Sorry Warhorse, hardcore just feels underwhelming :'(

I created this account just to post it here. I could’ve just emailed it through, but I think there will not be feedback nor interaction. I could’ve posted it in Reddit again but with no one of the Warhorse staff reading that would just be a rant, no improvement, no contribution, whatsoever.

So anyway, you could say that I’m among the more serious gamers. I’ve completed Skyrim Requiem with a permadeath mod. I’ve cleared Witcher 3 in the death march. I don’t want to brag, neither do I want to flex. I’ve enjoyed the challenge and I’m sure that given enough time + effort everyone could “git gud”. But in KCD, hardcore is underwhelming.

I butchered the entire cuman horde in Skalitz. I escaped Skalitz with 10+ stats. I’m already in the latter part of the game so there’s no “you can rekt them back later” part. Except speech, my stats are 20. My combat skills are marginally close to 20. If KCD is a mountain then there’s only 15% left for me to climb, tops. But I still feel SUCK, BIG TIME. I FEEL PATHETIC. I DON’T feel powerful at all. I got rekt REALLY HARD in 1 vs 4 armored bandits combat. Even after using a whole load of potions and poisons, I still DIED. I DON’T feel powerful. This is particularly devastating to me, because I realize that at the end of the tunnel, I still suck. The end result, does not validate the effort.

Maybe you could say that, hey, even if you’re the BEST swordsman in the world, you won’t survive 1 vs 4 in the wilds. But I know that statement is TOTALLY and UNDOUBTEDLY WRONG. If Miyamoto Musashi didn’t kill SEVENTY swordsman in a single skirmish we won’t hear his name today. I know that’s a legend and it’s not 70, probably a couple of dozens, but it’s still impressive and I think I’ve made my point.

I’m not a swordsman myself and all I know are what the youtube content creators, regardless of their credibility, told me. in actual combat when someone fights against multiple enemies, they could hear the sword coming, they would dodge, duck, riposte, use BOTH hands, all at the same time. Also most the YouTubers said: in movies combat is too long. If you’re fighting an opponent whose skill seriously overpower yours, you’d be dead in 1-2 swings.

It struck me real hard when one of them said: it is a matter of space. When Musashi fight 1 vs 70, at most, only 3-4 can come close to stabbing range. So excluding archers and exhaustion, anything beyond 4 is irrelevant. The combat system which I enjoyed is the ultimate technical limitations why Henry still suck. Henry has two hands and two feet, but Henry can’t stab while he blocks and/or dodge. Neither Henry can use any of his five senses to hear someone’s swinging a sword behind him. So technically this game is essentially a 1 vs 1 game. And hey do I need to tell you who pioneered the two swords style combat in Japan? Yeah it’s Musashi.

Furthermore, maybe it’s just me, but the Pribyslavitz DLC disappoints me. If Henry can’t be among the best swordsman in the Holy Roman Empire he’s still a squire, and barring spoilers, after a certain point at least Henry could’ve had one HIRED HAND, or two, and armor them. That would solve my problem of having excess 70k groschen and nothing to spend!

Ultimately I know that my disappointment is because I’ve played Skyrim Requiem too much and using it as a point of reference. In Skyrim Requirem you start pretty much as a peasant scrub. You don’t know magic. You only have tattered clothes. You can’t use your Dragonborn powers. But Dragonborn could grow so powerful, to the point of in seriously minmaxed build Dragonborn kills the strongest dragons with ONE spell. I don’t play Witcher 3 as much as Skyrim Requiem but the concept is the same. In Death March the hardest mode, it took Geralt of Rivia 5-6 hits against the crappiest enemy at level 1. 2 hits kill Geralt. But in the end optimal minmaxed build Geralt would’ve butchered the same scrubs with a blow.

