Mordhau

Unpopular opinion : Shields are underpowered

9 28

I will get hated for that...

Most of my early hours in Mordhau was with the Shield, and I can tell you I was terrible with it. Now that I've spent quite some time using, not using, and facing shields, I've noticed that they are not that great. Yes, they are annoying. But good ? A bit, but still below average, and not worth their weaknesses.

I want to mostly speak about the "Holding" Shields, Heater and Kite shields. The problems I have with the "Parry" Shields has been spoken about in the latest dev blog post, and I will come to it later.


The good sides : kick, arrows and immunity

Kicking is the 101 counter to Shields. It's a needed counter, to punish players holding this thing for too long. True you can't do that in the middle of a teamfight or a 1vX scenario, but when you catch one you will be winning the fight most of the time.
Kicks are a necessary counter to Shields. This interaction SHOULD stay and is healthy for the game. I have to agree the range of kicks against Shield is a little bit short (the range was fine the first time it got changed after release).

Not getting shot by an archer without a Shield can be tricky. You have to guess what they do and if you parry too soon, the archer gets a free shot. Shields kind of negate that, as you can keep the block up if you use a Holding Shield. If you hold it, it's the archer's aim that gets rewarded by aiming where your Shield isn't protecting you. It's a fair fight. On top of that, Shields of any kind passively protect you, it's nice during teamfights where you can't always keep a look at your surroundings. Even if the Shield vs archer part of the game have some minor issues, it's in a good state.

A special bonus from holding Shields is, once you are good enough, you are pretty much immune to morphs and feints, as long as they aren't morphs/feints to kick and you don't release too soon. And of course, being able to hold your block.

Now the bad things.


Being forced to a one handed

It's an obvious downside, but a noticeable one. One handed weapons are your only weapons when using a Shield. They go from 1 to 5 points. One handed have their own weaknesses, shorter range and less damage are the 2 big ones. They tend to offer a faster attack speed tho.

But the thing is, these weapons are pretty weak compared to most two handed. There's a reason they have low cost. Even if it's something that can't be solved, it's pretty much the root of most the problems Shields have.


Parry Drain Negation

For the ones that don't know, every weapon, and Shields included, remove a part of the stamina lost on parry. It's called Parry Drain Negation. It goes up to 13 points, and every weapon that cost more than 6 points reach this cap. The only 5 points 2 handed weapons that don't reach this are the Billhook and Longsword.

Here's all the Parry Drain Negation of every 1 handed weapons :
Dagger : 6
Cleaver : 7
Short Sword : 7
Wooden Mallet : 8
Arming Sword : 11
Axe : 11
Blacksmith Hammer : 11
Warhammer : 11
Falchion : 12
Heavy Handaxe : 12
Mace : 13
Rapier : 10
Short Spear : 12
Bastard Sword : 13
Messer : 13

This is what I've liked in the latest dev update post

At higher levels of play, especially in duels, we noticed that the buckler can be overly powerful. We’re looking into removing the 30 stamina gained when the buckler is disarmed, but increasing the usefulness of the buckler when it comes to stamina costs when blocking weapons.

For parry shields, this is awesome balance-wise. I would take a Parry Drain Negation buff over 30 stamina when I lose my Parry Shield. Because now, let's look at this number for Shields :
Heater Shield : 11
Targe : 12
Kite Shield : 12
Buckler : 13

This pretty much means for 1 handed that :

  • Dagger, Cleaver, Short Sword, Wooden Mallet and Rapier will always get a better Parry Drain Negation from Shields.
  • Arming Sword, Axe, Blacksmith Hammer and Warhammer have the same Parry Drain Negation as the Heater Shield, and will have a better one with the other Shields
  • Falchion, Heavy Handaxe and Spear have the same Parry Drain Negation as Targe and Kite Shield, will have a better one with the Buckler, but a worst Parry Drain Negation with the Heater Shield.
  • Mace, Bastard Sword and Messer have the same Parry Drain Negation as the Buckler, but a worst Parry Drain Negation with any other shield.

