I understand why kicks has been buffed : they weren't used often or at least encouraged enough compared to normal attacks. Making them less punishing to allow more varied gameplay was overall a good idea.
But that also means shields (by that I mean held shields, Heater and Kite) got the low-end of the stick and are even weaker and discouraged.
Shields are still about spending points to get weaker compared to simply having a one handed. You get punished by simply wearing a shield and you have to get 3/3/3 if you don't want a speed debuff. I understand it was here to reduce the problem with people moving/dodging backward, but it doesn't make sense that you have that debuff by simply having a shield on you. I used to grab a shield off the ground to have some back protection from projectiles. Now I don't see the point... nor do I see shields on the ground to be honest. You removed the hidden speed reduction on quivers for good reasons : it doesn't make sense, counter-intuitive and can discourage simply grabbing a ranged weapon.
Kick-stun is still an awful mechanic that punishes what a shield is supposed to be here for : giving you overall more defense. By simply having a shield, you open yourself to kick-stuns. That kicks opens-up the shield user's defense by removing the held-block, like how it bypass simple parries, is normal, but a stun is too much. Please, remove it.
If you are really afraid that it would make shields too powerful, then increase their cost by one-two points, if not three. Being able to block is strong and hard to balance with such a low cost. If it's strong, make it cost the price of something strong. Anyone would prefer spending the price to get something strong rather than getting something cheap riddled with weaknesses and downsides.
I would argue kicks got a significant nerf. But yes, kicks to specifically make shields useless in 1vX is bad game design and feel bad.
In the duelyard today, alot of people spammed feint to kicks (alot faster than morph to kicks) when they saw the shield. Ofcourse, I use chambers alot and because I'm using a one hander I have no choice but to be in kick range or to get spam stabbed out of stamina if I am out of range. You can imagine my frustration at getting kicked over and over again when I should be punishing these feints with chambers. But alas, 2h feint to kick somehow lands faster than WH chamber.
Not even enough time to feint to kick when this happens. Thank God, kicks were nerfed so bad and are only doing 10 dmg to my armor and no stam damage.
As frustrating as it is getting kicked 5 times in a duel when I should be punishing these feints, I can only imagine how the poor fuck fighting me feels since he has no hope of getting around my massive shield box and now kicks, gambly and risky, don't really do anything but damage. A missed kick loses the stamina war.
In the end, when even one of his kicks finally miss, I'm dealing 56 damage to his head with a warhammer. He's prolly more frustrated than I am.
Kick issues aside, Shields need a rework. Leg hits and side hit need to be a thing against shields and shields need a much looser turn cap to balance a smaller shield box. Shields need to be fun to use and fun to fight against again. Kickstun has no place in competitive melee gaming title of 2019.
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