Shield Balance

835 1444

Most would agree that I'm not very good compared to the rest of the beta players. My kd is usually very negative.
Mordhau   11_25_2018 8_11_06 PM.png

But whenever I get real tired of getting dominated I just pull out a shield and mace/AS/BS and suddenly I'm at the top of the scoreboard. Shields are not fun to fight against and the only fun in using them comes from beating better players. When you get hit using a shield, its usually due to ping or some arbitrary clunkiness of the shield itself getting in the way.

There is no skill in using a shield. None.

It takes no skill at all to press buttons that make you morph and feint.. these are simply rehearsed moves that get harder for your opponent to read with the attacker's experience. The skill of this game is in reading such moves but with a shield you can't be hit by them. Swing manipulation against a shield is almost as useless as it is against parry. A shield user gets to spazz with 1h weapons and the opponent is at his total mercy. You beat a shield in the last few updates by either reading enough feints/morphs to win by stamina warfare or by positioning yourself with something fast/long enough to spam the shield. Its as though the outcome of the duel is determined before it starts by loadout statistics such as reach, speed, armor and stamina damage. Where is the skill in fighting shields or using shields?

Patch 14 shields required some manner of skill to use.. not through making shields arbitrarily clunky or by setting high stamina/point costs/turncap... but by requiring you to read where the attack will land instead of when. This was intuitive and fun. This meant if you could not read even where an attack came from or was going then you only lasted slightly longer in the battle. Not until your stamina runs out like shields are currently set up. Patch 14 shields also required skill to beat through swing manipulation, morphs or different side feints. So instead of spamming your riposte you had to mix up where you aimed and use feints/morphs to throw them off. This was fun and this was the best patch for shields in terms of balance and fun.

I do not know why shield mechanics were changed when so many people agree that #14 was the best patch for shields. I think we should go back to low turn cap, accurate-to-model parry size, reasonable stam cost and nerf/buff them from there. Lets bring the skill back to using shields and fighting them.

Knight 673 1793
  • 26 Nov '18

I remember patch 14 shields to be annoying to play with.

The first thing is you had to crouch constantly, which not only looked ridiculous but also felt bad for the user.
You also had to pay close attention to where the opponent was aiming while having most of your screen covered by the shield. It simply felt too random when you get hit and too hard to figure out what you did wrong.
But the most important reason imo is that it made no sense for shields to be way harder to use than parries. Basically using a shield meant spending points for a handicap.

I think the popular idea of a shield being simply a better parry or having a "sweet spot" to block fits better that a shield is intended to improve your survivability and defense at the cost of a few points.

835 1444

At 90-120 ping I always did very well with patch 14's shield (but not untouchable as I feel in the current patch). I did not spend that patch crouching or even turtling. The only problem with patch 14 shields I had was that certain waterfalls would pass through the center of the shield and still hit you... that couldve been easily addressed with a bit more leniancy to angles when blocking overheads.

Too many people want shields to drastically increase the life of the user but then complain about not being able to beat them. So then shields get clunky and totally arbitrary nerfs or give attackers the ability to spam them.. making them still very difficult to fight in certain instances but also making shields easily beaten by specific loadouts. This is not about skill but load out statistics as things currently stand.

I'm good at reading where hits land but I am gimped by high ping... so shields in 14 were perfect for me and other players who are somehow gimped by inexperience or ping and would otherwise eat every feint, morph or drag. But patch 14 shields require the user to be attentive unlike now where there really isnt any skill whatsoever. A noob with a shield in 14 lasted longer than he would otherwise but ttk wasn't absurd and he would get some swings in. Now, a noob with a shield will not get hit at all unless you use some sort of cheese like backstepping poke spam or stamina warfare.

Again, shields in 14 were a crutch for players like me with high ping... but the ability to spam them takes away from that and players smart enough will just spam me and get away with it due to solely ping.

If you didn't like having to read where an attack lands as opposed to when then ditch the shield and grab a greatsword or bardiche like everyone else... shield's not for everyone and should really only be a crutch for the inexperienced or an option for players who would rather read where instead of when.

Count 447 1180
  • 26 Nov '18

Two ideas to changing that.

Wizardish's Idea (or something like this)
1) Holding block will instantly start draining X amount of stamina per second. This will encourage shield users to still try to PARRY attacks, not spam block.

This opens a new strategy fighting shields!

Lets say you feint a shield, and they panic and hold block. They are punished stamina-wise for continually crutching on panic blocking. This will allow you to stam shields out and make them feel a bit more unique to play - while keeping their riposte ability and utility.

