Improving Spears (so they can be fun)

OneEyedGeirtyr

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Hail!

To get right to it, spears in the game as they are, are not viable on foot. Unless you are far more skilled at the game than your opponent, especially in multiplayer, they have little to no use aside from stopping the occasional horse charge. Im sure we are all aware of this.

So before I begin game wise, I would like to talk about the spear historically.

Look at near any time period in history and you will see the most prominent weapon used on the battlefield to be the spear, and not only because they were cheaper to make than swords, but also far more effective for a variety of situations. (Aside from self defense, especially within enclosed spaces.) Spear men could cover each others flanks, strike enemies not paying attention to them, and were more effective against a variety of armors when compared with swords. And when compared with one handed axes, they were longer and more versatile. However to be fair, spear men often carried BACK UP weapons, such as axes clubs or swords, for when the spear formation broke up and they were required to get stuck in.

This is not to say the spear was bad in one on one combat. This is far from the truth, especially when shields and heavy armor are not part of the equation, and/or the skill level of the opponents were similar. Wielding a spear two handed allows the wielder to deliver extremely quick and powerful thrusts, as its tiny point focuses the force of the blow very effectively, hence why it was so useful against a variety of armors and generally KILLED or WOUNDED with EASE. Many spears were also able to cut or bash, but lets stick with the basic pointed "stick" for now.

Closing in on a nimble spear user without a shield or heavy armor is near suicide, though skill levels do play a part and wielding a long sword or a great sword with the half sword grip allows for a more even playing field. (Look up Lindybiege, Schola Gladiatora, Skallagrim, Etc... on Youtube) A skilled spear user could also handle themselves quite well in close combat, though once stuffed the shorter weapons do have a distinct advantage, especially if both parties are equally skilled in the martial arts.

Anyways on to the game, as of right now spears are more useless in one on one combat than a dagger, if you are skilled with the combat system it could help a bit but even then, damage numbers for landing a blow with a spear EVEN on the HEAD are quite low. There is low reward for a currently high risk precision weapon, and once they get within one handed distance it becomes incredibly hard to do much of anything as distancing options are limited. Compared to a great sword, great axe, or swing able pole arm that can do 100 damage at the START of its chop/slash, this is sort of ridiculous. (I personally feel bad using a two handed axe, sword, or glaive just because of how easy it is to do vast amounts of damage even against the best of armors, which would be okay if it were required to pick up speed first... Though it CAN be fun to chop through a horde of rabble.)

I suggest spears get both a damage and speed buff. Plus I think they should, by virtue of the weapon itself, provide some sort of push back if a hit is landed or blocked (regardless of how close the opponent is), to make it harder to close the distance and spam the spear men to death. If not this then allow some moderate damage to be done from close range as well, though I believe the push back would be a more exciting option for the combat system and allow for a more historical feel.

I know balancing a game, especially one so ambitious, is very difficult. But I believe these changes could help make spears, which if I were to be honest are one of my favorite weapons (just look at my username) far more thrilling and fun to handle and fight against. Because to be honest, fighting spear users feels sad rather than exciting.

Oh, and I understand the game is early access. These are merely suggestions to make a personal favorite weapon usable in the game.
 

phillies6f

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I’ve always struggled with the best way to implement speaks that makes them historically powerful and useful. The pushback to make closing difficult seems like a great idea!
 

pmn1990

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Hail!

To get right to it, spears in the game as they are, are not viable on foot. Unless you are far more skilled at the game than your opponent, especially in multiplayer, they have little to no use aside from stopping the occasional horse charge. Im sure we are all aware of this.

So before I begin game wise, I would like to talk about the spear historically.

Look at near any time period in history and you will see the most prominent weapon used on the battlefield to be the spear, and not only because they were cheaper to make than swords, but also far more effective for a variety of situations. (Aside from self defense, especially within enclosed spaces.) Spear men could cover each others flanks, strike enemies not paying attention to them, and were more effective against a variety of armors when compared with swords. And when compared with one handed axes, they were longer and more versatile. However to be fair, spear men often carried BACK UP weapons, such as axes clubs or swords, for when the spear formation broke up and they were required to get stuck in.

