Combat "Discussion" - Dev Spotted


I went to the archery range and managed to get a tournament started.
It’s different enough from alpha 0.5 that I had some troubles with trying to pull the bow before stamina had maxxed out and ended up dropping an arrow at my feet a couple of times.
When the tournament ended the war drums started and everyone in the camp came after me.
I hightailed it, whistled for my horse, and made a clean get away.
But the blighters chased me most of the way to Samopesh.
Eventually I got tired of running so I tried facing them.
Kind of daunting, one guy against 20 or so…
I made the mistake of pulling the sword and then I was locked on to one guy.
When I tried to switch back to the bow it wouldn’t let me.
I got a couple but eventually they swarmed me and that was that.
How does one put the sword away and switch to the bow when in combat with 20 people?
Also, I tried using the middle mouse button to switch opponents, but it seemed to do nothing.
This was in a new, never saved/loaded game.


First a disclaimer: I tried this on my laptop and had major performance issues (15-20 FPS normal, around 15 or lower in combat), so some of the problems may go away once the game is optimized to run smoother.

I think the 1st person perspective does not work very well in combat. The reason is that you don’t get a good feel for where your hands/sword are in relation to your body. You need to constantly be looking at the little red star, which is so very far from the real life feel for where your limbs are in relation to your body that I am inclined to think a 3rd person perspective would be more immersive and realistic.

The problem is made worse by the fact that your hands move around relatively slowly, so playing with a mouse you can easily change direction three times before one of these moves (which one?) registers.

The 1st person perspective also kills feedback for trying to do combos or parries, which rely on timing. Right now I have no idea about whether I moved too soon or too late or whether my command just didn’t register (again, performance issues make this worse now than it will be eventually).

My suggestion to the devs is this: introduce an optional 3rd person perspective, at least for combat. It’s not ideal in terms of immersion, I know, but being able to know precisely what your character is doing is IMO worth the tradeoff. My guess is many of the issues people are having with learning the combat system would also be resolved by this, because it would give them more control about what their character is doing and better feedback about what works and what doesn’t. I’m sure it gets easier once you learn the tricks and get a feel for the flow of combat, and you can always have the option of switching back to 1st person once you are more comfortable.
At the very least, we need a better visual cue for hand positioning.

Other than this, I like the general direction combat is going - slow, realistic, with an emphasis on efficiency of movement rather than clicks per second.


My biggest issue with 3rd person melee combat, is that from it is difficult to judge distance. This for me, is a critical problem especially in a realistic sword-fighting where the concept of distance is a factor. It also can obscure what is in front of you and make it harder for one to see lower attacks.

I had both these issues when I played War of Roses, for example, which is a 3rd person only game where distance is a factor.

As cues for where your hands are, I have been memorising what the guards look like and then using the little red star as my cue as to what position my avatar’s body is in.


comparing this games combat system to for honours or assassins creeds makes me think that in terms of complexity and realism it easily beats both, but is less rewarding. the reason being, that there is no distinction made between the animations of a lethal and a non-lethal hit in KcD, yet in AC and FH every kill plays out as a small “fatality”. The insane quality and variety of ACs killing-blows can even convincingly divert attention from its combats shallowness.

The State of the Game:

In a fight, if a weapon makes contact with a character, it reduces his stamina. if he still has stamina left after the hit, a fitting “flinch” animation is played, else he simply becomes a dead ragdoll. this use of ragdoll-mechanics can make for some quite comical kills…if an armored body-section has been hit, sparks will show and the damage is lessened, but can still kill. the trajectory of the attacking players sword does not seem to be influenced by all this; it more or less glides off the opponents clothing or armor.

My Suggestion:

Im assuming that as soon as the blade makes contact, an if-clause determines how the character receiving the hit should react. If lethal, instead of activating the ragdoll immediately, why not continue the striking animation in a more dramatic way, by adding some impact? once that animation is done, ragdolls can be used to further move the corpse.

