Well I really like it when I see some weird new item, not something useful, but something you just see it and you're like, "That's so cool!" The main story isn't really important, as it has no effect on gameplay, but what happens during play is always intresting, especially when you get characters who say cool stuff. I can't say the battles are usually too intresting, turn based RPGs you can sometimes win the battle just by repeatedly pressing the same button and not even looking (think Pokémon, or any game where you only have one move). Side quests are awesome, I love side quests in any game, and you have to complete them otherwise you haven't really completed the game. What I don't like is when there's one part and you can go two different ways, and then within that part you can go three more ways, and then you can go two more... Those can get really annoying, because you don't know which one you're supposed to do first, sometimes you actually have to start doing one thing to see if you were supposed to do it first, and then sometimes when you go as far as you can without actually doing anything you still don't even know, and if there's too many at a time you can forget which ones you've done... it's just really annoying. But the side quests are fun, it''s just when there's too many that you can't obviously see. But I like the battles in games like Zelda, where the battle style isn't really RPG. Anyway it's hard to say anything without talking about a specific RPG, but I voted for items.
[Edited on 11/30/2004 by Pikachu!]