Your two examples, #1 and #2 aren't equal.
Here's the breakdown you described:
1. [The Roll] [The Choices] [The Harm] [PC and MC work out what happens][Describe Pause in Action] [Call an End]
2. [The Roll] [The Choices] [The Harm] [Call an End]
The reason number2 feels like a bad place to stop, is that we've not finished the steps. If the scene describes that player getting his ass beat down and tied up by the Gangsters [PC and MC work out what happens]; and then we see the Player getting dragged off scene [Describe Pause in Action], that would make this a perfect place to call an end of the session. We don't have to ask the player, "so what do you do?". We can let them dwell on it.
If in the first example, the guy hit's with his seize by force, but the other side is NOT defeated, stopping there without saying what's happening is just as problematic. If we take only the same steps you describe in 2 and rewrite 1 using them, this is what we get:
1. "Roll to seize by force!" "I choose to 'take definite hold'." [calculate some numbers] "Well, that's it for the session, guys!" "Bye!"
Are they hurt enough to quit? Are they still fighting? Are they all dead? Are they scattered? What's happening? What about other moving parts? What's the condition of the thing we were fighting over? Am I safe now? How did the numbers resolve in the fiction? Is anything resolved yet? ....etc....
In your first example telling the player they won, and are standing victorious,
Is functionally equilivent to telling the player they lost, and the NPCs are standing victorious.
That said I don't think this is an important point at all. No one is going willfully cut and end a session mid-beat unless they half to. People want a place to "pause", and in my experience tend to want this on some sort of resolution. That's a stylistic choice that has no bearing on mechanics however. In both cases, the players expect the MC to help resolve the results of the players roll. Whether that be a success, or a failure. However, after that resolution, it might be a perfect place to stop--no matter which way the cookie crumbled.
There is no lightbulb here.
Munin, Paul T and myself, all three of us basically were on the same page for much of the other harm thread. It's not surprising that we have similar view points on this. I have previously abandoned the other battle moves played Aw1 battle moves in the beta-AW2 games just fine. Munin still likes the make a hard move only a miss clause.
Battle Moves have undergone a pretty substantive change from AW1 to AW2 though. These changes are reflected in many of the new moves, so I thought it was worth the effort to conform first and adapt after. I have not played a game with the battle moves in AW2 and have never built up a strong narrative grasp on how to use the advanced battle moves in AW1 either. So you will not get a nice pretty example out of me there. Munin might provide though.
How is AW1 battle different from AW2.
• AW1 had a battle clock that ticked constantly through the battle, those ticks inflicted harm.
This can be boiled down to making hard moves on everyone present based on their degree of exposure.
• AW2 has battle moves whose miss statements are roughly similar to their hit statements.
The biggest difference is the Player becomes limited in their scope.
We no longer have Clocks in AW2, but that's okay, they were guides anyway. They were suppose to help up maintain a narrative tempo, to start off slowly with anxiety, foreboding, and minor scuffles and evolve in heavy, action-packed climaxes. I never used clocks, except to record events after they transpired as thought experiments. The narrative flow was more intuitive for me anyway, I didn't need that kind of prep.
What does this suggest?
We are now suppose to handle battles in a more narrative manner. Instead of you fight this guy, roll seize by force, resolve either way, the end. We're being encouraged to think more epically when we're describing large battles, especially if they have multiple moving parts.
As a battle gets started, there are still narrative "ticks", though they can come faster or slower depending how how the PCs act and what the rolls allow them to achieve.
Consider this pretty commonplace breakdown:
– The Introduction. barf forth + announce badness
– First Contact. barf forth + move against them
– Dangerous Second Contact. barf forth + seperate them / raise the stakes + move against them
– The Big Fish. barf forth + announce badness
– The Climax! barf forth + move against them with everything
– The Drawdown / Resolution. play to find out
What I imagine is that instead of marking a segment on a clock, we make moves hard/soft/descriptive against everyone present in the battle on these narrative/fictional "ticks". As a fight evolves we build the scene by throwing small dangers at anyone present and make them harder against those that are most exposed.
All complications give a battle life, make things dangerous, and spur the Players into action. As this battle progresses, these ticks become substantively harder, more dangerous, and faster paced. These ticks must occur whether a player HITS or MISSES their actions, because everyone in a battle is exposed to danger (and we should make the world feel real by showcasing that). Aw2 relies on us doing this, because many battle moves have /no draw backs/ at all, even on a miss. This seems evidence to me that we should be making these incremental moves, threatening harm on anyone not keeping their head down, describing things getting blown up to announce the badness of certain guns, or certain terrains, etc.
Because we're already going to make a move, whether or not they missed, the miss itself becomes interesting. It isn't necessary to drive the action, because missing means they are suffering the harm and they are not in complete control. They've got the results of the harm move to contend with, and they're probably exposed to danger still, meaning this next tick is going to be noticeably more dangerous (harder). This means, we are in effect already being prompted to make a hard move against them, they're exposed, they're in the shit, and they didn't achieve what they could have. Maybe we use that miss to go full throttle with something we've been waving around, or maybe we use it to strategically complicate their lives. Which ever.
The key here is that if they didn't miss that roll, the battle still goes on. It gets more hairy, it gets more complicated, and there are bullets flying everywhere. If a character chooses to do nothing but stand in the middle of the battle and watch, we shoudl make a really hard move against them. If a character has been sniping people for the last 5 minutes, maybe its time to have some of the bad-guys that got a bead on him to be catching up behind. Hopefully you see what I'm getting at.
This is a just thought experiment.
This Thread was a result of me realizing that the math with the new seize by force with a "ticking" or "fictional exposure" battle style to handle hardness of moves, had some problems. Namely, I've been profoundly bothered by the fact it is mathematically stupid to buy hard instead of +1 harm / armor moves. There is fundamentally too little difference between the results of 10+ and a 7-9+ and even a 6- for seize by force, and I was unhappy with the lack of interaction the move has with the npc's skill / motivations / stakes. It's just some raw numbers.
I didn't like that. I wanted the fiction to be more actively engaged within the roll, I wanted NPCs goals to be visible in the results, I wanted to have a clear cause for reversing the move, and I heighten the differences between a 10+/7-9/miss. I wanted to fake the PvP style, in a more act under fire style. Most importantly, I wanted match the style other battle moves are written in. I don't want to have to hack them all because they were designed with a different tempo then I'm used to.