For Example: A potentially lethal, diagonal hit from the top right, hitting somewhere between the neck and the upper-arm (Zornhau) takes place

-the hit is non-lethal: let the sword glide off and keep the flinching animation. by flinching, the opponent gives in to the strike, preventing it from cutting through him.

-the hit is lethal, the section unarmored: the opponent does not get to lessen the blow by flinching. because he does not get partially out of the swords path, it clearly cuts into his body and gets stuck somewhere near the shoulder. whatever action was being carried out by the hit character is interrupted; the impact makes him hunch over a little. next his body loses tension. he drops to his knees (optional) and lets go of his weapons, blood is dripping from the wound, his eyes and face become pale. finally a kick to the chest lets the attacker loose the sword from his opponents body, making him fall over backwards.

-the hit is lethal, the section armored: if the weapon can punch through armor, like a mace, the same killing animation takes place. instead of a bleeding wound, the armor receives a dent and its wearer some bone fractures. if a cutting weapon is used, the hit does not kill. instead its impact forces your tired opponent to the ground, where he is helpless for a while and can be finished off, unless guarded by companions.

Another Example: A Thrust to the stomach

-non lethal: a few steps backwards (flinch) help your opponent mitigate the damage.

-lethal, unarmored: after making contact with the opponents body, you take an additional step forward, driving the blade further in. he definitely collapses to his knees from this and hunches over, covering the wound with his hands. He then falls to the ground in a forward or sideways manner, once you pull the sword back out. (without a kick this time, since its not needed - im not asking anyone to apply unnecessary or unrealistic badassery to this game, just to be perfectly clear ^^).

-lethal, but armored: the armor prevents you from driving the blade further in, so your step forward pushes the opponent backwards, causing him to struggle for balance. (maybe, if there is an object behind the opponent blocking his path, he could stumble and fall over backwards… maybe, im asking for too much)

the beauty of what im suggesting is that the striking animations dont need to be changed for it, because the outcome of each strike is determined by the opponents reaction. if the Zornhau is lethal, then only because the opponent failed to block, dodge or give in to the strike (flinch). the only difference between a lethal and non-lethal striking animation is, that the lethal one is stopped shortly after entering someones body, and then continued in some kickass way ^^.

Also just imagine what it would feel like to be finished off by an npc in this manner… for a games world to be immersive, its characters need to command some respect from the player. having grim and personal death animations, that have you look into the eyes of the person you are about to kill or be killed by should add to this, im sure.

for inspiration on fitting kill-animations, you could take a look at Total War: Shogun 2

and finally, feel free to add your ideas or criticism in case im wrong or my grammar annoys you ^^


Agree with blob - a 3rd person camera should definitely be an option if it is indeed functional. Something about the 1st fov just makes it not as an enjoyable experience as i think it could be. And I played M&B for years in 1st only until MP was finally created. Still enjoy 1st in WB for SP and sometimes for MP if feeling particularly gamey that day.

Options are always good.


having the dodge and parry commands always trigger some sort of response should give you a better feeling for them. i hate how you can just spam dodge or parry and nothing happens until it is the proper time to dodge or parry… :confused: for example if you would always dodge upon pressing the proper command, dodges would suddenly be punishable. baiting a dodge with a feint would be a thing. its just a problem in general when you can perform an action, which has no risk attached to it, but all the reward. in fighting games we call this an “option select”.


