Mordhau

After analyzing/playing each weapon, my balance suggestions:

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  • 30 Nov '19
 Bluhman

I wrote a big guide on Steam that basically goes through each weapon, strengths, weaknesses, etc. I feel like the most recent balance changes with tradeoffs between recovery time and general weapon size are pretty good, and most of the balance steps were in the right direction. Here's how it could perhaps keep going in the right direction IMO:

General

  • Stabs and Lunges: Give the stab extra lunge versus the swing, especially if you consider realistically how a 'lunge' is done in a sport such as Fencing. Especially considering how stabs tend to be harder to land in close-quarters, this would make them better as opening entry moves, and really right now the Stab needs as much help as it can get.
  • Weapon Weight and Recovery: It seems most of the recovery times were based more on weapon length instead of weight (see: maul). Not sure I entirely agree with this, but I'll stick by it. I'd change it to be more with the comparative mass of the weapon than its length, though, if we consider this other balance change:
  • Lunge distance and Weight: Swinging or Thrusting a heftier weapon would send you flying further forward. This would make using a fat weapon like this more dangerous per-hit, but combined with longer recovery and slower swings, that would also correspond with more down-time between attacks and leaving yourself open in a position much closer to the enemy - more vulnerability on miss. Would be a good character-fit for risky weapons such as the Maul. The lunge could also be counterbalanced via a ratio between 'weight' and weapon length, with lower lunge on something like Zweihander, and much lower lunge on Spear.
  • Stabs and Hit Timing: The fact that a stab attack can hit well after the actual animation is finished is still pretty misleading IMO. It's there for balance, sure, but animation-wise it's like you've just touched the tip of a stationary object and then suddenly took 50 damage, and it's also real unintuitive how you can bend a stab somehow to hit multiple people who aren't in a line. A lot of the other suggestions on stabs here probably will also need to get put in since this would make the already semi-difficult stab even more difficult to use form the attacker's point of view.
  • Stabs and Armor Penetration: From a historical point-of-view, a lot of weapons could be used in ways where the thrusting tip of the weapon could be precisely directed into the weak points of an enemy's plate armor. This doesn't get well-reflected in most of the Mordhau weapons at all, and this could be a big game-changer for how this attack type's used: heavily armored targets will have a harder time sidestepping these attacks, even after their attack windows are shrunk, so this would make using the attack type more desirable on them. I'll call out some of the specific stabs I feel like could get the largest benefits from this change.

Now for the actual weapons specifically:
Cleaver

  • This elephant in the room really needs a damage nerf. It got a parry nerf, sure, but even then the thing can still be used alongside a shield to immediately remove that as a weakness. Even so, it's still insane that this thing three-shots most people with the speed it has. Really, its strike should probably 4-shot T3 people and it's frankly ludicrous that this thing does more damage to armor on strike than an Arming Sword or Billhook.
  • This can afford to get a little bit of performance restored to its stabs in exchange.

Dagger

  • Its stab should probably do a consistent ~50 damage on headshot to even T3. Really, this should be a good low-tier option for anti-armor to reflect its historical usage, and would make it all the more appropriate to have on the Knight default class.
  • Because the stab requires a bit more aim, as well as the rigamarole of all that stab balance I discussed above, this really should retain its three-shot stab status on T3s elsewhere on the body.

Short Sword

  • Maybe make this a bit faster. There's almost no appeal to this weapon when the Cleaver/Dagger are faster, and then the Arming Sword is just this but more damage and longer. Maybe that's the point though.

Falchion

  • Make its body-shot damage on T3 25-33 damage. Like the cleaver it needs to be less effective against armor, though I wouldn't say to the same degree of nerfage since it's a bigger point-sink. Similar with the Messer, to the point I'm not sure it'd warrant a full-on nerf?

Heavy Handaxe

  • Something about this guy's stab needs a nerf: either damage or speed, as its non-aerodynamic profile would make it pretty awkward to thrust forward quickly or strongly. Wouldn't be that big of a deal considering how just about everything else about this weapon is spectacular.