I point this out for two reasons : one, I saw some Shield guides advising using Shield to compensate the low Parry Drain Negation of one-handed weapons. But as you can see here, that doesn't concern many one handed for all Shields, and also not the interesting ones. Two, because you are getting less efficient Stamina management overall when using a Shield. Also, opposed to parrying, you don't get more stamina for blocking multiple hits. I don't know if there's a change in stamina drain from multiple attacks as it's not documented.


Block view tolerance

All non-shield weapons have the same Block view tolerance : 40 up, 55 on the sides and 55 down. When you take a Shield of any kind, the Block view tolerance is reduced.

Heater Shield : 27.5 up, 40 on the side and 42.5 down
Targe : 27.5, 40, 37.5
Kite Shield : 27.5, 40, 47.5
Buckler : 20, 45, 45

I'm not sure in what unit these numbers are, but you are reducing your block tolerance when using a Shield, which sucks for a weapon about blocking... And I think it's worst for Parry Shields, as these don't give the big bonuses Holding Shields offers : you are almost penalizing yourself when using Parry Shields.


The biggest problem

So I'm expecting answers like "lower Parry Drain Negation is to punish people holding Shields in teamfights" (which is weird to get punished for doing your role), "smaller block tolerance is to allow people to hit around the Shield"... overall, answers being "it's here to counter/balance the Shields". And I want to say : why not. Let's assume is here for that. But I have a problem with this, a big one :

Why am I spending points on getting weaknesses ?

Why am I spending 2 to 3 points on Shields that I could use somewhere else ? That's 12.5% to 18.75% of my points spent on nothing.

What Shields does, parry does it better. It's even more visible in high level of play : how many Shields have you saw in duel servers ? I saw a buckler once, and a guy with Kite Shield + Rapier (you know, the only good one-handed that can profit from Shields parry negation). Why don't you see Shields there ? Because of how good two handed are and all the reasons above. As for the morph and feint immunity, you get that when you're a good player. At high level, Shields belong to the trash. If you are a big duellist, please grab a Holding Shield and prove me wrong.

And when you look in Frontline, there's not THAT many Shields. Take some time to count how many players are using Shields, and their level. I only tend to see less than 5 players using Shields, me included. In a 64 match, that's not a lot. Even when you are stuck in 1vX, you don't get a lot from having a Shield. It's better to have a long weapon that deals high damage so you can get rid of multiple enemies at once. You don't see videos and compilations of people winning 1vX with a Shield because 1 handed themselves aren't great there.


I seriously hope I missed something important about Shields. Because in their actual state, it's better to NOT have one when using a one-handed, or take a loadout with a better weapon.

Thank you for taking the time for reading this.

14 2

Stunlock approves this. #enjoyshieldbuff

Knight 108 140

Shields are underpowered because of two things. 1) Majority of players want to see 2-handed weapons as superior. 2) The developer team goes with the popular opinion.

This is the same reason why archery is kept relatively weak against melee characters (perk to add damage against other archers, but no perk to add damage against heavy armor).

I wouldn't hold my breath with this situation changing, and kinda lost my interest in the game because of that. Too bad, because it had huge promise.

1242 3685

lets not forget getting kicked to death in a corner because two people know where their F key is

Knight 7442 13578
  • 13 Aug
 ToLazy4Name

Anyone with a brain doesn't think they're overpowered, they think that they are horribly designed and completely ruin the flow of combat.

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  • 13 Aug
 Murmillo

This is a good overview of the shields as a whole, I agree with much of it. The problem being as already stated currently the popular thing to do is zweihanders or halberds. Or lacking that any two handed weapon that produces the best chance at a 2 hit kill. Anything preventing that, or slowing that down is seen as unpopular.

So unlike the forum troll above me, this is a good and well thought out post. Shields are in the game, a good mechanic for many reasons and should be treated as such.

129 141

There's a reason shield users get kicked to death all the time. In a chaotic battle a shield is a huge pain in the ass to unlock defensively, to the point of being not even worth it to even try half the time. So we called the 2 hand council and the matter was decided.

All the chad 2 handers have an unspoken agreement amongst us that we will back any shield user into a corner and gang kick until it's all over.

