This is an important point -- experience and expectations play a big role in processing information. That style might be more difficult for me because I haven't played those games so much. And when I did, I got frustrated that it didn't feel like playing a real guitar.
It's interesting to see game UIs converge on "standard" interfaces. Interface innovation is really risky - if you come up with a cool new concept, you win, but if not, you'll get a lot of users complaining about how it's not like Game X. FPS UIs have become relatively standard (although more minimalist recently), as have the default UIs of MMOs (minimap upper right, abilities bottom bar, character upper left, party on the left, etc.).
The fact that The Blizz supports the level of UI customization in WoW is great... and you can tell they consider the addon developer community an experimental base for ideas. Consider how they've integrated a form of Scrolling Combat Text into the default UI, or support for a guild calendar.
I don't have the art skills to mockup my description above, but I wanted to reiterate my agreement with the "runehero" paradigm mentioned in several posts.
Radial is nifty looking, but I think in actual usage estimating the relative distance along radials is harder than comparing things falling in straight lines.