Mordhau

The little things

Conscript 14 79
  • 16
  • 10 Jan '18
 discalceator

Here are a few suggestions that do not affect gameplay, for the most part. Little, presumably inexpensive things that can help the game grow and be successful. Feel free to add your own suggestions.

Music:
I can't say anything about the Mordhau soundtrack as of yet, since all we have is the trailer music. More on that in a moment.

Whatever faults Chivalry may have had, they did an incredible job with the audiovisuals. Picture the loading screen taking you to moor, and all of a sudden the lute music comes on, to the background noise of vanguards screaming and archers taunting. It was clearly low-budget, equivalent to a bard on the battlefield rather than the simultaneously tepid, yet expensive orchestral music featured in AAA medieval titles.

A comparison:
[1] and [2].

I'd much rather have, in my opinion, a well-thought-out collection of .midi files with the occasional choir, throat singing and/or latin vocals. Whatever could pass as having been written and performed by somebody of the time period, rather than what may or may not end up being associated with "medievalist rock'n'roll kitsch".

Going off of what we currently consider the Mordhau main theme/trailer theme - it comes off as high-production-value, very intense, and probably has an entire orchestra sitting behind it. How many tracks like that can we realistically afford to have in the finished product? The game would stand out, and be a lot more memorable if it were to include tracks by 4-man hobbyist bands. This also gives such people exposure, and costs a whole lot less to produce.

You could also do what Civilization 5 did, and straight up purchase a bunch of ambient music, some of which already existed. Example: [1] [2]. You can argue that had an easier job (I mean they straight up mixed Carmen into their OST and it just worked), but it's worth exploring medieval documentaries. They've already ordered and paid for custom soundtracks from the ground up. You may be able to purchase them. This also drives fans of these documentaries to your product.

Voice acting:
Another thing that has carried Chivalry to its' success has been the voice acting. Again: low budget and amateur, yet superior to anything else on the market.
A few things to keep in mind:

  • It is my belief that the writing is far more important than the voice talent. It's nice to have both, but in the likely even that beggars can't be choosers I'd go 7 parts writing, 3 parts voice talent, possibly more. If you can come up with "your brain is as dry as a biscuit after a long voyage" and have it performed by a random guy at the office - it will be remembered. Think of all the huge titles with expensive, full time voice actors who are given uninspired, safe, marketable lines to read. Although you can tell when a skilled actor is reading them - it's unlikely to save bad writing. It also creates the uncanny valley of ingame characters all being thespians, and not regular people.
  • Large voice banks. Having a vast amount of different orders, requests, pleas, banter, respecting your opponent, taunting your opponent, behind us, kill the archers, random voice lines that come up after a killing spree, inner monologue to dying X times in a row, a comment when fighting the same person for 90 seconds non stop, etc. This also gives youtubers a lot to work with - insofar as splicing voice lines together. This amounts to hilarious videos for years, but also free advertising.
  • Involountary voice lines. Panting when low stamina or running for too long, involountary gasps when nearly missed or upon losing your weapon, perhaps even an entirely seperate redo of the voice bank for when the character stressed. The game "Insurgency" does this extremely well. So well in fact, that I recommend buying the game solely for the purpose of experiencing such an immersive little touch.[1] In Insurgency, if your character is stressed, their speech patterns change (they use the second voice bank). Instead of "go to objective bravo" your voice lines will come out all stuttery with heavy breathing, with your character speaking faster, making mistakes, swearing, being shaken in general. The character also starts speaking jibberish and freaking out involountarily while being shot at. This goes beyond the blurred screen and shaky hands of the tired Battlefield franchise.
  • A scream button. Obviously.
  • In Chivalry the characters' status was reflected in their speech. Archers spoke unashamedly as peasants. Men at arms were clearly lowborns, and compensated by invoking their coat of arms, an obsession with royalty or shakespearean English. Vanguards spoke clearly, without an accent. The agatha knight's voice was of a splendid caricature of nobility, was polite, and invoked French. The mason knight had a massively inflated sense of self, as some sort of mercenary captain, made references to squires, and acted in charge. I think Mordhau could benefit from having voice types tied to armour. Aristocrat voice banks would only be available if using proficiency in the heaviest armour, farmer accents in character slots would be blocked for anything above leather armour, etc.
  • Familiar voice actors. This may be a pipedream and completely impossible, but managing to get any of them onboard would be a huge win. Say, some of the Chivalry VAs, that Schwarzenegger sounding guy from Skyrim, maybe Skallagrim will volounteer to do something, heck - maybe you can get the Dutch guy from Austin Powers: Goldmember, who knows. This kind of thing would easily boost the game's sales on its' own, regardless of other aspects.
  • Foreign accents. I don't know how the red team/blue team dichotomy is going to work in Mordhau, but they could be diversified via regional accents. English, Scottish, Irish, Germanic, French, Spanish, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic, maybe even throw some Kazakhi or Anatolian in there. Another distinguishing factor could be having the characters make references to royalty, different houses, different patron saints or religious denominations, rebellions, mercenary work, and so on.
  • Please keep modern American accents out of the game at all costs, unless they're weird, or unless you can afford Morgan Freeman. Stick to amateurs & hobbyists doing their regional Irish or Scandinavian accent. Have them each try variants for nobility, peasants and burghers of their region. Again - good writing will carry it. This is yet another way for the product to stand out from a gaming industry, as well as film industry, that are both oversaturated with "safe, marketable, corporately approved, universal English that everyone can understand".
  • Go against the grain of modern, throwaway game design. Games nowadays tend to shower the player with prerecorded compliments, and are neutered to the point where none of the characters even dare insult each other. It's gotten to the point where this corporate apology culture is probably hurting sales, and players would jump with joy at another rude & crude TF2-like universe. Go with more of a gritty, adult, dark-humour theme and have the characters insult each other non stop. Have them belittle the player and involountarily comment out loud if you die X times in a row. If you have a streak of deaths and find yourself in peril, having dealt zero damage - have the character cynically say "not again", "I should've stayed home", "I'm terrible at this" or outright start squealing / begging for mercy without the player being able to control it.