Yikes never realized this! Yeah this sort of stuff worries me for longevity of the combat enjoyment. This tied in with default combat locking in of enemy and precanned combos feels more like they want our combat to take place in a very controlled environment. Thats not ideal for PC melee, as we want the ability to be as controlled or wildly rash as we want with consequences matching our decisions in a natural way. For instance, we decide to swing wildly, they retreat and counter. We keep evading Left, they intercept that left etc…


I have a very hard time finding melee combat enjoyable. realism for the sake of realism in games will fail.
The combat need to be simplified. I want to attack but there’s huge lack of responsiveness.parrying or blocking must eat stamina, and spamming attacks against npcs should be a way to win most fights quickly.
There’s a dire lack of other moves like demembering and finishing moves.
The time to kill must shorter than that, unless the game is a series of 1v1, which is not the case.
The mouse control of swings is not of the best, it should be reworked for more responsiveness.
At this point, i’m inclined of skipping entirely melee combat for bow kiting.

an example of sword combat to base on would be chivalry medieval warfare, and introduce small doses of extra realism.


please go away


Sorry, but this game aims for realism and what you say isn’t very realistic… Spamming fast attacks one by another without thinking is more like suicide. In today’s HEMA fights it’s all fast but they aren’t worried for their lives. Look at video below. 20 minutes long, very rare fight and no “zornhauw spamming” actually doesn’t happen.
Sure, they are both top-notch fighters, nothing you’d meet in the village of Talmberg or Merhojed, but meeting of fighter like this and peasant like Reeky’s daddy would end horribly for daddy. I can tell that someone like daddy would try one of two following things. He’d either try to stay calm, keep his distance and strike when it’s possible to do harm and without being harmed (not likely to success against far better fighter) or he would do what you describe. And I can tell that in second scenario after second strike he’s dead :slight_smile:

no offense, just saying what is my opinion :slight_smile:


I want it so that there is a separate difficulty for us easy combat loving players
you can have it as hard as you want but I just want an option for people like me


to be honest fighting the sword master is not representative of the scoundrels you meet in the game.
i’ve been mowing bandits like no tomorrow. No strategy involved, you just chop them till they’re dead.
My only regret is I leave so much loot behind that I can’t be bothered to go back and forth to sell it.
Archery though, is another beast.


Disclaimer: I want to share my 2p regarding combat system, but not starting another “I hate current combat system” thread, so I am posting it here, where I found it the most suitable (combat system related topic with the most replays). I have no time to go through all 200+ posts here, so I apologize if it not belongs here.

To the combat system:
I was looking forward for immersive, realistic close combat sim and the result is really disappointing - at this moment, I find very poor designed for keybord&mouse. I can imagine, that it works fine with game controller, but I do not have one and I am not interested in buying one. I hope the devs are still able to revamp the combat system for K&M control. I can imagine, that the game could work with the current design with controller and when K&M is selected as controls, it changes to something more enjoyable.

My concerns:
“locking” the target is horrible and even not realistic, but fiddling with the direction arrows to guide the direction of swing is pure pain. I get no feel of combat from this design choice.
Also, the choice of Q for blocking is really unwise, but this will be solved as soon as rebinding keys is possible.
The only feature working well is the thrust with RMB, but you cannot live with it.

The inspiration:
I really like how one indie game solves medieval combat system: Exanima.

It is difficult to master (so I am not calling for arcadish gameplay) and it demands some time from you to get into it, but it is tailored for K&M and when you learn a few tricks, it is not only rewarding, it provides the feel of proper melee. It is not FPS, but I believe a few lessons can be learned from it.

My suggestions:

  1. Remove “locking-on” the enemy – using the enemy-lock is really anti-K&M approach. Please, let us use the mouse for looking around and keep it only for the consolish controllers only…
  2. Rather than fiddling with the direction-of-attack arrows (as is currently implemented), I would suggest to use another approach with K&M, based on relative position of your current mouselook (crosshair or something):
    2a) mouselook relative to the ground: when you mouselook up from center, it is upper swing; when you mouselook down from center, it is lower swing
    2b) mouselook relative to the closest enemy: forehand swing should be default (if no enemy close enough is present); when you aim slightly right from enemy (or at his right part of the body), it is forehand swing; when you aim left from the enemy, it is backhand and when you aim above the enemy’s head, it is upper blow.
  3. Auto-block if you face the enemy and do not attack at the moment exactly like in Exanima (i.e. no need to hold any button like “Q” if you want to block) – that would be real quality of life improvement. It should be difficult enough to keep facing the moving enemy, when you are not “locked” and it is realistic to auto-block – it is intuitive reaction. Keep just the timing-based parry.

