Mordhau

Mordhau's problematic design (chambers, attack manipulation etc.) and what the fuck do we do about it

8 6
  • 14 Aug
 Garino

One of the most present issues with Mordhau is chambers. Currently they function as a hard counter feints, in many ways making feinting unable to achieve its main purpose, making defense more challenging. To add further complications, it adds soft reading to the game, making defense even easier. In order to balance the game, the devs have given chambers two main counters.

The first is with stamina. Chambering costs 15 stamina to use, making it a costly option. This forces people to have to use the least amount of chambers in order to survive, which means parrying, which means having to deal with feints, right? Well unfortunately there's a few problems with this. The first is it pushes the game further into a stamina attrition meta, which is undesirable and goes against what a game of this genre should focus on. Secondly it doesn't fully fix the issue, where it makes fighting more paper-scissors-rock based, where although chambering is used less often, it still punishes someone feinting if it is used against a feint. Also with good footwork, high skill players can maximize their use of chambers to only when necessary essentially making feinting still a poor option (This is on top of feints already being relatively easy to read unless by a fast weapon [fast weapons are their own issue] or when used as an insider).

The second counter to chambers is through attack manipulation. However, many people have quickly noticed the problems with having attack manipulation being the largest emphasis on the outcome of fights. The some of these includes:

  • Wonky and inconsistent-to-read animations, such as stab drags
  • Insiders, forcing gambling upon players
  • General inaccessibility for a large portion of the playerbase, as many high-tier usages of attack manipulation are beyond average reaction speeds, especially worsened when ping is taken into account (In which reaction speeds are largely biological and should not be encouraged as the main decider of skill)
  • And finally, generally boring and linear fights as attack manipulation is largely decision based with limited mechanical skill and variation involved

This makes fighting based around 3 main things. Attack manipulation, reading (based mainly upon attack manipulation) and playing stamina. The issue with this is that those 3 things have a very limited emphasis on mechanical skill, which should be a huge focus for a melee combat game. Mechanical skill provides a basis for a healthy and progress-able skill curve that feels rewarding and is measurable. What Mordhau's skill curve mainly feels about is gaining knowledge of fairly trivial things and abusing the game as much as possible, with large limiting biological factors that makes the game extremely frustrating to try to improve at.

But there are massive problems the devs face when trying to address these issues. Firstly is their development process. The dev team is very small, and especially small in terms of balancing combat. To further complicate, they are split up, so they cannot easily communicate and work together as well in comparison to a development team that's in the same area.

The next issue is how linked all of mordhau's design is and how adjusting one thing has huge repercussions on the entirety of the game. Chambers can not be easily fixed as changing chambers means changing how basic attacks function, and changing soft-reading through chamber-feint to parry will influence feints which is the thing that we are trying to fix. Nerfing attack manipulation through something like stricter DPI limits would mean matrixing could get out of hand. And what about the impact it would have on other game modes?

The point is the devs are in a difficult situation in terms of fixing these problems. What I recommend is the Dev team becomes more transparent, through things such as a roadmap, and working with their community to fix these problems as best as they can. This could mean changes in how the dev team operates, such as recruiting more people or enlisting help directly from the community. And its good to see the devs are infact making steps towards this transparency. Such as the development update and the development snippets channel. So I encourage that they continue this behavior further to work towards a better mordhau, in which we are also responsible in supporting them, instead of asking for patchie at every possible opportunity to annoy the shit out of them.

394 589
  • 3
  • 14 Aug
 smug

The mechanical skill in Mordhau is tied to swing manipulation.

Mordhau has toned down swing manipulation from Chiv because of all the retarded bullshit that was possible. Reverses were gay but still required more execution than anything in Mordhau except the undercut wessex.

Because the devs basically handicapped Swing manipulation what you have is a very simplified game.

They tried to add depth back to the game with chambers, but it's a mechanic taken from M&B that's incredibly out of place in Mordhau/Chiv's combat model.

What Mordhau's skill curve mainly feels about is gaining knowledge of fairly trivial things and abusing the game as much as possible, with large limiting biological factors that makes the game extremely frustrating to try to improve at.

You're the describing the metagame of any competitive videogame that has ever existed. There are many things that you can't humanly react to in many fighting games, but that's the point. Where Mordhau gets it wrong is that the execution ceiling is incredibly low for many techniques that force 50/50 mixups.

1757 1412
  • 14 Aug
 Rergato

The core game is fine. I didn't bother reading this wall of scribbles because there is nothing wrong with chambers or feints

Duke 546 903
  • 14 Aug
 Goatie

I mean he's not wrong that chambers cause a mess of a game. Every mechanic has been tied together so much from a 1v1 environment that untangling that to change the meta to a healthier one or help team fights is a big fucking task. You can play it to git gud and just ignore it all but I find it even less fun then competitive chiv in its current state. The only satisfaction I get is hard reading feints, THATS IT. Landing hits feels crap cos it's either an insider or a neutral almost impossible to read drag with no inbetween. Dodging is already somewhat too easy because of gimped turn caps. Literally trying to change any of this will just wreak havoc on other mechanics. Chambers are also partially responsible for the spammy gambling playstyle we see everywhere. People are encouraged to just keep inputting all the time because chambers buff your defence with offense.

394 589
  • 14 Aug
 smug

@Rergato said:
The core game is fine. I didn't bother reading this wall of scribbles because there is nothing wrong with chambers or feints

Yeah every top level player disagrees with you.

8 6
  • 15 Aug
 Garino

@smug said:
You're the describing the metagame of any competitive videogame that has ever existed. There are many things that you can't humanly react to in many fighting games, but that's the point. Where Mordhau gets it wrong is that the execution ceiling is incredibly low for many techniques that force 50/50 mixups.

Thats exactly what Im criticizing, the lack of skill required for those humanly unreactable things and how often you can pull them off.

190 95

It is impossible to balance the game with 1 overall setting for Fl, ffa and duel modes.

529 278

And a weapon clashing mechanic that is useless, to boot.

1083 1717

@Goatie said:
I mean he's not wrong that chambers cause a mess of a game. Every mechanic has been tied together so much from a 1v1 environment that untangling that to change the meta to a healthier one or help team fights is a big fucking task. You can play it to git gud and just ignore it all but I find it even less fun then competitive chiv in its current state. The only satisfaction I get is hard reading feints, THATS IT. Landing hits feels crap cos it's either an insider or a neutral almost impossible to read drag with no inbetween. Dodging is already somewhat too easy because of gimped turn caps. Literally trying to change any of this will just wreak havoc on other mechanics. Chambers are also partially responsible for the spammy gambling playstyle we see everywhere. People are encouraged to just keep inputting all the time because chambers buff your defence with offense.

I miss the control I felt in Chivalry over my swings. More specifically I wish I could waterfall and side stab like I could in Chivalry. My whole playstyle revolved around hitting around my opponents parry and winning the stamina game by reading feints and baiting misses.

I did not use reverses or delay drags but in Mordhau I can ONLY use insiders/delay drags or the morph/feint button. Feels dirty and I get no satisfaction from landing hits in Mordhau. Pretty much everyone in Mordhau uses the same playstyle but with less control than they had in Chivalry and the main differences being ping, skill, weapon preference and whether they face hug or play range.

I like chambers, and morphs. I miss morph matching as much as I know it was bad. And I hate reverses, messer trades and all the other bullshit chivalry had. But Chivalry was alot more fun to git gud at. I'm bored of Mordhau.