I haven't been wooed by the writing for Mordhau's voice actors so far, but I'm sure that this will be subject to change. It could be worth holding a community-driven dialogue writing competition, the winners of which would be rewarded with ingame items (such as gold teeth), forum titles, maybe even Beta access.

Misc audio

  • Different footsteps sounds for different tiers of armour. Different rattling noises for different holstered weapons. A punch in the ear kind of noise when you receive a blow to the head, an echoing clang if you are wearing a helmet.

Interface

  • Invoke tapestry, medieval drawings, and a parchment motive wherever possible. Include authentic medieval illustrations from swordfighting manuals whenever tips are displayed. Have them animated. Have a set of wooden gears turn on the loading screen. Have it on the scoreboard, have it in the text chat, have such voice chat icons, have it in...
  • The options. Animated, descriptive tapestry figures in the options menu. It's been done before, and to great effect †. People will buy the game just to see these kinds of bells and whistles on their own.

Gameplay
Introduce more handicaps such as the "peasant" one. These should not give any points, and serve no purpose other than bragging rights (for which reason they must be visible!). I don't like the idea of them "costing -1 point". They should only provide you with an inflated opinion of yourself.

Some suggestions include:
Left-handed - self explanatory
One arm - arm missing/in a medical sling
Old - terrible stats, perhaps enable special voices
Freak - poor stats, enable ugly faces, hunched back restricts armour choices
Fat - slow, big hitbox, pathetic stamina, armour restrictions

Have it so that Bob can prove how much better he is than everyone else by handicapping himself. Perhaps increase XP gain, so that players with secondary accounts level up faster, and terrorize the lower ranks slightly less due to the handicap, and for a shorter period of time at that.

  • Consider an extra handicap: dwarf (cannot use large weapons, cannot block kicks, pathetic stats). Even if you can retain 0.1% of the GoT audience to buy the game for a meme - we are talking about hundreds of thousands of copies. And don't even get me started on the amount of publicity that these silly features can generate. Refer to the wine anecdote below.
  • Wooden practice swords. A weapon that would do virtually no damage to armoured opponents and have identical stats to the arming sword/longsword etc. This way noobs get to practice against each other without having to mod infinite hp.
  • Tutorial. Chivalry's low-budget tutorial was one of the best I've ever played. It amounts to a few guys at the office teaching the new guy how to sword fight. They are angry and assume that the new guy wasn't paying attention, whilst constantly belittling the player for being green. All to the tune of a poor man's lute music. Analyse what they did right, and try to incorporate it into your own game. Put in some secret voice lines, easter eggs, alternate paths if the tutorial detects the player is extremely skilled. Add an extremely difficult achievement for "acing" the tutorial in a zero mistake speedrun fashion - you could spawn an entire new category of speedrunning. Allow players to volounteer to connect to other people's tutorials & gain some sort of good samaritan points for it. Anything you can think of.
  • Tutorial campaign. I will frantically oppose any attempt of sinking money into a singleplayer mode that no one will care about, but it would be a great move to have "an extremely polished tutorial that is more like a mini-campaign, where the player is having so much fun that he doesn't even realize he is learning".

