What I mean by the thread title is this: No matter which way you turn, basically no matter which competitive game you play, there is always some must-do something-or-other that has literally no interaction with opponents, takes a ginormous amount of time, and is more or less, all around, an unpleasant experience keeping you from playing "the real game". Even the best games have these sorts of idiotic aspects in them: The best RTSs: poor UIs that force muscle memory, or deliberately stupid mechanics such as SC2's macro mechanics, which make players play against the game in addition to their opponent. Fighting Games: deliberately difficult inputs, whether it's very closely overlapping moves (EG why wasn't Sol's sidewinder 236+P in the air instead of 236+H, where it had a good chance of overlap with VV? Wolverine's UMVC3 move "Swiss Cheese" was deliberately implemented to trip up players who are trying to execute combo attacks such as LMLH or whatnot), inputs more difficult than they need to be (360s, Sol's grand viper), deliberately unforgiving timing windows (FRCs, other cancel-type windows), deliberate "glitches" (jump install, jump-canceling, Plinking, option selects, SHFFLing and L canceling from SSBM), etc... Your opponent has no effect on whether not you can do these. It's simply a case of, once again, building muscle memory and dexterity to do them. TCGs/CCGs: actually getting the damn cards. And to make it worse, because of bonafide Sirlin textbook definition SCRUBS, by the time you actually do get them, there will already have been cries of WAAAH NERF NERF NERF. Because people want to have fun, and then wind up getting slaughtered by competitive players. Tangent: In fact, in card games, I actually think that there's such a thing as too much variety, because at some point, you can no longer put together enough resources in a single deck/file/strategy/whatever-you-want-to-call-it to be able to simply outplay everyone. AKA, I prefer environments where there are several overpowered cards scattered across all the factions, and when you have this top tier of overpowered stuff, you actually wind up having a lot better matches than a random blowout because you just so happened to be playing your opponent's weakness or vice versa. Basically, why do we continue to have uncontested skill barriers to entry in games? Wouldn't games be better if we could all hop right in, play the real game, and depend on our opponents to provide us with strategic depth, difficulty, and opposition, as opposed to difficult inputs, clunky interfaces, or ridiculous gambling/collecting schemes?