Combat "Discussion" - Dev Spotted


Is it? I got about 1/3 of the way through the posts in this thread and I guess I completely misunderstood what people were describing!

To be honest I’ve only played it using a controller and it seems to work pretty well when there’s no stuttering. I guess then that the pointer being visible would probably go a long way to making it easier to use. I don’t know how far the sections extend beyond the star, but the further they are away from it the easier they would be to engage (to a point) since the sections would be larger portions of the pie slice.


I’ve found the combat to work well in one-on-one duels, but the system breaks down when fighting multiple enemies. I think this is mostly due to the current lock-on system. Even knowing which enemy you are targeting is difficult switching between two enemies is a nightmare. The only way I found to fight multiple enemies is to run around them until you can isolate one. My idea to significantly improve the system without fundamentally changing anything is to have the enemies “take turns”. Not line up and attack you one by one, but similar to the recent batman games taking turns engaging and disengaging from close combat with you. Add in an easier way to switch targets and this could become challenging and dynamic while not feeling unfair. The player would require more careful stamina management while enemies can take breaks. Knowing when to switch targets would be important also. Do you push your current target as they are disengaging to get a few more blows in or do you switch immediately to block the incoming blows from your other opponent? Maybe the second fighter tries to get behind you before engaging. I’m not sure if this idea would be more or less realistic (were mob attacks or small skirmishes more common in large battles?), but I think it would make combat against multiple enemies feel a lot better.


Thanks for the feedback, sir. The combat is an important part of the game. The team is always working hard to make the game the very best that it can be. Keep the feedback coming!


Combat with multiple enemies is another issue, which could be solved by abandoning lock-on-target mechanic.


After trying the combat ingame, I’ve got another suggestion:

what does the Q button represent IRL? In game, holding the Q means, that you are blocking all strikes against you and when you do not hold Q, all attacks against you reach home with success. Does it work like that IRL? Do melee fighter have 2 “modes” of combat stance and the default one is defenseless, while making some intentional “focus” he/she magically becomes invincible? I would say NO (based on, for example, watching MMA fights). In default, the fighter is implicitly defending him/herself against the strikes and he/she releases the implicit block just when he/she is willing to attack (which can be exploited by enemy). So, why we need the Q button?
The devs are claiming to make realistic combat system, based on HEMA, historical studies etc., but I do not find any justification IRL for the Q button. Blocking should be automatic, default stance.

But I can imagine, that Q is there for “game purposes” to make blocking a game feature, making combat more difficult in a gamey way. What about making the block more realistic and based on something real?

We have 5 directions of attack, but it does not matter where the attack comes from for blocking purposes at the moment; I even do not know why I should be feinting the direction of attack (as the tutorial suggests), when simple holding of Q (or pressing it in the right time) makes the job regardless of the direction of my sword. And there comes the suggestion:

I would suggest to use the directions of attack for blocking as well.

  • You have to be facing the enemy (so the target is locked and combat star scheme with directional arrows appears)
  • When the enemy is attacking from a direction you have your weapon prepared (in the same direction as attack), it is the successful parry; example - attack comes from your left-down direction and you are pointing left-down arrow on the combat-star scheme => parry
  • When the enemy is attacking from a direction and you have your weapon prepared one direction-wrong, it is normal block; example - attack comes from your left-down direction and you are pointing left or right-down arrow on the combat-star scheme => block
  • when you completely miss the direction of coming attack, you have some probability of blocking based on your RPG skills

An addition to that, the success of parry and/or block may be determined by the current level of stamina + current combat skill.
Something like that:
with 90% stamina and better combat skill than enemy - pointing the arrow to the right direction of enemy attack => auto parry
with 50% stamina or worse combat skill than enemy - ceteris paribus => 50% parry; 50% normal block
with stamina depleted and worse combat skill than enemy - ceteris paribus => 50% block; 50% enemy hits you

With this combat mechanic, you will get rid of one key (decrease the complexity of controls), while increasing intuitiveness (it is intuitive to follow the direction of enemy weapon and try to foresee the direction of attack) and increasing the complexity of combat itself and making it even more skill based. Also, feints would make sense.

