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This'll most likely be my only post on this topic, as I believe most of my views on the subject are known by most of you already. Do note: these are entirely my opinions and (unless otherwise stated) are not at all admin policy.
At the macro level, I prefer that combat be manual. I personally feel that it promotes a much better environment (both in terms of accessibility and in terms of fun).
I'm quite happy to say that I strongly believe the first aff tracker appearing in Achaea was one of the worst things that has ever happened to the pk scene, because it drew a very definite line in the sand, so to speak. I will never design abilities or make changes that promote the use of a tracker over manualling intentionally, because I firmly believe we are the most accessible of the ire games when it comes to being top tier with an entirely manual offense, and have been for years. I personally find manualling more indicative of a person's individual skill, and as I believe was mentioned already, I find those fights to be much more notable. That said, I feel no need to defend said claim; if you disagree, that's cool.
However, I'm pretty moderate as a general rule about the whole thing. If some people want to auto offense, I don't mind that. If said person can reach a level where a manual person can't reasonably compete, then that's just a flaw in the mechanics that would need correcting post haste--we've done this in the past specifically to equalise things like this. Generally, I have faith enough that if a manual fighter puts in the work, they'll be fighting at the same level as someone who is running an auto offense. I have not yet seen anything to disprove that belief in Achaea, and for as long as that remains the case, I don't mind how people choose to play the game.
Honestly, there's never going to be a situation where someone manually typing in every command is going to be better than someone who uses triggers, scripts and keybinds to input them. You could be Usain Bolt and still be outrun by the dude who rides around on a bicycle. I don't think the answer here is to shove a stick in the biker's spokes, or to make fun of the biker because he's not using his legs to propel himself. The answer is to teach Mr. Bolt how to build his own bike so he can use his already formidable leg muscles to bike faster than everyone else.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important
and the guy on the bike will get "WTF is wrong with you? This is a 100m running sprint."
I should specify people roughly matching in skill. Of course a pro manualing is going to beat a noob that doesn't know how to use his system. But if you take someone good at PK who manuals, and make them fight someone good at PK who uses a system, who's going to win?
Non rusty Jarrel vs fucking any auto.
Results of disembowel testing | Knight limb counter | GMCP AB files
Nobody really cares what you claim to have accomplished in some other game and nobody will think you're better because you can flaunt your ability to code (without any actual wins).
My experience tells me that low skill combatants who choose to use automated offenses generally do so because they can't keep up with what's going on and make decisions in the available time (Achaean combat is, as most classes, fast paced), which is why I mentioned that when comparing manual vs system at low skill levels.If you can do that, then you're not low skill; but if you're also fighting somebody else who can do that and they're manual, I'm honestly confused what advantage it is you think you have over them because of your automated offense.