Spear foot combat : current state

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Ervald

Recruit
Hi, I have, a few weeks ago, decided to start a playtrough as a Sturgian spear and shield footman.
While it was pretty rough when I started, it's currently going quite well now that my athletics and polearm skills are quite high (more than 275 for both).

However I noticed many issues with the way (thrusting) spears work, and their viability in combat, I won't suggest any complete rework of spears or anything, but just give my opinion on small things that could improve our quality of life as spear soldiers.


- First off, Damage, early on, it was quite lackluster, but as my skills progressed, I reached the point where a good thrust can do up to 200 damage for a headshot on an other foot soldier.
Actually I think the balance is quite nice, but one issue I faced was that there is a insanely short window for a spear thrust to actually deal good damage.
From my understanding, handling improve the ability to deal more damage outside of that perfect hit window, which is why I believe many thrusting only spears could use a handling buff.

- Keeping the distance, clearly the spear range is a solid advantage, however even with skills like keep at bay, if the enemy is blocking, he just has to rush to you to beat you easily.
This was fixed by having much higher athletics than my foes.
However early on, I had an other strategy : instead of backpedaling, I got used to run away, thrust, and then turn the camera to hit my enemy, this was effective but looked and felt very silly.
There are two things that could immensely help with keeping the distance,
First, that may sound weird, but backpedaling speed could be improved while using thrusting-only spears, this would make spears easier to use without having to use silly movements, and on experienced players it should not change things much.
The other thing could be, the ability to interrupt or slow the enemy movement when he blocks a thrust.
Currently any enemy with a shield can just rush to you, and not even be bothered by your attacks, which forces you to use the run away and thrust strategy.

- Hitboxes, thrust attacks are actually quite hard to effectively aim, on an enemy strafing or moving away, you will often end up partially missing your thrusts and dealing almost no damage, this is actually fine to me and part of why the weapon can also feel so rewarding.
However what doesn't feel right, is the way shield tend to act as piercing attacks magnets.
With a sword, you can often hit an enemy that blocked in the wrong direction, with a spear it's a joke, it seems that it acts like an arrow, and a large shield can comically sometimes even parry foot stabs with overhead blocks.
On that topic, there is also a similar issue with the way allies shields tend to block our attacks as well, and also allies behind us.
Shields should have a much smaller and realistic collision box against spears, and spears should not be blocked as easily by allies standing behind us as well.


I understand that attack speed and damage at close range are set that way in order to not make the weapon overpowered, but that doesn't mean that the effective attack window can't be a little larger, and fixing hitboxes issues could definitely improve things without drastically unbalancing the game (blocking attacks would just require a small amount of skill rather than basically just right-clicking).

If anything, being able to keep your distance more easily would probably be the most overpowered change here, which would need to be fine-tuned, and a work-around could also be to reduce a spear thrust damage if you move the camera a lot during the animation (think 180° movements), wich would make the strategy less viable, to allow for a more realistic experience for both sides.


Here are my opinions on thrusting spear combat on foot, feel free to let me know what you think, maybe there a many people here who feel that spears are actually balanced against everything other than cavalry, to me it's fun and it can be quite effective, but clearly the best spears are the one that don't play like spears and can actually attack from all directions, and some fixes could at least improve the diversity of the viable options.​
 
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+1
I had a similar experience playing a foot spear build. Either I ran around freely and got 40-50 kills, or I had 1-2 enemies aggro on me and I'd get very few kills.

My main issue was how often my thrusting animation was blocked by friendly troops if I attempted to play with my infantry
 

guiskj

Squire
I wouldn't mind a bit of Dark Souls influence and allow spear and shield combos to attack while blocking, for less damage.

What do you guys think?
 

VicbossOG

Veteran
I wouldn't mind a bit of Dark Souls influence and allow spear and shield combos to attack while blocking, for less damage.

What do you guys think?
That would make spears OP. You could just spam attacks while holding blocks and deal with practically any situation you would come across.
 

guiskj

Squire
That would make spears OP. You could just spam attacks while holding blocks and deal with practically any situation you would come across.
It wasn't OP in Dark Souls, quite the contrary. But then again I would be biased towards my own idea, wouldn't I? Haha.

