Vanguards and Archers: The only thing people are playing.



  • A brief foreword: I will attempt to be civil, despite my intense degree of annoyance with the game as of late. I will not engage in pointless, childish debates with those that respond to this topic, nor will I defend my viewpoint as being somehow infallible, because it is not.

    Okay. With that reminder to myself out of the way and promise to all of you, let me begin.

    I had a very, very unpleasant game on the Citadel today. The entire Mason team - I kid you not - was archers and vanguards. Nothing but. The Agatha team was a more balanced mix. It lost. Horribly. We could not poke our heads past the wall without them being instantly liquified by crossbows and bodkin points. Those of us that managed to survive the initial barrage were slaughtered instantly by an array of billhooks, spears, forks and claymores directed at us.

    We had a choice. We could stay behind our shields and run out of stamina blocking the unending barrage of pokes at us, or we could attempt to strike our foes. The moment we did so, we received two or three stabs to the midsection. If we somehow managed to get to their side and succeed in striking one, we would be instantly ventilated by a hail of arrows. The defense was completely impenetrable.

    So, good to the Masons, right? They had a really good, surprisingly effective, innovative defense.

    Except the picture is the same in every single game that I have been playing as of late. I hope I do not come off as exaggerating by saying that if you aren’t playing Vanguard or Archer after the latest patch, you are a fool.

    More than what has to be fifty times during the past day, I have been faced with a situation where I, a Man at Arms, am faced with a Vanguard in a one on one situation. I almost invariably lose, unless I come at the Vanguard from the side or rear. This is because of one thing and one thing only. Picture, if you will, this situation. My broadsword is halfway towards striking them, already in motion through the air. The vanguard sees this, and instead of parrying, simply rolls his mousewheel downwards. From a standing start, his character manages to prime, wind up, and deliver a strike which stuns or kills me within the time it takes for my sword to traverse the last third of its arc and strike him.

    Am I alone in thinking that this is completely absurd? The entire game up until this point has been predicated on the idea of the ‘stop hit’, which is the sole thing that grants fighters a sense of ‘initiative’, as the fencing masters of old called it. Once you are threatened with a hit, launching your own strike is pointless, as you have lost the initiative - if you do not defend yourself, you will be struck and your own blow will be ineffective. You must parry or dodge the next incoming blow before you can launch your own counter - if you simply hammer the left mouse button, each time, the foe will strike you before you strike him, since he has the initiative. It gives you an incentive to think about widthdrawing back to ‘onset’ and planning your next series of moves.

    No longer, it seems. The Vanguard has broken this paradigm. As with any case where one class out of any can break the rules the others must follow, it is the superior choice. There is no point to parrying as a vanguard - simply step back and stab your spear or swing your claymore and repeat until the enemy falls dead.

    To those that dispute that vanguards can do this, I will gladly do some testing and provide video evidence. I would also encourage you to run your own experiments. Do it like thus. A Man At Arms, with any weapon save the quarterstaff, launches a swing. Midway through the swing, the Vanguard launches a stab with a fork or spear. The Vanguard will hit first. Every time, even if shockingly late.

    But what about the archers? Why are there so many of them as of late? Well, it is quite simple. Not only are they capable of instantly kiling most classes with a single shot to the head (rather than before, when helmets gave you a second chance if that occured), their knives and short weapons are capable of doing the exact same thing as the Vanguard’s lightning-fast spear, striking any foe well before they even come close to landing a hit. In addition, the knife in the archer’s hand is essentially a shield, as one can simply hammer the right mouse button and look in the general direction of the foe’s weapon, forming a whirling wall of tiny blade which is more or less impossible to strike through. Feinting is pointless against those so equipped - the only solution is to wrap your weapon past their guard and into their armpit. A pity that they can simply stab you the moment you attempt to do this. If you do not strike them, they simply fall back endlessly, parrying as they go, and wait until a friendly vanguard is capable of stabbing you off of them, or one of their archer friends can instantly kill you.

