The combat is bad and here is why

I am sure it has been discussed repeatedly but here it goes. In order to understand why the combat in this game is bad let us first understand what makes combat in other games good. The key element of any combat system is Risk vs Reward. The idea is that low risk actions only lead to low rewards while high risk actions lead to great rewards. KC:D does the exact opposite.

The key reason this inverse risk/reward exists is due to the poorly thought out Master Strike system. I should not be able to win any fights by simply using the block button and only the block button. This forces passivity on the part of the player and is very boring and just not fun gameplay. You are in fact punished for even attempting to throw out an attack even in advantageous situation such as after successfully dodging an attack, pushing your opponent off balance from a clinch, etc. Every time YOU attack you risk taking high amounts of damage. This is the inverse risk/reward where low risk actions lead to great rewards such as only using the block button to kill your opponent. Where as going for a combo hardly ever leads to anything because even if the combo goes off it just does a bit of stamina and maybe some health damage but you risk taking huge ammounts of damage yourself.

Other issues with the combat system are the buggy lock on system. There are too many times I have knocked my opponent off balance to go for an attack only to have my attack act like I’m not locked on even if I am hard locked with tab. There are also several occasions where an attack animation will play out from a master strike but due to the models being desynched no effect occurs other than the locked animations play out. This is annoying.

Then there are the circle strafing enemies who will lock on tackle you from several feet away while you are looking at them and you cannot defend against it because your animation and camera are locked the very instant the AI decides it gets an automatic tackle. This occurs most often in 1vx situations.

Also before anyone goes “muh realism” this game is far from realistic when you look at anything to do with the AI and just claiming “muh realism” is not a valid defence against criticism. Games at there core should be fun and the combat system is too often not fun. Between the annoying glitches in combat, some I haven’t even covered like back pedalling up a bush because bushes are solid and made of sloped concrete, and the terrible Master Strike system and the lock on system I say that the system should be heavily reworked. Also don’t bother putting in combos if you never get to use them or on that rare occasion you do get a sequence going the combo doesn’t go off because fuck you thats why. This occurs mostly with combos that end with a thrust such as the longsword’s Up left, Down right, Stab combo which I only ever got to see before the latest patch.

I sincerely hope if there is another melee heavy game made by Warhorse that they consider these issues and come up with whatever solution they feel works best. You could get rid of the lock on system and do a more mordhau style approach or keep the lock on system and improve hit detection, animation sync, collision detection with the environment, etc etc.
Please keep in mind that the Risk/Reward system should NOT be as it currently is which is inverse. One proven solution used in Dark Souls, Soul Calibur, and plenty of other games is to have an advancing parry/guard impact that is very risky as you could eat a lot of damage but when timed right throws the opponent off balance so that they eat a lot of damage.

Don not think I hate this game at all. I love medieval RPGs, I practice HEMA and Archery. I will say that the Archery system is near perfect and you just need to improve the AI and animations of animals. Also the spawn system for animals. It is pretty dumb that they only spawn right on top of you when you have entered the zone and stood directly on the spawn point. but thats another issue. Please continue to work hard and expand upon what you have in your future projects Warhorse.


I’d really like you to try my tweaks to the combat system, and give me feedback.

The two most important things it does is to remove the possibility to abuse master strikes and clinches, but in general it overhauls and balances AI combat behaviour while forcing the player to get good alongside his character level; meaning you have to actually learn the combos and hone your perfect block timing to be effective, even when reaching high levels.

It’s the main part of this compilation:

After two years, yes, it has.

That’s where you’re wrong. Yes, you can win that way, but you certainly don’t have to. You can win by being aggressive. If you can attack before they get ready, you can get a few hits in. You can push and attack. You can fight on horse. You can fight with a bow. You can not fight at all, or use stealth.

Not true at all, a combo, when completed, gives you two things, first is a hit from the combo itself, but second it opens the opponent up to further hits. The key is to get their stamina down, and once it is, and they start taking HP damage, that is when you go all out attacking. Once they lose stamina, the fight is over. You win.