Anyway, I just want spears to feel different by having unique gameplay. Currently they are unique by being worse than all the other weapons.
 
Nice post right here, but it's just another bucket of water in a pool of feedback and suggestions that got us no improvements and devs have no intention of doing something about it, so it seems.
 

five bucks

Knight at Arms
I wouldn't mind a bit of Dark Souls influence and allow spear and shield combos to attack while blocking, for less damage.

What do you guys think?
Dark Souls had chip damage pass through blocks, stamina loss on block, parries that stun an attacker to leave them open to a counterattack, and multiple weapons and magic spells that can attack through block, all of which made block+attack ability less powerful.

But in Bannerlord's combat system the only limiting factor on blocking+attacking at the same time would be shield HP so it would be much much stronger, probably allowing you to outlast any enemy's HP before they break your shield. Hard to say without trying it but it holds strong potential to be totally broken.

I would just like spears to attack a bit more quickly.
 

Askorti

Sergeant Knight at Arms
WB
I think what would really be necessary to make spears viable (in SP) would be to make AI not body-hug at all opportunities. If bots held their enemies at arm's length like any real fighter would, then spears would have an easier time dealing damage.
 

Terco_Viejo

Spanish Gifquisition
Grandmaster Knight
As @Lusitani 5th Empire rightly says, another bucket of water in the pool... but let it not be said that we don't want to swim in it :iamamoron:. There goes another bucket from my side:

There are a set of problems which Taleworlds needs to understand as such:

1. The problem of the protection/damage formula. This has been talked about ad nauseam. FIX THIS!

2. Spears are not just weapons against cavalry. Here we find the first design problem where "the system" chooses for the player as the player has no tool similar or analogous to a weapon switch weapond command. The bot automatically switches from spear to secondary weapon as soon as it determines whether the threat is on foot or on horseback. An equipped spear must always be a primary weapon.

3. As @Askorti rightly says too, the bot must necessarily be instructed (by code I mean) to control that distance in order to avoid that annoying body-hug. The bot should be taught that each type of weapon has an operating distance/range (an approximate example: daggers/short 1h weapons r=1m, 1h weapons r=1,5m / 2h swords r=2m / 2h axes/polearms/spears r=3m / pikes r= 4m). We discussed this living space issue here along with another collateral problem which is jittering (how the bots vibrate on the pan like popcorn); another very annoying thing. The RBM guys have mitigated some deficiencies but unfortunately they can't do miracles with the hardcoded code.

4. Also, as @five bucks rightly says spears should be much faster when performing thrusts; in SP no doubt... in MP (right now they are close to an acceptable balance imo).

5. Another thing that in my opinion should be reworked, are the parameters concerning the grip position of these weapons (weapon_offset), something I commented here and the guys at RBM have implemented as well. For both on foot and on horseback, this needs to be revised.

6. Other parameters that should be revised and that would come from the modification of the protection damage formula of point 1, are the speed/damage and eventually the damage tip capsule. The RBM guys also have quite satisfactory modifications of this.

7. And last but not least, I think the same as then. Passive damage (actt_passive_usage) in act_ready animations for spear thust variants could be an interesting factor if implemented. @bestmods168 already tried this concept quite some time ago.

Here is a video test (concept level example):


The following has been modified:
Weapon speed: This is basically achieved by increasing polearm skills and the result is quite noticeable. The vlandian footman with a native value of 40 in polearm skill has been increased to 400. An elite/top tier may have 700/900 skill value imho.

The grips were also modified with weapon_offset of z between 0.3 and 0.5.

