What works: Strong player ownership of the larger game world. Our troupe has really gotten into the overall setting like never before. The current batch of pc's is from a number of different backgrounds from all over the world, but they made the diverse group work--internally as well as within the setting--instead of being a grab-bag of character types or all random. There is even experimentation with new nationalities & player/fan created goodies. Good interlinking. One of the stipulations I made with this new chapter was that if they were going to start fresh at first level with all new characters, it would have to be a completely fresh start. In other words, they weren't allowed to use their older established characters to jump-start the new, and could not have anything to do with the old guild. They still combine elements of the Immersive Game World without violating that stipulation, and without breaking character knowledge. Interwoven yet flexible ruleset. If I may brag about myself for a moment (& try not to drag specific system rules into the Citadel), I managed to have a game that lets me focus on the story without the rules getting in the way, and at the same time allows for some intense action sequences where many dice are thrown & many cool character abilities are used & abused. I can easily speed up or slow down the clock to where weeks or months tick right by (viable play-time, not just jumped ahead for the story), or drag everything out into a Midian-Ball Z timeframe where it takes three episodes just to power up, and everywhere in between.
What doesn't work: My timing & pacing. As much as I love gaming, I see it as much as an excuse to get together & hang out with my mates as anything. I am the worst in the group about going off on a non-game tangent (they have begun calling them "Golgotha History Moments" since they are frequently about historic factoids) & the first to want to take a break. The half-life of nicotine in my body does seem to invoke natural break times for the troupe, though. I can still readily engage them, and can keep big scenes very tense and rewarding, but I tend to get off to a slow start getting there. Over & under detailed NPC's. I tend to either focus too much detail on a particular NPC--what shoes they are wearing, favourite foods, & stuff--or not enough detail--fleshing them out only so much as 'generic shopkeep #6'--and lacking a name, species, or what that store sells. This wouldn't be a problem if the level of detail had anything to do with that NPC's involvement in the campaign, but it doesn't. I am likely to describe a random encounter on the street down to the finest details & mannerisms, while only thinking of & referring to the lord of the land as 'the baron', with no further description. This does keep the players on their toes, however. This forces them to involve themselves with the non-player characters who populate the game world more, instead of putting their brains in neutral & waiting for a long block of window dressing to know when to pay attention. Obsession with the inner workings of the game world. The King of Formour doesn't worry about the price of Formourian wheat on the international market nearly as much as I do. I wanted a gaming world that works, that is both internally consistent and doesn't leave the players scratching their heads wondering 'huh?', and will work equally well as a setting for horror/fantasy gaming it would for solo thought experiments. I agonise over such minutia as the ratio of digitigrade to plantigrade werewolves (4:1 with a margin of error at +/-8%, by the way) or how much a smith should factor the cost of an apprenticeship into the profit margin for an item. I do this because I want to, but it does take valuable time away from preparing for the next game session or building actual usable game content such as new skills or armour types.