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abraksil  [developer] Mar 24 @ 3:17pm
Combat Mechanics Discussion
So I've been seeing some ppl pointing out that combat is too sluggish. When I was designing the fighting system I didn't want for it to be too fast so the player can have some time to think about combat tactics. How do you guys feel about our combat mechanics?
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Sluggish feel to the combat isn't about the speed. It's about what feels like a lack of responsiveness in your actions. Effectively, the game mechanics introduce what amounts to input delay, which doesn't feel good for the player, independent of the speed of combat.

If you only have a light one-handed weapon, it's not bad. Press and hold block, and your guard comes up reasonably fast - but not instantly. If you've got a shield as well, or a heavier weapon, or a lot of armour, you slow down, and the delay when you raise your guard becomes harder to work with. It makes parrying even slow attacks on reaction unreasonably hard, and faster enemies actually feel too fast even with the reasonably slow pacing of the gameplay.

Similarly, when you release the button to swing a single sword, it swings out at a decent speed, but DOESN'T feel like it's connecting immediately, and tapping the button for what feels like it should be an immediate attack doesn't have quite the immediacy many players want. With heavier weapons, the delay gets long enough that it makes using spears and axes just feel really awkward.

Having less "wind up" time when swinging (and blocking) would probably benefit the game mechanics. And for blocking in particular, it feels really backwards that equipping a shield or armour makes you less able to defend yourself, so that probably does need addressing.
abraksil  [developer] Mar 27 @ 2:02pm 
Hi sorry for the delay in answer - needed to take care of couple of things after the weekend but it gave me time to think through what you wrote.

When it comes to swings this are my ideas:
  • Adding the "wuuuussssshhhhh" sound to the weapons. It is natural that this sfx will start a bit earlier in an animation so the player will receive the sound feedback sooner.
  • Bypassing attack charge position if the player doesn't hold the button. Sometimes this transitions can be a bit subtle and maybe this is what's causing feeling of delay. It's hard to predict this one though it might as well ruin the dynamic of attack. I will need to experiment a bit with this one.

As to the blocking. I introduced the mechanics your describing because I wanted to balance heavier and lighter builds. The Resistance to stagger and damage reduction gives you a huge advantage in combat. Besides that the effectiveness of the block rises with the amount of armor you're wearing. The best solution to avoid the domination of supper heavy builds was lowering the parry window and block animations speed with the lose of Mobility. Thanks to that player has an interesting choice planning the build. He/She has to decide where between speed (Mobility), protection (Deference) and damage (Attack) lies the best setup. And the answer for every player is different.

To Sum it up - I'm not sure what to do with blocking :( I think loosing the dynamic I described wouldn't be beneficial for the game. The only thing that comes to my mind right now is adding more equipment options for the player so there is more variety to choose from. (I'm having a feeling there is not enough equipment for fast / roguish heroes) But i will continue thinking about that issue.
The issue is particularly for blocking and fast attacks. It feels like there's a lack of responsiveness because of the delay, instead of it feeling like something that makes sense to be slow. I get that it's meant as a balancing thing, and for me, personally, it's an interesting one. I think for attacks, the sound effect idea will probably help - making sure players know "yes, your attack started" is important. I'll be curious to see what comes of the animation adjustments as well, that sounds like a possible way to improve quick attacks, because those very often don't feel any faster than a charged swing, especially with two-handed weapons.

Another factor is that getting hit out of a swing is really frustrating. Maybe to alleviate that you could give players an increase in stagger resistance during an attack, possibly based on how much it was charged? If you did, for balancing reasons it would make sense to come up with some excuse to make this more of a buff on fast builds, like maybe saying high mobility = better balance so when you brace for a swing you get more stability than someone with awkward heavy armour. Not really as intuitive but could be justified.

For blocking/parrying, I get that it's a balance issue, but it's also a fun-factor issue and that needs to be considered too. The delay on parry/block even on your starting build with the mercenary sword and nothing else feels quite significant. It doesn't feel immediate and responsive and for defensive actions, that's not beneficial. Having it ramp up - and ramp up significantly - from that point just makes the feeling of sluggishness more severe. The fact that adding a shield results in your defensive timings getting worse just feels totally backwards. You could easily halve the time it takes to raise your guard across the board, and the delays would still feel significant and worth considering when adding heavier gear. Shields should reduce the delay on blocking as part of their effect when equipped, to make them actually do what players are going to equip a shield to do.

Another possibility could be to separate block and parry timing. If blocking *ALWAYS* raises your guard at a consistent speed, but the timing of your parry changes, it wouldn't feel unresponsive, but you need some kind of independent visual and/or audio cue for when your parry takes effect. Having a more distinctive indication of your parry timing would be nice just in general, actually. That way you can see "oh I parried early" or "too slow" instead of "I guess I timed that wrong?" with no feedback to explain what kind of wrong you timed it.

EDIT: Just going to make a note - I'm already a big fan of the game, and the novelty and uniqueness of the combat system is part of why. Even as it is, I enjoy the game's combat. I just feel like some tweaks to make it feel like things are happening as you tell them to happen would be an improvement that makes it even better. I actively WANT the combat to keep the slow and methodical pace it has, but it could do with being more responsive, specifically.
Last edited by obliviondoll; Mar 27 @ 10:56pm
abraksil  [developer] Apr 2 @ 6:53am 
hey man don't worry the constructive criticism is always welcome :)

I thought a while on what you wrote and this are my ideas:
- I will decrease the maximum time of blocking animation. To balance it out I will increase the stamina cost for the block.This will make the block action faster especially for heavier characters. The difficulty of effectively using block will now be more about stamina management
- I will create a special PARRY item tag for shields. Equipment with this tag will not effect the blocking speed. This way shields will no longer feel counter-intuitive when it comes to blocking. To balance it out i will also slightly decrease the defensive stats for shields. This way to use shield effectively you will have to actively block the incoming attack witch will differentiate the shields from other pieces of armor. This way we will also create a new play-style for armored characters.

I'm adding this task to my list i will try to squeeze them in between other bigger updates. (I will let everybody know in the announcement when it happens)
Sounds great! I look forward to seeing how the game feels with those changes.
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