The only issue to solve is the block of thrust attack, but I believe solvable.


Changing blocking guard currently takes longer than the feint. So if you just hold up a guard then you will be hit every time by an effective feint (note that some guards require no or less movement to block an adjacent strike).

Some AI do use feinting, but more are powerless against a human feint. On the other hand AI seem far more capable than I am of parrying or launching combos, and tend to appear in multiples.


The “Q” is realistic. The defense stances do not block automatically itself and any experienced (faster) fencer will hit before the defender could even react. So it simulates timing.

Directional block were suggested few times but personally I think that block is a reaction, not a decision in real life. Unless enemy feint and you start blocking before he really attacks, there is almost no chance you would be blocking left while being attacked from right. I think it is a good way to do it.

As Lieste wrote, feinting works.


The “Q” is realistic. The defense stances do not block automatically itself

I can imagine to keep “Q” as reaction button for parry (here comes the timing you are writing about), but the primary function of “Q” is to set the defence stance on and you have to hold it. So, player is asked to hold the “Q”, while hitting another buttons (moving around the battlefield) just to have the defence stance and I am asking to removing this unnecesary and anoying feature (less buttons = better quality of life = better gameplay). Defence stance should be default unless you do something.

block is a reaction, not a decision

And I would say, authomatic reaction for trained fighter. No need to hold the damn “Q”… You decide to hold the Q, while your character should authomaticaly react if attacked, so no decision of holding “Q” needed.

As Lieste wrote, feinting works.

Honestly, I do not get it (and I do not understand Lieste’s post). Maybe I have not played the game enough (it does not work much for me because of K&M hostility, so I did not spend much time with it - I admit), but I cannot even imagine how can feinting work. Holding (or hitting) Q does the block (or parry) regardless of direction of attack. So feinting left strike and suddenly changing to right strike makes no difference - the defender holds/hits magical “Q” and thats it, block is always successful. Maybe some percentage is calculated based on your&enemy exp level, but that is something you cannot directly influence in combat.

As far as I understood the combat mechanic, the direction of attack is purely graphical feature, without any impact on actual combat performance (i.e. probability of successful hit) with the exception of combos (I dislike the combos as well, but that is another story and at the end, I can live with them). Without using combos, you can be equaly successful in combat when you use just one direction of attack - or did I miss something?

Actualy the unused potential of directional strikes is why I have suggested the directional block, but without the unnecesary “Q”, so it would make the controls easier, while keeping the complexity of gameplay. It is sad to have 6 directions of attack, but without impact on gameplay.


Interesting info about blocking mechanics from the developer:

Pay attention to this sentence:
"if you copy enemy’s sword position, it’s easier for you to make a parry (timed block). It’s just a matter of physics: sword needs to travel shorter distance, hence more forgiving timing"
P.S. How am I supposed to quote a single sentence?


OK, that makes more sense and it is in the way I was suggesting - just not properly explained in the game itslef (in the tutorial by your “teacher”). Good to know.

Anyway, that is just for the parry (hitting “Q” in proper time), while holding the “Q” is magical block and everything I wrote about it is still valid.


I hate this argument because it presumes that realism can’t be be fun and/or cannot be implemented in a way that’s fun.


Exanima is awesome for sure!


Oh I see! I only use parry and completely forget about the long time block.

Yeah, good point. Holding the Q is a decision. I always toke it as player’s decision to use Henry’s skill rather than his own (parry). In my opinion there could be time restriction so it won’t be a “block mode” just a block for a players unsure of timing (and leaving it on RPG mechanics).

But I have to say, that I’m eventually liking your idea of stances blocking one direction automatically as you describe. Though parry is perhaps a bit too much, I would leave it to Q (hopefully another button in the future). I wonder how it would work.


Something i really want to stress is the time to kill. Its far to long, and it really ruins immersion and realism for me, when i run a guy through several times or hit his unarmored head, and he just shrugs it off and continues to fight. It’s is perfectly understandable for people who are heavily armored to take a lot of punishments, but i feel like the damage model and time to kill, really needs work.


