To me, archers just feel like a bad design choice. Every other class seems to be balanced around each other, and then the archer is just… there. With no clear purpose other than to make the game less enjoyable for everyone by ruining melee fights, shooting teammates in the back and getting kills on people who have absolutely zero chance of fighting back.
A bad archer is worse than an empty slot. At least an empty slot can’t hit friendlies and leaves a spot open for someone who can actually contribute. And a good archer is unbeatable to anything that isn’t another archer unless in certain circumstances. This is made even worse by most maps (especially on team objective) being incredibly archer friendly, with plenty of ledges where an archer can just perch himself for a complete view of the battlefield and little (if any) risk of another player reaching them.
Even if it is possible to get up close to an archer. If they have even the slightest amount of situational awareness, they can run away to their teammates or hit you with a few shots well before you can get into killing range. Using things like shields or smokepots, or tactics like zig-zagging can only offer so much influence into your chances of survival, with your ultimate fate being decided by the skill of the archer shooting at you. Shields can be shot around, movements can be predicted and smoke either leaves you completely stuck inside it for safety or gives the archer a perfect opportunity to escape.
They just feel cheap to be killed by as well. Any time I die in a melee fight I see it as a learning experience. Even if I was ganged-up on I chalk it down to me not being aware of my surroundings. But with an archer it’s a different story altogether. It’s almost impossible to predict when you’ll get hit by an arrow, bolt or javelin, so most deaths to archers I just see as something that my own personal skill has zero factor in, which just feels like bad game design. Even when I’m aware of an archer’s location and I know he’s trying to hit me it’s still frustrating to deal with because, like I mentioned earlier, anything I can do against an archer from this distance can only improve my chances of survival, not ensure it altogether.
I’m not saying that the class is overpowered or anything like that. I’ve played archer quite a bit and I know that it takes a lot of skill to be able to constantly hit targets at long range, especially if they’re moving. But when it’s possible to become good enough at shooting a bow that 3/4 of the classes in the game can’t do anything to stop you is that really fair? When the person playing archer is skilled enough, the only thing that can realistically counter that person is another equally skilled or incredibly lucky archer. And without one they have free reign to kill the other team at zero risk to themselves. And archers are the only class this applies to. An experienced knight, vanguard or man-at-arms will still dominate lesser skilled players in melee, but they can be killed by any other class who uses proper tactics and such.
It even feels like the devs see archer as an afterthought to the game. If you look at the about page on this very site you can see that the entire reason behind the devs creating this game was “To create the best melee combat game ever.” They call the genre “First Person Slasher” and draw their inspiration from “epic swordfighting movies such as 300, Gladiator and Braveheart.” Now I’ve seen all those movies and not once do I recall a scene with someone perched on a ledge, taking pot-shots at the people in the thick of battle.
This thread is another example about how archer doesn’t really fit into the game. The majority of replies to the OP are just people saying things like “deal with it” or simply telling him to stop complaining. I’ve read through a few pages and not once has someone given a reason for the archer to belong in the game from a gameplay perspective. The only reasons given for the archer’s inclusion to the game are that archers were an important asset to Medieval warfare in real life. That’s all well and true, but this is a videogame, and videogames should put gameplay and balance before historical authenticity any day unless the goal is to make a simulator, but that isn’t the case in this situation. People saying that this isn’t “Melee Warfare” should realize that the devs have always intended this game to be largely melee focused. And it is, which is why archers feel so out of place. If the game had things like cavalry and huge siege battles then archers would be more than welcome, but it’s based entirely around small skirmishes of teams consisting of 8-16 players each where the combat is largely up-close and personal, so having archers sitting on the sidelines firing projectiles into the fray just acts as an annoyance.
TL;DR playing archer in Chivalry is like ordering salad in a steakhouse.
Very well said.