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Swords and Shields

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How hard would it be to sell the idea that fighting with a sword and shield uses a different skill than fighting with a sword alone? In my game, wielding a short sword uses a different skill base and fighting style than wielding dual short swords. The combat style between the two equipment states are totally different. This means when you learn new attacks as you use a single short sword, those new attacks do not apply when you have two short swords. You would have to learn the dual setup like an entirely different weapon type. But now I'm considering having a short sword + shield setup use a different skill base and style as well. My original plan was to have each weapon utilize a shield whenever it could into it's combat technique, or simply do something else if the shield is absent. But the more I plan out attack types, the more I realize the difference having a shield really makes. For example, while fighting with a sword and shield, the character could keep a continuous half-body block up as he does almost any sword attack, protecting his entire front left side from attack. This pose would look ridiculous without the shield. Simply put, shield fighting would be more defensive and solid, where single handed fighting would be all out fast and aggressive. I'm not sure if I should just make shields blocking-only equipment, with a few occasional shield attacks thrown in, or make their use completely change the fighting style. Any opinions? There's one other thing that concerns me if I go through with it. There are 7 weapon types that could be equipped with a shield, unless I give the player a "you can't do that" message. This means I would need to try really hard to find cool and unique fighting styles that work with setups like a dagger and shield. Has anyone ever heard of not allowing the player to equip a shield just because it won't be very effective with the weapon? Daggers are concealable and very fast, so they have their uses, but I'm not sure they have one with shields.

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Depends what context you use it in I guess.

What kind of game would this be?

I mean a dagger can always be used like a sword even though it's not meant to be.

Then again, Frodo's String is a short sword to him but to most races qualifies as a short sword. So my opinion is why not have a style for shields and any weapon equiped with a shield loses it's abilities and gains the ones that a shield gets. So a mace and a shield would have similar attack style then a sword and shield, except for maybe the bashing/slashing difference.

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Well, the way my system works would do exactly what you're implying with Frodo. Weapons specify a posture type, and characters specify limits and animations to be used for each posture. So it's entirely possible to create a tiny character that uses two hands to wield a dagger.

The game is an action RPG, I suppose.

As for the main question, wouldn't that have the same problem? Players would feel ripped off that their mastery of the short sword has no effect when they pick up a shield? Or the fact that mastering a shield means they can use any one handed weapon like a master?

The reason it's such a concern is because of the number of combat moves that will be available for each style. If it were just two or three, then any one of these ideas would work fine.

The more I think about the differnet style idea, the less it seems like it will work. As much as I would love to have a seperate short sword+shield and spear+shield style, I'm not very confident the idea will support other weapons well. And making only some weapons change styles with a shield would seem pretty confusing. So would limiting the types of weapons that can be used with a shield.

I may have to stick with simply alternating certain attacks when a shield is available.

I appreciate the suggestion.

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Well maybe you could add certain bonuses to stats for fighting with 1h weapon only, or 1h weapon + shield.

For example, fighting with a 1h weapon only could increase your agility, and maybe offer a tactic like switching weapon hands.

Fighting with a shield could boost your defense (obviously), and depending on the size of the shield, would lower your agility. Equipping a shield could also grant you special attacks (using the shield), maybe something like a weapon block (you block the enemy's weapon, and immediately counter attack).

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Well I suppose you could have different abilities that are attached to:
a) weapon type
b) fighting style

So if a player would fight using a sword he'd gain special abilities related with his weapon (I don't know... a vertical slice...) and then one for his fighting style (uuugh, twirl attack, which would be difficult to do with a shield). So we have:

Vertical slice (wt)
Twirl attack (fs)

So if a player decides to use a shields well he stops using Sword Techniques and He starts using the Shield technique. So now he gains the shield abilities and keeps the weapon type abilities but he loses his fighting style ability.

So with a shield he'd have:

Veritical slice (wt)
Shield bash (fs)

I'm bad at explaining so I apologize but I hope this helps!

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I would make one handed weapon and sheild its own skill. After all fighting with a shield would be very different then fighting without one. Also a sword, axe, or mace techniques with a shield will all be relativily similar. Shield techniques would be more defensive but sacrifice the mobility of non shield. Also what about the ultimate in defense with the tower shield and spear combo?

