And as for stats in RPG's: What I envisioned with the OP was that weapons and magic would keep their stats. These would decide the damage done with each. Well, this, and where you hit, whether you swing quick and light or heavy and slow; whether the opponent is wearing armor and what type. Each weapon would have its own physics and staggering power, as would each type of hit, each body part and every armor would reduce them by a set amount, with blocking retaining only just enough impact to know you blocked, but not enough to throw you backward.
As for progression and character build: Amalur and Divinity II did something sort of cool when you gained a level. Amalur gave you points to spend in non-combat areas as well as combat areas; so did Divinity II. But points spent in combat areas unlocked new moves/spells/actions, for the most part. These are things you can see your character perform on screen, and their results are both visible and full of impact. No reason other RPG's should not do more of this and less of the "Congrats; +2 to damage and carry weight" sort of thing they do now.
None of which means I am against turned based-strategic/spreadsheet-reliant harcore RPG games. I am not. I think in fact we need more of these. My point here, which I want to clarify, is this: If you're going to make an action RPG, with the way the market is leaning hard toward action, why not just make an action game, and include meaningful choices and consequences, branching stories, etc? Let the RPG be an RPG, and the action game be an action game.