Now let’s go back to Henry and why the same could not be said to Henry. Kill a bandit with a blow? You’ve gotta be kidding me, because they are SPAMMING ripostes. That’s the biggest problem in this game, you see? And since it’s a Henry vs 4 armored badass bandit all poor Henry can do is running around in circles like a pansy waiting until SOMEONE tries to hit Henry and LUCKILY my “cursor” or whatever is locked on him, because half of the time it DOESN’T. So seriously tell me does Henry look powerful while running around in circles like a pansy? Because NO I think it isn’t. I don’t feel powerful at all even after Henry hits the power limit, and that’s what I find disappointing.

After all the effort to master fancy fencing combos, which in actual combat 1-2 swings people less skilled than you die, mangled, maimed, or seriously hurt, getting bulked up in the best gear possible, all I can do is sit my pretty arse on Jenda (or Argo, after Pribyslavitz) and went back to combat mode in Skyrim, mashing WASD and left/right clicks.

Or just use archery.

And that’s why I feel hardcore is underwhelming.

Sorry Warhorse, I just have to say it. But I do admit that I like this game enough to the point of investing a lot of time, effort, brains, and energy into it.

1 Like

It seen like the biggest issue causing what you and I to some extend feel is the scaling difficulty system. If you’re max level, the bandits in the woods, the ones that used to have a axe for chopping wood and raged clothes, are now wearing an expensive full plate armour, have the most renown weapons and fence like they graduated with master degree.
Yes, there should definitely be some scaling, like slightly increased skills and better armour, but of what once was a unorganised pair of peasants can’t in few weeks grow an organised group of soldiers with knight level equipment . Even from realistic and authentic points of view it makes absolutely no sense.
In my opinion, the difficulty of the encounter and generally enemies through the game should be somewhat consistent, in the sense that most of the times you get a small group of poachers, sometimes some peasants and rarely an armoured group looking like they’re going to abduct the king’s daughter on her heavily escorted journey. Yes, at lower levels, they are gonna kill you, unless you work around them some way, which is what you as a man with days worth of sword fighting experience would realistically do, but at higher levels, it won’t feel like you’re still a peasant, even though you are now considered noble for your skills, because you will mostly still encounter the amateur bandits, because the quality of criminals in a 16km^2 region doesn’t f*cking change when some Henry learns to use a sword.

Hope the sentence constructs haven’t been that confusing :slight_smile:

1 Like

@xhauwx a reply or something? Have you read it already?

I did but it was pretty late so I didn’t reply until now.

I don’t know about the scaling system much because I’ve only spent 2 playthrough, 1 normal and 1 hardcore. In both playthrough I left skalitz gimped up. Also, I don’t leave Rattay until I trained heavily with captain Bernard. It was somewhere between 15+ defense, 10+ sword, 5 mace, ax, and unarmed. So I’m not a good point of reference. Although I think what you have degrees of truth.

Also I think the region does matter. Your location of the encounter has a huge chunk in determining difficulty. For obvious reasons Henry will discover further in the main quest, random encounter near Sasau and Pribyslativz are the hardest. In several random encounters there, I’ve have never met any bandit in ragtag armors, and trust me I do meet plenty. But maybe it’s because I’m overleveled at that point.

What I fount out: the game doesn’t always throw you small fries, even when you’re low-mid leveled. After awakening, I did first Peshek quest immediately for cash. Just before the gallows hill, after you follow the path with a shrine in front of it, there’s a bandit ambush location. The game supposedly decided to throw 3 armored bandits at me, 1 of them was carrying a bow. I reloaded, and leveled up a little, bought a horse too. The bandits were there again. I was just level 9, close to 10. I make a hard save, and killed them on horseback. They have aachen dark brigandine, plate chausses, italian basinet, and stuff like that. It’s not the best stuff but it’s close to the best.

I’m okay with leveled encounter, but the game doesn’t provide us the means to deal with the harder encounters, and that’s just terrible.

And yeah I absolutely can relate to what you feel. It sucks, having to spend hours and hours to feel powerful, and still a scrub. an armored, trained scrub on horseback is still a scrub. Have you tried archery? It’s the only way to “git gud” in this game.

