Spears, and a Potential Rework



  • So, it’s come to my attention that there are a few people who view the Spears as the most subpar choice for the Vanguard class. While the Fork has gained a new lease on life, the Polearms and Swords seem to be the prevailing choices.

    Spears have been viewed as the go-to support primary, not just for Vanguards, but for all melee classes. Their excellent range and moderate speed allow them to handily assist teammates, while they naturally falter in dueling.

    However, while team-fighting is an emphasis in modes like team objective, it would seem that either they’re just not good enough at supporting, or their weakness at dueling leads to just choosing a polearm, which can support almost as well.

    We saw blatant superiority of the Halberd over the entire line of Spears before it was addressed. Now, there’s only a little overlap, but while the Polearms seem to be well balanced against each other and the Swords, the Spears seem left behind.

    So here’s my suggestion - a rework.

    Firstly, allow all spears to combo. They can combo stabs with each other (which gives the spears a unique ability, rather than a unique drawback).

    Secondly (and more optionally), move the stabs onto the stab button, and give the spear an actual overhead swing. You can access the different stabs with alternate attack. This will overall give spears more attacks rather than less, which will lend spears a similar level of versatility, even if stabbing is still the most optimal attack.

    Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean spears will be great weapons to combo with. They can potentially be poor to combo with, though I would personally leave this up to individual weapons (the Fork might be the best combo Spear, for instance).

    While this rework runs the risk of homogenizing the Spears with the other weapons, this will also make them a little easier to balance, and arguably will make them more fun to play with. Spears won’t be quite as predictable.

    But maybe the rework isn’t necessary. Maybe there’s an easier way to improve spears, or maybe they don’t need improvements at all. That’s where you come in. I’d like this thread to primarily house discussion about the Spear tree, where it lies, what can be done with it, and what should be done with it.



  • I think that the polearms need to be nerfed so that there’s not so much overlap over the spear weapons.



  • Make all polearm thrusts keep both the character’s arms where they are on the polearm- that way, it doesn’t gain the extra reach from being held by the base of the weapon in one hand that spears do. It would have about the same range as their overhead.

    Spears are an excellent dueling weapon, btw.



  • Spears are an amazing feinting weapon. The stab windup, the reach of the stab, and the speed with which the stab extends through its reach all combine to give you the ability to force your opponent into a feinting guessing game at well beyond facehug distance. The spear thrust is one of the best attacks in the game for feinting - making it comboable would be insane. There are plenty of players right now whose go to tactic is to facehug and unleash a continuous combo of feint-sprinkled death on opponents. A spear user with comboable stabs could do the exact same thing, except they could probably do it outside of kick/1her range. That is really not something the game needs.



  • @DSMatticus:

    Spears are an amazing feinting weapon. The stab windup, the reach of the stab, and the speed with which the stab extends through its reach all combine to give you the ability to force your opponent into a feinting guessing game at well beyond facehug distance. The spear thrust is one of the best attacks in the game for feinting - making it comboable would be insane. There are plenty of players right now whose go to tactic is to facehug and unleash a continuous combo of feint-sprinkled death on opponents. A spear user with comboable stabs could do the exact same thing, except they could probably do it outside of kick/1her range. That is really not something the game needs.

    Feinting is a pretty controversial issue. Let’s try to minimize discussion of it here. Spears are great weapons even without any feints.



  • The spear has its purposes. It has both the highest range in the game, and the damage to 2HKO every class but the Knight, making it rather fantastic for killing Vanguards who underestimate its range. Even when the halberd was generally outclassing it, I found it quite good at killing halberd users since I had a bit more range, letting me hit them without response. I’'ll admit that against good opponents who abuse its weakpoints it’s extremely underwhelming, but conversely, against opponents who underestimate it it’s extremely strong. My highlight with the weapon was in a 1 v 3, where I quickly killed one rusher, then double speared the other two to finish them off.

    In a team fight setting, the spear’s strength comes in its safety. With its precise hits, you’re unlikely to hit your allies. With its long range, you can’t be attacked by enemies unless they rush you, and then your allies can just kill them. Whereas every other weapon class in the game risks counterattack, you can just sit in the back with the spear and throw out attack after attack.

