Combat Overview: Currently Combat is in a pretty basic state… which is another way of saying it revolves entirely around repeatedly left clicking until your enemy is dead or you are. The systems as they are do have the bones of a skill based combat system, but they are buried pretty deep and there are a few things that really prevent that idea from being realized in its current iteration. First and foremost, allowing players to turn their screen mid swing in a complete 180 allows players to spam left click without having to expose themselves, allowing this also de-values any dodge that you build into the game because players can just track a dodging player through their opponents dodge. In addition to this issue, the amount of time it take for your character to raise their shield is too long meaning it’s almost never worth it to do because most people can get a few hit in before you actually start to block. Once your shield is up though it blocks all damage without input until it’s broken, which is boring and doesn’t lend its self to skilled gameplay, honestly the biggest problems that the current system face is that the defensive options are not viable. Lastly and most importantly combat mostly boils down to who has the better equipment, which is something that should be avoided in most skill based systems. To recap here are some basic ideas that I believe should be adhered to create an interesting skill based combat system.
Lock player pivots to a much smaller degree when swinging a weapon. This prevents player’s from having unlimited tracking and creates openings for people to exploit if a player spams.
Animation locking is actually a good thing. It creates openings for counter attacks and makes people consider when to swing their sword instead of spamming an attack repeatedly. This can be balanced by creating very specific spots for animation cancels(see Monster Hunter)
Shields and dodging need to be quick, reliable, and they need to be consistent. When I push the shield button, it should be bringing up the shield fast enough to actually block things and dodging should happen fast enough to actually dodge.
Active blocking or timed blocking should be incentivezed and rewarded, but it should not be the ONLY way to block. Lazy blocking should be possible, but the player should be punished for doing it.
Each weapon should have a unique identity. This can mean unique passives, move sets, de-buffs, and roles or any combination of those.
No matter what tier of weapon is being used, defensive abilities should be effective. This allows player of lower weapon tiers, but of superior skill to beat players of higher weapon tier but lower skill.
There should be at least 3 different areas of attack and defense(see for honor)
Locking on is for wimps, but centering your camera is invaluable.
With these changes in mind I'd like a combat system were, left click and right click are both dedicated to attacking and creating combos together while Q is dedicated to passive blocking but could be mixed with L-click or R-click to start an active block in a particular direction. Along with these basic changes to ALL combat encounters, each weapon should have their own additional changes made on top of these basic idea to reinforce how you want that weapon or weapon combo to play.
Sword/ Sword and Shield:
- The sword and shield should be the “Defensive” weapon, with sword on its own just being a relatively defenseless options that takes less stamina for each move. The SnS (stealing monster hunter terminology) user should focus on playing defensively and close to their opponent waiting for a perfect active block that can be followed up by a quick combo to stack their special bleed debuff. Bleed would be a long lasting minimal damage ability that stacks infinitely, and by that I mean it should last like 5 minutes and do a fraction of a damage each second.
- Dual swords, DS, are the no bars hold, all attack cousin of sword and shield. While the ability to block is still available to DS users, it is in no way as effective as SnS users, and they are instead encouraged to rely on rapid dodges and constant attacks to keep their opponent on their toes and constantly re-adjusting. Due to being lighter than the SnS, Dual swords boast a faster dodge animation and recover from staggers quicker, while also being able to very quickly and efficiently stack “bleed” to astronomical levels.
Dagger and Sword:
- Daggers and swords, DnS rely almost entirely on debuffing their enemies using a variety of different poisonous daggers to do their dirty work. Like the Ds, the DnS sports quick stagger recovery and very quick dodge animations that are rivaled only by the DS, but the weakest block possible. Their almost non-existent block is tempered by the fact that every block made, is an opening to slide your small dagger into your opponents side. Additionally the dagger sports a special critical zone when attacking another player from behind.
- Warhammers are the weapon for people who want to hit things, and want to hit them hard. Sporting the slowest swing speed in the game, but highest damage per hit the Warhammer relies on beating their opponents into submission using their power attacks to break through any defenses and stack their special “concussion” de-buff(Concussion slows the affected by a certain amount per stack, and at 5 stacks knocks the affected down). The Warhammer with its slow swing speed is encouraged to stick mostly with power attack only relying on its faster attacks for more mobile targets. Defensively the Warhammer is able to perform blocks with reasonable success, but dues to their weight dodging is a laborious activity to anybody attempting it.
- Spears are the king of reach, having farther attack ranges than any other melee weapon in the game. Their move set mostly consisted of stabs, jabs, and the occasional sweep. When using the spear the name of the game is keep your distance, and jab your happy little heart out. To make up for the fact that most of the spears attacks come from a single predictable direction, the short jabs of the spear do not cause the user to stagger when actively blocked. The larger more powerful stabs if actively blocked still do stagger the user. Additionally using power attacks the spear is capable of applying a unique, single stacking, de-buff called “puncture” that increases all subsequent damage for a short time. Defensively, the spear is incredibly similar to the Warhammer, unwieldy but lighter, dodging isn’t nearly as labored but due to the size can only be performed in short hops.
Edit:I'll be adding more as I think of it. This is just the barebones of my idea.