Stabs unbalance the game



  • In this post I will attempt to underline why the stab is flawed in its current state, and attempt to suggest measures to improve the current situation.

    For every attack except the stab, to reliably block a feint, it is necessary to initiate a block after the windup of the attack. However, this is not always possible with the stab due to the nature of the stab. The reason for this is that after the windup of the attack, the time taken to hit is determined purely by the distance between the two players. This means, if two players are at extremely close range, the attack becomes nearly instantaneous after windup. Therefore, in the case that you’re without a shield, and verse someone proficient with the stab feint, blocking becomes a matter of merely guessing whether they are stab feinting or not. The only solution this is to try and gain distance through blatant backpedalling.

    The problem with this is that with a little bit of the above game knowledge, the stab can go from being the easiest attack in the game to block, to the hardest by far. The above is what has inadvertently caused the nord sword to become overpowered, and is one of the primary issues with feinting itself.

    So how can the above be fixed?

    The problem is not necessarily with the speed of the attack, as no matter how long you make the windup, or stab animations last, the attack can be made instant after the windup by merely reducing distance. Instead the solution is to make sure the sword is drawn further back upon the stab animation start, creating a clear delineation between the windup and stab, as well as increasing the minimum stab distance. This means that no stab can be pushed to being near instantaneous after windup and stab feints can be reliably picked out.

    So what are the problems with the above fix?

    The main problems with the above fix is that it increases the time taken to perform any stab attack, meaning that weapons balanced on the current stab times will have to be balanced slightly. A slight decrease in windup time may be able to rectify this.

    Making an attack near-instantaneous after windup isn’t necessarily only a problem with a stab, it is also possible with the side swing and 1 handed overheads with proper positioning; the above fix does not rectify this issue.

    Are there any other potential solutions?

    Given the potential problems of the above fix, it may be preferable to introduce a minimum distance mechanic to attacks, something familiar to warband players in the form of thudding. Similarly, stab can be made less spammable, by introducing a short stun time where attacking isnt possible again if blocked, a mechanic also present in warband. However, I doubt that the developers would want to necessarily use the above mechanics as they are pre-existing in another game.



  • really



  • No they don’t.



  • @zippo15:

    No they don’t.

    Once you get to higher level duelling, you will notice that the majority of successful attacks are either stabs, or rely upon the stab feint. Not only are they the fastest attack, they lack the ability to be successfully blocked by blocking after windup like every single other attack. You should actually read the post and test the claims before you merely dismiss it out of hand.



  • Definitely something that needs improving, sick of playing guessing games with stabs, it’s a huge flaw in the game mechanics, not to mention how OP it makes certain weapons as you stated.

    I like the way you’ve written this down clearly, can someone with half a brain take a look at this and come up with a viable solution??



  • Stabbing is for pansies.



  • I was wondering when an entire attack would get the OP sticker slapped on it. :|

    I understand what you’re saying, but it’s extremely convoluted and based on nothing more than perspective. I’m also not sold on your overall theory, seeing as how there’s very little evidence to prove it one way or the other.

    I can extrapolate that you feel distance is an important factor on this whole issue. Engagement distance is something that is entirely under the players control and differs from engagement to engagement. Distance CAN be managed by all players, regardless of class, so distance becomes a moot point. This also punches holes in a lot of your other proposed fixes, which are all terrible ideas in my opinion, no offense.

    The invincible feint is also something that is talked about a lot, and while it’s a theory that holds some merit in the realm of speculation, actual gameplay tends to disagree most of the time, especially because the feint can be rendered useless by maintaining distance. Feints can also be punished once the other combatant wises up to the pattern and timings.

    Bottom line, there’s too many factors to consider for you to make this kind of a blanket statement about stabs.

    Feints might very well be the next hurdle experienced players have to overcome. A lot of us picked this game up pretty quickly and the skill and mechanics came naturally. Feinting is the wild card for experienced players right now, and is something that may take a bit longer to master/counter than the basic mechanics of the game.



  • @HEXEN:

    I was wondering when an entire attack would get the OP sticker slapped on it. :|

    I understand what you’re saying, but it’s extremely convoluted and based on nothing more than perspective. I’m also not sold on your overall theory, seeing as how there’s very little evidence to prove it one way or the other.

