Losing something automatically or making one roll on a square that has always been manditory is not the same as making choices on spaces previously optional.
I see your point in part; I don't see why wording in previous editions wasn't paid attention to. The better clarity for a change was obvious, especially since they went back to 2nd in moving forward to 4th. Someone wasn't paying attention in pre-production oversight. I and my group are not the only ones (on the forums and elsewhere) who've been hesitant and had to seek clarity beyond the game.
I sincerely hope that FFG moves forward with more expansions; I also hope more attention is paid to details, so that errata, corrections, and explanations, like we are often dealing with here, are less necessary.
And specifically for the wording, a mandatory visit is implied not stated on those squares. Any writer knows that in transmitting meaning, statement overpowers implication, a difference between stated meaning and implied meaning. One is wholly clear; the other is not (and can be used to advantage for its lack of clarity). That is how language works in portraying meaning.
I was emailing with some high school students of a teacher friend of mine. I suggested the game to him for a genre fandom club among his students. They were a little overwhelmed, as was he as a first time player. Guess what was among the first three questions they emailed me? An adult and a group of late teens weren't certain; some guessed it was mandatory, and that's as far as they got.
I'm not trying to disagree with you, I just think that some of this confusion is based on players expecting the new edition to work exactly like the old versions.
Page 10 of the rules book states that "Characters must follow the instructions on the space if their player chooses to encounter the space instead of encountering another character."
Okay, so the rules say that when you encounter a space you have to follow the instructions on the space. With me so far? The village says "Visit the Blacksmith, Healer, or Mystic. Therefore you must visit one of those encounters at the village.
Since the rule book clearly states in black and white that players "characters must follow the instructions on the space" I do not see any need to reiterate the rule by adding"You Must" on every single board space in the entire game. Otherwise you would also have to add "You Must" to every adventure card too, as well as every spell card in the game. Authors get paid by the word so maybe this option is preferable to them but personally I think it would clutter up the game with unnecessary redundancies.