We do this because it's humiliating and we are trying to forge strong chad iron from virgin shield ore. It's also fitting that a braindead bypass of all the finer offensive mechanics (the shield) has an equally easy and braindead counter (mash kick).

850 246

tbh i love shields just wish they were better Designed i love Longsword but shield and One handed has always been my field of study

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  • 17 Aug
 Rergato

If they just make the turn cap when the shield is raised suuuper slow (making the shielder have to lower it to efficiently turn) I think then shields would be fine..

It’d make trying to stab them in their blind spots a lot better because they wouldn’t be able to turn like a beyblade unless they lower the shield.

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@Rergato said:
If they just make the turn cap when the shield is raised suuuper slow (making the shielder have to lower it to efficiently turn) I think then shields would be fine..

It’d make trying to stab them in their blind spots a lot better because they wouldn’t be able to turn like a beyblade unless they lower the shield.

WRONG

Turn cap is already too strict. Read a zwei/executioner drag just to not be able to catch it in time anyways cause the shield doesnt move fast enough. Not intuitive game design. Kick stun should go because shields should never be punished for doing their job but instead should require reading (tighten parry angles of shield) so that they're not so brain dead and beating them won't be as brain dead as kicking/spamming.

Shields should get a turn cap and stamina buff. Shields should get a massive parrybox nerf as well. Leg hits should be a thing for heater shield. Kick stun should go.

You grab a shield to buff your 1h so you can match up against 2h... because 1h IS inferior to 2h in every way. You pick a parry shield because you want stam negation at cheaper point cost in a duel setting or in a light load out/archer build. You grab a held shield so you can fight multiple opponents, deflect archery and holding objectives/chokepoints in team fights. Kick stun makes held shields a liability, not a buff, in 1vX. Especially in close quarters or indoors, where you will get cornered and kicked to death.

In a duel a good player will never get kick stunned anyways and held shields are simply obnoxious (if still inferior to buckler or 2h) when used by a good player in a duel.

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@Rergato said:
If they just make the turn cap when the shield is raised suuuper slow (making the shielder have to lower it to efficiently turn) I think then shields would be fine..

It’d make trying to stab them in their blind spots a lot better because they wouldn’t be able to turn like a beyblade unless they lower the shield.

It's already pretty easy to side stab around a shield though.

1756 1406
  • 18 Aug
 Rergato

Well, we definitely need a tripping mechanic for shield users. Should be a 80% to trip everytime you hold the shield up, something like that, I dunno

850 246

or a shield not having a forcefield

9 28

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Kick stun should go because shields should never be punished for doing their job but instead should require reading (tighten parry angles of shield) so that they're not so brain dead and beating them won't be as brain dead as kicking/spamming.

This is like saying Billhocks shouldn't dismount horses because horses shouldn't be punished from doing their job, which is harassing infantry.
True that kicking punish players holding their shield, but it's also a tool to counter them and their presence doesn't prevent the shield users from doing their job, which is protecting from arrows, compensating for having a 1 handed and protecting your teammates by being overall annoying.

A good example I had in-game : Taiga, camp, new entrance in front of Blue's bridge. I was in Red and we had the point. A guy with a shield and an other with a Spear were blocking us from going out thanks to the tight space. The shield guy was holding his shield all the time, with some breaks to get stamina. We couldn't kick him because he kept his distance and his Spear teammate was here and we couldn't get his teammate because the shield was blocking our attack and his presence was notable. Other blues were here too but not as impactful as these two. We finally got through as the Shield guy was losing stamina and others were flanking them, but this guy was doing his shield job really well.

You might have heard people saying that kicking the shield isn't that easy and they are right. In teamfight, shields are a tool of annoyance and only the ones overextending and holding too much should be punished because they are doing their job badly. Kicks doesn't prevent a shield's job and is a good teacher when you spend some time with the shield.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Shields should get a turn cap and stamina buff. Shields should get a massive parrybox nerf as well.