Of course personally I would like to see more games utilizing some of the more extoic where the iron fan, rope javalin or heaven and earth blade techniques in games?

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Quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Also what about the ultimate in defense with the tower shield and spear combo?
...
Of course personally I would like to see more games utilizing some of the more extoic where the iron fan, rope javalin or heaven and earth blade techniques in games?

Ahh.. Bells are ringing. Why not just provide an alternate stance? For example, the player could hold block + back and press an attack to enter a certain fighting stance that requires a shield to start. The new stance could put forth an entirely new set of attacks, as well as even make the character move around differently. Pressing another combination could switch back, turning the shield into a simple blocking tool again. Heheh.

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I am working to incorporate hundereds of different stances and thousands of abilities into my combat system, as well as several hundred secondary skills that a player can use to fine tune their comabt style to the way they want it. Needless to say, it is difficult - but I think in the end it will make combat a whole lot more fun than simple auto-attack then leave.

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Is it REALISTIC or is it FUN? RPG-type games have this tendency to inspire ever more detailed and "realistic" attempts to make everything totally logical or very accurate or at least incredibly detailed. All of this (in the opinion of someone who has played these things from Chainmail and Dungeons and Dragons in the late 70's up through the big MMOs and MMORPGs of today like Diablo 1 and 2, WoW, Guild Wars, EverQuest, etc.) is getting perhaps too much forest for the trees. That is, grand schemes of organizing combat which require the player to deal with much of the machinery on an on-going basis are problematic. I'm not saying games should be "dumbed down" or anything of the sort, but the reverse danger is to get lost in the details. If a player has to wade through hundreds or even thousands (!!) of moves to put together combos or fighting styles, the combat itself and the gameplay had better be SPECTACULAR, because no one will wade through the detail for anything less than the best and most compelling game of that style on the market.

Take the PvP of Guild Wars for example. I consider GW to be a borderline game. It is very original in much of its play. But the skills and abilities you gain over time are so subtle that you need to spend excessive out-of-game time reading up on them on various fan websites and carefully considering how they all work together. There are many aspects of GW PvP that are remarkable. No question about it. And over time it may improve greatly from where it is even now. But the complexity is a HUGE hurdle to the average gamer. You need to get a degree in GW to really enjoy the PvP. Without this detailed knowledge (and firends to play with) you end up getting a few cookie-cutter approaches and doing basically the same thing every single match. More explicit advantages and FEWER choices, paradoxically, could make GW PvP more interesting. Now, the elite duelers would complain, but the elite dueling community isn't large enough for a game of that magnitude. By reducing complexity somewhat, many more people could be induced into playing the PvP on a higher level, resulting in a more vibrant and active dueling community.

I don't advocate dumbing down games. Not at all. But neither do I recommend these complex approaches to combat and the like. Combat on computer games will NEVER be realistic. You are fighting via a mouse and a keyboard. There is a forced disconnect that cannot currently be escaped with today's technology. That doesn't mean combat can't be exciting and edge-of-your-seat. Rather, it just means that the gameplay itself, rather than a system that emphasizes reality (as it were), would appear to be far more important.

As I consider a game, I look at it first from a global perspective. I feel that this is more effective than putting together a game around a dense and unwieldy combat system. The combat system should not come first, which is what seems to be the case so often.

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From personal experience the use of sword and buckler is vastly different from the use of a single sword alone (whether that is a "two hand" or "one hand" sword). The techniques are vastly different but I'm not sure a general audience would realize this or whether positions could be designed without knowing how to fight with the weapon first hand ;).

Regarding two swords: It's a fairly impractical means of fighting honestly. There is a reason it appears only once in history (and that being a bunch of crazy Chinese guys though the form basically died out). The benefits of a shield outweight the cost of an extra blade. Afterall getting smacked in the head with a big piece of wood is pretty damaging in and of itself. It's also an entirely different form of damage - percussive vs slicing/stabbing.

Also, the armor you have affects the fighting style a great deal as well. A nice suit of plate armor is going to be much more effective than a leather jerkin and I suspect you would be much bolder.

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