Serious discussion about shields.


Hello, I want to discuss how shields could be improved. At the moment I feel they are overpowered for a few reasons, But this is the big one. I feel like I've gotten very good at this game over the past year, and I know how the game works in a nutshell, and the quirks of fighting. The thing that urks me the most is

-Block while attacking

Although yes, I do realize in real life shields are pretty useful, But unlike in real life, In exanima you can't precisely control your sword to move around the shield. While the shield at the moment has precise blocking control. Although I know you can block while attacking with a shield in real life, This is still a video game, and I believe there should be some balancing. I think if you're attacking with a shield, you should be open in at least one area.

sometimes attacks will go through the shield and hit the enemy, you could argue. but I feel like that's more of a numbers game. If your character just happens to use the right animation, You'll swing through a particular strike, and land a blow. If that's the case, I believe that no longer makes exanima a skill based game, and largely based around luck, and luck is something i don't really believe in.

I usually use a one handed sword, and only a one handed sword, no shield. I know, it's stupid, it's risky, and a shield would definitely make my situation better in any case. But this is exanima! Or Sui Generis! I want to be who I want to be, and I want to fight how I want to fight! so I practiced very hard with only a one handed sword, and I have no huge complaints other then the one handed sword being a bit slow.

I understand that some of you may be able to kill shield users easily with longer weapons, or if you too are using a shield, But with a one handed weapon, it's extremely difficult. I also believe that's why everyone thinks the shield girl in the novice arena is the most difficult opponent. Because she's extremely defensive with the shield and doesn't leave alot of openings, because the fact is there are barley any.

Sorry for the long post, but to sum things up;

-When attacking with the shield, you should defend a particular area, and be open in another
-When blocking with the shield, it should stay the same, nearly impenetrable


In order to kickstart this discussion and make it spicy, I'll post a slightly exaggerated version of my opinion on how shields currently work from a shield-user's perspective. In short: they're UNRELIABLE. They might seem overpowered on occasion, but they provide a false sense of security, resulting in many a frustrating death.

To be honest, I've only started playing with the shield somewhat recently and I have far more playtime with the two-handed sword than the shield. I have, however, tested this playstyle quite thoroughly. My tests have led me to the preliminary conclusion that playing with one-handed sword and a shield has zero advantage over the two-handed sword, and next to no advantage over playing with one handed sword with no shield.

To keep this post as short as possible I'll only make the most important point here: you cannot block every incoming hit with a shield, due to variations in incoming strikes, caused by physics. You cannot block low strikes to the leg, and even some high strikes to the head go unblocked. This fact makes staying in range of the opponent's weapon to block his strike safely, after or during which you strike back, UNCERTAIN and thus RISKY. You're never 100% sure you will block the incoming hit and (as you're likely in close range) you will not have time to get out of range in the split second you realise that the opponent is performing a strike that you can't block.

Compare this to the absolute 100% chance that you won't get hit as long as you are out of range, using a two-handed weapon. You have comparable (if not more) offensive potential with a 2hander, and actually superior defence because blocking for defence is never guaranteed, as explained above. Dodging and being out of range however, is.

Another important consideration is that blocking with one-handed weapons (no shield) is currently rather OP (or: unrealistically effective) and nearly, if not just as effective as blocking with a shield. The only real advantage the shield can give is that with some practice you can strike during a block. A big issue with this is that attacks hitting your shield tend to interrupt and cancel the counterstrike you initiate, making this advantage not quite as big as it seems. Fixing this in a future patch would be more than reasonable.

I'm very curious to know how others feel about this.
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I obviously haven't played the game enough for my opinion to count for much, but so far I find shields to be a mixed blessing. Sure, they stop a lot of attacks but that's their whole purpose, as is attacking and defending simultaneously. This is why nearly every culture of the world used them and they continue in use today (at least with cops). But OTOH, shields have edges that can be snagged by axes and pole arms, or the edge of the enemy's shield. When this happens, the guy with the snagged shield is often pulled off balance and made very vulnerable. And it seems that really high-impact weapons tend to inflict damage even if blocked by shields.

So I see it as sort of a rock-paper-scissors thing. Shields are good against lighter, poking and cutting weapons but not so good against smashers and hookers. Which gives you an incentive to improve as a player by becoming effective with say 2 different types of weapons, or (if you use a sword and shield yourself) get good at using your shield rim to hook the other guy's shield.

Also, I figure that it's too early to make a call on shields anyway, given that the shield skill techniques aren't available yet. When that happens, things will change. And it brings up another point..... A character seeking to specialize in sword-and-buckler will have to spend points on both, whereas a 2-handed specialist can put them all into his weapon. This might put shield-users at a disadvantage unless the shields are pretty effective even with fewer points spent on them.

And I'm a big fan of simultaneously defending and attacking. That's a feature of boxing and fencing, after all, even without a shield involved. I think guys with 2-handed swords should be able to hold there weapons like quarterstaffs, catching attacks on the point ramming the crossguard iinto the enemy's yarbles at the same time. Or, when the fighters are clenched up, they should be able to headbutt and kick each other :).



I 100% agree with defending and attacking, My problem is with attacking while also being able to block almost any attack.

I wail on a shield user all day, and every strike is blocked or deflected. Even while they attack. There is maybe 1 or 2 reliable counters that are pulled of by sheer luck.

I suppose you can overhand over, and over again. But to me that feels almost like exploiting AI.



I tend to agree. It's like the little bucklers have the effective area of big full-body shields. I think the underlying issue is that, at least as far as I've been able to discern, you have no real control over the height and angle of your swings, and most of them come in at shield height, so the defender doesn't have to move his little shield much to catch them. And thus, even if the enemy isn't being defensive, your blow still usually hits the shield anyway.

So yeah, I think the system needs work. We know some sort of work is coming because someday we'll have shield techniques. I expect that without such techniques, shields will be a lot more "porous" than they are now. But OTOH, if everybody in arena mode has all the techniques, then that wouldn't make much difference. So maybe some sort of "porosity" based on surface area might be needed anyway.

But you know, in all the videos I've watched, I haven't yet seen anything a Roman legionary, Norman knight, or riot policeman would call a shield, just little late-medieval/early-modern bucker-type things all about the same size. If that's the style of this game world, then "porosity" based on surface area isn't appropriate.


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