Hey there ! I'm very happy this page finally opened up !
So, I know you guys have a quite accurate plan on how to make combat work in LiF, but seing the current description, it is just going to be a damage trade with war cries and combos.. not very skill based I say. Now, I've already suggested copying Mount & Blade mechanics, and you're right, it may be too fast for the poor americans and australians who are going to have a baaaad ping
Now, my new idea : do it like War of the Roses. Well, balance it better, maybe make attacks a little faster, but otherwise, I've done some tests on it : I could play fine with 180 ping, which should be the worst scenario for americans. As for Australians.. most of them already gave up combat.
So, how would "do it like War of the Roses" look like on the game ? Well, first off : DIRECTIONAL PARRYING ! With a medium paced combat, this is PERFECTLY achievable with the ping mentionned above (it does require some training though). Or AT LEAST, make a parrying system that blocks 100% of the damage when you do a successful parry. I know you don't want to advantage too much those who have low ping, but listen.. just imagine how it will play out : you can't parry all damage ? Then why use right click ? It will just make you slow as hell, so no dodging, you can't attack at the same time.. the only thing is that it will stop combos. Omg so effective, I lost 100 hp but I won't bleed.. Hooray !
People are going to just spam attacks, maybe try to dodge, but even that is too risky. Adding effective parrying will give a significant advantage to those who play at least a BIT defensively against dumb spammers, it will allow for more skill, and also will allow you to survive more than 10 seconds in battle without a shield. Yes, I know, war cries and armors, but if anyone can just slash at you with you only being able to hit back, no stop the damage, well, you will be able to kill only so many enemies.
Next, attack system : the one that is in the game right now is perfect, just make better animations maybe, and also optimise the hitboxes of both the weapons and the characters. Maybe make attacking will strafing very inefective. What would be cool, related to that, is to have a charge attack : if you sprint forward, and you hold left click for a long enough time, your character is going to do a wider, faster swing, that deals much more damage.. in small scale combat, this will allow for nice initial engagements, and in large scale battle, this will make charging actually a not so suicidal move.
Next, armors : Current armor system is wierd. I won't talk about the skills, I will talk about them in my other suggestion, but I'll be talking about protection. First off, plate armor should be virtually INVULNERABLE to slashing, and even piercing, except for good bodkin arrows, and weapons that are made to go through armor (billhooks for example). To counter the fact that is would make that armor quite OP, you should make the armor making take a LOT more time. Not necessarly more costly, but take long. Maybe a full plate should take DAYS to make if you have the materials and the structures needed. That would prevent any little 3 guys tribes from having those, and would make them very expensive.. which they WERE ! I don't know if that's possible, but you could make "weak points" on the armors, especially the plate one : novice is vulnerable to the sides, the shoulders, the armpits, the thighs.. half plate is vulnerable also a bit to the sides, the armpits.. and so on.
Of course, other armors like chainmail and leather should be a lot easier to make : they would be the armors of the common soldier. Scale is special.. I guess it could be a better chainmail.
Next, weapon uses : You could add some "flags" to every weapons, so they can make other players fall to the ground (axes, billhooks), so they break shields easier.. medieval weapons are not only a mix between reach, damage and speed.. they are mainly a tool for making foes fall, bleed.. all sorts of nice things ! Of course, for example, to make another player fall, you would have to hit them with a fully charged it in the back of the legs, and things like that. For now, everyone is using the war scythe. Why ? Because it is one of the longest weapons, very high damage, and decently fast. It should have drawbacks like a smaller hitbox, very easy to break whe you try to parry with it or get parried with it..
Next : SHIELDS. Damn, I love shields. Because they stop those pesky arrows. And that's so nice. But hey, let's make them more useful in LiF : shields would have the huge advantages of : costing less stamina to block, be able to block from every directions, as long as the enemy weapon doesn't reach you anyway, and also be a wall against arrows and bolts (even though they should be able to be pierced, steel arrows and bolts can easily go through wooden shields and kill the user).
Now, they will also have drawbacks : they make the user a slower, depending on the weight of the shield, they make him also less agile, especially when holding the shield up (again, depending on the weight), and also, they of course prevent you from using 2h weapons. Now, shields were used for defence, but they were also a weapon, and that's a thing TONS of game forgot about. Shields were used for bashing, they were used for preventing your enemy from moving his weapon arm (see viking technics on the internet), they were also used, sometimes, as PARRYING tools, and not BLOCKING tools (like the buckler, which IS in the game). Shield bash should involve a lot of risk : first, you are unable to attack will you are charging one, and also unable to turn. Second, they take time to charge : if you really want your enemy to sprawl on the ground, boy you gotta charge it up. Finally, a shield should ALWAYS be effective, no matter what. You be standing still, carrying it in the back, charging a hit.. it should always block incoming blows and arrows. And now, to my next, and final point about shields :
To the animators : ANIMATORS ! Don't make the HUGE mistake of making the character just.. "throw" the shield at his back when attacking. Shields are MADE for covering you, and that includes when you attack. Shields should stay and protect the side of the user while the other arm is swinging the weapon, and be able to quickly get raised up for blocking more accurately.