Speed progression parameters were also changed to:
ThrustCombatSpeedGraphZeroProgressValue" value="0.2"
ThrustCombatSpeedGraphFirstMaximumPoint" value="0.03"

Edit: I forgot writting
thrust_tip_collision_distance" value="0.5"
thrust_tip_collision_distance_mounted" value="1.0"
thrust_tip_collision_capsule_radius_multiplier" value="0.75"

---
As you can see... there are still a number of loose ends to tie up; the question is whether Taleworlds has the will to tie them up. This is where I bring out my violin ??. Can you hear the sad song playing? :lol:
 
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five bucks

Knight at Arms
As @Lusitani 5th Empire rightly says, another bucket of water in the pool... but let it not be said that we don't want to swim in it :iamamoron:. There goes another bucket from my side:

There are a set of problems which Taleworlds needs to understand as such:

1. The problem of the protection/damage formula. This has been talked about ad nauseam. FIX THIS!

2. Spears are not just weapons against cavalry. Here we find the first design problem where "the system" chooses for the player as the player has no tool similar or analogous to a weapon switch weapond command. The bot automatically switches from spear to secondary weapon as soon as it determines whether the threat is on foot or on horseback. An equipped spear must always be a primary weapon.

3. As @Askorti rightly says too, the bot must necessarily be instructed (by code I mean) to control that distance in order to avoid that annoying body-hug. The bot should be taught that each type of weapon has an operating distance/range (an approximate example: daggers/short 1h weapons r=1m, 1h weapons r=1,5m / 2h swords r=2m / 2h axes/polearms/spears r=3m / pikes r= 4m). We discussed this living space issue here along with another collateral problem which is jittering (how the bots vibrate on the pan like popcorn); another very annoying thing. The RBM guys have mitigated some deficiencies but unfortunately they can't do miracles with the hardcoded code.

4. Also, as @five bucks rightly says spears should be much faster when performing thrusts; in SP no doubt... in MP (right now they are close to an acceptable balance imo).

5. Another thing that in my opinion should be reworked, are the parameters concerning the grip position of these weapons (weapon_offset), something I commented here and the guys at RBM have implemented as well. For both on foot and on horseback, this needs to be revised.

6. Other parameters that should be revised and that would come from the modification of the protection damage formula of point 1, are the speed/damage and eventually the damage tip capsule. The RBM guys also have quite satisfactory modifications of this.

7. And last but not least, I think the same as then. Passive damage (actt_passive_usage) in act_ready animations for spear thust variants could be an interesting factor if implemented. @bestmods168 already tried this concept quite some time ago.

Here is a video test (concept level example):


The following has been modified:
Weapon speed: This is basically achieved by increasing polearm skills and the result is quite noticeable. The vlandian footman with a native value of 40 in polearm skill has been increased to 400. An elite/top tier may have 700/900 skill value imho.

The grips were also modified with weapon_offset of z between 0.3 and 0.5.

Speed progression parameters were also changed to:
ThrustCombatSpeedGraphZeroProgressValue" value="0.2"
ThrustCombatSpeedGraphFirstMaximumPoint" value="0.03"

Edit: I forgot writting
thrust_tip_collision_distance" value="0.5"
thrust_tip_collision_distance_mounted" value="1.0"
thrust_tip_collision_capsule_radius_multiplier" value="0.75"

---
As you can see... there are still a number of loose ends to tie up; the question is whether Taleworlds has the will to tie them up. This is where I bring out my violin ??. Can you hear the sad song playing? :lol:
Good breakdown of the issues.
 

Ted Striker

Veteran
I think what would really be necessary to make spears viable (in SP) would be to make AI not body-hug at all opportunities. If bots held their enemies at arm's length like any real fighter would, then spears would have an easier time dealing damage.
But vs a spear you want to get in close as fast as possible unless you have a spear yourself. So in an odd way this is realistic lol.
 

Terco_Viejo

Spanish Gifquisition
Grandmaster Knight
Good breakdown of the issues.
Thanks but the truth it's more of the same... more feedback in the form of a bucket of water that you and I and many others have been throwing into the pool. The worry, for us, is that even though the garden's pool has been overflowing for some time now, Taleworlds seems to have insensitivity in his feet as the water has already reached the kitchen.