    I would like to weigh in on this as a player who is very, very frustrated, because the paradigm and class balance is completely broken. Let me be perfectly clear:

    I agree. Vanguards needed a buff, and were being stereotyped as a ‘newbie’ class. Easy to learn though they were, any good player would migrate to the Knight as soon as they figured out the benefits of that class.

    I agree. There needed to be more reasons to not use the Zweihander.

    I agree. The Man At Arms dodge was kind of ridicoulous.

    I agree. Archers were more or less helpless in melee.

    I agree. Archer weaponry had almost no variety, and everyone simply used the war bow or javelin.

    But can we all agree that when basic, core paradigms of the game - the concepts of initiative, of the attacker having the advantage - are broken, the game itself suffers, and the balance is broken over one’s knee? I am fine with many of the changes made, but I do not think I am alone in saying that they need serious adjustment and soon. The idea of having a team composed entirely of Vanguards and Archers, to me, is a ludicrous one, and yet at the moment it is unquestionably the best, most effective strategy.

    I will close out by saying that as of late, I and most of those I have attempted to play the game with have, personally, been extremely frustrated, as none of us wish to play Vanguard or Archer. I am on the verge of simply not playing the game - and after 175 hours in, in which I thought I had found one of my most favorite games of all time, the difference between my enjoyment earlier this year and my enjoyment now is as different as night and day. I do not think we are outliers.

    Thank you for reading, and thank you for your patience in dealing with this rant.



  • The projectile speed increase was a boo-boo, should be getting fixed next patch. Many of the Van’s longer weapons will also be getting their knockback toned down a bit more.

    Also, hopefully TB will listen to me this time concerning the MAA and put this in the next beta.
    viewtopic.php?f=84&t=14962
    If not… well I might as well stop being the MAA representative since I won’t be maining MAA anymore.



  • @BB:

    The projectile speed increase was a boo-boo, should be getting fixed next patch. Many of the Van’s longer weapons will also be getting their knockback toned down a bit more.

    Also, hopefully TB will listen to me this time concerning the MAA and put this in the next beta.
    viewtopic.php?f=84&t=14962
    If not… well I might as well stop being the MAA representative since I won’t be maining MAA anymore.

    I appreciate the weigh-in. I actually do like your proposed changes. However, the issue I have is not with the vanguard knockback - in some ways it is a little bit ridicoulous, yes, but I understand why it is there. It does not break the core gameplay elements. However, /any/ weapon being able to strike as quickly as the spear or claymore should have serious disadvantages (reach, lack of power, etc - the quarterstaff is a perfect example) to counter the fact that it can guarantee a double-hit.



  • @Jetman123:

    However, /any/ weapon being able to strike as quickly as the spear or claymore should have serious disadvantages (reach, lack of power, etc - the quarterstaff is a perfect example) to counter the fact that it can guarantee a double-hit.

    Claymore is in a new and weird place right now. 4 shotting Knight and 3 shotting Vans is a pretty big deal, but then so is it’s range and speed. It honestly should have stayed in the beta a bit longer.

    The Spear on the other hand I feel is balanced around how easy it is to block. Though it might need a bit more knockback shaved off…



  • Jetman123 for president!

    @BB:

    Also, hopefully TB will listen to me this time concerning the MAA and put this in the next beta.
    viewtopic.php?f=84&t=14962
    If not… well I might as well stop being the MAA representative since I won’t be maining MAA anymore.

    If you can’t figure out how to play MAA in group combat as it is now, you’re a poor representative for the class.



  • Also, hopefully TB will listen to me this time concerning the MAA and put this in the next beta.
    viewtopic.php?f=84&t=14962

    Hopefully not, maa is not weak at all in everything, you just have wrong placement or timing for sure, i never have problem in 2v2 or in TO vs good players, your idea is gonna fucked all the footwork and the timing of the maa, making him worse in teamgames, at least thats how this change should affect my playstyle.

    The Spear on the other hand I feel is balanced around how easy it is to block. Though it might need a bit more knockback shaved off…

    +saying this, just prove how you understand the balance in this game….