    If I were to suggest a change, it would be to allow an alt attack that comes from the left side, though that’s kind of tricky since realistically it would require a clunky hand-switch to pull off the same attack. Maybe let you just switch sides manually. In any case, the spear is excellent at supporting from the right-rear side of an ally, since it originates from the right side of the screen, letting you poke from behind them without fear of friendly fire or enemy attack. Switching sides would allow you to support from either side. Alternately, a slight speed-up on its stabs would be nice, but potentially imbalancing as well. The damage is fine as I mentioned already, since its damage thresholds work out nicely.



  • @Bulzeeb:

    The spear has its purposes. It has both the highest range in the game, and the damage to 2HKO every class but the Knight, making it rather fantastic for killing Vanguards who underestimate its range. Even when the halberd was generally outclassing it, I found it quite good at killing halberd users since I had a bit more range, letting me hit them without response. I’'ll admit that against good opponents who abuse its weakpoints it’s extremely underwhelming, but conversely, against opponents who underestimate it it’s extremely strong. My highlight with the weapon was in a 1 v 3, where I quickly killed one rusher, then double speared the other two to finish them off.

    In a team fight setting, the spear’s strength comes in its safety. With its precise hits, you’re unlikely to hit your allies. With its long range, you can’t be attacked by enemies unless they rush you, and then your allies can just kill them. Whereas every other weapon class in the game risks counterattack, you can just sit in the back with the spear and throw out attack after attack.

    I’d like to point out that in all but the most specific of situations, balance discussions generally assume equal skill. So, it doesn’t particularly matter how a weapon does against lesser skilled players.

    However, the rest of your points (and all the other points in this thread) are solid, and valid. I’m curious as to whether or not any detractors will bother showing up in this thread, as I’d like to hear their opinion on Spears (I personally am undecided).

    @Dr.Nick:

    @DSMatticus:

    Spears are an amazing feinting weapon. The stab windup, the reach of the stab, and the speed with which the stab extends through its reach all combine to give you the ability to force your opponent into a feinting guessing game at well beyond facehug distance. The spear thrust is one of the best attacks in the game for feinting - making it comboable would be insane. There are plenty of players right now whose go to tactic is to facehug and unleash a continuous combo of feint-sprinkled death on opponents. A spear user with comboable stabs could do the exact same thing, except they could probably do it outside of kick/1her range. That is really not something the game needs.

    Feinting is a pretty controversial issue. Let’s try to minimize discussion of it here. Spears are great weapons even without any feints.

    These are valid points, since any work on the Spears has to be done within the current context of the game (with feinting, that is).



  • I really do wish spears were able to combo their stabs.

    The inability to combo really makes their maximum potential dps output lower than any of the polearms. It also means that you cannot take full advantage of an opponent’s flinch after landing a successful hit - depending on your opponent’s weapon’s speed, you may be forced to wait for his attack before attempting another whilst comboable polearms can followup with a second attack much more safely.

    As pointed out, spears are excellent in teams, but do underperform in duels as their playstyle becomes extremely predictable because of no combo ability and having only two attacks that are useful (the slash is incredibly weak and not viable to use in most situations).

    It’s generally preferable to use comboable weapons that have competing range with equivalent HTK ratios with their stabs as well as being able to vary their tactics with a slash that actually does significant damage e.g. billhook, polehammer and halberd.
    The latter is definitely the go-to choice over spear as the range differences between the two are so small it is negligible.

    EDIT: It should be pointed out that all weapons got an ‘indirect buff’ so to speak, with the advent of alternate swings. Only the spear’s pathetic slash benefits from alternate swing.



  • Ways to make spears more distinct:

    1. Make polearm stabs use both hands. Having polearms and spears stab at nearly the same length causes weapon overlap, and polearms can combo, wheras spears can’t. Also, with the size of the polearms in this game, one man would need Herculean strength to stab with one hand and pull back without the weapon dragging on the ground.

    2. Let spears have stab combos. Spears are supposed to be able to stab in and out. It’s the entire purpose of the weapon. This feature alone would make these weapons more deadly even without major stat changes.



  • @NikolaiLev:

    @Bulzeeb:

    The spear has its purposes. It has both the highest range in the game, and the damage to 2HKO every class but the Knight, making it rather fantastic for killing Vanguards who underestimate its range. Even when the halberd was generally outclassing it, I found it quite good at killing halberd users since I had a bit more range, letting me hit them without response. I’'ll admit that against good opponents who abuse its weakpoints it’s extremely underwhelming, but conversely, against opponents who underestimate it it’s extremely strong. My highlight with the weapon was in a 1 v 3, where I quickly killed one rusher, then double speared the other two to finish them off.