And finally:

  • Do not hesitate to delay the game if you aren't ecstatic with the final product. I really think this title can take the industry by storm, and reach the status of masterpiece. Take all the time you need to not only get it right, but perfect.

That's my 2 cents for now. I may post more in the future. If you prefer controversy, be sure check out my other thread. What do you think?

961 1590

Excellent post. In Chivalry, noobs who sucked at combat at least had fun with voice commands even as their head came off with that comical chopping sound. Chivalry was funny where Mordhau is not. The emotes are cool and all but are nothing compared to voice commands. Voice actors may not be cheap but getting randoms to read out well written scripts can't be too expensive, can it? I really hope this game succeeds but I honestly don't see how it will appeal to the players who've never touched a melee game in their life.

Conscript 4511 6214
  • 10 Jan '18
 vanguard

What a great thread, 10/10. Totally agree with everything said here, these little things truly make the game feel like it is on another level

1627 2894
  • 1
  • 10 Jan '18
 Ranten

Littledidheknow.PNG

Seriously speaking I 100% agree with everything you've said (probably besides the left handed handicap thing)

Knight 214 1007
  • 10 Jan '18
 Corsario

Completely agree! Especially with the need for immersive lute music, tapestry & other medieval elements in the interface and with the wooden swords idea. Very well thought out post.

I had also wanted to express my fear that the current main theme links or refers too much with an Arena (Quake etc) style game and not that much to a medieval setting game, which might suit a wider audience.

Knight 3095 7172
  • 10 Jan '18
 Punzybobo

100% agreement with the last part, but they need to get content (Maps, archery, perks, etc.) out for the game as soon as possible.

Conscript 14 79
  • 2 May '18
 discalceator

I think we're overdue for a bump

Baron 1551 2074
  • 3 May '18
 yourcrippledson

I want to see more of my arms.

Knight 667 995

I can imagine that the game will be using, a dynamic music system of sorts. So we might have some calm lute or choir singing, while we're lonely walking towards the battlefield. When we then engage into combat, the music will grow intense, with large drums, fear evoking choirs and huge strings playing. The lower your health is and the more enemies there are around you, the more musical elements would be introduced.

Duke 986 1381
  • 3 May '18
 PadanFain

Nah music will probs just be map specific and that's all it needs really imo as long as the music is good which from what I've heard so far it's been nice

Duke 2264 3999
  • 3 May '18
 Huggles

Voice lines in status should be tied to level, not armor imho. And of course optional to the player. So even if I'm a super high level no life- I mean badass, I can sound like a peasant for the memes. And ya, having the voices tied to what is going down would be sick.

The musical diff between chivalry and mordhau kinda speaks to the differences between the games tho. Chivalry was clearly marketed as and played as a funny ragdoll game where people just swing at each other and laugh about it. It's extremely light hearted and the competitive scene grew entirely separate from the devs.

Mordhau is marketed as a deep and fluid combat experience and was created by competitive players. The main appeal isn't le funny ragdoll game.

Mordhau should have darker comedy than chivalry imho, not sure it can keep the same vibes chiv gave very well at all. It needs to be its own thing.

Baron 1551 2074
  • 3 May '18
 yourcrippledson

@Huggles said:
Mordhau should have darker comedy than chivalry imho, not sure it can keep the same vibes chiv gave very well at all. It needs to be its own thing.

I've thought about this a lot. It is a very important factor that is often overlooked. The atmosphere in chivalry was that of a cartoony Monty Python skit, and it fit the bill perfectly.

There needs to be a positive atmosphere to Mordhau that makes you want to keep coming back, just for some laughs or to hangout when you aren't feeling "competitive" or whatever. If this didn't exist in Chivalry, I would have had like 200 hours instead of almost 2000.

Conscript 14 79
  • 1
  • 9 May '18
 discalceator

@Jackass - Knight of Ass said:
I can imagine that the game will be using, a dynamic music system of sorts. So we might have some calm lute or choir singing, while we're lonely walking towards the battlefield. When we then engage into combat, the music will grow intense, with large drums, fear evoking choirs and huge strings playing. The lower your health is and the more enemies there are around you, the more musical elements would be introduced.

Right, but who will pay for all that? If we're talking about a specific level theme then two variants of each music should be more than enough for each. Calm - for intermission/setup, urgent - for imminent objective fulfillment/timer out.

@Huggles said:
Voice lines in status should be tied to level, not armor imho. And of course optional to the player. So even if I'm a super high level no life- I mean badass, I can sound like a peasant for the memes. And ya, having the voices tied to what is going down would be sick.

