terms of what they want out of an RPG
experience, I will always choose a rules-light system with minimal structure to allow the game to be a group narrative-bulding/improv exercise with randomization elements.
If I am going in without knowing exactly who I'm going to be playing with or I know I'll be playing with people who are newer to RPGs
, I would choose a system with much more defined rules structures.
The only thing that doesn't tend to appeal to me personally is when any kind of RPG
delves into "meta-game" territory, and players start talking about how to optimize builds and pick things based on known combinations that create in-game power. Because fundamentally, in an RPG
you are essentially playing against God. If one player in a group begins to meta-game and builds some unstoppable combo or character build or whatever, all that's going to happen is God pits you against stronger and stronger enemies, which means that the optimized player doesn't feel any stronger but everyone else feels much more useless, or the GM
puts into place some sort of change in the system to counter that one player in particular and all their efforts just don't produce anything, and after like 2 sessions with that kind of countermeasure in place it always starts to feel artificial.
Someone playing a caster finds out online that they can combine Spell A, Spell B and Subclass C to do a bajillion fire damage to enemies, and he can do it every turn! Oh no, now the kingdom is being attacked by an uprising of Rock Trolls, Water Benders and Asbestos Elementals! Either that, or the next fight the party is up against some kind of uber-dragon that can handle the caster's super-combo and every other character is getting one-shot or plinking away doing next to nothing.
I have heard though that some people really like playing RPGs
as a kind of one-vs-many game where the GM
is required to run a fixed, agreed-upon scenario pack and the players all try to metagame as hard as they can, though. I've never played in that kind of a campaign so, maybe it's something people have fun with, I don't know.