Clearly someone hasn’t tried zigzagging or running directly at them with a tower shield.
Zig-zagging doesn’t tend to work because they can just follow right behind you with their crosshair and fire as soon as you zig/zag again to hit you, because the projectile speeds are completely bonkers. Running right at them with a raised tower (or heater shield, if you don’t happen to have a tower shield) actually does work, though.
I’m sure 90% of the players on these forums will try to call bullshit on that and personally attack me for merely mentioning the frankly heretical notion that shields actually work well against archers, but I say this to thee: Ever tried aiming your shield depending on where the archer looks like he’s going to shoot (is he aiming high, is he aiming at the floor?) to block it, just like with melee, instead of not adjusting it at all then calling shields useless when he shoots you in the legs which you’re making zero effort to protect? Retroactive defense, man! You wouldn’t call shields BS and useless if you got hit by a stab from a sidestepping opponent in melee while you were mindlessly staring straight forward with your shield raised and not adjusting it all, so don’t do that for archers.
Now, I will concede that because archer’s shots have zero inaccuracy cone while crouched and also to some extent because of the overly-fast projectile speeds that it is way too easy for them to shoot you in any of the tiny amount of exposed pixels of your feet when you have your tower shield raised, but while that is a problem and that problem (combined with the fact that the projectile arcs you can see don’t have as much bearing on where they actually are and what arc they’re actually taking as they should) does make it more difficult to defend against archer shots that problem does not give you an excuse to say shields are useless against archers.
At range, non-buckler shields can turn a great archer’s 80% hit rate into a 5-20% hit rate, depending on the shield, the archer’s weapon and the firing angle. At closer ranges, good retroactive defense with a heater or tower shield can block nearly every shot fired at you, just like with melee strikes. I should know, I’ve done it before (while freaking the hell out, mind, but I still pulled it off) against some archers that weren’t even that bad.
TL,DR/ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT ARCHER BALANCE IN THE MERCS MOD
Now, while I haven’t actually tried playing archer yet (too busy trying to get a feel for the changes in general mechanics and various melee weapons before I consign myself to swift death via instant overheads), observing friendly and enemy archers from the perspective of melee (and thinking about the changes made) I do like the directions the changes are going in. Ability to flinch and lighter damage makes archer good for supporting melee fights, chipping away at the advancing enemy, and making the enemy push slower due to caution about archer fire, rather than being beastly forces that can rout if not destroy entire pushes by themselves, is good. Generally smaller ammo pools (at least, that’s what I’ve been led to believe is the case for everything but the Shortbow) leads to more careful shots and more trips to pick up ammo, which means that the archers tend to have more downtime and can’t fire willy-nilly as much, which is good. The reductions in torso/leg damage have been counter-acted by increased headshot multipliers (or so I have been led to believe), which means that archers that put in the extra effort to land a headshot instead of scrubbing it out with safe CoM shots are rewarded better, which is good. Doubled regeneration rate when standing still and crouching means that getting hit once by an archer from across the map no longer means that you’re consigned to low health because you can now regenerate it at an acceptable pace, which is good. Archers getting one-shotted by more weapons (though of course their lower projectile damage making it tougher to kill enemies solo helps) means that they’re less keen to stay closer to the main fighting area which means that they miss their shots more often, which is good.
The only potential changes to things (if any of them are even possible, of course) that I could possibly suggest (besides further testing and tweaking of damage values, projectile speeds and perhaps fire rates of the various archer weapons) are removing the accuracy bonus from crouching so that shots aren’t 100% predictable anymore, changing arms to leg damage rather than torso damage (but only for projectiles, of course), and maybe even making your helmet actually do something by making that first shot that knocks off your helmet also reduce the damage taken by an amount based upon weapon and ammo used and player class hit. First shot to the head with a heavy cross on any class still being instant death? Good. First shot to the head with shortbow broadheads or sling pebbles on a knight or vanguard doing literally no damage? Fantastic.