I disagree. The turn cap is more than enough to block what you have to block and you already got a smaller block radius, even if the numbers doesn't really help since you don't know in what unit they are (Centimeters ? Unreal units ? Hotdogs ?). I agree with the stamina buff at least for parry shields but the devs already mentioned this.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
You grab a held shield so you can fight multiple opponents

No. You said it yourself, it's to compensate for 1H, not to become someone able to 1vX by holding your shield up. Even with a held shield you can 1vX but it's harder as your 1H generally can't 1 or 2-shot everything.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Leg hits should be a thing for heater shield.
@Lionheart Chevalier said:
You grab a shield to buff your 1h so you can match up against 2h... because 1h IS inferior to 2h in every way. You pick a parry shield because you want stam negation at cheaper point cost in a duel setting or in a light load out/archer build. You grab a held shield so you can [...] deflect archery and holding objectives/chokepoints in team fights. Kick stun makes held shields a liability, not a buff, in 1vX. Especially in close quarters or indoors, where you will get cornered and kicked to death.

Yes, this is pretty much everything I've said in my post. I also pointed out how using parry shield for stamina negation rarely applies (only 1-2 points melee and Rapier got a worse stamina negation than the Targe, everything but Mace, Bastard Sword and Messer for Buckler).

But you made me realize something with your comment on leg hits for Heater. Even if Heater does have a smaller block radius at legs level (42.5 opposed to 55, you actually can hit the legs but you have to aim really low.), I was wondering : how come a dagger or a short sword have the same block radius as a Zweilander ? Especially at leg level...

Maybe, and I might suggest something stupid, but most 1 handed could have a smaller block radius, close to what shield offers, so we are not penalized for using a shield block-radius wise ?

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Kick stun should go.
@Lionheart Chevalier said:
In a duel [...] held shields are simply obnoxious (if still inferior to buckler or 2h) when used by a good player in a duel.

Imagine removing kick stun at least in duel scenario : duels are about many things, with reading being one. As I've said, a good held shield user will be immune to morph and feints. If you remove kick stuns on held shield, the only thing that can damage a held shield user in duel is kicks. This is the only thing he will have to look for and he can counter his opponent's kicks or position himself to avoid them. Held shields will dominate duels due to how easy it is to use it in 1v1 situation, as his main and only counter will be gone.

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@Quenquentthebabysitter said:

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Kick stun should go because shields should never be punished for doing their job but instead should require reading (tighten parry angles of shield) so that they're not so brain dead and beating them won't be as brain dead as kicking/spamming.

This is like saying Billhocks shouldn't dismount horses because horses shouldn't be punished from doing their job, which is harassing infantry.
True that kicking punish players holding their shield, but it's also a tool to counter them and their presence doesn't prevent the shield users from doing their job, which is protecting from arrows, compensating for having a 1 handed and protecting your teammates by being overall annoying.

A good example I had in-game : Taiga, camp, new entrance in front of Blue's bridge. I was in Red and we had the point. A guy with a shield and an other with a Spear were blocking us from going out thanks to the tight space. The shield guy was holding his shield all the time, with some breaks to get stamina. We couldn't kick him because he kept his distance and his Spear teammate was here and we couldn't get his teammate because the shield was blocking our attack and his presence was notable. Other blues were here too but not as impactful as these two. We finally got through as the Shield guy was losing stamina and others were flanking them, but this guy was doing his shield job really well.

You might have heard people saying that kicking the shield isn't that easy and they are right. In teamfight, shields are a tool of annoyance and only the ones overextending and holding too much should be punished because they are doing their job badly. Kicks doesn't prevent a shield's job and is a good teacher when you spend some time with the shield.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Shields should get a turn cap and stamina buff. Shields should get a massive parrybox nerf as well.

I disagree. The turn cap is more than enough to block what you have to block and you already got a smaller block radius, even if the numbers doesn't really help since you don't know in what unit they are (Centimeters ? Unreal units ? Hotdogs ?). I agree with the stamina buff at least for parry shields but the devs already mentioned this.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
You grab a held shield so you can fight multiple opponents

No. You said it yourself, it's to compensate for 1H, not to become someone able to 1vX by holding your shield up. Even with a held shield you can 1vX but it's harder as your 1H generally can't 1 or 2-shot everything.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Leg hits should be a thing for heater shield.
@Lionheart Chevalier said:
You grab a shield to buff your 1h so you can match up against 2h... because 1h IS inferior to 2h in every way. You pick a parry shield because you want stam negation at cheaper point cost in a duel setting or in a light load out/archer build. You grab a held shield so you can [...] deflect archery and holding objectives/chokepoints in team fights. Kick stun makes held shields a liability, not a buff, in 1vX. Especially in close quarters or indoors, where you will get cornered and kicked to death.

