100% agree, a tier 1 craftsman thrall can only be staggered with your first hit. If it was a fighter thrall? I’d understand that, but literally every thrall can retalliate after your first hit connects. The irony is that they can still stunlock you (unless you roll out, assuming you have the stamina for it).
I’ve been debating on whether or not this should be reported as a bug, because I can’t imagine balance like this being intentional.
Because now you’re guaranteed to take hits from camp NPCs unless you’re poking them once and dodging away, in-combat healing has become more important… Unfortunately, the combat system isn’t designed so we can just back away from an opponent to heal up. This should be obvious, but the thing is we go like 75% slower if we back up or strafe. We have to turn our back to the enemy to build enough distance to safely drink a potion, and while our back is turned and we can’t see what they’re doing, there’s a chance they’ll suddenly lunge in from behind and interrupt the now interruptable heal.
I bought this game literally 7 days ago, I found the PvE combat was very well balanced and fun with three notable exceptions:
1 - Dual daggers were clearly overpowered due to their bleed effect. Literally every beginner’s guide on Youtube for the game recommended this, arguing that daggers in general were “overpowered”, so yeah it wasn’t just me thinking this.
2 - Some of the weapon types just plain sucked. For example, the pikes (two-handed spears). The 2.5 update pretty much fixed every problem I found with all the weapons, though.
3 - Katanas are a special mention, most of the weapons were bad (as mentioned in #2) but katanas were truly trash when I tried them after buying the game. Thank god they got overhauled.
So less than a week after I bought the game, update 2.5 addressed the only 3 issues I had with the PvE combat. Unfortunately it also implemented 3 brand new issues for me to list!
1 - Can’t stagger camp NPCs beyond the first hit. As stated above, it’s impossible to execute an attack combo on NPCs without being attacked in retalliation. This has changed the player-vs-NPC combat entirely from the way it was before, which I liked. Now it really sucks, in fact I’d say the combat now sucks as much as katanas did before update 2.5
2 - Potions are almost impossible to use in combat now. Again, the main problem is that the combat system isn’t really made for us to be able to disengage from fights. If this is truly intentional then I’d just suggest going all the way and nyxing bandages entirely, so our healing is just out-of-combat potions. I’d be for not having to carry around two out-of-combat heals on me.
3 - Katana bleed is kind of moot now. This is the smallest issue I felt worth mentioning, it’s ironically this list’s counterpart to point #1 in the list above (since I thought the OP daggers was a minor issue in the previous version). The bleed comes from the 4th attack in the katana’s combo and making it through to the 4th hit against any enemy that can survive more than 8 katana attacks, is very tough. You have 8 seconds to reliably pull that attack off to keep your bleed up now, it isn’t long enough. Your next attack combo needs to be started immediately, and if it’s interrupted then there’s no hope of maintaining your bleed stacks. It seems to me like the 8-second bleed nerf was made without notifying the people working on the katana changes, and they had no idea their awesome new overhaul was going to be gimped right out the gate.