    I can extrapolate that you feel distance is an important factor on this whole issue. Engagement distance is something that is entirely under the players control and differs from engagement to engagement. Distance CAN be managed by all players, regardless of class, so distance becomes a moot point. This also punches holes in a lot of your other proposed fixes, which are all terrible ideas in my opinion, no offense.

    The invincible feint is also something that is talked about a lot, and while it’s a theory that holds some merit in the realm of speculation, actual gameplay tends to disagree most of the time, especially because the feint can be rendered useless by maintaining distance. Feints can also be punished once the other combatant wises up to the pattern and timings.

    Bottom line, there’s too many factors to consider for you to make this kind of a blanket statement about stabs.

    Feints might very well be the next hurdle experienced players have to overcome. A lot of us picked this game up pretty quickly and the skill and mechanics came naturally. Feinting is the wild card for experienced players right now, and is something that may take a bit longer to master/counter than the basic mechanics of the game.

    I kind of disagree with you on that front, as closing distance is primarily determined by the forward moving player. It is perfectly possible to sprint while feinting, parrying /etc. without any penalty to close distance if required, and this is pretty much standard in any high level dueling. Closing distance to a stab or stab to overhead feint, in my experience is pretty much the major progression that is present on duelling servers.

    I have pretty much gotten to level 34 nearly entirely on duel servers, so I have seen around 90 ish hours of dueling already, and no one in Australia has really progressed passed this main duelling dynamic. Anyone that is able to block a close-range stab feint is doing so by blocking after windup, so it means that these people can be punished by merely stabbing straight off at close distance.

    I understand Australia is isolated, and Europe, through its larger community is likely more competitive, but from my experience no one has been able to provide a suitable counter to this tactic, so it’s becoming universally used (distance is closed by sprinting).

    I also understand that there are other factors that lead to the conclusion of a duel, but this does not mean that the above dynamic is necessarily suitable for future metagame progression.



  • The only problem there is with the thrust attacks is that with the dagger, you can machine gun the thrusts. That is just out of control. You can almost thrust faster than you can parry / block the attacks with a weapon or shield. On the other hand, I think that thrusts should be instant. The reach of the weapon, and the ease of the movement should make it a lot faster than what it is. However… being able to machine gun the thrusts is just totally unbalanced and unrealistic.

    I mean what medieval person came in a fight with a long reach dagger going ham on people making a fapping motion with it? I mean that is what seems ridiculous to me, and it is the only thing I have no idea how to block. Because they can recoil their arm and start the attack again almost instantly (this entire context is for the x3 dagger), they can take up positions instantly. There is nothing you can do to avoid taking damage.



  • @yedrellow:

    I have pretty much gotten to level 34 nearly entirely on duel servers, so I have seen around 90 ish hours of dueling already, and no one in Australia has really progressed passed this main duelling dynamic. Anyone that is able to block a close-range stab feint is doing so by blocking after windup, so it means that these people can be punished by merely stabbing straight off at close distance.

    I understand Australia is isolated, and Europe, through its larger community is likely more competitive, but from my experience no one has been able to provide a suitable counter to this tactic, so it’s becoming universally used (distance is closed by sprinting).

    So the next question I have to ask is: do we make changes to the game based on one game mode? I’ve gotten to lvl 32 entirely on TO servers and am no where near the conclusion you’re at about stabs and feints.

    As I said, there’s too many variables in the pot for blanket statements like this to hold any water.



  • @HEXEN:

    @yedrellow:

    I have pretty much gotten to level 34 nearly entirely on duel servers, so I have seen around 90 ish hours of dueling already, and no one in Australia has really progressed passed this main duelling dynamic. Anyone that is able to block a close-range stab feint is doing so by blocking after windup, so it means that these people can be punished by merely stabbing straight off at close distance.

    I understand Australia is isolated, and Europe, through its larger community is likely more competitive, but from my experience no one has been able to provide a suitable counter to this tactic, so it’s becoming universally used (distance is closed by sprinting).

    So the next question I have to ask is: do we make changes to the game based on one game mode? I’ve gotten to lvl 32 entirely on TO servers and am no where near the conclusion you’re at about stabs and feints.

    As I said, there’s too many variables in the pot for blanket statements like this to hold any water.

    The answer to this question is whether the combat system needs at all to be balanced in 1v1s, now it is a fair position to say that it shouldn’t, which is probably the position that many will take on this issue. However, this opinion is not unanimous, so it would be good to come up with a solution that could suit both groups.

