Azuriel has a genius analogy about action gameplay, ergo the gameplay challenge that is to be solved by quick pressing of the appropriate key. He compared it to driving a car. That is a pretty complicated task if you are a beginner driver. It took dozens of hours next to an instructor before you can pass the test for your license. Yet it’s not considered challenging and fun, because it’s just a set of robotic movements.
I always felt the same about shooting in FPS-es. Moving the crosshair to the head pixels is a core gameplay in FPS games and most players consider it “the skill”, despite it’s being fully robotic and mindless, just like driving. I find much more challenge and fun in strategic thinking, even if it’s limited to the primitive form of “if the circle is over water, get a boat and hide behind it”. I rarely feel so superior to my peers than when I’m idling in the water in PUBG and see the counter run down, as “skilled” players are fighting for the half of the circle while the other half is all mine without a gunshot.
The thing that finally killed League of Legends for me is lasthitting. I simply found it beneath me to learn to lasthit minions, which meant that I couldn’t play other role than jungle. This attitude limits my play greatly, as many games are offering nothing but action play as challenge. WoW raiding (the dance) would be trivial task if slowed down to half time. You always know what to do, you just can’t do fast enough because your hand-eye-coordination isn’t there. I’ve found Starcraft on low speed against many AI enemies exciting, while fighting few of the same AI at high speed annoying.
The futility of action combat is displayed by autoaim hacks. By downloading a few kilobytes of hack software, I can outdo all the “pro” players. (More about this topic tomorrow).
There are lots of games without action combat. Civilization series, Hearthstone (and card games in general), EVE Online, “jewel” games, Heroes of Might and Magic and so on. The problem is that they are very rare in the current landscape, Heartstone being the only one played competitively. PUBG is a strange mix, it has a few action combat moments, but most of the time you don’t do fast actions but make decisions.
This helps limiting finding the next game, assuming it won’t be a Battle Royale game.