Are we operating the characters in Wasteland 2 like a puppet master, being the characters like they are our avatars in the game, or both or neither or some combination thereof?
It's important what we think of ourselves and our involvement in the game world. Are these characters us? Are the characters our friends? Are the characters our slaves?
Wasteland gave you sparse details about your characters, just a few stats. You supplied the rest, including their history and their appearance. It was in doing that you defined each character. By using their skills and by arranging their inventory you gave them individuality.
Whichever approach we choose for the game is going to affect what kind of characters we have and what kind of story we can tell.
Wasteland gives us some direction to go in. You control a party; your NPCs disagree with you; your skills and gear define your character. To me this means that Wasteland 2 should focus on story and character immersion.
The combat in Wasteland was semi-tactical because you could split your party up, but that usually wasn't necessary. The important part of it was the combat descriptions, "sprayed him into a fine red mist," "reduced him to a heap of unrecognizable gore," "leaving it a ghastly pool of 30 weight on the floor." The end result of combat was the important part.
While we have witnessed the combat simulation aspect of western rpgs evolve into the tactics focus we have today, Wasteland wasn't that kind of game. You could zip through the combat and do other things if you so choose.
While we think of what kind of game experience we want in Wasteland 2 we need to consider what kind of game Wasteland is and try to stay true to that.