Good luck hurting anyone in this Fighting Game
, where your main opponent is actually the controls.
This is mostly an RPG
trope, but can be applied to any game with combat elements and some type of Life Meter
This trope is about Video Games
where it's nearly impossible to inflict lasting damage, resulting in combat practically just being mutual Cherry Tapping
minus the humiliation. Actual skill is most likely still involved, but it will be more about intelligence (Min-Maxing
, planning ahead) than agility (Dodging, improvising).
This trope can happen due to various reasons; Higher defensive stats than offensive ones, an abundance of cheap healing supplies, useful healing/protection moves, et cetera.
Please note that this has to apply to both Player Characters
and enemies, or it's just a case of Nigh Invulnerability
or Marathon Boss
This trope doesn't have
to be a bad thing
. Lengthy battles tend to feel more epic than short ones, and some gamers
enjoy calculating the best possible tactics and perfecting them
Compare Stone Wall
, Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke
, Cherry Tapping
, Marathon Boss
, Nigh Invulnerability
and type 1 Mutual Disadvantage
. Contrast the inversion Rocket Tag Gameplay
- A good example of this is Baldur's Gate, where (especially early on) it's common for opponents to stand around missing each other for round after round, the victor ultimately defeating their opponent after landing two or three hits.
- The first two Fallout games had a similar issue in the very late game, where opponents with power armor are almost incapable of doing even a single point of damage except in critical blows, so combat basically boils down to watching “0 Points Of Damage” bullets bounce off each other until “Critical Hit for 999 HP” obliterates somebody. It's likely for this reason that when New Vegas re-introduced armor class it also kept armor from reducing more than 4/5 of the damage an attack can do.
- Fallout 3 plays this trope straight, especially in the DLCs. It is possible to use stealth or cover, but the game's economy makes stimpak spamming a much easier tactic.
- To elaborate, many of the added enemies have pointlessly high amounts of HP and qualify as Demonic Spiders for most of the game. By the time you hit level 30 (the cap), they will not individually be threats to you...just will take forever to kill, even with your Infinity+1 Sword.
- The key in the first two games is not to use burst weaponry but to instead switch over to single-shot, high-powered energy weapons (and to a lesser degree rocket launchers), which would actually deal real damage through armor.
- The Legend of Dragoon has this toward the end. The final boss fight can take HOURS, even if you're well prepared.
- MapleStory can have this, if you're trying to solo bosses at your level. It's usually expected that you would bring a party of solo about 20-30 levels above the recommended. If not, some bosses take minimal damage, and heal periodically, making battles drag on and on (if they're doable at all).
- In Skies Of Arcadia, due to the increasing health and and defense of certain types of enemies, it can actually be faster to have your entire party charge up the spirit gauge in order to use the full party's ultimate attack, Prophecy (which drops a freaking moon on their heads) anytime you come across one such foe.
- Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition combat is often called "Padded Sumo" by its detractors, as health outstrips damage, many powers focus on moving enemies around, and your more exotic powers are most effective if used at the start of a fight (reducing the rest of the fight to basic attacks). Of course, defenders of 4th edition like to point out that combat in previous editions tended to focus on spellcasters spamming instant death spells on each other, seeing who would fail their saving throw first while the party's non-spellcasters enjoyed a refreshing beverage in the other room.
- The actual reason for this was fairly simple: characters have an encounter power, two at-will powers, and a daily power to start out with, and by paragon tier have 4 encounter powers, 3 dailies, and at least 3 utility powers, in addition to their two at-will powers. As such, to use every power at least once in a combat, low level combat would need to take at least three rounds, whereas at paragon tier, you needed 6 turns to use all your encounter powers and each at-will power once, and possibly throw in a daily power as well. Having more powers than you could conceivably use in combat was pointless. Ironically, despite the rocket tag nature of 3rd edition combat, combat didn't take any longer in 4th edition than it did in 3rd edition - in 3rd edition, the number of rounds tended to be less, but because of the way that spells worked, a great deal of time would be spent trying to figure out which of the thirty spells you had solved the problem, and looking up exactly what spells that both monsters and P Cs possessed did.