    Now I am not going to be dismissive of your experience as a primary team objective player. However, it is fair to say that team objective based combat is more group based, and more importantly, is far more time critical. It is important within team objective to be able to dispatch an opponent within a few seconds, rather than half a minute. This means that these issues will be far less obvious in a team objective environment than a duelling environment.



  • @yedrellow:

    @HEXEN:

    @yedrellow:

    I have pretty much gotten to level 34 nearly entirely on duel servers, so I have seen around 90 ish hours of dueling already, and no one in Australia has really progressed passed this main duelling dynamic. Anyone that is able to block a close-range stab feint is doing so by blocking after windup, so it means that these people can be punished by merely stabbing straight off at close distance.

    I understand Australia is isolated, and Europe, through its larger community is likely more competitive, but from my experience no one has been able to provide a suitable counter to this tactic, so it’s becoming universally used (distance is closed by sprinting).

    So the next question I have to ask is: do we make changes to the game based on one game mode? I’ve gotten to lvl 32 entirely on TO servers and am no where near the conclusion you’re at about stabs and feints.

    As I said, there’s too many variables in the pot for blanket statements like this to hold any water.

    The answer to this question is whether the combat system needs at all to be balanced in 1v1s, now it is a fair position to say that it shouldn’t, which is probably the position that many will take on this issue. However, this opinion is not unanimous, so it would be good to come up with a solution that could suit both groups.

    Now I am not going to be dismissive of your experience as a primary team objective player. However, it is fair to say that team objective based combat is more group based, and more importantly, is far more time critical. It is important within team objective to be able to dispatch an opponent within a few seconds, rather than half a minute. This means that these issues will be far less obvious in a team objective environment than a duelling environment.

    Could you give some blow by blow examples of a situation where something happens with a stab that you think shouldn’t happen?

    Like - He stabs me at close range, I parry, then run past him while winding up my overhead smash, he misses his second stab because he doesn’t turn around fast enough, my overhead misses because I sux…

    It would be useful to people like myself who don’t duel on a regular basic and aren’t quite familiar with terminology like “stab feint” (feinting a stab attack?)



  • I have to agree with Hexen and acrh, but have to add something too: Has OP ever thought of going side strafe /strafe-forward? Since stab is quite pointy and needs the most aim, you need to evade it. I’d like to sort this toppic as “I need more practise” but without insulting OP. The real problem I think is just a little off topic, polearms have instant strike within a great reach when overhead windup is complete. I see how many players are using this in a devestating way but also adapted to it, with block, strafe and hit, while windup. I don’t have any trouble with stab “spamers” and feints when I encounter them, but you will, if you keep beeing in line with stab direction



  • wasn’t there this ability in this game called kick at some point?

    Does anyone ever use it to keep distance?

    A well timed kick can keep this stab from happening.



  • Stab is a little too strong in general, and overhead too weak. This is my one issue, really. There are a lot of weapons that are based on stabbing - which is okay, not every weapon needs to have overhead as its strongest attack; there are also weapons that have garbage stabs and rely on overhead/slash entirely.

    However, the problem comes with balanced weapons that are meant to have useful stabs and slashes - like swords (other than the Falchion/Messer) and polearms. Excepting the Bardiche and Zweihander, you’re almost always better off stabbing with any of these weapons than slashing/overheading. Even if the overhead does more base damage than the stab, armor modifiers make it so that the stab will still do about the same amount, if not more. Add to this the fact that stabs have faster windups and shorter releases, and you get an attack which is all-around better than the other attacks.

    Also, one thing people often overlook about the stab compared to other attacks - it doesn’t just have the most reach, it has precision. It may be just as easy to land a headshot with an overhead as a stab when you’re up close, but when you’re further away, stab is exceedingly easy to headshot with while overheads become increasingly less accurate.

    So yes, stab is the superior attack in general right now, but it’s more of a shortcoming for overheads than anything.



  • I am not writing this topic because I am the one having trouble with others performing stab feints. I am writing this topic because I have been using the above min distance stab/stab feint and I dislike how simple it is to perform compared to how difficult it is to defend.

    Basically what I am saying is this:

    In duelling, my primary tactic (generally with war swords, but possible with poleaxes/halberds) is to gain the initial stab through distance management with the stab, then sprint in and perform the above stab feint at minimum distance. If they successfully block the aforementioned stab feint, that means they blocked after windup, so I can merely perform a normal stab attack at this distance; which for them to block, they have to block during windup.