Yes, this is pretty much everything I've said in my post. I also pointed out how using parry shield for stamina negation rarely applies (only 1-2 points melee and Rapier got a worse stamina negation than the Targe, everything but Mace, Bastard Sword and Messer for Buckler).

But you made me realize something with your comment on leg hits for Heater. Even if Heater does have a smaller block radius at legs level (42.5 opposed to 55, you actually can hit the legs but you have to aim really low.), I was wondering : how come a dagger or a short sword have the same block radius as a Zweilander ? Especially at leg level...

Maybe, and I might suggest something stupid, but most 1 handed could have a smaller block radius, close to what shield offers, so we are not penalized for using a shield block-radius wise ?

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Kick stun should go.
@Lionheart Chevalier said:
In a duel [...] held shields are simply obnoxious (if still inferior to buckler or 2h) when used by a good player in a duel.

Imagine removing kick stun at least in duel scenario : duels are about many things, with reading being one. As I've said, a good held shield user will be immune to morph and feints. If you remove kick stuns on held shield, the only thing that can damage a held shield user in duel is kicks. This is the only thing he will have to look for and he can counter his opponent's kicks or position himself to avoid them. Held shields will dominate duels due to how easy it is to use it in 1v1 situation, as his main and only counter will be gone.

Where to even begin.

Kick stun is not a true shield nerf. As you pointed out, you could not kick stun the shield blocking the doorway because he had friends and a large enough chokepoint to block you guys in and stay mobile. Was this skill on his part or simply a sign of human intelligence? Holding the block weapon to ez parry everything took no skill.

Because kick stun and stamina are the most viable ways to break a shield, he was immune to your onslaught until his team mates died. I'm sure when he got surrounded and kicked to death, the shield became a liability and not a buff to 1h.

Kick stun is purely situational and shield stamina nerfs only apply to duels. Kick stun doesn't even apply to duels because a decent player will be immune to kick stun.

Kick stun makes shields invulnerable when ganking or in XvX... but make shields a huge liability when getting ganked or when fighting in confined spaces.

Maybe you grab a shield so you can hold it forever and back step... but I use a shield so I can fight multiple people at once without worrying about getting flinched by a missed attack or my enemies hitting each other to keep me in parry recovery. The intended trade off is obviously the fact that I have a 1h and armor is 4htk most times... the other intuitive trade off is that now I would have to aim my shield accurately.

If kick stun is replaced by shields requiring more accuracy to block, this would be very fair. If you can't block accurately with a shield then git gud or use a great sword with a timed parry. If you eat every feint, drag or morph then git gud and switch to shield and downgrade to one hander. It should really be that simple.

What was nice about strict locational based shields in alpha was that if you always fell for leg hits you could simply wear leg armor... if you never fell for side stabs then you could wear light torso armor. Got hit over the shield often then wear a helmet or what have you. The game had far more depth fighting with a shield in Alpha patch 14/15 and it was alot of fun.

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@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Kick stun is not a true shield nerf. As you pointed out, you could not kick stun the shield blocking the doorway because he had friends and a large enough chokepoint to block you guys in and stay mobile. Was this skill on his part or simply a sign of human intelligence? Holding the block weapon to ez parry everything took no skill.

The skill here wasn't holding block, it was his positioning. He kept himself mobile, without getting too far to be useless nor too close where he can get his ass handed to him. He could have done a single simple mistake in his positioning and he or his teammate would be dead.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Because kick stun and stamina are the most viable ways to break a shield, he was immune to your onslaught until his team mates died.

At no point did I say is teammate died. When they got flanked they ran away. Not sure what happened to them.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
I'm sure when he got surrounded and kicked to death, the shield became a liability and not a buff to 1h.

