Little heads-up for any interested people not following the official sources: We might get an update on the dialogue system, soon. Many people are not too happy about the keyword mechanic and while I am fully supporting the more flexible keywords over a rigid dialogue tree, I agree that details on dialogue have so far been communicated a little poorly from the side of inXile. So let's hope the next article will clear things up a bit.
I'm not too distressed about the keywords. inXile asked fans on their forum if they'd be okay with keywords, and being that the majority of forum goers are fans of the original Wasteland they were obviously okay with it.
I think the best way to handle keywords would be to allow the player to be creative with them.
So, for example, if a keyword is "Dog," you can put any words around "Dog," to form an actual dialogue sentence, so long as those words aren't also keywords.
Just because typing in keywords is so... not interesting.
"It's so hard to be humble, knowing how great I am."
We'll most probably end up with keywords and action modifiers. There definitely will not be fully-written multiple choice dialogue like there was in Fallout, but it'll get a lot deeper than just clicking through bullet points.
Actually, I'm strictly ruling out Fallout 3 and New Vegas .
Seriously, though: Wasteland 2 will work a bit differently. As of now, you simply have two lists of keywords, local (quest-related) and global ones, plus a parser. Each keyword represents a subject you want to talk about. Depending on parameters like stats, traits and passive skills, the dialogue partner will approach you differently. I strongly assume that additionally there will be skill-based modifiers that allow you to intimidate, coax, plead, lie etc., allowing you to follow an actual dialogue tree without having to resort to prefab responses.