I completely agree with this one. Often the enemies will get into a drunken run, and even if you hit them, and your weapon clearly connects, nothing happens. The same happens with terrain height issues, or if the enemy falls below the ground. Very annoying at times.

I’m not really sure it can be, and still achieve what they originally aimed for, which was first person, and realism. Did they achieve realism? Well, no, but what first person game is better? How do you improve it? What is an example of first person, realistic, non magical, non exaggerated telegraphed attacks, and is better than this?

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Before I get into my response I would like to say I agree with some of your points, but also disagree with most the others…

First I might ask have you tried playing the game on Hardcore? Playing on Hardcore forces you to take inherit disadvantages and the more you take the harder the game gets, secondly it makes enemies better in combat and more aggressive…

But on to my points.

Regarding master strikes I have to disagree that in performing those you automatically win fights… This IS the case when fighting weak-average enemies however when fighting more skilled opponents master strikes are much much much harder to perform and are a lot less effective when you do. You defense skill vs the opponents weapon and warfare skill determine the likelihood of you executing the technique if they are skilled it’s a lot harder… You know how many times I master strikes Bernard and still didn’t get his health down to where he ends the fight? 10+ times probably? When it comes to master strikes Hardcore literally makes them so much harder because you lose your indicator, enemy health indicator, direction of attack indicator plus you don’t know how much health or stamina you have yourself… Master Strikes simulate how skilled you are as a fighter, against weak enemies you dispatch them easily with the technique against heavily armored fighters especially in groups well good luck kid… You gotta start running away, cheesing, bowing, and using mounted combat at this poiint.

Camera, lock system I can agree with you it’s annoying.

The rate at witch you combo again depends on your Warfare skill vs opponents defense skill… If they are more skilled than you they will repel your attacks and won’t allow you to chain-attacks very easily. This is why I think your risk-reward assessment is flawed. If you’re even trying to fight someone that considerably stronger than you the reward is already great, because strong enemies always have superior gear. They always have top tier weapons and armor, an average fighter at best might have a decent short sword , a shitty long sword like robber sword and chainmail. The combo system is deepened on actual stats but it’s also dependent on your skill as a player. If you pay attention to your opponents movements, the sounds they make and even their breathing all that indicates how likely they will defend against your attack – seriously. I’ve tested. Winning clinches, and going immediately into combos work 70% of the time even when pulling off the hardest combos. IF you press every single advantage you will land combos regularly…

When I execute a combo i follow with another combo, there is a short window after you performed one where the enemy can’t block right away due to stagger or fatigue. Winning clinches breaks open their defenses. Dodging and perfect blocks all can leave them open to attacks however depending on their defense skill will determine how likely you can secure a unblocked attack.

Your Warfare skill vs enemies Defense skill matters 50% of the time, the other 50% is your actual skill and knowledge of the game.

With your feed back on the game I honestly feel like you become a frustrated and unhappy player and because of that you automatically discard the good in the game and only acknowledge flaws. I find a lot of your feedback misleading or dishonest, since you point out the fact that you should not be able to win fights by performing a master strike and yet you have difficulty performing combos? If your master striking at a rate where it literally makes you win all your fights than combos shouldn’t be as difficult as you claim they are because I perform combos more than I can master strikes…

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The biggest issues with the combat when you reach top level are:

  1. You can perform master strikes almost every time the enemy attacks. It doesn’t depend on player skill, only character level - since it’s just a timing window for the block relative to he window for perfect blocks; you don’t even have to match stances (which would’ve been a much better way to implement master strikes).

  2. You can win clinches every time you engage in one. It’s entirely based on the skill level of the characters involved. If you’re high level and have clinch master, you can win any fight by cheesing clinch.

Both the master strike and the clinch give you a free attack, and both can be repeated endlessly. It’s super boring.

On the other hand, if your character is low level, any skilled NPC character will master strike often and win all clinches (though the clinches do not matter since the AI never follows up on a clinch). This doesn’t leave room for player skill to counter it.

I’ve personally modded the combat to favour PLAYER skill rather than character skill/level - the mod compilation that I linked to above.