QUOTE: Zeea -
To me, Exalted is Exalted when it has:
1) Essence-powered heroes who would fit into a Conan story, serious wuxia, or Bronze Age myth.

2) A mature and serious understanding of the dynamics of oppression and identity, particularly in the context of slavery, religion, imperialism, and fatalistic hierarchial systems.

3) A game that encourages you to understand the world from the perspective of someone who, if they don't directly subscribe to Bronze Age morality and beliefs, are very familiar with those moralities and beliefs and probably have to struggle internally as well as externally to overcome them. Even the nicest and wisest Dragon-Blooded Dynast doesn't just casually decide that she's not actually superior to everyone else and slavery is an obviously horrible idea and the Immaculate Philosophy might not be fully trustworthy. She can do all that, but she's going to have to struggle against a lot of her upbringing and she's going to be somewhat isolated.

4) This is a game where skills like Bureaucracy, Linguistics, and Performance are actually important and useful to even the most adventurous sort.

5) Exception-based powers with interesting and specific applications, rather than just generic "you do X really well!"

6) As far as artifacts go, I like the cool armor more than the oversized weapons, but both are good. I don't think either is necessary for Exalted to be Exalted, but they're nice.

7) Weird creatures and spirits are also cool, but not absolutely essential. Same goes for the post-apocalyptic theme and whatnot.

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