Ping pong has always been one of my preferred sports, because of the fast action and the fact that I could play it at home (until we moved this January). It was while playing it that I got my epiphany concerning the initiative roll and why I didn’t need one anymore.
Watch the game video and note how the players flow very smoothly between attack and defense, and how timing is so crucial to their play. That’s what led to my insight: a large part of your skill is manifested in your timing. Did your attack get through? It’s because your opponent didn’t parry in time!
When the combat rolls are separated into the traditional sequence – Initiative > Attack > Damage, that sense of timing being vital is lost. Yes, you have initiative and you want to boost it, but that’s already been done for you at character creation.
So I thought, what if I just chucked the initiative roll, and made the attack roll opposed? It’s been working for me ever since, and it really does make the game faster. I believe it also helps keep the players on their toes, because they know their results don’t depend on a static number but instead on the relationship between their rolls and their opponent’s.