Suggestions for improvement
Changes to Feinting
Make the feint key function similarly to the alternate attack key; you hold down the feint key and press an attack to initiate a feint version of an attack. Each feint-attack has a predetermined animation, slightly slower or slightly different than a normal one. A combo can be queued at a certain point during the feint-attack to change the attack direction.
Example: Holding down Q and pressing LMB will initiate a horizontal slash feint. During the feint attack animation a normal attack can be queued as a followup.
The timing would be very important on this, so that it is possible to counter with the right skill and timing. The timing of a parry should be considered, so that it could be possible to parry the followup attack with the tailend of your parry if you parried on the initial feint (though you would still have to quickly change your direction to catch the followup).
Make the shields more realistic and normalized for combat, so that they are viable and fun. For example: a tower shield should slow your running down more than other shields, but provide better defense and preferably resistance or immunity to kicks. A buckler would provide better mobility and field-of-vision, but lack in the defense and resistance to kicks. Though perhaps certain weapons such as the maul should provide some knockback, even to a tower shield.
Another way to improve shields is to allow shield-users to attack at normal speed. A shield in one arm should not affect the attack speed of the other arm. A normal attack speed will also promote faster combat and trading blows.
Holding a shield up consecutively for too long could cause short (stacking) debuffs that hinder your ability to absorb hits on your shield. This means that people holding their shield up for too long without attacking or running will receive penalties toward their ability to absorb attacks, causing them to take larger damage to their stamina; a person turtling will likely run out of stamina and be killed. Perhaps with enough debuffs, then the knockback daze becomes possible.
Lastly, while it is not necessary it might improve things balance-wise by adding health points to the shields (varying between shields). If a shield breaks then players could replace it at a supply box; if it is just damage then players could wait while it regenerates (while not realistic, it would simply be a gameplay mechanic like health regeneration).
Reorganization of Attacks & Alternate Attacks
Presently the attacks are very unintuitive. Different weapons have different attack directions. For example: a normal overhead with one weapon will come from the upper-left, while another another weapon it will come from the upper-right (with the alternate attacks being opposite).
The attacks, and alternate attacks, should be reorganized so that they are based on directions. For example: normal attacks could go right-to-left (e.g. LMB horizontal slash) and alternate attacks could go left-to-right.
While this might require some minor adjustments at first, it would be far more intuitive in the long run. This would allow for accurate bindings.
Provide alternate thrusts, such as a downward angled stab toward the neck/collarbone area with a one-hand sword.
Similar ideas seen here:
If changes to feinting are made, than perhaps a unique attack-cancel should be set up that allows you to cancel an attack at any time but with a higher stamina cost and/or a delay so that it is useless in combat but can be used to prevent a misplaced attack from hitting a teammate.
View Identifier Icon
Provide an icon above players that shows if they are playing in third-person view. This could be toggled with a key? Something simple like an icon of an eye would work.
I like the feint idea although it does bring up the attack cancel issue.
I don’t really like the shield ideas though. For example, holding a shield up for a long time already drains stamina, but why should it reduce dmg absorbed? If you’re so defensive, all it takes is a kick and you’re going to be totally vulnerable. I also don’t like the change in speed, because that’s already accounted for based on class.
I do think the shield breaking idea is interesting though. A knight going at an MaA with a buckler would become a lot more fun!