AAA themepark implementation, a newfangled (and purportedly) skill-based approach, or the various flavors of indie sandbox, combat is generally all that the majority of MMO devs and players really care about.
It's strange, then, that even with such a laser focus on one particular aspect of gaming, the lion's share of the implementations are largely the same. Sure, there's variation in terms of skill naming and other superficial details, but at the end of the day, MMO combat boils down to long, drawn-out slug-fests to see whose numbers are the best. This bears no resemblance to real combat, which, due to various factors, often happens in the blink of an eye (and often results in victors with "inferior" skills or equipment). In MMO terms, one shots -- or even mildly quick victories -- are often labeled "overpowered," "unbalanced," and "unfair."
I've often wondered why that is, and why a genre that obsesses over efficiency and violence as much as ours does neglects to try a more realistic approach. Fast, one- or two-hit combat is not without precedent in gaming. Bushido Blade springs to mind as just one example, and every time I roll an MMO assassin that is unable to actually assassinate anyone, I'm reminded of the shortcomings of massively multiplayer combat. What about you, dear reader? Would you play an MMO with quasi-realistic combat, or are you married to the current paradigm?
Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!