Finally got my new keyboard (the 1st one got lost in the post, so they sent a second one free of charge!).
Re the tabbing:
If you are so against it don't press it.
You already know what I think of that argument if you read the earlier parts of this thread. I'll just say that I'm speaking broadly on behalf of anyone when I make these arguments; I know now not to press tab to keep some of the fun (and recognise and respect that some people would prefer to press it), but,
speaking on behalf of someone playing the game anew, my view as a gamer is that it's possible to cheat onesself of a challenging experience but only know after the fact of beating the game that it had had that affect--all you were doing at the time is using the tools given to you. As you can see, the "you don't have to press it" argument isn't applicable to this example. If I were a game designer I'd be very dilligent on this point; to manage the difficulty of the player and thus his whole experience, rather than have him manage it. Such is the purpose of limits.
I'll give an example.
A game that was criticised for being too short by the media and consumers alike was Tomb Raider: Legend (I know that comes out of left field, but it happens to be the game that serves this example best). When I got the game, purely spotaneously and without knowing anything about how the game would be, I elected to not to use any health packs for the entire duration of the game. The health packs were liberally spread throughout the game and you were expected to use them.
The result I got from not doing so, was that I had to replay a lot of the sections far more than anyone else would, found a lot more depth in the game and its mechanics, ways to trick the AI, etc. Particularly the motorbike section, where I took it even further and tried to beat the level without getting my vehicle shot once, which took me about 5 hours (would have taken about 5 minutes with health packs). The end result was getting about 30 hours of gameplay out of the game, and a lot more enjoyment (and hair-pulling frustration); I turned the mass-appeal difficulty level into Dark Souls difficulty level.
I'm not saying that all games should do whatever the nearest equivilent would be of taking health packs out of that game; I don't think games should be elitistically difficult. I'm just trying to illustrate a point: that if I hadn't micromanaged the difficulty level for my tastes, I would have gotten far less out of that particular game and found it to be a far more mediocre experience. And my preference would be for developers to err on the side of manage the difficulty for me in advance, by giving me less choice, so that, if I had not made the choice to not use health packs in that game, I would have had to subsist on fewer of them and had to push myself harder to beat the game, and gotten more out of the game as a result.
As I said, the no-health-pack playthrough was completely arbitrary on my part, I had no idea if it would make things way too hard or what. Similarly, to bring this point around to where we started, to never use tab would also be arbitrary on the part of a newcoming player.
I don't feel strongly about tabbing, though, it's the abstract point of difficulty management on the part of developers and gamers that I wanted to get across. I'll admit on the grand scale tabbing is comparitively not impactful on the game difficulty, and that there are far more important things that need addressing and retuning (like the earlier discussed resting).
I can also see without seeing any more replies that i'm not going to win the debate on tab-removal, and I don't really care about that.
What I will suggest though is something that I think is a fair compromise: engine should support being able to flag clickable items that are intended by design as being difficult to find, as not revealable with tab. Even if the game doesn't utilize it I think the game should have such a feature or it should be programmable into the engine by modders if the game logic has been made sufficiently data-driven.
Things like the Ankheg armour and ring of wizardry, which I view as easter eggs, part of what made those special was the difficulty of locating them, and I would view it as cheesy and spoiling the whole point of things like that to be able to tab-locate them. I don't know if any other content should have such a flag applied to it, but these at the very least should have it done to them.