I’m possibly upgrding my gpu from 1060 (with my 1440p monitor I get 30-40fps on low) to a 1070ti. Then I plan to do another playthrough with a stealthy character. The previous one which I’m still playing now, though main quest is already finished, is a knight with shiny armor and charismatic clothes. I’m really looking forward to poisoning wine and infiltrating camps. Brw I yesterday played the game after a long time and I felt really powerful destroying an entire bandit camp just with a longsword, but it’s not hardcore. I’d say they tried to make hardcore more realistic, which means you cannot kill 4 armoured men anyways

Yeah if you’re talking about the AI I’ve noticed the AI is much better in hardcore. Enemies suddenly become very responsive. A guy launches an attack and the others follow suit. Locked in a clinch, they launched attacks. Faced another enemy, they launched attacks.

Well you’ve just written the reason why I find hardcore underwhelming. I enjoy both the journey and the reward. To me, the rewards of seeing Henry becomes very powerful and very capable is a must. Because I’ve spent a lot of time and effort. And I’ve realized that the reason I came here in the first place (interesting combat mechanism, realism), is dumbed down and everything went back to stealth kill, archery, horse combat.

In other words, hardcore is just another Skyrim playthrough.

You’re forgetting the part where Musashi was fighting 70 people to escape, he didn’t beat 70 swordsmen 1vs70 like you seem to think. Even he knew getting ganked by the entire school after he killed it’s master was going to be a bad time.

The problem isn’t that you are very likely to die 1v5, it’s that the game throws 1v5 fights at you but doesn’t have the easiest to come to solution for said problem.

Taking the threat headon doesn’t work and you (like me) might not like the solutions the game presents you. The conventional way of on foot you get surrounded and beaten down. as would happen. Plate armor and skill won’t stop a guy from hitting you from behind. So you have to poison them, stealth kill the watchman, shoot them with arrows, whittle them down by attrition, buy a high bravery horse and fight them mounted, etc. etc.

Your first thought to “how do I kill these 4 bandits” is “I need 3 more guys with me.” On the main quest a lot of the time you can and do have backup. It might not be marked but you can go to bernard or the like and say there are bandits over the next hill and the garrison takes care of the problem scrub henry can’t face. But bandit hunting and in the overworld you don’t have any backup, even though you could very easily pay for it if the option was available. No companions is a hole in the game a mile wide mutt doesn’t fill well.

For the quests the game throws at you, man at arms henry is a bad build and mindset to take outside of the actual battles. A lone man at arm regardless of personal skill will get mobbed and one of the strengths of this game is that you can’t play as a one man army. A strength, but also a weakness because it encourages metagaming to the nth degree.

1 Like

I thought the whole point of having complex combat system is to use it.

Skyrim combat is an upgrade over Oblivion. We have plenty of mods to make it several light years better. Skyrim does allow you to pick your poison. You can go with whatever build you want, in whatever difficulty you want, and it’s doable.

Not the same with KCD. I always read “you can rekt them later” and now I realize those guys who “rekt them later” are

  1. Not using the same build as me
  2. Just writing an essay of motivational sentences.
  3. Save scumming

Ew, regarding Musashi. It’s not even 1 vs 70, probably a couple dozen. I just brought that up to make my point that it’s doable, but the game doesn’t allow it.

Nothings is stopping you from kiting and spamming masterstrike blocks to defensively fight 4+ attackers. it’s another way of metagaming. If you expect the game to let you walk up to enemies and kill them all because your stats are high you might be too used to being the dovakin.

4 Likes

I think the main problem for you with this game is that it isn’t meant to be about what you’d like to build. You cannot become Musashi - you’re just a peasant who has a one season long story. It’s like saying you can possibly build a space rocket - yes, physically you could, but your character doesn’t have education to do that.

And don’t get distracted by maxing your level. It’s just a relative scale for the circumstances, not what a human may possibly achieve. You still won’t be able to do trick shots as Lars Anders or write poems like Shakespeare, no matter how hard you upgrade your skills. Sorry.

