Balance horses by making them more realistic

23 25
  • 1
  • 16 Sep '19

Thing about horses is that they're actually kind of fragile. They're also not stone-faced stationary 'stand in place while I wail into their head with 5 halberd strikes' beings, no they're weird fickle finger-walking weirdos that are cowards as well as sometimes jerks that will kick you in the face, so for gameplay reasons, here's how I'd suggest balancing out the horses so that they aren't the be-all end-all of combat in Mordhau.

Remember, there's already some balance in place for these things. Let's take some stock:

  • Big plus - If you land a hit on horseback, it's basically a guaranteed one-shot.
  • Big minus - If someone lands a hit on you while you're speeding past, it's a guaranteed one-shot... Of you.
  • Big plus - Even on failed pass-bys, you deal 1/5th a person's health if you run directly into them, and unless they have ranged weaponry they won't be able to retaliate. Those tramples also usually will interrupt an attack if they're preparing to take advantage of the above point.
  • Plus - even people who parry are knocked prone and lose their weapon, as well as all their stamina.
  • Minus - if you run into a corner on accident your horse is stunlocked and you basically don't have any good options. Counter to that, skilled horsemen usually won't charge their horse straight into a corner, nor will they engineer situations where this will be the case.
  • Big minus - If your horse dies, you flop to the ground and are just about guaranteed to die, especially if you just rushed in behind enemy lines on your horse.
  • Big plus (and also a big thing I'm advocating against here) horses never get stunlocked or stopped unless they die. They can charge right over beartraps for example, and can flatten a sufficiently damaged spike barricade (more often than not the speed they move at usually kills them.)

Overall: way more pluses than minuses, and there are absolutely ways for someone to play chiefly around cavalry's strengths. For a game which, in many cases, boils down infantry to infantry melee combat, it's a bit odd that this fighting approach doesn't have a hard counter like such that exists for ranged weapons (smack the marksman in the face, they drop their weapon), siege engineering (throw a firebomb), and catapults (rush them down).

So here's my suggestions on how making horses just a bit more realistic will balance them out:

1. Beartraps cause horses to fall down and become crippled.

This is the biggest thing for me, because right now all beartraps really serve as in most cases are cheeky traps to set for enemies at best, and trolling tools that get set off by your teammates at worst. To add to this is the realisim aspect: horse legs are dang fragile, to the point that if a horse gets a lame leg, they rarely, if ever, recover successfully. So these things easily could develop into the hard counter that cavalry needs by:

  • Cause the horse to collapse when it runs over a beartrap (sends the rider flying right off: they don't take any direct damage, but they are left incapacitated)
  • Any horses who stepped on a beartrap (and survived) are debuffed to move slower permanently.

This is also a great solution in my opinion, because the other prime method of engineering a counter to a horse-rider is to build lots of wooden spikes - that doesn't really work, though, because the horse rider can still just slow down and turn back, because these things are so visible. Meanwhile, the vantage point and speed of riding a horse means that beartraps are going to be really hard for riders to spot, countered by the fact that beartraps also don't cover the same amount of ground - that just means that a beartrap can be laid down as a punishment to horsemen who decide to ride their horses around in really predictable circuits.

2. Significant damage to a horse causes it to panic.

A significantly powerful blow to a horse should cause it to lose control. Something like a ballista shot that takes out half its health should instinctively cause the horse to veer away from that source of damage if it's in motion, or rear back and force the rider off if they're not moving. As perhaps a little extra leverage for the rider in these cases, perhaps this motion could also proc a melee attack against nearby players that does light damage but heavy knockback.

3. A player who crashes their horse into things enough times gets bucked off.

Simple one: as you run your horse into more solid objects and force it to rear back, that should cost stamina to the rider, and if they deplete it they simply get forced off the horse by knockback. This could help discourage players from attempting to execute a pinpointed OHKO on a player who's in front of a wall (though this already is a poor tactical decision even discounting a potential stamina cost).

4. An unmounted horse that gets beaten enough should just run away.

A combination of the implausibility of a horse kind of just standing in place as it gets butchered by 7 longsword-weilding knights until dead, with also the way the game also encourages this with point gain is what drives this suggestion (let's be real, in frontline it's just an excuse to smack something to gain points when you could just as easily be doing something productive such as fighting a real enemy or reinforcing a door - which begs the question as to why inherent repair of things other than specific barricades doesn't generate points). An unmounted horse that takes enough damage should just high-tail it out of there. Let the AI take control, have it avoid all players, and just despawn after it gets far away enough. Of course, let it have limitations - a horse who's ended up cornered because their rider decided to ram it into a nook will likely still get torn to shreds if the horse and its rider are surrounded.

111 97
  • 20 Sep '19

agree with most of that.

horses are unrealistic atm.

horses don't jump on command, they only jump over things, sometimes...

horses should buck, pigroot, shy and rear up when told to run into walls or along narrow planks and unstable terrain or when they get smacked in the neck from the riders zwiehander lol

their legs are frail so any damage to legs should result in the above problems or even the horse falling down and not moving or atleast moving way slowly.

riders should fall off during some of the above circumstances

riders should need to be skillfull horse riders

23 25
  • 6 Jan

Bump since I still think the points for this horse balance are pertinent. Though the spear buff does help a little.

The spear buff does give me an idea though, perhaps it would be enough if the bear trap caused the horse to immediately stop moving and then suffer a permanent speed debuff? Would help avoid having to try and animate a 'get up' animation for a horse.

Between when this thread was started and now Beartraps also got buffed with the visible-ally icon, which helps a lot with coordinating their use in tight spaces but still is prone to accidental trips in narrow corridors. Placing these in the open to counter horses would both be a lot easier for footsoldiers to avoid and still be difficult to spot by high-up cavaliers. Would also be a more natural use of beartraps to put them in the open, rather than their most optimal use right now which is in tiny doorways and stairways.

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