I sunk some more time into Trial by Fire today. As I get myself re-acquainted with the game world it strikes me that this game is my favourite in the series because the setting has such a huge appeal to me. It's different from your usual fantasy fare. Less goblins and forests, more dunes and dervishes. The world, even in a game this old, feels fresh. The rolling desert sands remind me of some of my favourite movies; Lawrence of Arabia, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, etc. Something about the 'Arabian Nights' feel to Trial by Fire really sucks me in. I think my fondness of QFG 2's setting has influenced my modern gameplay habits too. My favourite zones to hang out and quest in World of Warcraft are desert zones like Tanaris and Uldum. I'm currently playing the new MMO Rift and I've seen some of the desert vistas across the water from Freemarch and I can't wait to get my character's level high enough to go explore them.
I guess if I only take one thing away from this playthrough of Trial by Fire, it's that I think modern RPG's should explore some less cliche' game settings. Not every game needs to be dragons, pointy ears and deep, dark forests. It's just awesome that such a retro game can still feel very unique to me.