I think the Axe, especially the Death Bringer, needs to be nerfed. With hyper armor and snare and fast heavy swings and bleed, you can get in close and not even aim because all swinges after the lunge on the first attack do 360 degree swings. I’ve been trying to find a weapon other than the bugged spear that can compete with it.
I think combat would be better without the option to lock on to a target as long as you swing at the person you are aiming at and not the guy next to you. Most attacks make you move forward in combat making the weapon with the most 360 horizontal attacks win while the weapons swinging vertically will end up missing the guy moving forward and to your side and you end up losing.
The camera cannot be positioned above your character model when you try to aim without Q and without looking down at the ground causing your character to block your view. To fix that, I think the center aiming point needs to be higher up so you can look at a down angle and still attack straight forward. This would be good for melee weapons or any close range fighting, but for bows it seems better to be in first person view when shooting long range.
With a shield and axe you can do heavy attacks with Q lock and instantly block after it. Even if I get behind them, they instantly turn and block with no chance of out maneuvering them or getting behind them to get a hit in. The kick animation takes to long to finish, and I cannot use it to knock a shiled away and get a light attack in afterwards. Maybe a limited amount of blocks before running out of stamina could fix this, or you could have the turn animation complete before blocking is possible.
If someone misses a heavy swing with a 1-handed weapon and rolls behind them to hit them, there is no turn animation. You instantly turn and block. Even without Q locking someone, if you turn 180 degrees and swing or block, it cancels the turn animation and instantly faces in that direction. I’m not sure if that is intentional but it is OP with close up melee fighting, especially when locking on to someone.
Another balancing option for animations would be to change light and heavy attacks for vertical and horizontal swings, but for spear and dagger that would be thrust and slash attacks. One of the main problems with the 2-handed hammer is that all the heavy attacks with hyper armor are slow and vertical making them impossible to land on a good opponent that moves side to side in PvP. In fact, I cannot find a use for light attacks because if someone is spamming fast heavy attacks they will stun you and kill you. Making the vertical and harder to hit attacks stun would make this more challenging, or you could make only kicks and shield bashes stun with little damage. Having all attacks stun unless you are using heavy attacks with hyper armor does not feel good and makes light attacks feel pointless. You could roll out of a stun, but then when you go back in to attack you are in the same predicament.
I think anyone who engages in combat and takes a blow should be injured for a certain period of time and not able to run at full speed. Along with heals stopping when taking damage or bandages not working while moving, I think this will help engagements end with a victor. Deciding to run mid fight should not be an easy escape option, but running to avoid a fight should.