I know, that my suggests are quite radical and I can imagine, that devs are not willing to throw away the current mechanic completely, but if you think about it carefully – it is not really replacing the core mechanics (including combos), but rather changing the style of control (the 5 directions of swing + thrust is kept) to better suit traditional FPS mouse&keybord control, whre you use the free mouselook to control your weapon rather than consolish target lock (kind of aimbot) + fiddling with direction arrows of attack.


The swordholding direction could work like a aimbot. A aimbot which is searching the closest of the 5 hitbox (without moving the crosshair) Now every hitbox have to start diffrent animation (5 sword holding directions). Even aimbots can be adjust for specific ranges and distances (for example 0-10 meter)

Now you would have to implement a tool like clickaimbot (aimbot will only activate in a specific field/tolerance and when you are clicking the mouse button. It would work at the closest hitbox with a specific animation. You aim near to the head and click-> the result would be exact the same hit in the exact same direction/position like in the current combat. Such aimbots are already created by amateurs. (Not for melee game)

Chivalry doesnt look realistic because it is not possible to fix the positions/and directions. The animations like parry dodging dont fit because there are endless verieties from directions and distances. It is also to difficult to make succesfullhit to a moving enemy. With that modified very low aimbot maybe it is possible. And more challanging and inuative than a locked combat.

sorry for my bad english


Hmm, not sure what real difference there is between mouselook and mousing around the target centre.

It can help with M&K to increase the sensitivity. I run at full sensitivity and find the five primary directions easy to find. (Stab is hard to “find”, but the stab mouse button means that actually finding this 6th direction isn’t necessary).


The difference is huge:

  • when you have to point your crosshair in relative direction to the enemy model,while both of you are moving is more like classic FPS skill, but current “find-the-direction-arrow” system is like strange tetris-like mini-game (timely placing the right piece).
  • It would not be easier (you lose the help of target-lock), but not more complicated niether (it will be easier to chose the right direction of atrack) - different type of challange, more FPS-like.
  • free mouselook allows better and more intuitive control of character movement
  • fighting with multiple enemies becomes more logical

For me, the current combat system seems like poor port from console not really suited for M&K:(


I agree that there are improvements needed for keyboard and mouse combat. It must be easy to fire directional swings and react to them, and combat has an overall feeling of sluggishness.


@Bivoj: Holy crap thank you for that link! Had to buy that after 30 second preview -nothing beats these kind of physics story be damned! Literally killed my guy running into a fireplace and breaking my neck :stuck_out_tongue:


Having fenced before (foil and sabre only) I actually quite like the combat system. Sure it needs polish but the feel seems right to me. It can be very disorienting getting hit with some of these weapons.

I think the lock could reasonably be used if the direction selecting mode of the mouse was changed from ‘flick’ (ie move the mouse in the direction you want the attack to come from), to ‘hover’.

I’ll explain: Have the attack direction be dictated by the position of a mouse pointer. There would be 5 seconds (1 corresponding to each star point) that would extend like a pie chart out so some radius (but could be visually representing just around the star). A small circle in the center could represent the stab attack. This would allow one to move very quickly between attack directions, especially of the mouse pointer is kept near the center of the star since you don’t need to ‘flick’ you only need to ‘aim’.


Isn’t that indeed exactly how it works?

Everywhere except the centre is a cut (the 5 directions being slices of the screen that you have the (invisible) mouse pointer in). You then attack by releasing the attack button (left mouse for the selected attack, right for a thrust (regardless of guard), and a kick/pommel strike when close and using “f” or a normal attack). You can also setup a fient by starting an attack from one guard and moving the pointer to another guard before releasing.