And yes I know it’s a bummer that the game looks like it could easily be a great sandbox. But the truth is it isn’t a sandbox game.

1 Like

It most definitely is a sandbox game. You just immersively die if you LEEEROY at 6 bandits in millanese brigandines and italian bascinets carrying lucerne polehammers.

Now if you wait for two bandits groups to slaughter each other and mop up the couple wounded guys left? Doable. Find the sasau garrisson fighting heavily armored bandits? Very easy to turn the tide by rocking up and hitting a few guys with a warhammer. Immersively choose you battles so henry doesn’t die in them.

Or immersively wear full plate on horseback with a yew longbow.

Well, if it is, then it is much-much worse sandbox than it is an immersive story-driven RPG - with actually awesome non-linear walkthrough (I’m talking multiple ways of passing main quests), rememberable characters, good drama and other cool stuff.

Like making a sandbox wasn’t the main focus of the game. It’s not that polished like some other aspects of the game, to say the least.

With that another Czech game series come to mind - Mafia. They also were beautiful as playable stories (first two at least), but really weak as sandboxes.

Though I can agree, you do have options. For instance, in storming of Prybislavitz I heavily failed scouting and diversion, so we came in disadvantage. Besides, I wasn’t much of a fighter wearing some light fancy armour. I was however a pro alchemist which was how I made my small but enough fortune. Therefore I played a witcher, took a good pint of some potions and raged through the bandits and cumans with weird visions and lots of reloads. No wonder I also rage killed the leader =(

Almost correct!

Everywhere I go, be it as the Dovahkiin, Butcher of Blaviken, Champion of Cyrodiil, Champion of Kirkwall, The Grey Warden, The Spirit Eater of Rashemen, etc, etc, I stomp enemies. Provided that I’ve invested considerable amount of time, brains, and effort. Otherwise, I got stomped.

Except here as Henry of Skalitz. I got stomped as maxed level man at arms Henry. The game forces me to be an archer.

Yeah and it’s disappointing. I was attracted to KCD because of the combat system.

IMHO it’s definitely sandbox. The game does provide me free rein over what I do, but definitely not as much as Skyrim. From the moment I set foot on KCD I’m Henry, son of village blacksmith. Can’t say the same with Dovahkiin, he could’ve been anyone.

So in sandbox terms, KCD is on par with Witcher 3. Skyrim beats them both with ease. However, CPDR does know how to play their cards right. CDPR doesn’t have the option to give higher degree of sandboxing, so they butchers the competition with storytelling. It is true that Skyrim is older, but even after almost a decade, not many game is rated as good as Skyrim. Skyrim wins in replayability, Witcher 3 wins in storytelling.

On the other hand, what KCD excels at - combat, is “nonexistent” the moment you got roughed up by several armored bandits. It’s not combat, it’s archery. That’s what I find disappointing the most - Warhorse DON’T play their cards right. Can you imagine a great storytelling, but the story itself sucks? Yeah that’s like an impressive combat system, which CAN’T be used during 30% (roughly, give or take) of the harder combats.

My biggest problem with combat is that npc’s are too resilient, too good at blocking, too good at masterstriking, etc. even when henry is allegedly a master of his craft. A lot of it might come from the npc’s seemingly infinite stamina pool. If you’ve played band of bastards the duel against the dangler is just stupid if you try it with low weapons stats. Clap him in the head a dozen times, he’ll master strike you to death because reasons. similar to the 3rd tier of enemies in the rattay tourney, he will throw masterstrikes a split second after getting stunned by a clinch. The game is maddeningly addictive, the setting is excellent, the combat system shit compared to decades old staples like mount and blade. Only quest spawned lowtier enemies have the small stamina pool necessary to let you overpower them through a flurry of blows. From my own experience fighting in a harness, in line with what talhoffer wrote, the agressor wins. not in KCD, where the game actively nerfs an agressive playstyle. Masterstrikes as implemented are bullshit.