2) Keep shields the way they are in terms of turncaps/stamina, but make them unable to riposte.
I've found many shield users equip something like Mace or Falchion and do HUGE riposte drags with them. It looks silly and is a little too effective if you ask me.

In competitive pugs/matches we don't allow shields. In the right hands, there seems to be no real drawbacks amongst all their benefits.

835 1444


  1. Is a bad idea because it defeats the purpose of a shield... which is held block. Shields aren't all that great against archers but now they're useless in melee combat and against archers. Stamina warfare is lame.. the problem with shields isn't that they cost too little stamina... its that their immune to taking hits unless you hit them during their riposte by spamming them. The solution to this would be making shield users easier to hit when blocking ie. making their parry box smaller.

  2. Is a bad idea because it means shield users just sit there taking hit after hit on their shield and then take an actual hit when they try to swing. We all know in duels you would simply switch to dagger/shortsword to spam them... hell you dont need to switch to 1h you can just greatsword spam them... If they have high ping like I do they're fucked no matter what loadout you bring. This worked ok in chivalry because you could trade and then the shield would have initiative for the next hit presumably because the shield users 1h was faster... but in Mordhau there are no trades so the shield user has no choice but to turtle until a team mate arrives.

Shields will have to be balanced by nerfing their parry box. This is the only way to make them balanced AND fun with a reasonable ttk. Arbitrarily making them clunkier or making them cost more stamina/points is not the way to balance shields.

Count 447 1180
  • 26 Nov '18

In regards to #1

Is a bad idea because it defeats the purpose of a shield... which is held block.

Which is to be immune to panic parrying....Which is a primary tactic in killing opponents.
This idea does not defeat its purpose.....Its demanding a DRAWBACK to being immune to panic parries.

Stamina warfare is lame.

When you are facing a 'god'/professional, who is aware of nearly all Mordhau tactics, then it comes down to who has the most fortitude (death by attrition) or stamina. These are the hardest & most entertaining fights. How can you say this is lame?

Count 447 1180
  • 2
  • 26 Nov '18

In regards to #2

Is a bad idea because it means shield users just sit there taking hit after hit on their shield and then take an actual hit when they try to swing.

I only mention this because Chivalry shields didn't have riposte. The system worked. That being said they did increase the speed of attacks for shield users. Instead of crutching on ripostes, shield users had to play very differently and constantly try to gain initiative and keep it (or trade). The playstyle demanded [more] attention to stamina management than it it does in Chivalry. Both ideas would force shield users to be more attentive.

These ideas are not to gimp shields primary purpose (immune to panic parrying). Its to provide some sort of drawbacks to using one, since there doesn't seem to be many now.

835 1444

Stamina warfare between two God level players is interesting...

Making every player (God or noob alike) having no choice but to use stamina warfare to beat a shield user is not interesting and it's definately not fun. Making shields cost more stamina does not make this scenario play out any better.

Shields did not work very well in Chivalry... it worked ok for team objective but you never saw shield users in duel yards. Did you also know that weapons paired with a shield were faster but also did less damage than without a shield? It takes like an extra slash or stab to kill a person using LS with a shield than without. I would know I often liked to dabble with shields in Chivalry.. not because they were any good but because they looked cool and flails were fun.

Anyways, no riposte shields won't work in this game.. not only does this make shields even worse for 1vX since no unflinchable riposte... but also because it means you're always going to get beat out by spam instead of skill. It would feel more like a ping contest than test of skill. Also, making shield weapons faster is a horrible idea regarding consistency and balance. Chivalry doesn't have morphs and it was a bit slower overall. Mordhau has much faster weapons and reading 1handers is already difficult enough without making things inconsistent.

Shields are not fun to fight, not fun to use and only in patch 14 were they both fun to use and fun to fight against.

80 284
  • 26 Nov '18

The shield idea Hadeus is referring to encompasses a normal parry and a holdable block. The idea is that you give the shield two options. In this instance, parrying with a shield would be cheaper than holding, but holding would be a static value meaning that your value of stamina scales proportionally with the amount of players you're fighting. In English and using some math:

I won't get specific as there's no need. Let's say in a 1v1, if a LS is attacking a kite shield as fast as it can, it will last roughly 18 seconds before being disarmed. The idea is that shield has a parry function which just acts like a normal parry (drains stamina on each connected parry). The other function is the holdable block: the holdable block drains x stamina per y interval (i.e, 12 stamina per 1.5 seconds). This is what is meant by the static value -- 12 per 1.5 seconds is always the same but parrying varies with weapons. Using the holdable block with my version, the shield will only hold out for 12 seconds before being disarmed. At first glance this appears as a simple (and hefty) stamina nerf to shield going from 18 seconds to 12 seconds. However, the benefit comes in the form of 1vx. If you add another longsword to the equation using the former system, the shield suddenly only lasts roughly 9 seconds whereas with the static holdable block still lasts 12 seconds. Therefore, holdable block is very undesirable in a 1v1 scenario but very much beneficial in a 1vx/teamplay scenario.

