Spears suck, here's why and a few possible solutions

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Spears and pikes are terrible to the point of being useless in Bannerlord. Or any polearm, really, their main advantage is being a group fighting weapon and their immense reach. Now irl, if you've a shield and proper training with it, it is possible that you can block one thrust and rush in to close off the distance and slash him with your sword or whatever, except you won't be doing that as there is now a whole line of people who will be thrusting their spears into you in the sides, a shield is not helping you with that. Right, now let's talk about reach. Even in 1v1 combat a spear is an excellent weapon to throw your opponent's guard off and unless he's very well trained, he's likely going to be stabbed and poked to death until he's come anywhere near the spear/pikeman. Even with a shield? Yes, with any shield you will have to constantly react to the spear's moves as you don't want to get stabbed by it, you could rush in, but you're exposing a good portion of your lower body doing so, no spearman is gonna stand there poking your shield in hopes of getting through it while you close off the distance and practically nullify his advantage. Except you can do exactly that with MnB's combat system, since you're not aiming for any specific body part but instead have four directions you can swing / thrust your weapon from, with most polearms that is reduced to only two directions for thrust. Even if you try and aim for the feet or the legs since your opponent is holding the shield right in front of his face basically blinding himself, but no, even then you will be hitting their shield, somehow. Quick thrusts to fool and harass your opponent? No, with most pikes and spears being so short in comparison with their real life counterparts, you get one chance to thrust and no more before your opponent is in your face. The reason they aren't as effective as they should be is all the advantages that made them so prevalent and dominant in the battlefield in the first place is made useless and even disadvantageous by the combat mechanics.

Right what about polerarms vs cavalry? Surely that- no. the AI has no how to use their advantage in reach, or how to form a proper pike line (ex. macedonian phalanx). There are several reasons for this, one being aimb the pikes and spears used are way too short, the longest pike I've been able to find in game (western pike) is about half (or longer) as long as a standard medieval pike. Another reason is the poor formation and hence the use of polearms, even in a shield formation, even the spear/pikemen refuse to extend their pikes next to their shields but instead just blind themselves, what the **** is that gonna accomplish? The last reason I can think of is that horses are tanks, even without armour. Besides the obvious "horses wouldn't just charge into long sharp metal shafts to their death", since very few if any pikemen extend their pikes in the game, enemy cavalry can just charge right through and break the formation of the units, through that dense 3 lines of SPEARMEN FOR ****S SAKE, even if they somehow manage to get through the first line, the lines behind are going to be stabbing the horse in the legs, torse, anywhere the armor doesn't protect. But guess what, THEY CAN'T, since the formation is so dense, no spearman can actually thrust as their spears will be hitting each other's massive hitboxes as soon as they raise the spears, meaning the horse can just walk right through them.


So, what can be done about it? Some changes that could help:
- Making the pikes and spears as long as they should be.
- Adjusting the hitbox of shields to be fit with the surface area of a shield.
- Adding proper pike formations such as the phalanx, pike block, charge for horse etc. (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipe..._img_3645.jpg/1920px-Pike_square_img_3645.jpg)
- Preventing formations from becoming disordered so quickly
 
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kidoman

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Another idea could be automatic horse damage if they charge a spearman from the front if said spearman is holding their spear out. Even if the spearman doesn't thrust, a horse moving at high speed into a pointy object will still damage them.

You could also make it so that spears force cavalry to stop moving. In other words, charging your cavalry into a line of spearman will end disastrously as all of your cavalry are stopped dead in their tracks, which is very bad for them.

In the Gekokujo mod for Warband, while I don't know if they actually did anything to it, I remember spears being *very* useful against cavalry. One of my favorite things to do was to unhorse a charging mounted samurai with a well-placed spear thrust to their face as they came blundering in. I also recall charging my horse into a group of spearmen and suddenly finding myself stopped dead in my tracks while getting jabbed by 10 spears from 10 directions. Gekokujo is the only overhaul mod I played extensively though, so I don't know how other mods handled spears. I just know they seemed way more useful than in vanilla.