- Pretty easy to do in Pokemon with two stall-heavy Mons, or if the battle has been going on for a while and Mons only have Struggle as their move left. Reaches ridiculous levels in Wobbuffet vs. Wobbuffet battles, where due to a lack of actual attacks beyond counterattacks means that they can only hit with Struggle, and their high HP (and very, very low attack power) means that winning with that will take a long, long time. And heaven help you if you both have Leftovers attached, which will easily heal more HP than Struggle will hurt you for...
- The Struggle attack now deals 25% damage to its user (when it does connect). Thus, in a Wobbuffet vs. Wobbuffet battle, the winner is the last one to strike.
- Exalted suffers from this in spades. It's trivially easy to throw around one-hit kill attacks, sure, resulting in Rocket Tag Gameplay if nothing is used to stop them... but it's also trivially easy to defend against any attack with a fixed-cost perfect defense. Once everyone is using an impossible-to-bypass suite of perfect defenses, the game changes from Rocket Tag to Padded Sumo Gameplay, with no attack ever doing more than making the opponent pay a tiny amount of essence, the game's equivalent to Magic Points. As a result, your essence pool is your real life meter, and victory is usually about making the enemy spend essence faster than you.
- However, the latest errata is intent on fixing this problem, reducing the lethality of combat in general and increasing the costs of Perfect Defenses so that the above-mentioned "paranoia combos" weigh on your Magic Points much more heavily.
- World of Warcraft has this in spades in one-on-one PvP. Every healer class in adequate PvP gear is capable of outhealing any damage dealt by a damage-dealing class in a matter of several seconds while their offensive abilities are rather unimpressive. Tanks have multiple abilities to absorb and negate damage, while damage-dealing classes have higher than average amount of escape abilities. Nearly all tanks and damage-dealers may regenerate their health to some extent, and may often stall matches by being efficient at running away or incapacitating the enemy while their health goes up. While one-on-one duels are not something the game is balanced around, duels occur often between sole survivors at the end of the arena match, making the winner typically the one who made the least mistakes.
- Exaggerated and parodied in the "Monkey Combat" fight in Escape from Monkey Island. Both fighters regenerate health too fast to kill each other through standard means, so you need to find an alternate way of winning. (It is an adventure game, after all.)
- This can occur in Archon when a light-side Phoenix goes up against a dark-side Shapeshifter. The Phoenix has high HP and a fire attack that makes it invincible when it's in attack mode, so if both Phoenixes attack each other at about the same time, each phoenix will suffer Scratch Damage. A Phoenix/Shapeshifter duel always leads to a war of attrition, where the winner is the one with the most patience and the fastest trigger finger.
- Final Fantasy XIII has a variation in which normal attacks are the equivalent to chucking a grain of sand at a pyramid, even against normal encounter enemies. The only way to deal strong damage and turn the tide of battle was to just pound away with basic physical and magical attacks to stagger the enemy, which would quickly raise the damage multiplier, allowing for real damage potential. But it still doesn't stop later bosses from taking a solid hour to beat.
- FTL: Faster Than Light: dump all your money into upgrading your shields, but forget to upgrade weapons? You won't be able to get through an opponents shields and they won't be able to get through yours. Missile weapons help avoid these situations, as they pass right through shields, but you have a finite number, they can occasionally miss, and there are drones that can shoot them down.
- The first of the Four Generals chapters in Sailor Moon: Another Story is a painful example, where you play as a solo Sailormercury, a healer with only one incredibly weak attack, and fight a boss as weak as you are with gobs of HP. Unless you've searched the level carefully for some hidden equipment the fight is close to unwinnable, and even if you have it's still interminable.