On paper this is a really nice way to think about shield balance and this idea might seem good in itself, but the implementation for it would be problematic. Since the shield has both a parry function and block function, you can't have them as both RMB because there are some intricacies that become troublesome. For example, you could just hold block for 400ms or so and entirely skip recovery. The finer details of a solution like this are what make the idea troublesome. There would have to be different buttons, different values, different detection for what state you're in (parry vs. block), etc. While I appreciate that people like this idea, it's just not really feasible when you think about actually implementing it. With that being said, this, I think, is still a good framework to approaching shields. Holdable block is hard to balance, so you either remove holdable block or make holdable block undesirable in the situations where it is most problematic for gameplay (1v1s).

No one really uses shield and, from what I've played, they're back to being shit again on the current build in sharp contrast to how they were 1 or 2 builds ago.

Duke 986 1377
  • 27 Nov '18

I haven't fought a single good shield player these last couple of patches. Beating noobs with shields is just as ez as beating noobs without it just takes a few seconds longer. Which is good for noobs who dont want to die instantly all the time.

The only shield I've really tried is targe and you have to play the game differently. You have to be a master stam manager and it's an interesting change.

In the end the people I would stomp without a shield I still stomp with one and the people I would go back and forth with without a shield I still go back and forth with them with one.

I dont see any advantage of using a shield at a higher level but as u can see by OPs post new/average players using a shield against other new/average players will give them an advantage. And I think that's a good thing.

Knight 691 2840
  • 1
  • 27 Nov '18

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
whenever I get real tired of getting dominated I just pull out a shield and mace/AS/BS and suddenly I'm at the top of the scoreboard.

for future reference it's generally not a good idea to showcase the efficiency of a build by showing a random scoreboard screenshot. A lot of the people in that server are relatively new or below-average players. Some of them may have been trying quirky builds, or just fucking around, etc. It would be a lot more meaningful if you said using shields was effective versus notably good players. you'd get destroyed by anyone who knows how to properly punish players who just hold block and never riposte. just saying.

835 1444

The picture proves everything it needs to NA players who have seen my performance against the same batch of players.

Im below average, have high ping and my kd is usually very negative but here I put everyone down despite many being better. In the matches prior against the same people I had negative kd but pulling out the shield put me on top. Most of the hits I recieved when using the shield were due mostly spam gambles that I couldn't punish due to ping or some such.

However, shields made me immune to most of what could be thrown at me while they couldn't hope to read any morphs, feints etc.

A much more experienced player would have had just as much trouble reading my 1h spazz fest... but they would have countered by running away/hard matrixing and gamble poking which seems to be the best way to counter shield currently.

Count 331 1390
  • 27 Nov '18

Yo just here to say that shield is sickeningly overpowered and has been for a literal year and to also say fuck you to Drake.

Knight 168 454
  • 1
  • 27 Nov '18

And nerf greatsword while you are at it. Its such a broken weapon. 550ms release time is too much. 500ms should be maximum imo.

Mercenary 212 529
  • 1
  • 28 Nov '18

Nerfing GS release to 525ms or 500ms could work

Count 447 1180
  • 1
  • 28 Nov '18

nerf Bardiche

Count 447 1180
  • 28 Nov '18

nerf Mace

80 31
  • 28 Nov '18

Honestly, Shields seem fine right now. I've been maining heater shield for quite a while. It has a pretty decent amount of skill depth to it. Alot of good players tell me I'm crutching on it, but Im really not. Its weaknesses lie in stamina management.

Falchion / Mace + Heater Shield is one of the best combos.

835 1444

Stamina management is a skillset that should be important in all duels, but most important in duels between evenly matched, experienced players.

Stamina management should not be the main skill necessary to win with or against a shield even with very different skill levels between combatants. A noob should not last long enough to stam out against a pro.

Have you seen shield vs shield duels? All it is is gamble matrixing/dodging/kiting to hopefully force misses in a bid to win the stam war with some token morphs/side hits that usually miss or fail to hit past the shield. Sometimes spam gets thrown in.

Count 447 1180
  • 29 Nov '18

Don't waste your breath arguing with an idiot @Lionheart.
Anyone that things shields are fine right now is the reason the gene pool needs a lifeguard.