Now, Mounted combat ! I know it is not in the game yet, but I have some ideas about it. First, Mount and Blade did lancing wrong.. yes, you can do nice lancing, that deals loads of damage, but you can also use the down attack with the lance while mounted, and you have way more reach. In LiF, I say you should not be able to do anything but couching your lance while mounted. Please, make the lance couchable at ANY time, even when not moving. Cavalry did use to prepare the charge by couching the lance before actually charging. Of course, if you don't have eneough speed, the lance should do very low damage. When you successfuly hit someone with a lance, one of the two should happen :
1 - The lance breaks, because the enemy armor was too hard to pierce through, or because the lance was too decayed / used. In this case, blunt damage is dealt to the target. Maybe some piercing depending on the armor.. but it would be possible, and even usual, to die in this scenario.
2 - The lance.. stays in the enemie's guts. If that happens, the guy dies here, and you can pick the lance up after the battle. No need to worry about damage here, since the lance is inside the guy.
As for swords, axes, throwing weapons, bows... they should ALL be usable, with different animations in melee of course, and reduced accuracy for ranged weapons (By making the camera shake when you try to aim). Of course, 2 handed spears should not be usable (the pike for example).
Spears : Please, PLEASE, make spears used in ONE hand if the user has enough strengh, no matter the spear (except for the pike, again, and other very long spears). Spear + shield HAS to be a thing, or you just destroyed 3/4 of early medieval warfare
Also, make spears throwable, easy to use, and easy to maintain. That's why they were used, that's why they should be used.
Swords : Make swords either deal slashing damage when it goes through armor, or a bit of blunt. That would make them very ineffective against plate armors, except if you find a weak spot, and very effective against most other things, because you just cut through. Make them hard to break, depending on the ore used to make the blade.
Axes : make them deal slashing damage no matter what : got through or nothing. They would be quite effective against any type of armor, because they could go through most of them. They should also be cheap to make. But, make those who do not have a pointy end for that, unable to be used for down attack. Or maybe do it WOTR's way : make a differect animation for those one, a slash from the bottom. Make the one handed spears throwable, also, even tho it would be stupid.
Blunt weapons : damage ignores like 75% of the armor, but make them deal very low base damage. it would make them middly effective against everyone, but it would be the only way to effectively knock a full plate guy down and then deal a Coup de Grâce.
Ranged weapons : REMOVE THE CROSSHAIR. Except maybe for the sling, but the others.. remove it. People should need a good training to use them, or every armies are going to be 100% archers early games, and that's not going to be fun. Make the strengh of the arrow, the quality of the bow itself.. be influenced by bow type and its quality, so archers have to learn how to use each bow, should they need too, and preferably, not using a crappy one, but their own bow. Also, please do not add in dumb "special attacks" like "arrow rain" or that kind of stuff. This is a stupid way to use a bow. Want an arrow rain ? Get an archer squad to fire at the same time, BINGO ! Remove "arrow to the knee".. all that kind of stuff. Want to slow someone down ? Just shoot his leg, pierce his armor if he's got one.. and that's it. You be a noob or master archer (as a character in game), an arrow to the leg is still an arrow to the leg, and will make the guy fall to his knees.
Damage in general : Make every decent slashing / piercing weapons kill in a hit or two if they go through armor like butter, or hit a guy that has cloths / is naked. We don't want naked in battle, so they should die easily. I know, some carebears are going to ragequit because they couldn't take 56 hits and make it with their stuff. But that game is supposed to be realistic.. well, let it be realistic. Same for weapons like lances : for cavalry to be useful, it has to be used in charges. And what makes a charge efficient ? The SUDDEN death of those who were hit by lances. Of course, big "tin cans" could hope to survive a blow, but certainly not two. And the others.. well, they won't survive at all. Make it no too OP by applying the "lance break or gets stuck in the guy" thing so they can't be re-used 584594 times in a row. Ranged weapons should kill in one hit if they go through armor in the head or the chest.
Those damage suggestions are for if you keep the current damage system, though I'm going to write another suggestion for a more realistic way of handling damage and death, and debuffs, and bleeding..