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People keep talking about MMORPG difficulty. Well I don't think any RPG combat was ever "difficult" most RPGs were only challenging in
a) figuring out stuff about the game/story (mapping dungeons in bard's tale etc)
b) building your character/party to be effective
Can anyone name me an RPG they felt had truly challenging combat that was not mostly action of some sort? If so please explain how.
In other words don't say Deus Ex because I could win that game with a pistol with out ever investing anything in the RPG aspects of it. Yes it would be really hard but I guarantee you I can do it. So the combat is by definition really mostly shooter based and simply influenced by RPG stuff. I mean a game where if you do not utilize the RPG features then you really can't do much.
There were a few fights in games like Baldur's gate 2 that were tricky or involved monsters that were hard. If i remember right there was some inter-planar prison that took me a couple tries that had like some lichs and high end outsiders. But I still wouldn't classify that as "hard" per se. I need good equipment and used certain spells like summoning an planatar or time stop and if I got unlucky I died.
It was thrilling to win that fight since it was risky. But at the same time I would not classify it as hard the way I would pulling off a good session of action/fps combat.
I have a suspicion that when people say "hard" in the context of RPGs they actually only really mean somewhat complex and risky but not actually hard to execute per se. A "hard" RPG fight generally means you really need to gear up and you need to use your abilities maximally and even then a bad dice roll may kill you in some games.
In the case of a party based game like BG2 it also meant you need to use good tactics and positioning. In that sense it was "hard" they way chess may be hard (although I would say chess is much harder). I would accept this as a decent version of "hard" except that I can't remember any RPGs (and i have played ALOT) where I felt truly challenged by this. Some I had to do a few tries and it was challenging enough to be a decent puzzle. But I can't think any I felt was truly really hard they way I felt say doing the rocket bike in BattleToads was hard. Granted these are to different mechnisms of hard but to compare intuitive feeligns of degrees of hard I have never played a true RPG that i can remember that gave me that same sense of "Holy crap I can't believe I got through that and I doubt I could do it again" and in addition to feeling that, knowing I got through based on my own ability and not luck.