Buckler

  • Considering that this thing works basically like a maximum-endurance-reduction parry with almost no ranged attack coverage like all the other shields, I'd lower this thing's point cost to 2. That or at least make the benefits it offers to parries a bit more clear beyond just stam. cost.

Short Spear

  • It didn't deserve this, especially considering it wasn't that powerful of an option to begin with, and its demotion has really ruined the number of options for 4-point weapons, even with those options all being pretty solid.
  • Its non-comboing awkwardness could maybe be given to a medium-length spear that switches one/two hands? But that's its own can of worms.

Billhook

  • Probably should have a 33-49 strike somewhere on full armor. As I said before, it's kind of nuts that a tiny cleaver does more damage to an armored soldier than this thing would.
  • If I really had my way this probably would be a much higher-tier weapon that's on par with halberd or bardiche performance, but with the added mobility restriction options, but that probably would blow its balance way out of wack in the current scheme of things really.

Estoc

  • I don't know how it's coded up, but really this thing's strike should act like a blunt weapon - because that's what it is, an estoc's 'blade' is a big square-shaped pyramid that tapers into a point. As such, it'd probably do a bit less damage to unarmored, but have its damage output decline less.
  • To add to that, that change would make mordhau less useful - and that's fine because also mordhau isn't even a really fitting stance for this weapon, half-swording was much more commonly used. Maybe its alt-mode could be a mordhau swing with a strange reversing-direciton stab that has half-swording traits? Anyways, the main motivations for using a weapon like this in half-sword (that's already stab-focused) I'll discuss below.

Greatsword

  • Half swording buff: This really should get some solid 50-80 damage output on its thrust on a T3, considering Half-swording was made specifically to force that blade through tough armor. This would apply to the estoc too - its normal stance stab would have better range but not be quite as effective on armor. For the greatsword, it'd help a lot since right now its half-sword stance really does almost nothing of benefit for the weapon at all, with no improvement of number-of-hits taken via stabbing, even with its damage improvement.

Maul

  • Strange decision to give this thing a shorter recovery time - guess things were done by length instead of weight - but sure.
  • I really don't think this thing has any business three-shotting with its thrusts. Reduce that to like 26-33. Right now that powerful three-hit has no business being there, as it makes what's already the ultimate sneak-attack ambush weapon also way too good a mixup dueling weapon as well. The nerf wouldn't be that big of a deal in the situations where the Maul's already good with threat, as a Green damage range would still be enough to finish off someone who took a body shot from this thing. Also consider how strong this thing's stab is compared to the anemic stabs of similar axes, which likely have more thrusting leverage than this weapon, and are about as blunt too.

Held Block Shields (Heater and Kite)

  • Why such low stam. negation? These are tools where the user already has to concern themselves with more kicks if they're blocking too much, so if you end up using these like normal parries these end up just being point wastes (aside from the questionable extra parry taken upon full drain that sends the shields out of your hands). Shields probably should just get a global stam. negation buff, but these at least deserve to be on par with most of the heavier one-handers (doubly so since they right now are only offering unequivocal buffs to being used alongside stuff like cleavers and daggers and who on earth charged into battle like that)
  • Kite vs Heater realisim: Kite probably should have a bit slower rotation than Heater. I also kind of hate how the heater is so obviously weaker than the kite in every single way, also considering how it appears that the Heater Shield is made of a stronger metal material than the kite shield. Maybe all shields should just globally be 2 points.

