- I’d call that a slight mischaracterization. D&D combat can get insanely complicated and involved, but it starts with the basics: you roll to hit and, if you do, roll damage. Then they do the same to you. BW doesn’t do that (in the Fight mechanics, at least; this is what Bloody Versus does); you have a lot of complexity up-front. You have to understand a bunch of interlocking rules to get started. But once you do it doesn’t become more complicated at “high levels”; what you see is what you get.
It does become messy if the combat is more than one on one. Duels work very well, as does, for instance, three vs. three when they pair up for duels. Two on one is possible, but it’s easiest to have extra combatants just add dice of Help. (It cuts down rolls, and if you don’t do that the one is at immense disadvantage. It’s probably realistic but it can be unfun for the one!) Large melees do work, but I’d save them for when you’re very comfortable with one on one Fight rules.
- BW’s intent and task system is very good for zooming in and zooming out on action. If something is important enough, it’s the focus of a campaign, not a single roll. At an intermediate level it might be several rolls over a session. Something simple might be a single roll. Some tasks don’t require rolls at all; you Say Yes, or sometimes the task is automatically accomplished because the most interesting failure blocks the intent but not the task. I’m going to give some examples.
“I’m playing a death cultist. After we get the information we want from the terrified peasant I want to slit his throat.” This is prime Say Yes material. The peasant’s role in the story is done. The character is acting the way he acts as flavor, and it doesn’t make much difference, really. Don’t roll anything, just let it happen. “Okay, you see his eyes widen in terror for just a moment as you bury your ritual knife in his throat. So what are you doing now that you know where the guards went with your captured friends?”
“I want to kill the sentry so I can slip into the camp undetected.” The sentry isn’t a character and isn’t important except as an obstacle. Using the Fight rules is overkill. You might have the player roll Knives (or Stealthy instead; either works!). But the sentry not dying isn’t terribly interesting. Here’s what I might say. “Okay, roll against Ob 3. If you succeed, you slip behind him and slit his throat and you’re free to enter the camp. If you fail the sentry screams before you silence him and the camp goes into high alert.” The man’s dead either way, with zero rolls. If the roll succeeds, the result is the intent: the character can wander the camp freely. If it fails, the character is in trouble.
“I want to kill the Wizard of Thâr in his sleep.” Now the Wizard is someone who matters. A major player in the world, or the story, or players have Beliefs about him. In this case I’d say declaring the intent is too much. You want more effort and buildup. It’s appropriate to say, “Sorry, that’s too much for one roll. You don’t know how to enter his tower or what arcane defenses he has. You have other work to do.” But after a session or three, when the character(s) have shadowed his daily routine, studied his wards, climbed his walls, out-riddled his guardians, and disarmed his traps and ascended to his bedchamber? A single roll might well be appropriate. (You could also go to Fight, but that’s not really ideal when one party is asleep.) Now the roll might be something like this. “Succeed, and he never wakes up again. Fail and you miss your clean cut. You inflict a Mark hit but he wakes up, terrified and enraged, with spells spilling from his lips.” And then you might go to Fight… or he might teleport away, flee in mundane fashion through his secret passage, summon more guardians, or trap you all in arcane chains and throw you in his dungeon, depending on the story you’re telling.
“I want to stab that murderous bastard Sir Learwyn in the throat!” Sir Learwyn is fully armed and armored. He’s standing in front of you in the town square, his sword dripping after he cut down your best friend. He’s a central antagonist. No, it’s not appropriate to roll and kill him; this is what Fight is for! Go to the full rules and see if you can manage to use your skill at arms and desperate rage against his training and his mail. For the record, you certainly can still resolve this with a single roll, as in Bloody Versus. This is just the kind of situation Fight is for. You don’t have to use it, as it’s an optional system, but it’s fun and if not now, when?
“I kill him!” should never be cut and dried. If you’re rolling, it’s because the result matters.
The Arena forum right here has lots of Fight examples. They can be a little hard to follow but they’re numerous. The downside: they’re also pretty much all from previous editions, so the rules are slightly different.