    In a team fight setting, the spear’s strength comes in its safety. With its precise hits, you’re unlikely to hit your allies. With its long range, you can’t be attacked by enemies unless they rush you, and then your allies can just kill them. Whereas every other weapon class in the game risks counterattack, you can just sit in the back with the spear and throw out attack after attack.

    I’d like to point out that in all but the most specific of situations, balance discussions generally assume equal skill. So, it doesn’t particularly matter how a weapon does against lesser skilled players.

    However, the rest of your points (and all the other points in this thread) are solid, and valid. I’m curious as to whether or not any detractors will bother showing up in this thread, as I’d like to hear their opinion on Spears (I personally am undecided).

    Hmm, true enough. I suppose I’m framing my mindset too much in the chaotic, public environment, since that’s where most of my experience comes from.

    I don’t think the spear has many detractors simply due to its sheer rarity, so I guess I’ll have to be one. Generally speaking, it’s probably a bit weak overall. It’s weak in duels as it lacks speed. It’s vulnerable to projectiles because it forces longer engagements, keeping your distance, and predictable backpedaling which is the slowest movement direction. It’s weak in sheer killing power against unsuspecting or flanked enemies due to its inability to combo or one-shot the lighter classes. It’s weak against multiple enemies. So in order to make up for all of these weaknesses, it needs exceptional team fighting power, and as you mentioned it may not have quite enough.

    Now fixing it could be accomplished in 3 ways: mitigate its weaknesses to the point where they don’t invalidate its strengths, improve its strengths to properly make up for its weaknesses, or do a little bit of both (but not to the extent of only doing one or the other). Buffing its raw stats would help every aspect. Killing power could be improved for by allowing it to combo, though as Dr Nick said this could be problematic with feinting. Susceptibility to projectiles isn’t something that can be fixed without adding some sort of shield, but I don’t think it really needs one, and the Vanguard in general shies away from shields. Team fight presence can be improved through adding combos, and as I mentioned, allow attacking from the left side.

    Dueling is perhaps the trickiest one, as improving the spear’s dueling would require addressing some of its critical issues. A simple, if inelegant speed buff would help for sure. Improving the weapon’s ability to maintain distance would help against enemies who simply block all of your attacks and face-hug you. Allowing the weapon to deal better with shields and turtlers would help, but how to do that I’m not sure. I suppose the fundamental problem is that there isn’t enough play/counterplay between spearman and attacker; landing every hit with the spear currently isn’t enough to beat a good blocker who rushes you, and conversely, it would feel very unfair to the rusher if the spearman could do chip damage through blocks, or worse, kite indefinitely through knockback and backpedaling.

    Ultimately, I think it would be safest to add a slight speed buff, as that’s something that can be subtle enough to not make the weapon problematically strong.



  • i would like to see spear stabs do damage through the entire animation, once the tip starts going forward it will hit someone in range, this should stop people from rushing a vanguard whos trying to stab them, s

    words have something like this for there blade arc, been killed a few times whne attacking a knight from the rear and to ether the right or left and caught a claymore blade to the neck on the back swing



  • I feel that the spears could use a bit of a stab buff, since they are currently slightly outclassed by polearms right now. After all, poles have great damage with all the attacks, and nearly the range of spears, without any drawbacks.

    Realy tho, as long as the fork gets a buff, I’m fine with spears. There’s literally no reason to use it ever, because it lacks the range of a spear (or even a polearm), doesn’t do much damage, and isn’t fast enough to justify it over the Spear (with more damage and range) or the Bilhook.



  • @Tankcommander:

    I feel that the spears could use a bit of a stab buff, since they are currently slightly outclassed by polearms right now. After all, poles have great damage with all the attacks, and nearly the range of spears, without any drawbacks.

    Realy tho, as long as the fork gets a buff, I’m fine with spears. There’s literally no reason to use it ever, because it lacks the range of a spear (or even a polearm), doesn’t do much damage, and isn’t fast enough to justify it over the Spear (with more damage and range) or the Bilhook.

    Even with strictly better stats on the stab, this is a good point, since Polearms are just so versatile and deadly.

    I disagree with this, though. The Fork is quite deadly, and it’s quite fast. My main concern here is that I’m pretty sure part of the Fork buff was reverted (On the Overhand stab, which was the most important one to buff). It was supposed to get .05 across the board, but I’m pretty sure only the attack2 thrust got it. :(



  • Yeah, only the the attack2 got it, but you might see some more fork buffs soon. Also, if you doubt the Spear, you should check out the RK vs Int game, Dnotol provided amazing support for the Knights. The Brandistock is also popular in Vq from what I saw a while back.



