This week’s Dev Blog is fully dedicated to your feedback on the current state of our combat system. We’ve got lots to talk about, so if you’re interested in what to expect of the (near) future of combat, you may want to sit back (possibly pop the kettle on) and prepare for a mountain of info!
General combat-related feedback + changes
Firstly, we would like to introduce the bonus from wearing certain types of armor to suit a certain type of class/play-style. Roughly, we see the following meta groups:
- Padded - bonus to pikes and anti-cavalry polearm weapons, less damage from impact with horses
- Leather - bonus to bows and crossbows and increased armor penetration
- Chainmail - increased mounted combat damage and horse maneuverability
- Scale mail - one-handed weapon damage bonus, plus bonus to shields
- Plate - bonus to two-handed weapon damage and chance to avoid poisoning from one-handed weapons
We want to underline that bonuses will be relatively small and in no way should prevent other combinations of weapons/armor.
Another issue that you guys have brought up a few times is the difference between combat and peaceful stances, and the fact that you can switch those instantly and without any cooldown. While speed, stamina drain, received damage and other such factors of war and peaceful stances are necessary for our gameplay, we do agree that some kind of cooldown would be beneficial in order to prevent multiple stance changes during combat for certain advantages.
The affectionately named, ‘face hugging’ is another issue that some of our players have reported. This tactic involves being at point-blank range while bending forward, allowing the player to hit an opponent's legs and avoid most damage from their opponent’s attack. We believe it is acceptable for one handed weapons, but we want to provide a countermeasure for it - thus, we plan to implement a ‘push’ ability, which will be available to all melee weapons. Depending on a weapon’s weight, it will push your opponent backward and apply a short stagger; it should be enough to increase the distance and give a chance to distance yourself from the ‘face hugger’ tactic.
Another important tweak that we plan to implement is to add weapon durability into the damage formula. A good warrior should always be prepared for combat, thus we want to boost the importance of the Equipment Maintain skill also.
Finally, we plan to make it possible for melee weapons to be able to reduce certain amounts of damage to movable objects (furniture, crafting devices, containers etc). Additionally, in the meantime we’re planning on implementing a new type of damage: chopping. A variety of axes will deal chopping damage; it will be advantageous for breaking shields and slightly better at breaking movable objects. In terms of armor resistance, chopping-type damage will be in between the slashing and piercing types of damage; not that good vs unarmored enemies and not as good at armor penetration as the piercing damage.
We’ve heard a lot of concerns from our two-legged players about the prevalence of four-legged fighters in the battles during the MMO Closed Beta Tests. First of all, we must state that we do believe it is completely logical and correct that, at this current stage of the Closed Beta Tests, most of the participants prefer mounts and lances for increased mobility.
The thing is, it is completely normal that, once two sides meet each other on the vast open plains of the MMO map, they prefer to keep mobile for advantage - and infantry feels itself like a disadvantage. It is actually completely normal and realistic; skirmishes in open plains are typically more suited for light cavalry due to their mobility. The main reason it’s so beneficial is because there are no objectives that either side have to control in some way, so we’ve come up with a plan to let infantry shine!
In instanced battles, we plan on implementing a King of the Hill system; where a certain zone in the middle of the map should contain the majority of your forces. During sieges, attackers must fight through your forces and reach the monument to destroy it. In this kind of situation, cavalry will not be able to provide a strong foothold on an objective, and that is where infantry can come to play!
We also have heavy cavalry to consider. We believe that heavy warhorses fill a niche where you need to provide a strong charge against enemy infantry frontlines and have the capacity to soak up much more damage than light cavalry types can typically sustain. For increased advantage for cavalry against infantry, we plan to let mounted players wield and use hand-and-a-half swords for increased reach.
Another topic you guys have discussed is the ol’ ‘pocket ponies’ issue; players can ride a horse and still technically hold another horse in their inventory. One of our aims within the Life is Feudal world is to keep the level of realism to a pretty sufficient level, but not to the extent that means crazy, excessive actions that are a total bore just in the name of ‘realism’! So with this in mind, we are going to leave ‘pocket ponies’ in place. In the meantime, we will significantly increase the time it takes (15-20 seconds) to ‘pack’ and ‘unpack’ your pocket pony, making it a lot harder to use them in the heat of a battle. Packing and unpacking via stables will be just as fast as it is now though.
We also want to increase the value of horses, especially of the trained warhorses - therefore using your horse as a living shield will come at a price. Later on, we plan on adding basic AI to horses; they’ll want to run away if they don’t have a rider and are receiving damage, so you may just want to reconsider using your trusty stead as a movable shield!
Formations and cavalry is another issue we want to address for you. Firstly, we plan to tweak the skill tree in a way that formation skills will be available to everyone without any prerequisite skills. Secondly, we plan to tweak and slightly boost mounted formation bonuses, making it possible and beneficial to make a classic wedge heavy cavalry charge.
All the same, we also want to provide a combat order that will affect all infantry inside the formation, increasing their resistance to knockdowns caused by horses. Ideally, we’re picturing a warrior in padded armor, equipped with a pike or anti-cavalry polearm, standing inside a formation that just received the ‘hold your ground’ order, being able to resist a cavalry charge with an almost 100% chance to do so successfully. The horse knockdown damage will be classified as ‘blunt’ damage.
Bugfixes and Tweaks
Female models are widely used in combat. After some investigation we’ve realized that, due to a pesky bug, female models’ weapon reach is the same as the male models’ reach, while having a smaller hitbox. We plan to fix this issue ASAP to ensure it’s fair.
We fixed a relatively old bug, where a player could swing their pike while doing a thrusting attack, resulting in a huge amount of speed bonus and damage. You will see the fix in the closest patch.
There is also a slight formula bug with a spear’s thrusting damage, which leads to a good amount of damage being dealt even if the actual speed is not that high. We’re working on a fix for that bug soon, along with the Iron Grip ability bug.
We also feel that it is important to tweak the minimal energy/damage that bow users can inflict now, making it possible for them to kite their opponents. They will have to spend some time pulling the string before the bow will be able to deal any significant damage.
Combat preparation objects will become slightly cheaper, with a slightly easier way to build them, so we expect to see those objects in larger battles with some kind of objective for both sides that has to be quickly fortified.
Last, but by no means least on our tweaks agenda, we’re planning on removing the 100% stagger from the handles/shaft hits of weapons. Phew!
We want to thank you for taking the time to read and understand all of this week’s rather bulky dev blog - obviously we now know who are truly devoted fans! :p
Nothing is completely set in stone yet (except for bug fixes, of course) so right now, we’re really open to your additional feedback - so let us know what you think in the comments below!
- The Team