A lot has to change in terms of the combat system and that, much to our regret, is a scary thing as no one can assure us of a base game that is up to par with a strong foundation.

giphy.gif
 

Terco_Viejo

Spanish Gifquisition
Grandmaster Knight
The real problem is that we are at an impasse. If Taleworlds does not apply the previous comments to the base game, spears and pikes will never work. But unfortunately the problem goes beyond that... The mods. Currently this spear problem is a hardcoded issue which has been brought to the attention of Taleworlds. No response ??

In the base game it is a MUST, but if this thing never gets implemented I doubt we will see functional "spartan hoplitic or phalanxes of Macedonian pikes" mods.... "Chinese Dynasties Wars", "Tercios"... and other pike and shot themes.

This is both a short term and long term problem.
 

Ulfhedinn

Sergeant at Arms
As @Lusitani 5th Empire rightly says, another bucket of water in the pool... but let it not be said that we don't want to swim in it :iamamoron:. There goes another bucket from my side:

There are a set of problems which Taleworlds needs to understand as such:

1. The problem of the protection/damage formula. This has been talked about ad nauseam. FIX THIS!

2. Spears are not just weapons against cavalry. Here we find the first design problem where "the system" chooses for the player as the player has no tool similar or analogous to a weapon switch weapond command. The bot automatically switches from spear to secondary weapon as soon as it determines whether the threat is on foot or on horseback. An equipped spear must always be a primary weapon.

3. As @Askorti rightly says too, the bot must necessarily be instructed (by code I mean) to control that distance in order to avoid that annoying body-hug. The bot should be taught that each type of weapon has an operating distance/range (an approximate example: daggers/short 1h weapons r=1m, 1h weapons r=1,5m / 2h swords r=2m / 2h axes/polearms/spears r=3m / pikes r= 4m). We discussed this living space issue here along with another collateral problem which is jittering (how the bots vibrate on the pan like popcorn); another very annoying thing. The RBM guys have mitigated some deficiencies but unfortunately they can't do miracles with the hardcoded code.

4. Also, as @five bucks rightly says spears should be much faster when performing thrusts; in SP no doubt... in MP (right now they are close to an acceptable balance imo).

5. Another thing that in my opinion should be reworked, are the parameters concerning the grip position of these weapons (weapon_offset), something I commented here and the guys at RBM have implemented as well. For both on foot and on horseback, this needs to be revised.

6. Other parameters that should be revised and that would come from the modification of the protection damage formula of point 1, are the speed/damage and eventually the damage tip capsule. The RBM guys also have quite satisfactory modifications of this.

7. And last but not least, I think the same as then. Passive damage (actt_passive_usage) in act_ready animations for spear thust variants could be an interesting factor if implemented. @bestmods168 already tried this concept quite some time ago.

Here is a video test (concept level example):


The following has been modified:
Weapon speed: This is basically achieved by increasing polearm skills and the result is quite noticeable. The vlandian footman with a native value of 40 in polearm skill has been increased to 400. An elite/top tier may have 700/900 skill value imho.

The grips were also modified with weapon_offset of z between 0.3 and 0.5.

Speed progression parameters were also changed to:
ThrustCombatSpeedGraphZeroProgressValue" value="0.2"
ThrustCombatSpeedGraphFirstMaximumPoint" value="0.03"

Edit: I forgot writting
thrust_tip_collision_distance" value="0.5"
thrust_tip_collision_distance_mounted" value="1.0"
thrust_tip_collision_capsule_radius_multiplier" value="0.75"

---
As you can see... there are still a number of loose ends to tie up; the question is whether Taleworlds has the will to tie them up. This is where I bring out my violin ??. Can you hear the sad song playing? :lol:

???
 

Ervald

Recruit
+1
I had a similar experience playing a foot spear build. Either I ran around freely and got 40-50 kills, or I had 1-2 enemies aggro on me and I'd get very few kills.

My main issue was how often my thrusting animation was blocked by friendly troops if I attempted to play with my infantry
It's almost impossible to deal with multiple shielded enemies at the same time (3 or more) since spears are so easy to block.

The issue is that we have both quite low damage and attack speed, so a spear is not something to be feared, for the thrusting animation, my "workaround" is to play near the flank of my army, but that means that while the spear is pretty bad when you are alone, it's also hard to use in a group.

