Perhaps having grown up playing the original Everquest, I’m spoilt with combat in MMOs these days. I mean, one of my most beloved character in Everquest, a Warrior, had only two buttons to press when fighting, Taunt and Kick. And Kick was useless. People aren’t joking when they say that combat used to be a case of pulling a mob, turning on auto-attack and then going to make yourself a cup of tea. I drank a lot of tea in my late teens.
Still, on reflection, to call combat in the MMORPG of the late nineties or early naughties (I hate that term) mindlessly simple is probably doing it a disservice. Grouping was mandatory, pulling was an art, managing aggro was important, crowd control was a skill, maintaining a rhythm in order to chain fights was essential and death was inconvenient enough to make it all matter. Plus, in the time between button pressing (which for a Warrior was quite a lot), there was plenty of opportunity to chat, discuss, gossip and roleplay.