  • Does this topic consider the fact that the spear may be unpopular due to being obsolete (meaning that the other options are possibly too good?)

    Because if we balance strictly from a perspective of certain weapons being less popular and thus needing buffs/reworks then we could likely create more problems than solve them. If there’s a weapon that’s too good I would hate for the solution to be “buff the alternatives” as that would lead to some dramatic mismatches in class balancing.



  • A spear may seem weak in the hands of an inexperienced, The spears serves best as a support weapon along with your teammate. With the following content patch 1#, I believe that spears are now finally do-able because they nerfed the Halberd, thus not giving the Halberd the advantage to do the role as both very high stab and swing role. A halberd could out-class any of the spear before, till now.

    All the three different spear variations are quite decent; I normally prefer the Brandistock due to its slow wind up which allows me to aim better and of course the high damage that can potentionally two-hit knights. Also the spears have a very interesting vector trace / swing trace on the stab which allows you to sorta perfom a “Drag stab”, which could nearly be as wide as a slash attack. The first spear has most reach in the game, it has a 2HTK on all classes except for Knight and its very fast.
    Although if you want something faster, your best shot would be to pick the Fork. I don’t know how if the fork is do-able for that much. Its very fast, still got 2HTK on Archers and Man-at arms but its very short.

    All the three different Spears are all good in my opinion.



  • I’ve found for dueling, the Spearman is nigh unstoppable, and he’s also a beastly support class when dealing with small groups. However every other good Vanguard I know prefers polearms because they are so good all around. With spears, you basically have no LMB attack, and with Swords, your stab is mediocre, but with Polearms, both are very solid. Hence Polearms are the go-to-weapon, since they deal with single enemies and groups almost as well as the other two weapon sets.

    I don’t think that Polearms need nerfing tho. Nor do I have enough experience with Swords to comment on them, but Spears are just missing something and I’m not sure what. Maybe a little reach, maybe a little damage, probably a bit of both. Just a slight buff across the board I think would help here.

    I understand wildwulfy’s point about the support thing, but again, a Polearm is just about as good while being much better at you-vs-group crowd control. So again, they win.



  • They definitely need the ability to combo, there’s nothing really special about them that justifies not being able to. considering they have two stabs which can be blocked basically the same way, it only makes sense that they should be able to do those stabs faster giving the enemy a little less time to close that gap it relies on with that rather slow wind up.

    Another idea i had (take it or leave it, i just felt like throwing it out there), would be to have its stabs function like a kick, so you could simultaneously attack, and widen the gap. Its not a perfect idea, but with the right adjustments it could be a plausible solution



  • @DerFürst:

    Ways to make spears more distinct:

    1. Make polearm stabs use both hands. Having polearms and spears stab at nearly the same length causes weapon overlap, and polearms can combo, wheras spears can’t. Also, with the size of the polearms in this game, one man would need Herculean strength to stab with one hand and pull back without the weapon dragging on the ground.

    2. Let spears have stab combos. Spears are supposed to be able to stab in and out. It’s the entire purpose of the weapon. This feature alone would make these weapons more deadly even without major stat changes.

    Yeah, I have to agree with both points.

    1. The thrust animation is actually pretty sketchy in general IMO, the point of a two handed weapon is to use both hands. You could still get the reach without letting go with one hand if you thrust almost like using a pool cue - letting the spear slide in the front hand (not on the top of the hand like a pool cue) and lunging forward with your front leg. The way the animation is currently is not a very good thrusting technique. It’s a bit like using a two handed sword and just letting go with one hand as you swing.

    However I digress, keeping the spear animation as it is and making polearms use a more solid, two-handed thrust with a bit less range is a good idea (of course we would have to listen to the many halberd lovers whine about more nerfs).

    1. Yeah combos are a good idea too. I think there would be two different combos - one is two simple LMB thrusts and the other would be a LMB-overhead-LMB thrust. I wouldn’t give it too many combos to avoid it becoming over powered.


  • I’d like to mention that if we do “buff” Spears by nerfing polearms, their thrusts (at least, the Billhook’s and Halberd’s) will need to be buffed. They’re balanced as they are now, so taking the Halberd’s windup down to .725 or even .70, depending on what the final range is, would be suitable. The Billhook could do with a little more speed as well if it loses thrust range.


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