    Spears were strong weapons pre patch, very strong in teamfight and also quite strong in duel but they buff that so much, it’s ridiculous now, you have a sick speed, a sick reach, knockback, you can block in recovery (the worse) there is no drawback, this should be like prepatch, no block in recovery because of the other sick advantage of the weapon, of course you got other vanguard advantage, when you see the nerf for the knight it’s really not balanced at the moment, adding a little bit of knockback would have been enough since the weapon wasn’t weak at all pre patch but TBS logic…



  • @Jetman123:

    @BB:

    The projectile speed increase was a boo-boo, should be getting fixed next patch. Many of the Van’s longer weapons will also be getting their knockback toned down a bit more.

    Also, hopefully TB will listen to me this time concerning the MAA and put this in the next beta.
    viewtopic.php?f=84&t=14962
    If not… well I might as well stop being the MAA representative since I won’t be maining MAA anymore.

    I appreciate the weigh-in. I actually do like your proposed changes. However, the issue I have is not with the vanguard knockback - in some ways it is a little bit ridicoulous, yes, but I understand why it is there. It does not break the core gameplay elements. However, /any/ weapon being able to strike as quickly as the spear or claymore should have serious disadvantages (reach, lack of power, etc - the quarterstaff is a perfect example) to counter the fact that it can guarantee a double-hit.

    There is not a single Vanguard weapon that is capable of doing what you say it can. Not only does it lack all knowledge of this game but if you can’t fight a vanguard then it’s only your fault. Btw a spear’s thrusting attack has a windup of .725 and a stab of .575, the broadsword’s slowest windup the broadsword has is the slash and stav, that is .45. The fastest windup any Vanguard weapon has is .4 and that belongs to the fork slash, which 4 hit kills MaA.

    I agree. Archers were more or less helpless in melee.

    You know the shortsword is borderline OP, right?



  • @BB:

    @Jetman123:

    However, /any/ weapon being able to strike as quickly as the spear or claymore should have serious disadvantages (reach, lack of power, etc - the quarterstaff is a perfect example) to counter the fact that it can guarantee a double-hit.

    Claymore is in a new and weird place right now. 4 shotting Knight and 3 shotting Vans is a pretty big deal, but then so is it’s range and speed. It honestly should have stayed in the beta a bit longer.

    The Spear on the other hand I feel is balanced around how easy it is to block. Though it might need a bit more knockback shaved off…

    I think it can 3 and 2 shot knights and vanguards with upper body/head hits. It really needs to be changed as it just feels silly and looks ridiculous swinging that fast. Add in the slightest bit of latency, and it almost assuredly clips through your blocks.

    The spear line most certainly needs some knockback shaved off at the moment. They could also probably use some miscellaneous balancing all around(some nerfs, some buffs). With the new timings, I have been seeing a lot of trades with these weapons and it is pretty frustrating that some are so fast (given their range), but it should just take some adjusting time.



  • I agree 100% with OP. As an MAA I don’t mind not being able to dodge and attack at the same time but everything just feels so damn clunky and floaty for MAA now, the responsiveness and being able to utilize your quick reactions as an MAA is essentially gone. There is no reason to play MAA as it stand when you can just be an archer and perform essentially just as well in melee with a shortsword or a vanguard with a claymore, which is a 2h weapon with a 1h weapon’s speed. They are now worthless in group fights (taking 1 hit means death unless you somehow get lucky and escape) as every other class is a more viable choice in every encounter possible, not to mention the inevitable team damage that gets factored in.

    And now, even in 1v1, the exact same situation OP described has happened to me numerous times. I’m halfway through a one-handed weapon swing and the vanguard just LOLMOUSEWHEELDOWN LETS TRADE even if he’s absurdly late. There is not even an attempt to block, and why should they knowing that we’ll trade? Don’t even get me started on the quick stab riposte for things like the fork and norse. At close range the thing doesn’t even animate fully before you take damage, it looks like he’s pulling it back but suddenly your health just drops.

    I am extremely frustrated with the state of the game right now and I honestly think this patch should have spent much longer in beta.



