A few suggestions I believe would help shake up the combat system.
-add a unique attack for attacking after a dodge roll, while sprinting, and while falling. This would be the same for heavy and light attacks, and open up various opening and finishing moves especially against larger creatures. The type of weapon and movement would greatly change how fast the attack is executed and how effective it is, such as hammers from a falling attack would be far more significant than a mace attack from falling, and a sprinting spear attack would be far better than a sprinting dagger. To keep sprinting and falling attacks from being abused, they would require a certain amount of distance before being available otherwise they would behave as they do now.
-Offer more shield mechanics, on effects like blocking, attacking, and stamina cost. Large type shields would do more damage and block heavier attacks more effectively but drain more stamina when used in attacks and attack slower. Light shields would attack quicker, cost less stamina to swing with but drain more stamina blocking, deal less damage, and be less effective against large creature attacks. This would give a greater purpose to shield choice without changing how they fit into a build as an off-hand.
-Additionally small shield types would have a “counter activation” where the first second it is held up instead acts as a counter to further stagger the enemy. This rewards active use of the shield versus simply holding it up indefinitely. To keep this from being abused, the stagger would not be anything too drastic but would provide a small bonus to the time they are staggered (1 second?).
-increase health and weight capacity slightly per 10 levels (25 health, 25 weight). The health is so that higher levels don’t feel obligated to get vitality just to withstand the heavy damage that enemies start putting out, attributes should feel like options not putting any trait line as a core trait line. Both of these feel mandatory in some amount to explore end game and I think a small bump would fix this issue.
-In relation to the increased health pools, I suggest adding a small animation for consuming foods, drinks, and potions. This doesn’t have to be like bandages where it keeps you still but it should not be so effortless to hold a shield up, consume food and heal to full without any risk. You should have to stand and fight, not run, heal, and return.
Creature and AI combat============
-Larger creature attacks should push you back even if you block, or in some cases not be able to be blocked. It looks strange blocking a moss giant’s fists and to stagger them, I think there should be some adjustments to their attacks to reflect this such as slowing them down a little bit but having the risk of being difficult to block. In relation to the shield changes, larger shield types would be able to withstand heavier attacks but they too would have their limits.
-Allow creatures, and npc’s to damage resources when they attack. Just to combat the exploits of climbing a little rock or tree stump and avoiding them. They should still have to take a couple swings but it shouldn’t’ be a barrier for anyone.
-Expand on the enemy LoS aggression (mostly for humanoids, but some animals too) to be affected by bushes trees and debris, and also including a timer based on distance. The closer you are, the shorter the time needed but at a distance you could be spotted for a brief second and not grab their attention. This would be a step in adding “stealth” engagements on enemy bases or for hunting, with sound being the final component depending on your armor type, your movement (jumping, running, standing, etc), and other bonus effects (armor effects, attributes, etc). Stealth gameplay would be really neat for pve encounters but I know this is a difficult concept to add to the thralls at this point.