Anyways, I'm basically saying spears should come with horse damage bonuses. If you're on a horse and see a soldier with a spear, your first thought should be 'I should avoid that guy with the spear'.

As for infantry, I'm not sure what could be done to make them more useful without making them OP. Obviously in real-life spears actually were OP, but in a game where 'rule of cool' must be factored, making swords and such useless would not be a popular move.
 

peenerz

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Units with spears should also use the spears as their main weapons and only use their swords as back up, its pretty disappointing to see imperial menavlions always use their swords, might as well call them imperial shield-less swordsmen
 

Crowquills

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Agree with everything here so far... Right now I use a mix of 1/3 infantry 1/3 archer and 1/3 cavalry and ALL my infantry and cavalry have ranged weapons... ANYTHING that charges me gets instantly wrecked from the ranged weapons, even a full on charge of cavalry; their horses get decimated by the barrage of ranged projectiles and they land head first into my infantry shield wall.

There is absolutely no reason to get spears or polearms. The only fun advantage is when you control your own character on horseback and couche lance damage opponents but you can only hit 1 at a time... when you should be able to go through a few in a line. 2handed axes have the advantage of being able to hit multiple targets and I now started using 2handed axe from the back of enemy infantry that charge my shield wall.

A full on cavalry charge with COUCHED LANCES should decimate everything in this game 3 layers thick EXCLUDING a pikemen formation. A pikeman formation should be 3 thick where the 3rd line is using short melee weapons to butcher the fallen horseman while the other front 2 lines remain facing the enemy lines to avoid a cluster**** of pikemen failing to hit close range fallen horsemen.

All anyone needs to do to know this is all broken is to do a Custom Battle of 250 infantry spearman vs 125 heavy cavalry and put the infantry in square formation and listen to the shields and spear failure. The oversized spearmen battalion will always die to the cavalry......... because the spears suck after a charge and the cluster**** gives all the advantage to the men on horseback.
 

mamastoast

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Perhaps if we could brace spears by "blocking" downwards or something? And brace mode both soldiers are horses would take damage when colliding with the spear depending on their spear
 

Crowquills

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The problem seems to be that spearmen never target horses... only ranged weapons do. Also the velocity concept breaks spears/pikes. You should still be able to push a spear deeply into an enemy even when given no room to draw back the weapon or push forward. That should be an advantage of spears and any thrusting attack.
 
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All anyone needs to do to know this is all broken is to do a Custom Battle of 250 infantry spearman vs 125 heavy cavalry and put the infantry in square formation and listen to the shields and spear failure. The oversized spearmen battalion will always die to the cavalry......... because the spears suck after a charge and the cluster**** gives all the advantage to the men on horseback.
Exactly what I did and they failed even against 50 cav, with empire spearmen as well, supposedly the best spearmen.
 

IAmFailSafe

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That would be fantastic to couch lance all in a straight line, so long as you kept the speed to do so.
 

Crowquills

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That would be fantastic to couch lance all in a straight line, so long as you kept the speed to do so.
Yes, also though if there would be proper spear attacks, killing a charging horse would ultimately destroy the spear or get lost in the body as the horse velocity, even though dead, should keep going and falls on you and squishes the life out of you :razz:
 

Ogagon

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I like spears, and the reach is quite great as well. I played some MP yesterday, and the spear with the shield worked out well against sword and shields. If they get close to you, you can shield bash them, then stab. If they try to rush you, you can jump, and stab. But it's mostly useful for mounted troops, and in case of sieges, it's great to have some spearman in the mix. The reach is very important when playing on realistic.
I do think that spears do too little damage to mounts, though.
 

kidoman

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I like spears, and the reach is quite great as well. I played some MP yesterday, and the spear with the shield worked out well against sword and shields. If they get close to you, you can shield bash them, then stab. If they try to rush you, you can jump, and stab. But it's mostly useful for mounted troops, and in case of sieges, it's great to have some spearman in the mix. The reach is very important when playing on realistic.
I do think that spears do too little damage to mounts, though.
As much as I'd like a spear overhaul, I'd definitely settle for big bonus damage against horses/mounted riders.
 