The musical diff between chivalry and mordhau kinda speaks to the differences between the games tho. Chivalry was clearly marketed as and played as a funny ragdoll game where people just swing at each other and laugh about it. It's extremely light hearted and the competitive scene grew entirely separate from the devs.

Mordhau is marketed as a deep and fluid combat experience and was created by competitive players. The main appeal isn't le funny ragdoll game.

Mordhau should have darker comedy than chivalry imho, not sure it can keep the same vibes chiv gave very well at all. It needs to be its own thing.

I'll try to remove any ambiguity from the original post, this is what I meant in the first place. The seriousness part is a good point, and very debatable. I'd definitely welcome a gritty reality with dark humour to counterbalance omnipresent happy-clappy milking of the meme cow with sexy soldiers in swimsuits endlessly showering the player with compliments. Actually, that gives me another idea...

How the universe will be perceived, though, is dependent on so many variables that it's anybody's guess. If I had to guess I'd wager that these things are decided at the last moment once the devs know what writing, acting and other audiovisuals they have to work with.

@yourcrippledson said:
I've thought about this a lot. It is a very important factor that is often overlooked. The atmosphere in chivalry was that of a cartoony Monty Python skit, and it fit the bill perfectly.

There needs to be a positive atmosphere to Mordhau that makes you want to keep coming back, just for some laughs or to hangout when you aren't feeling "competitive" or whatever. If this didn't exist in Chivalry, I would have had like 200 hours instead of almost 2000.

This is a very important point, and more important than many of us may realise. There's an anecdote of the famous winemaker who held a conference where there were two tables.
On the left, upon table A stood a single 10$ bottle of kentucky fried chicken piss that was synonymous with the company brand. Everyone had heard of it.
On the right, table B buckled under the weight of various expensive, connoisseur-grade wines. The winemaker's pride and joy were all unprofitable.
The owner pointed to the left and said "THIS, makes all of THESE, [points to the right], possible.

I think it's been best put into words here:

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Excellent post. In Chivalry, noobs who sucked at combat at least had fun with voice commands even as their head came off with that comical chopping sound. Chivalry was funny where Mordhau is not. The emotes are cool and all but are nothing compared to voice commands. Voice actors may not be cheap but getting randoms to read out well written scripts can't be too expensive, can it? I really hope this game succeeds but I honestly don't see how it will appeal to the players who've never touched a melee game in their life.

Baron 1551 2074

@discalceator said:

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Excellent post. In Chivalry, noobs who sucked at combat at least had fun with voice commands even as their head came off with that comical chopping sound. Chivalry was funny where Mordhau is not. The emotes are cool and all but are nothing compared to voice commands. Voice actors may not be cheap but getting randoms to read out well written scripts can't be too expensive, can it? I really hope this game succeeds but I honestly don't see how it will appeal to the players who've never touched a melee game in their life.

I got 2 copies of this game, 1 for me and 1 for my room mate. He doesn't like to play. There is nothing to keep him interested while he is learning.
He is a platinum in rocket league and has played Chivalry for about 40 hours. Only other semi-relevant experience would be through many first person games, including Elder Scrolls. The fact that he is Plat in RL shows he is competitive and has good accuracy, reflexes and the ability to improvise, meaning he has the skillset to learn and understand Mordhau, but is not motivated to do so.

What is my point? Well in most respects, he is the target audience, but he doesn't seem interested, and this is with an experienced player helping and encouraging him. (Game is still in Alpha, so this isn't a problem with the game atm.) But this illustrates the importance of atmosphere, and delivering a "satisfaction guaranteed" type of experience.
Nubs just want to jump in and kill shit. It isn't fun jumping in and not knowing why your attacks are all so easily blocked. It also isn't fun jumping into a game and, either through necessity or force, having to sit through a long boring tutorial sequence.

The game needs an extremely polished tutorial that is more like a mini-campaign, where the player is having so much fun that he doesn't even realize he is learning.

On top of this, "satisfaction" can be "guaranteed" by taking an idea from chivalry and expanding on it. Personally I loved killing innocent villagers. Killing filthy peasants in Stoneshill village is the only killing some nubs ever got to do after they hit level 16.
You must participate in the most barbaric aspect of medieval warfare in order to achieve victory. This really got me into character, using voice commands to taunt ugly peasants as I slew them and their families, before razing their homestead to the ground. They are so helpless, you can kill 4 in one blow and they cannot harm you, it can make even the weakest sad nub feel LIKE A POWERFUL WARRIOR!

