I’ve had a good time with Chivalry. I sunk a good 215 hours into it, most of it very enjoyable. I made friends with some excellent players, had many exciting and tense matches (and equally as many blowouts, which are just as fun for me), and got immersed in the community culture and the aesthetics of the game. I don’t want anybody to believe I have at any time considered Chivalry a bad game, regardless of the glitches, regardless of some of the widespread gameplay silliness and controversies - I still enjoyed it, and I appreciate the skill it takes (a considerable amount, it must be noted) to play this well.
That said, the better I’ve gotten and the more I have played against and alongside the various top flight players I’ve met and battled or befriended, I’ve come to the realization that at top levels, Chivalry is a 100% execution-based game. For many players, especially through casual and intermediate levels, this isn’t really true. Mindgames play a role in lower end play far more than they do in high-end play, since people can still be tricked into overcommitting to an action which leaves them punishable. No expert player, however, falls for this. Since they are used to the game and have developed the reflexes for it, they will always wait for an attack and defend on reaction, meaning many methods of offense that work well at lower levels become moot against a skilled player. There are, indeed, only three ways period to get damage against an expert player. The first is facehugging, which can open a good player up by moving unpredictably, throwing off their ability to track and thereby bypassing the guard - this is why sword of war stabs are so excellent, for example. The second is using a weapon which is so very fast on acceleration that it stresses the limit of any player’s reaction time, examples of which inlcude the bearded axe and polearms. The third way is to use a weapon which drags exceedingly well - possibly the only example by which mindgaming an opponent works to any degree against a skilled opponent, though it’s every bit as ambiguous as pre-patch feinting - and an example of this is the Zweihander.
I want to emphasize at this point that I don’t intend to use this as any sort of argument for a change. I suspect it’s a core philosophy of TBS with this game to make it entirely possible to beat anything on reaction and enforce it being a 100% execution game, and if that is what they want to do then it is entirely their call. I will not tell them how to think.
What I do want to do, however, is illuminate the realities of top-level play. I personally had a great deal more fun with Chivalry at an intermediate level, where it was still possible for me to trick players into making punishable mistakes, and the great personal appeal in most games for me is the action of out-thinking an opponent rather than beating them on the precision and speed of sheer manual skills. The ability for me to do that has gone away in Chivalry, and will indeed vanish almost entirely over time as the community matures and more players develop their skills. I hope Torn Banner will take this as food for thought and consider what their game will become over time, and I hope that if they were not aware of this I help them to understand those realities.
I wish the studio and the community all the best, and I’ll be watching from the wings to see if anything changes which might restore the appeal for me, but for now I have pretty much retired from this game. I hope things keep going well for TBS, and I hope the players keep having fun.