If you hit an unarmoured guy 2-3 times he goes down right away. A single hit can be fatal against any opponent… though the amount of crippling is wrong (enemies become more mobile after being fatally wounded, which is visually and logically jarring when coupled with the stamina system). There is a critical location system apparent - thrusts or arrows to the heart are usually instantly fatal, while hits elsewhere can require up to 8 arrows to bring down an armoured opponent.

Gambeson, coifs and other equipment are light armour.

If anything the ability to take down armoured people with cuts is exaggerated - thrusts should be legitimately dangerous against non-hard armours, and be fully lethal against hard armour when the tip bypasses the armour in gaps.

People are very easy to kill… or very hard, according to who you talk to. Stabbing victims can die from a single wound, others survive dozens of injuries, and many fatalities are died of wounds, rather than instantly killed.

Modern military gunshot ‘lethality’ is based around disablement within 30 seconds of receiving injury - and that is with penetrating injury with supersonic shock. A relatively large but low velocity impact injury will lack some of the shock effect.


I would prefer takedown or fast kills when the enemy is surprised. And more complex finishing moves. Cinematic but realistic.


While I have no problem with operation of the parry system (the timed parries are akin to what we call in fencing invitations), I do believe “Q” is not an ideal button for parry for K&M users.

The issue I have with “Q” as the parrying button is that it inhibits the use of the WASD movement keys i.e. you can only really parry/hold a parry or move, you can’t do both easily at the same time. This is counter-intuitive to a HEMA fencer as in RL, most parries consist of both a movement of the sword-hand(s) and a movement of the feet to say for example step offline and/or out of measure (i.e. footwork). [Some parries you standstill though]. Further, even if you are holding a parry (in RL you are just holding another guard) you still want to keep manoeuvring and re-orienting in relation to your opponent(s).

On the other hand putting the parry button on the mouse (or for gamepads separate to the hand that operates the movement controls) makes more sense, as both attacks and parries are, at the end of the day, both just movements of the sword. Further, in RL at any particular moment you can usually only attack or parry - with the exception of single time defences, you cannot do both a the same time. In KCD, I have found the same rule holds true. Hence, not being able to reach and use both the parry and an attack button at the same time on your mouse is not an issue.

So, in summary, IMO an ideal control set-up for both K&M and gamepad, is where in a fight one of the player’s hands deals with all the movement controls whilst the other controls the actions of the sword whether it be parrying or attacking.

I for one, program “Q”/Parry to my gaming mouse. I find this setup particularly good as after my avatar does a series of attacks/parry/ripostes, I can both:

  1. Hold my parry button on my mouse or have my finger poised over the same button for a timed parry; and
  2. Use the WASD keys to retreat out of the opponent’s measure (weapon range).
    This retreating out of measure under guard or with a mind to defence, is in fact what I do in RL when I do HEMA fencing and is good fencing technique.

Obviously, once we have rebindable keys this issue will solve itself. :slight_smile:


Yeah it would be good to separe footwork and sword between K&M (I’m still trying to block with left mouse button sometimes).
I would be even OK with block moved to left Ctrl as you don’t use shift while blocking as well.


Agreed! WASD for movement, I can live with, but anything beyond that usually ends up with me neglecting actions I should be taking just from fumbling twisting fingers not able to do both at once. So many times I do feel like I am being caught “flat-footed” when I should be moving because of too many buttons being controlled by my left hand.

Agreed! I use a Razer Naga Molten mouse and I have 12 perfectly good buttons under my thumb that I am not using at all. I could see both “Q” and “F” being remapped to those buttons, with 1-6 all being “Q” and 7-12 all being “F” so as to give leeway for missing a button–any 1 of the 6 in the area would work!


I have to say combat is awful, I’m probably never going to play this game more than a few hours max with this kind of combat. Game breaking, along with being stuck in first person so half the time it looks like you’re molesting a horses head. But ay, it’s ok