Shield being a liability with his 1h is the point of my post, so I agree with you. But when you get surrounded, shield or not, you can get kicked to death with no chance of escape.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Kick stun is purely situational and shield stamina nerfs only apply to duels. Kick stun doesn't even apply to duels because a decent player will be immune to kick stun.

Kick stun might be situational, but it's situational enough to be seen commonly. I agree with everything you said here tho.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Kick stun makes shields invulnerable when ganking or in XvX... but make shields a huge liability when getting ganked or when fighting in confined spaces.

That's why I suggested to revert kicking range against shield to what it was before the last patch, so that you can at least open-up a shield getting too close to you in teamfights and encourage good positioning. Shield will always be good when ganking since it's a rather-team oriented tool. As for 1vX, having a Shield won't change a lot if cornered but my post was aimed toward cases where you aren't your back against the wall and duels, so I agree with the other two points.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
Maybe you grab a shield so you can hold it forever and back step... but I use a shield so I can fight multiple people at once without worrying about getting flinched by a missed attack or my enemies hitting each other to keep me in parry recovery. The intended trade off is obviously the fact that I have a 1h and armor is 4htk most times... the other intuitive trade off is that now I would have to aim my shield accurately.

I... actually thought you were doing that. I actually use it much like you. Big misunderstanding on my part.

As for aiming with your shield if you reduce block angle... Well you do have to aim too without a Shield and still have to when using one.

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
If kick stun is replaced by shields requiring more accuracy to block, this would be very fair. If you can't block accurately with a shield then git gud or use a great sword with a timed parry. If you eat every feint, drag or morph then git gud and switch to shield and downgrade to one hander. It should really be that simple.

Even if you remove kick stun and reduce block angle, you will still spend points to get weaknesses with strengths that doesn't compensate for it. Why aim your shield when you can parry and have a larger margin to block attacks with 1h ?

@Lionheart Chevalier said:
What was nice about strict locational based shields in alpha was that if you always fell for leg hits you could simply wear leg armor... if you never fell for side stabs then you could wear light torso armor. Got hit over the shield often then wear a helmet or what have you. The game had far more depth fighting with a shield in Alpha patch 14/15 and it was alot of fun.

I wasn't here for the Alpha, but I agree, in the case of Heater shield at least, that it's stupid you have to nearly hit the floor to hit the legs... But so it is for most 1h weapons. I agree overall shields should be here to have your 1h match the power of a 2h that is 2-3 points above, but as long as you get better numbers with shieldless-1h, shield won't be worth spending points on.

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  • 23 Aug
 Fred Dawes

Shields are fine. Bring back Chivalry's flying kick as a perk so that nobody will ever use shield (like in chiv)

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There's usually never more than a shield or two per team in FL... so I would say shields are already used as much as in Chivalry. Shields may be obnoxious and are certainly annoying to fight but the OP is right, shields are under powered.

The presence of kick stun encourages shield users to back step constantly... and to spam when back stepping is no longer an option. Even when gambling isn't actually viable, gambling and losing is more fun than being kick spammed, stun locked and dying anyways.

Naturally, shield then gets paired with the most spammy weapons that win at gambling or spamming. Short spear and rapier shields are annoying but at least they don't get alot of kills, only assists... Watching messer shields spam away and actually get kills is painful. It's like the 0 effort war axe married 0 effort shield and had braindead babies.

Make shields require reading by making parry box smaller for shields and making shield turn faster to reward successful reading. Kicks will always be effective against shields (or 1handed weapons in general) due to stamina damage and the free hit mentality is absolutely absurd... and isn't even practical in FL.

75 86

There's no parry cooldown with shields, they completely break the flow of your 1vX, they can hold block for 10 seconds while still being allowed to riposte and kicks are extremely risky in a teamfight. They block projectiles both actively and passively and your movement speed is pretty much unaffected even while holding up the heaviest shield available.

Shields are great in (large) teamfights because the time and mechanics required to deal with a shield user mean you'll allow his teammate to get a free hit on you.
Convince a decent amount of teammates to stack shields (good luck with that in pubs) and you're virtually unstoppable.

Shields aren't underpowered in general. If you wanna focus on the fact they don't dominate in duels or 3v3 that's your choice.