Peasant Weapons

  • And inversely I'm baffled as to why so many of these have way higher stam. negation than most actual weapons. Not that this is a big thing since they're pretty bad in every other way but even so, kind of weird a sledgehammer is so noticeably better at parrying than a maul is?
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  • 1 Dec '19
 PC_Principal

That's a nice detailed feedback for once. I wanna appreciate that first. Then I'm surprised how much I agree at most points, however I disagree with you about the dagger, I think it's annoying enough already.
Cleaver could indeed use a small damage nerf, but only vs t2 and t3 please. I'm playing it with my trapper. I admit it's a little broken. But please don't ruin it completely. It already has no real stab and low range. The toe to toe playstyle is not always favourable. Nerfing cleaver also means nerfing default archer class.
I think heater and kite shield were just nerfed to death and buckler and targe are the way to go now.
Shields with held block are still good for beginners though, I see quite a couple of shields in frontline and they're playable, not really great though.
I also agree on heavy handaxe and maul stab nerf. You didn't mention the war axe, which was already nerfed but is still a weird weapon has illogical accels or insiders, that aren't 100% in sync with the animation. Also the Messer is still somewhat broken in that regard.

Sellsword 786 2336
  • 6 Dec '19
 Goof

I grew a beard, found a woman, raised three kids and watched seven grandchildren grow before I finished reading.

I've lived a full life, and now ready to rest.

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  • 19 Dec '19
 Bluhman

In light of the recent shield rebalances:

  • I don't know why sprint removal was even considered in the first place. One of the biggest factors for using a held block is ranged-attack coverage for advance, so reducing the user to a crawl seems entirely counterintuitive to this function. It's a good thing it got added back after one day, but even so - strange decision to remove it to start.
  • Control Awkwardness: This isn't a valid balancing point in the slightest. Sure the shield now has massively improved stam. negation with its held block, but you could have just as easily just kept it the way it normally worked with held blocks without the strange "hold stance change" button input.
  • A lot of metrics really need to get tweaked to get reflected on the advanced stats menu. How much longer is the parry window for these things? I did some testing locally and honestly I couldn't tell the difference between timings for a heater shield from a cleaver. Also the throw damage on the shields is entirely hidden.
  • Thrown Shields: This is a change that has deep and dangerous implications that I already saw a lot of after just one day. Targes and Bucklers are now ways to initiate a battle by doing ~40 damage to your opponent on the way in or forcing a parry, without any of the downsides regularly associated with throwing. For both thrown weapons and alternate-use throw, you're left vulnerable to melee either before the throw via disarming, or immediately after when you need to draw out a new weapon. This isn't the case with a shield toss because you can then immediately follow up that throw with a melee swing.

So my suggestions surrounding all that boil down to:

  • Revert hold shields to old functionality/control, though retain the stamina drain buffs with held block. The extended block's traits are activated if holding the block beyond just a single tap/press of parry. Without the control awkwardness this use mode still has plenty of balance to keep it in check - massive stability and easy blocking from one direction, but sluggish turning and slower movement makes you vulnerable to flanking, and there's still the threat of kicks.
  • If the issue of offense out of extended blocking is an issue, you could add a small cooldown after a (non-riposte) block before the user can start an attack, which could have the same practical effect the held-block stance might've been going for.
  • Change the shield throws. There's more balanced alternate-uses for these things than just tossing them as death frisbees. Failing a mode change, these would facilitate a big damage nerf. The addition of alternate uses for these shields is, otherwise, a welcome addition, but it needs to be tuned into something that would make a greater deal of sense for them, as well as make the performance between the two types of shields a bit more even. My recommendation would be:
    Bash - Alternative kick-like attack with faster windup, shorter range, wider arc, high stamina cost, and a post-use cooldown. Doesn't preclude movement when activated and can chamber strike attacks for free (not stabs, also the stamina cost is basically pre-included in executing the bash maneuver). Different shields would have different bash stats:
    Kite has slowest bash (1/4), moderate damage (3/4), and highest knockback (4/4)
    Heater has 2/4 speed, 1/4 damage, 3/4 knockback.
    Targe has 3/4 speed, 2/4 damage, and 1/4 knockback
    The Buckler (Metal Fist) has the fastest speed (4/4), highest damage (4/4), and fair knockback (3/4) - this would justify its lack of ranged protection in the face of its semi-disproportionately high point cost.