Nikomakkos

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I don't think I agree with OP. Some polearms are my favorite weapons and I find spears to be fine. Besides glaives, which is awesome in just about any circumstance, a long spear or a lance is what I find the best fighting from horseback and if I'm on foot I again prefer a long spear or a pike if I'm facing a mounted foe. Only on foot against another footman would I prefer a sword but I can still make a spear work for me.

EDIT: I find them better in Bannerlord than they were in Warband.
 
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I don't think I agree with OP. Some polearms are my favorite weapons and I find spears to be fine. Besides glaives, which is awesome in just about any circumstance, a long spear or a lance is what I find the best fighting from horseback and if I'm on foot I again prefer a long spear or a pike if I'm facing a mounted foe. Only on foot against another footman would I prefer a sword but I can still make a spear work for me.
The post is largely about the AI's handling of them, not the player as that varies very much on who you ask.
 

Nikomakkos

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The post is largely about the AI's handling of them, not the player as that varies very much on who you ask.
Right, I kind of realized that after I posted. I don't have enough experience yet to comment on that but I still hesitate to close in on units with spears or polearms on my horse and I have been dismounted a number of times. Also the pointy sticks stop your horse immediately.
 

IAmFailSafe

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Yes, also though if there would be proper spear attacks, killing a charging horse would ultimately destroy the spear or get lost in the body as the horse velocity, even though dead, should keep going and falls on you and squishes the life out of you :razz:
Yes, maybe a system where there are supplies on the battlefield. Like a container filled with replacement spears for Spearmen only. It could be an additional cost to have it on the battlefield, and it's supplies would still be limited. But, the Spearmen whose spears break could rotate from their positions to grab new ones from the container while those behind them push forward to their spot in the front line.
 

Crowquills

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As much as I'd like a spear overhaul, I'd definitely settle for big bonus damage against horses/mounted riders.
Same here.

And strangely while cocking back a spear, the enemy can attack you through your shield..... very weird....
 

captinjoehenry

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I do agree but I have noticed that when I on my own charge into a spear line on my mount I almost always get stopped dead and take a lot of damage from the spears. I wear enough armor and play with low enough player damage to largely ignore it though. As for when calvery charges in I think the issue might be that the AI spearmen can stop the first Horseman but beyond that it falls apart? Also partly due to the AI formation mostly just being a massively spread out and thin line of infantry.
 

Cuisine

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I do agree but I have noticed that when I on my own charge into a spear line on my mount I almost always get stopped dead and take a lot of damage from the spears. I wear enough armor and play with low enough player damage to largely ignore it though. As for when calvery charges in I think the issue might be that the AI spearmen can stop the first Horseman but beyond that it falls apart? Also partly due to the AI formation mostly just being a massively spread out and thin line of infantry.
It's because the rear behavior of horses is only triggered when moving and hit by a spear thrust. Check the MeleeHitCallback method inside Mission.cs from the 'MountAndBlade.dll'.
So when a whole cavalry unit charge into a whole infantry units, the first horsemen tend to get reared, especially if they do not charge in a perfect line parrallel to the spearmen.
That's also why if you charge alone you get always reared, because all of the ennemy spearmen can attempt to thrust their spears at a single target.
 
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King Yngvar

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Another idea could be automatic horse damage if they charge a spearman from the front if said spearman is holding their spear out. Even if the spearman doesn't thrust, a horse moving at high speed into a pointy object will still damage them.
Exactly this is what I've been asking for since Warband. Armor underpowered? I can fix that for my own game. Arrows overpowered? I can fix that too and set bows to cut. These physics, I don't know how, and I haven't seen any actual modders fix it either. I'm left with reducing horse HP and increasing spear damage (that last part has become trickier to figure out right now after they added smithing), it does not work as intended and there's no way of increasing the speed of spears either or fix how they become impossible for the AI to use in a shield wall. Just like the shield being a magic barrier instead of being a physical object representing the actual area of the shield that it should protect they have done the same thing again with spears.