    As people have started copying me doing this, the Australian high-end duelling metagame is now completely about trying to get to the opponents min distance and perform either a stab or stab feint, to rely on the required luck based defense on choosing whether to block before, or after windup. I understand that people say that the above can still be ‘balanced’, with people trying to maximise distance for blocking, and minimise distance for attacking. What I am saying however is that this being the optimal style for knight/vanguard duels is a very boring dynamic.

    It would be good to be able to turn min distance stab/stab feint blocking in to something that does not rely upon the defender guessing on whether he should block during or after windup.

    To the person referring to strafing as a solution, aiming your stab against a strafer is not too difficult, especially if you have 120 degrees field of view.

    To the person referring to kicks as a solution, this is incredibly risky, as you’re sacrificing potential damage/health and a large amount of stamina for distance that both you and your opponent can take advantage of. I have started using kicks, but primarily to ‘flinch’ people passed windup; using it to gain distance is not really advantageous.

    _To the person above who asked about what a stab feint is, it’s merely attack cancelling a stab, and transitioning in to another attack, generally an overhead, but with timing/correct mouse dragging another stab is also useful. The uncertainty at blocking this only occurs when the attacking player is nearly in contact with the defending player.

    If the defending player attempts to block after windup, a non-feinted stab will hit and a feinted stab may potentially be blocked. If the defending player attempts to block during windup, a non-feinted stab will be blocked, and a feinted stab will hit. This is where the problems come in, as at min-distance, you can’t pick between the two; doing so relies upon being able to wait until after windup to decide whether the attack was feinted or not. However as for min distance stabs, hits occur immediately after windup, this does not apply_



  • @Reek:

    wasn’t there this ability in this game called kick at some point?

    Does anyone ever use it to keep distance?

    A well timed kick can keep this stab from happening.

    Not if it’s a close range stab from polearm/spears



  • @yedrellow:

    I am not writing this topic because I am the one having trouble with others performing stab feints. I am writing this topic because I have been using the above min distance stab/stab feint and I dislike how simple it is to perform compared to how difficult it is to defend.

    Basically what I am saying is this:

    In duelling, my primary tactic (generally with war swords, but possible with poleaxes/halberds) is to gain the initial stab through distance management with the stab, then sprint in and perform the above stab feint at minimum distance. If they successfully block the aforementioned stab feint, that means they blocked after windup, so I can merely perform a normal stab attack at this distance; which for them to block, they have to block during windup.

    As people have started copying me doing this, the Australian high-end duelling metagame is now completely about trying to get to the opponents min distance and perform either a stab or stab feint, to rely on the required luck based defense on choosing whether to block before, or after windup. I understand that people say that the above can still be ‘balanced’, with people trying to maximise distance for blocking, and minimise distance for attacking. What I am saying however is that this being the optimal style for knight/vanguard duels is a very boring dynamic.

    It would be good to be able to turn min distance stab/stab feint blocking in to something that does not rely upon the defender guessing on whether he should block during or after windup.

    To the person referring to strafing as a solution, aiming your stab against a strafer is not too difficult, especially if you have 120 degrees field of view.

    To the person referring to kicks as a solution, this is incredibly risky, as you’re sacrificing potential damage/health and a large amount of stamina for distance that both you and your opponent can take advantage of. I have started using kicks, but primarily to ‘flinch’ people passed windup; using it to gain distance is not really advantageous.

    _To the person above who asked about what a stab feint is, it’s merely attack cancelling a stab, and transitioning in to another attack, generally an overhead, but with timing/correct mouse dragging another stab is also useful. The uncertainty at blocking this only occurs when the attacking player is nearly in contact with the defending player.

    If the defending player attempts to block after windup, a non-feinted stab will hit and a feinted stab may potentially be blocked. If the defending player attempts to block during windup, a non-feinted stab will be blocked, and a feinted stab will hit. This is where the problems come in, as at min-distance, you can’t pick between the two; doing so relies upon being able to wait until after windup to decide whether the attack was feinted or not. However as for min distance stabs, hits occur immediately after windup, this does not apply_

    Yedrellow, my in game name is ‘Paradox’ we duel sometimes :). I actually like versing you because you are one of the few people who pose a challenge to me. I now understand why you think stabbing is ‘OP’. I must say I think perhaps stabbing is too quick. Not only to extend but also the time between feinting and attacking again is very short! Either way, hopefully we can have some more duels on the Gentleman’s dueling server :P


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