This is not to say the spear was bad in one on one combat. This is far from the truth, especially when shields and heavy armor are not part of the equation, and/or the skill level of the opponents were similar. Wielding a spear two handed allows the wielder to deliver extremely quick and powerful thrusts, as its tiny point focuses the force of the blow very effectively, hence why it was so useful against a variety of armors and generally KILLED or WOUNDED with EASE. Many spears were also able to cut or bash, but lets stick with the basic pointed "stick" for now.

Closing in on a nimble spear user without a shield or heavy armor is near suicide, though skill levels do play a part and wielding a long sword or a great sword with the half sword grip allows for a more even playing field. (Look up Lindybiege, Schola Gladiatora, Skallagrim, Etc... on Youtube) A skilled spear user could also handle themselves quite well in close combat, though once stuffed the shorter weapons do have a distinct advantage, especially if both parties are equally skilled in the martial arts.

Anyways on to the game, as of right now spears are more useless in one on one combat than a dagger, if you are skilled with the combat system it could help a bit but even then, damage numbers for landing a blow with a spear EVEN on the HEAD are quite low. There is low reward for a currently high risk precision weapon, and once they get within one handed distance it becomes incredibly hard to do much of anything as distancing options are limited. Compared to a great sword, great axe, or swing able pole arm that can do 100 damage at the START of its chop/slash, this is sort of ridiculous. (I personally feel bad using a two handed axe, sword, or glaive just because of how easy it is to do vast amounts of damage even against the best of armors, which would be okay if it were required to pick up speed first... Though it CAN be fun to chop through a horde of rabble.)

I suggest spears get both a damage and speed buff. Plus I think they should, by virtue of the weapon itself, provide some sort of push back if a hit is landed or blocked (regardless of how close the opponent is), to make it harder to close the distance and spam the spear men to death. If not this then allow some moderate damage to be done from close range as well, though I believe the push back would be a more exciting option for the combat system and allow for a more historical feel.

I know balancing a game, especially one so ambitious, is very difficult. But I believe these changes could help make spears, which if I were to be honest are one of my favorite weapons (just look at my username) far more thrilling and fun to handle and fight against. Because to be honest, fighting spear users feels sad rather than exciting.

Oh, and I understand the game is early access. These are merely suggestions to make a personal favorite weapon usable in the game.
One easy way to make spears useful is because even now that ive put in 50 hours on this one playthrough you are slower than everybody. If you could move as fast as other troops it would be easy to back up while trusting to keep the distance which is different than reality. Spears on siege defence are badass tho put your troops at the top of a staircase and lean over the ledge and just pop off headhots
 

pmn1990

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Different than reality which is you cant close the distance because if your within a spears effective strike range you have to wait for an opening
 

Demoulius

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Honestly when you compare the weapon to other weapon groups I feel a buff across the board to damage wouldnt be unwarranted.

In close combat they would still be really flimsy to use and barring a cavalry unit running full speed at you and beeing impaled I find it exceptionally tough to get kills with them. Or on horseback and doing the impaling yourself. Dont get me wrong spears were obviously used like that, but currently spears on FOOT are almost beyond useless....
 

pmn1990

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Honestly when you compare the weapon to other weapon groups I feel a buff across the board to damage wouldnt be unwarranted.

In close combat they would still be really flimsy to use and barring a cavalry unit running full speed at you and beeing impaled I find it exceptionally tough to get kills with them. Or on horseback and doing the impaling yourself. Dont get me wrong spears were obviously used like that, but currently spears on FOOT are almost beyond useless....
They are not inside of a circle formation or behind a sheild wall but they dont do much damage at all
 

TheWitchIzalith

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I have quite a bit of fun with spears in both single player and multiplayer. I've also noticed that in Single player if you have an attack ready (pulled back) the AI tries to keep out of range of your spear. It's only if they are right in your face already that they swarm. So the AI does understand spacing to some degree. Which means often a Top feint into a bottom attack can land. Or a Bottom feint to bait and attack, side step, is a free hit if you are fast enough.

Players who just swarm me in MP, I simply block, and push (While blocking you do a push animation with 2H spears) followed up by a kick. Often spartan kicking people off edges, or into walls for a free hit.

It definitely takes more "skill" to use a spear, but that was true of it in history. A person can pick up a sword and be semi-competent quite quickly. Training a spearmen would require a bit more training, for spacing and maintaining control.

In singeplayer there is a perk for polearms that connected but blocked attacks cause pushback. I don't know if it works (as some perks don't just yet) but it is in there.
 