Mordhau needs to have objectives that involve killing innocent NPC's. On top of this, there should be NPC peasants on almost every single map, irrespective of objective. Not only does it provide the benefits of "satisfaction guaranteed" to all, but breathes life into the world. And these peasants are a great place to start building your game's atmosphere; What they look like, what they wear, where they are located, what they are doing, how they react to you. All of these things contribute heavily to the feel of the gameworld. (absorb the atmosphere, then cut all of the ugly peasants limbs off)

can make them slightly lower detail level than normal players to save them wasting too many resources.

Mercenary 110 300
  • 10 May '18
 Racemate

@yourcrippledson said:
...
The game needs an extremely polished tutorial that is more like a mini-campaign, where the player is having so much fun that he doesn't even realize he is learning.
...

It would be cool.

Knight 154 452
  • 1
  • 10 May '18
 Nautilus

@yourcrippledson

Seriously good post man, I agree with you completely. From my personal experience with Chiv, I actually started playing a lot of the horde mode after out-growing the noob servers to get that same kind of peasant killing satisfaction you described.

If Mordhau is to succeed, engangements really can't boil down to just mechanical melee brawls. Most of all, small immersive details like peasants need to be in the game; otherwise this game will only be a niche game and never attract a large following.

Duke 754 1200
  • 12 May '18
 Stumpy

I agree totally. All these suggestions add up to a deep, immersive and a great game filled with details.
I love the idea about different soundbanks depending on if your character is exhausted, mortally wounded, on a killing spree. Different voicelines coming out randomly when something happens.

More tapestries, and maps should be more medieval related, more castles, small villages, and generally more medieval related with medieval art and furniture/decorations.
Better loading screens with more medieval feelings to it rather than a cut out game character and a screenshot of the map.. rather something artistically. Kingdom come deliverance did well on this.
7BC605A7-358F-4E28-8135-52E715760B73.png
25C12677-776C-43B3-9014-3852846938B8.jpeg

A immersive tutorial like a mini campaign is a good idea and i loved chivalry's tutorial, it gave you a sense of actually being a rookie soldier and getting your training.
And the idea about incorporating other players/your friends in tutorial is a really nice idea.

Imagine starting the tutorial with a fading black screen as you wake up to the sound of the drill sergeant waking you and telling it's time for todays training. You can choose the weapons of your choice and the armor of your choice. You can decide specific Parry/chamber/morph/distance management/Archery training or the regular soldier tutorial which is all. perhaps real sparring vs bots and you can choose difficulty or even better, your drill sergeant will judge your skill level based on how you perform in practice (depending if you do morphs and chambers, feints and generally play well) and will put you up vs a bot of appropriate difficulty.
Your friend might be there aswell to keep you company and helping with training and giving tips. perhaps when you finish the tutorial you will be connected to a new player server which will be your first battle.

Having a handicap mode would be nice aswell.

Generally all your suggestions are good and i hope the devs atleast take note of this and discuss it.

Mercenary 110 300
  • 4
  • 12 May '18
 Racemate

@Stumpy said:
...
Imagine starting the tutorial with a fading black screen as you wake up to the sound of the drill sergeant waking you and telling it's time for todays training. You can choose the weapons of your choice and the armor of your choice. You can decide specific Parry/chamber/morph/distance management/Archery training or the regular soldier tutorial which is all. perhaps real sparring vs bots and you can choose difficulty or even better, your drill sergeant will judge your skill level based on how you perform in practice (depending if you do morphs and chambers, feints and generally play well) and will put you up vs a bot of appropriate difficulty.
Your friend might be there aswell to keep you company and helping with training and giving tips. perhaps when you finish the tutorial you will be connected to a new player server which will be your first battle.
...

After each part of training, players could have a "real" task or quest, kind of "take a part in a raid on enemy camp", or "take a part in an ambush on enemy patrol", or "deal with local bandits", etc, during which certain skills should be used.

Upon finishing tutorial players could earn a perk or/and some ingame currency depending on what will be implemented in the game, and buy his/her first equipment.

Knight 685 1846
  • 13 May '18
 ÐMontyleGueux

I agree completely. The little details are the most important !
A good example of that is cloth physics. For me, fights in mordhau are just 10 times more spectacular due to the clothing flying around as players run and turn.

Iirc the devs are planning on using money from the kickstarter to hire professional voice actors. I hope they know what they are doing, this will be a selling point for many.

One last thing to note, the blue and red team thing is so sad and bland. Agatha and Mason is so much more attractive. We need a bit of lore and background in Mordhau.