I like feints. They’re one of a rock-paper-scissors setup of strategies:
1. Aggressive play - no block/parry, always attack
2. Reactionary play - attack only after block/parry
3. Tricky play - attack with feints thrown in
Reactionary play beats aggressive play. Tricky play beats reactionary play. And aggressive play beats tricky play (oh you tried to fake me out with feints? guess what, my stab was for real). And at a certain skill level it’s about reading your opponent’s behavior and picking the best strategy to counter it. For example, low-health, intermediate-skill players tend to use reactionary play and can often be easily finished with feints.
Feints have other uses, too. Re-adjusting mis-timed swings, canceling potentially team-damaging attacks, etc. It’s still possible to create “feints” of sorts without the feint mechanic - swing delays, breaking rhythm with a pause, drawing attacks and moving in for the counter during recovery time. At the end of the day it’s about hitting your opponent while their block is mis-timed or mis-placed.
However, it was pretty clearly demonstrated in another thread that combat without feinting can be very interesting/engaging/fun. I would be very happy with a server option to disable feinting (and another one to disable shields…???), and I would happily try it.