Spears are way too slow. Comically so
I have been trying realistic battle mod recently and I can't agree more, spears are much more fun in it, you can actually strike a lot faster.
They also improved the damage, which make me think that I was quite wrong about the damage part of my initial post :
having meh damage would not be a problem if spear attacks where hard to parry/block, currently spear absolutely need more base damage (base as opposed to damage from momentum).

I wouldn't mind a bit of Dark Souls influence and allow spear and shield combos to attack while blocking, for less damage.

What do you guys think?
I think that spears don't need more defense, but rather more offense, closing the gap to someone with a spear should at least be a stressful moment, maybe the ability to hit from all sides and a crush trough like 2H weapons to be able to hit trough bad blocks, but I don't know how realistically doable this is to implement.

Nice post right here, but it's just another bucket of water in a pool of feedback and suggestions that got us no improvements and devs have no intention of doing something about it, so it seems.
I'm not hoping to change things with a single post, just mostly collecting feedback, and thanks to the huge modding community there are tons of ideas that are actually applied, currently I'm having a lot more fun with spears in realistic battle mod.

I think what would really be necessary to make spears viable (in SP) would be to make AI not body-hug at all opportunities. If bots held their enemies at arm's length like any real fighter would, then spears would have an easier time dealing damage.
That would help, but it's not the only workaround required, it would not help spears at all in facing multiple opponents situations (something you can have a much easier time doing with any other weapon).
And even if in real life people keep their distances, it's mostly because of how fast a deadly a spear strike can actually be, there is no way to be sure that you will actually block/parry it, and so the sense of danger keep you away, it's kinda the same for 2 handed weapons in game.

Meanwhile, you know that a good centered down block with a shield will cover your entire body anyway, and even with a weapon, blocking two types of really slow attacks is not a big deal (and even if it hit it won't kill you anyway).

But vs a spear you want to get in close as fast as possible unless you have a spear yourself. So in an odd way this is realistic lol.
Because you are actually in a very dangerous situation by staying in the sweet spot of the spear IRL, if you close the gap, you have do it quickly and effectively and it's a risky move (and even then, a change in the grip won't make the spearman useless at a shorter range neither.

Biggest difference with Bannerlord and real life sparing, to me, is that in real life, range is king, because you often risk getting hit while closing the gap, I don't mind it not being as true in game for most weapons, but the spear actually relies entirely on having a better range, and it's not such a meaningful pro against all the other cons.

An thing that tends to prove that is that the best spears are the shortest ones in game (for foot combat), which show how little range is actually an advantage when it comes with slower attack speed and even less effectiveness in close quarters.

As @Lusitani 5th Empire rightly says, another bucket of water in the pool... but let it not be said that we don't want to swim in it :iamamoron:. There goes another bucket from my side:

There are a set of problems which Taleworlds needs to understand as such:

1. The problem of the protection/damage formula. This has been talked about ad nauseam. FIX THIS!

2. Spears are not just weapons against cavalry. Here we find the first design problem where "the system" chooses for the player as the player has no tool similar or analogous to a weapon switch weapond command. The bot automatically switches from spear to secondary weapon as soon as it determines whether the threat is on foot or on horseback. An equipped spear must always be a primary weapon.

3. As @Askorti rightly says too, the bot must necessarily be instructed (by code I mean) to control that distance in order to avoid that annoying body-hug. The bot should be taught that each type of weapon has an operating distance/range (an approximate example: daggers/short 1h weapons r=1m, 1h weapons r=1,5m / 2h swords r=2m / 2h axes/polearms/spears r=3m / pikes r= 4m). We discussed this living space issue here along with another collateral problem which is jittering (how the bots vibrate on the pan like popcorn); another very annoying thing. The RBM guys have mitigated some deficiencies but unfortunately they can't do miracles with the hardcoded code.

4. Also, as @five bucks rightly says spears should be much faster when performing thrusts; in SP no doubt... in MP (right now they are close to an acceptable balance imo).

