I gotta say, I disagree with most of that. You are of course correct that the genre is plagued with shitty tropes that sometimes infect even the best example, however the truly bad examples don't really matter, the same way that shooty-shooty-bang-bang films don't matter when considering the quality of cinema as an art genre. So, to counter your post, I'll use some of the better known settings, as well as some of my favorites, to debunk the omnipresance of these flaws.
>The same fucking elves, dwarves and orcs.
Settings that, in my opinion, don't fall into these traps as much:
Elves are the collapsed and racially discriminated survivors of an apocalyptic event that destroyed their horrific empire (in which they all were slaves), also loosing most historical knowledge, now worshiping their slaver overlords as gods. Most either live as an apartheid underclass in human cities or wander the wilds similar to the Indian tribes post-Trail of Tears.
Dwarves, previously a mighty Tolkien-esque civilization, now are an endangered species due to the changed material conditions. Hyper-reactionary culture cements the inevitable collapse of their last holdings, meaning only surface dwelling exiles who became craftsmen and traders in human cities will survive.
Elves are different types of mutants with deep grudges against each of their more or less mutated cousins. While the traditional elf trope of magical higher beings is used, it is subverted with Nightelves being the descendants of a disgruntled non-magical lower class that now has turned to a fanatical worship of nature.
Dwarves are a sentient servitor race of control-maniac gods, who have lost their old rock bodies for flesh and gained free will due to the influence of the void (basically chaos/madness). Now, having lost their former knowledge of the world they seek to rediscover it.
Orcs probably are the single best and most unique part of the setting, as, unlike most former fantasy settings, they are not an "evil" race. Actually they are pretty chill, just pushed very far due to horrible environmental conditions that promote a mentality of expansion. Culturally I can't even put a finger on what they are. Best comparison is something close but note quite similar to paleolithic cultures of Europe.
Dwarves are stereotypical, but elves are not. For the most part their situation is similar to that in Dragon Age, but worse. Also their forefathers were basically Tolkien Orcs, just with fancy aesthetics and the ability to make their genocidal conquests inter-dimensional.
The entire setting intentionally takes the tropes, but then turns them all on their head. It can be summed up as "what if LotR had an industrialization?", and its perfect, as it explores what would be the fate of all the idealized fantasy cultures in a real world - elves get fucked due to decline of magic and have to integrate as entertainers to human cities, orcs become wage slaves, humans easily transition to industrial order and dwarfs retreat from the world in isolation.
>And euro/anglocentrism is just another part of it. Humans are always medieval Europeans.
Dragon Age and Game of Thrones both have a world that is close-to-real with different cultures and human ethnicity throughout the world. Tyranny also does this, and also the setting is purely human, with the cultures presented being similar to ones of the ancient middle east and southern Europe. Pillars of Eternity is a huge fucker of a ton of background lore that I only half recall, but I am pretty sure it is also akin to GoT and DA.
>Race is often used as an allegory to foreign cultures.
Yea, got to agree that this is pretty wide spread, but I'd argue that at least Dragon Age dodges this. As I talked above, both Dwarves and elves are rather unique. Then there is the Qunari, who are really unique - less of a race, but a culture, that is based around a race that to my knowledge is nameless, or at least indistinguishable from the culture, that also subdues other races into it self. The culture is based around a principle of a theocratic barrack communism, something that I have never seen before in fiction to be honest.
Also, while Warcraft is especially guilty of your point, it also breaks this rule. Orcs, elves and dwarves all do this in my opinion. Also, the Draenai - a sci-fi civilization that was brought down to its knees and is now only a group of highly religious refugees.
>The gods are real and for some reasons other races share the same pantheon.
Are you talking about Scrolls / DND? I don't know these well, but I believe these are the only ones which I've heard to do something like this. Here are some examples of religions / "gods" being done right in my opinion:
<Pillars of Eternity
A caveat, I didn't finnish the first game or the second one, but I think I got a good feel about the setting rules. In it gods aren't really gods, just a more powerful magical entity. They can be killed and seem to be bound to setting rules.
Instead of gods, the setting has multiple opposing and rival universal forces, which are far more like types of magic which can be represented by exceptionally powerful representatives of theirs. For the most part, the races don't even understand this and just follow happen to start following one of these due to material conditions.
Possibly the most mature setting ever when it comes to religion. Gods are, almost definitively, not real, but the powers that they are attributed to are. Human nations are split between different sects of a once-unified faith, which gets bent due to political machinations in some cases. Elves and Qunari, as mentioned above, have also rather interesting and not good/evil faith that are rather interesting.
Gods as such don't seem to exist, but mortals in the setting can basically become demigods - archons of a certain aspect. This happens due to the magical system that works mainly through the power of word and script - as a person becomes known for being, say, a great general who has a special bond with his men, he in fact forms such a bond, being able to save them from death and so on.
>The titles of evil/good rulers
Don't really know where you are getting this from. For the most part the fiction I see just has Queen / King for a small-scale ruler and Empress / Emperor for the ones that, you know, actually have an empire.
<Witcher series (books) have nonsequetors of archeologists looking back on the setting, also technology is shown as entering renaissance era.
<Warcraft has been more and more tech heavy over time.
<PoE and Dragon Age have gunpowder
<Arcanum literally set in Industrial Revolution, so do quite a few urban fiction works that use fantasy elements, like that China guys works.
<Tyranny is all about a civilization that discovered iron smithing btfo'ing the rest of the world.
Agree on this point. While it is reasonable for medieval setting, I do believe peasant revolts are underrepresented, even if they shouldn't be successful.
>Only Divine Right
<Witcher: Enlightened despotism, merchant republics, clan societies
<Warcraft: theocracies, technocratic republic, oligarchies, clan societies, anarcho-communism, Incan socialism, post-scarcity societies, noble republics.
<Arcanum: corporate despotism
<Dragon Age: merchant republics, mage oligarchy, theocratic barrack communism