I don’t like messes. They freak me out. The chaos, the uncertainty, it gets to me. And it’s as true in real life as in MMOs. Sure, I’ve joked before about loving the wild chaos of, say, City of Heroes’ particle-effects spew before. And I do. But what I don’t like is when combat actually feels messy – when you have no idea how a given fight will go, every single time, and every encounter is a bit of a clusterfudge.
I can think of a few games where this was a problem, and a lot of them are in games that tried a little bit to get rid of one form or other of the trinity but didn’t go the whole way to making the rest of the game to suit. Classic Star Wars Galaxies, Classic Guild Wars, and early Guild Wars 2, for example, both had this thing for making sure nobody was a designated tank and that taunting was a nebulous affair. But mobs and combat encounters were designed as in any other MMO, so fights often turned into low-armor people running around in circles kiting for their lives; every sustained battle is akin to, say, the rare five-man in World of Warcraft actually going off the rails because somebody broke sheep, sap, and trap with an AOE. The lack of control and containment in content like this drives me bonkers. I want there to be a predictable pattern to combat, a right way to win, rather than chaos every time.
Which MMO would you say has the messiest combat?