5. Another thing that in my opinion should be reworked, are the parameters concerning the grip position of these weapons (weapon_offset), something I commented here and the guys at RBM have implemented as well. For both on foot and on horseback, this needs to be revised.

6. Other parameters that should be revised and that would come from the modification of the protection damage formula of point 1, are the speed/damage and eventually the damage tip capsule. The RBM guys also have quite satisfactory modifications of this.

7. And last but not least, I think the same as then. Passive damage (actt_passive_usage) in act_ready animations for spear thust variants could be an interesting factor if implemented. @bestmods168 already tried this concept quite some time ago.

Here is a video test (concept level example):


The following has been modified:
Weapon speed: This is basically achieved by increasing polearm skills and the result is quite noticeable. The vlandian footman with a native value of 40 in polearm skill has been increased to 400. An elite/top tier may have 700/900 skill value imho.

The grips were also modified with weapon_offset of z between 0.3 and 0.5.

Speed progression parameters were also changed to:
ThrustCombatSpeedGraphZeroProgressValue" value="0.2"
ThrustCombatSpeedGraphFirstMaximumPoint" value="0.03"

Edit: I forgot writting
thrust_tip_collision_distance" value="0.5"
thrust_tip_collision_distance_mounted" value="1.0"
thrust_tip_collision_capsule_radius_multiplier" value="0.75"

---
As you can see... there are still a number of loose ends to tie up; the question is whether Taleworlds has the will to tie them up. This is where I bring out my violin ??. Can you hear the sad song playing? :lol:
Very detailed post it's extremely interesting,

In multiplayer spears are very bad in a 1v1 on foot (unless you're a lot more skilled than your enemy), however they both shine against cavalry, and are quite useful when you want to help an ally without risking friendly fire as much.

I do feel like spears are not the only thrust weapons with issues, thrust attacks with swords are quite weak as well, both should probably be faster and more damaging, and that would make using thrust attack with a sword in multiplayer to avoid hurting your ally a better idea as well.

I know that they are effective against a charging enemy on horse, which is why I also feel like this should be monitored to avoid unbalancing things.

I do agree that RBM makes things a lot better in many regards, I discovered it a few days ago, I don't know exactly all it does to spears, but it feels a lot more enjoyable (I definitely felt a much better attack speed), and I haven't had enough time to try the other weapons as well to get a good comparison, but I'll try to check that.

Remain the issue of enemies having a really easy time to block every thrust even without a shield, and RBM workaround is the posture that prevent you from just holding block, but in my opinion, a much better way to fix things would be to actually make the position of your block relevant against spears, so you have to actively protect your head or your feet (or at least your legs), and maybe even your side if you have a small shield.

Thanks but the truth it's more of the same... more feedback in the form of a bucket of water that you and I and many others have been throwing into the pool. The worry, for us, is that even though the garden's pool has been overflowing for some time now, Taleworlds seems to have insensitivity in his feet as the water has already reached the kitchen.

A lot has to change in terms of the combat system and that, much to our regret, is a scary thing as no one can assure us of a base game that is up to par with a strong foundation.

giphy.gif
I feel like our best option is to brainstorm as much as we can, and implement our own fixes, if the community follows and we end up with ultra popular large mods like our good old Floris for Warband, that have a much better balance, Talewords will follow (or not but it would not really matter anyway).

But yes, hard-coded parts make it harder ... not impossible though.
 
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Mastigos

Recruit
What you are asking for is either one of two things:

1) Aa overall buff to spears
2) A buff to spears when the player uses them as a primary weapon, but AI is unchanged

Both of these approaches have large problems.
As far as 1) is concerned, spears already play a critical anti-cavalry role from large sweeping battles, to small skirmishes. In addition, they have very long range; are excellent when mounted; and have a large momentum modifier that scales with athletics into late game. Sure, they may not be equal to an 2h axe or 2h sword in terms of raw foot infantry kill count or damage, but nothing comes close to a good spear when used on horseback or against mounted troops.Just like a 1h + shield may never equal a 2h weapon in terms of damage or kills (nor should it) but having a shield gives you far more defense and that versatility can and often will save your life. All weapon types have a niche, and the spear not only fills its niche extremely well, but it also goes above-and-beyond by also being a decent late game foot soldier weapon. No overall buffs are needed.