  • @KONGEN:

    Jetman123 for president!

    @BB:

    Also, hopefully TB will listen to me this time concerning the MAA and put this in the next beta.
    viewtopic.php?f=84&t=14962
    If not… well I might as well stop being the MAA representative since I won’t be maining MAA anymore.

    If you can’t figure out how to play MAA in group combat as it is now, you’re a poor representative for the class.

    I have, it’s just not very fun. You’re basically an Archer in team fights now with how sparsely dodge is used.

    MAA’s effective role in team fights now is to stay away from them and try to find someone else who is alone to fight.



  • @BB:

    The projectile speed increase was a boo-boo, should be getting fixed next patch.

    So I guess that means we’ll have to deal with this shit for another 3 months at least.



  • BB you are overstating the nerf to MAA too much.

    I primarily used MAA and quarter staff in FFA last night for about 4 hrs and consistently top scored, a mix of low level and lvl 40ish. I used dodge pretty heavily, both back and side. Not forward though. To get in/out of bad situations. You need to be hyper aware of your surroundings and manage your stamina well.

    It is quite possible to take on multiple opponents.



  • @Toll:

    BB you are overstating the nerf to MAA too much.

    A little. But MAA’s group combat was still nerfed while his 1v1 was still buffed, the severity of each can be disputed.

    What shouldn’t be disputed is that this is the exact opposite of what should have been done.



  • Well BB, consider managing your group combat so that it is a series of very short 1v1’s. Sometimes this may only be 1 hit, sometimes you might be able to engage them long enough 1v1 to kill them before the other guy gets in range.

    So this way, you are using your MAA at its best, 1v1, even in group fights.

    Try it with the Quarterstaff, that thing is magic when it comes to Stamina…



  • @Toll:

    Well BB, consider managing your group combat so that it is a series of very short 1v1’s.

    1v1s aren’t fun anymore. If I wanted to kill people without them being able to fight back I’d play Archer.



  • Sigh, not what I meant.

    In a group fight you have to manipulate the people you are fighting so that you are always fighting in a mini 1v1, it means you have to move around, a lot. Only strike when you are clear of attack from anyone else.

    If anything 1vsMany combat as a MAA is very rewarding and very, very fast paced.



  • @Toll:

    Sigh, not what I meant.

    In a group fight you have to manipulate the people you are fighting so that you are always fighting in a mini 1v1, it means you have to move around, a lot. Only strike when you are clear of attack from anyone else.

    You somehow made that sound even less fun…

    I play games for fun you know, I play MAA because he is the most fun for me. But having my main goal be getting into 1v1 situations, and completely destroying the enemy in those 1v1s is just not what I want to do.

    Oh, it’s also not very fun getting destroyed by MAAs 1v1 either.



  • I play solely for fun too, why else would you play a computer game lol.

    When I say 1v1 I don’t mean duel like. I essentially am talking about pre-patch group fights. I really don’t understand why you can’t group fight anymore, as I’m doing it quite happily now. I can’t get away with making the same mistakes I used to, I still use dodge a fair bit to get in and out of groups, precisely hitting the people I can without taking damage and walking away with a pile of dead opponents at my feet and a skip to my step.

    It is very fun.



  • @Toll:

    I really don’t understand why you can’t group fight anymore, as I’m doing it quite happily now.

    In pubs I can group fight as an Archer, doesn’t mean he’s a viable group fighter. MAA’s dodge during combos was needed for him to be effective in group fights.



  • In a comp why are you using a MAA in a group fight anyway? That is what your knights/vanguard is for. In a comp the MAA should be used to finish off opponents via flanking and/or fast striking. Which they do very well.

    All I’m saying is you keep referring to the current MAA as an archer. Yet I’ve found that I can still do well in group fights using dodge and the speed of the MAA. I have found it takes great precision and excellent awareness to do so. It is certainly more than an archer. I’m not the only one, I’ve seen excellent MAA players still ripping it up in group fights, using dodges and thier speed. More than an archer could.

    Nevermind though, you have made up your mind it seems.


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