TheWitchIzalith

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Spears dont work for melee combat. Thats is realistic.
On the contrary years of historical evidence proves otherwise. The spear is a superior weapon in basically every way, but fantasy games and Hollywood have made swords iconic to the point of fiction.
 

LEEKING2005

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Even though I use horse archer mainly in any game mode single player, but in multiplayer or tournament spear and shield is my favorite.

It's more OP than single hand sword in my opinion, I can win a tournament with 7,5,5 (one handed, Two handed, Polearm) skills in my realistic damage good AI setting with shield and spear.

If you are 1 V 1 the AI is dumb and can easily spammed it to death with mobility even I have like 40 athletic.

But the true beauty of spear is in formations, you just have to practice side step and thrust.

It's the golden rules of spear, no backward moving, side step or front step thrust.
 

mangalore

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the main issue how to teach AI that suicidal swarming behavior is not realistic and self preservation should be a thing. Then spears would work. problem is we'd need to teach players the same or people would complain that it is easy to exploit AI.
 

zMasterofPie

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I think we should make spears VERY GOOD, because they should be, but give them a chance to break on the battlefield to balance them. It would also balance cav a bit because lances would break so you have to switch to a side arm, as was done historically.
 

TheWitchIzalith

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the main issue how to teach AI that suicidal swarming behavior is not realistic and self preservation should be a thing. Then spears would work. problem is we'd need to teach players the same or people would complain that it is easy to exploit AI.
The AI understands to some degree. As I've had a few fights where 1v2-3 they give spacing when I have an attack ready.

Its when they have 3-4+ they just swarm because the AI knows you can't stop them. Which is semi-realistic. An attacker would swarm, they would just surround instead of do it head on. Which the AI can't simulate.
 

Antoine42

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Yes, the spear is the queen of the battlefield, as long as used in formation. In a duel situation, it's not really well suited, for a simple reason you can experience within the game: if there is no buddy of yours to your right and to your left, the opponents can close the gap and thus negate all advantages. I believe that's why even hoplites carried some form of blade with them.

What i'll like to see is a quinda crouched lance mechanic but on foot, so that spearmen tight formations could rekt any cavalry charging upfront, as they should, being able to form phalanx would be greater justice to spears
 

Rafalongo

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On the contrary years of historical evidence proves otherwise. The spear is a superior weapon in basically every way, but fantasy games and Hollywood have made swords iconic to the point of fiction.
when you want; you with a shield and a spear, me with a shield and a sword. Then you tell me.
 

zMasterofPie

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when you want; you with a shield and a spear, me with a shield and a sword. Then you tell me.
Challenging someone to a duel is not how we solve arguments (at least nowadays). You clearly have 0 clue what you're talking about if you think, in real life, swords are better than spears. Maybe present some evidence as to your case.

 

TheWitchIzalith

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when you want; you with a shield and a spear, me with a shield and a sword. Then you tell me.
I've done this. As have many HEMA and various other medieval fighters. On equal skill level, the Spear always wins. Even if the Swordsman has better training, the spear often still wins. So your "1v1 me bro" is already defeated.
 

TheWitchIzalith

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Challenging someone to a duel is not how we solve arguments (at least nowadays). You clearly have 0 clue what you're talking about if you think, in real life, swords are better than spears. Maybe present some evidence as to your case.

Even in this video, the pretext is that none of them trained with spears period. Which is clearly visible both in the 1H and 2H combat. None of them choke up on the spear for 1H still trying to use it like a pool cue, and theres very little side-stepping, or controlling the battlefield and they win handily in every encounter except the Sword and shield.

The lads had all trained in sword combat of some sort, none in spear (or footwork it would seem) so yeah, if you don't care about dying as a swordsman and just attempt to charge over and over, sure you might win, but if you at all play to also survive the effectiveness of the spear becomes even more apparent.
 

zMasterofPie

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Even in this video, the pretext is that none of them trained with spears period. Which is clearly visible both in the 1H and 2H combat. None of them choke up on the spear for 1H still trying to use it like a pool cue, and theres very little side-stepping, or controlling the battlefield and they win handily in every encounter except the Sword and shield.

The lads had all trained in sword combat of some sort, none in spear (or footwork it would seem) so yeah, if you don't care about dying as a swordsman and just attempt to charge over and over, sure you might win, but if you at all play to also survive the effectiveness of the spear becomes even more apparent.
Yeah, I know it's not the best video but it still proves the point that spears are better quite well.