2) As for changing the weapon to work differently when the player uses it? No other weapon does that, and I don't see why one should get special treatment.

I never thought I'd actually see people who were axe fanboys, or sword fanboys, or spear fanboys, but I was ignorant. They do exist, and they are right here in this thread. It's amazing, and also a little disturbing.
 

five bucks

Knight at Arms
As far as 1) is concerned, spears already play a critical anti-cavalry role from large sweeping battles, to small skirmishes
Based on the rest of your post it sounds like you're talking about SP, rather than MP, but surely someone who has actually played the SP game would realise that the number of braceable spears is limited and the number of troops who actually wield braceable spears is smaller still. And because 1H+shield infantry or 2H shock infantry can currently deal with same-tier cavalry just fine in a fight due to stupid cavalry AI who can't hit anything, and even archers can inflict horrendous casualties on cavalry charging them, it means that pikemen are by no means critical for dealing with cavalry.

But even if Taleworlds had rectified these issues, and pikemen were necessary if you wanted to really mess up cavalry, that statement would still be missing the point, because the reason you hire spearmen should not just be for their "scare away cavalry sticks".

First off, that makes them overly situational. if I can upgrade to:
A) a pike unit that's good against cavalry and crap against everything else
or
B) a heavy infantry unit that's good against archers, crap against shock infantry and normal against everything else
Then naturally I'm going to pick the heavy infantry because it will give me better value for money, over the wide variety of enemies I'll face, out of which melee cavalry will be the least common threat.

Secondly it completely fails to match reality to have spears as only especially effective against cavalry, as they have been the most common weapon for the entire history of melee combat, even in areas where cavalry warfare wasn't common. I'm not one of those people who pretends spears were better than swords, but they were definitely a comparably effective weapon.
In addition, they have very long range; are excellent when mounted; and have a large momentum modifier that scales with athletics into late game.
Range doesn't mean crap to the AI because they allow enemies to get within facehugging distance before attacking.
In addition, AI formations of spearmen tend to get their weapons caught on their allies behind them when starting a swing, or do abysmal damage because the enemy is too close.
Athletics is as it stands a meme stat which puts the player at an insane mobility disadvantage through the whole game if they want to level it up.

Even if these issues were fixed, let's compare the advantages of different types of weapon:
Just like a 1h + shield may never equal a 2h weapon in terms of damage or kills (nor should it) but having a shield gives you far more defense and that versatility can and often will save your life. All weapon types have a niche, and the spear not only fills its niche extremely well, but it also goes above-and-beyond by also being a decent late game foot soldier weapon. No overall buffs are needed
1H weapons+shield have short range, high speed, low damage, and shield protection which is almost always useful.
2H axes/swords have mid range, mid speed, high damage, and sometimes anti-shield bonus which is usually useful.
2H swing polearms have long range, mid speed, high damage, and sometimes anti-shield bonus which is usually useful.
Spears have long range, low speed, low damage, and sometimes brace ability which is uncommonly useful.

Do you see how the comparative advantages don't stack up?
Sure, they may not be equal to an 2h axe or 2h sword in terms of raw foot infantry kill count or damage, but nothing comes close to a good spear when used on horseback or against mounted troops.
Yes it does: glaives and all other swinging polearms are FAR FAR FAR easier to use and more powerful on horseback than a spear.

In fact the Khan's Guard equipped with a glaive is the most powerful melee unit in the game. They can even defeat pikemen directly charging into a block of pikes.


This goes for the player too, if you want an effective horseback weapon the glaive is easier, doesn't need charges, has tons of damage, etc.
I never thought I'd actually see people who were axe fanboys, or sword fanboys, or spear fanboys, but I was ignorant. They do exist, and they are right here in this thread. It's amazing, and also a little disturbing.
This part of your post makes me consider if I was being cleverly baited. At any rate, I'm no spear fanboy but I am a fan of good balance.
 
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