One of the main things that drew me to this game as opposed to that other survival sandbox game with all the guns and dinos was that it seemed to have an in depth skill based combat system the likes you’d find in the Souls series, but after nearly dying to a T2 thrall that for some reason has frame advantage after being kicked, blocked, or hit by truncheron, I realized that combat systems might not be working as intended.
Kick: as it stands now, the only purpose of the kick is completing a journey step. Its range is shorter than any weapon, its damage is also obsolete if you have a weapon, and enemies hit by it recover before your animation ends, so it provides no tactical advantage whatsoever. The only time i use the kick button is when i have something equipped that replaces the kick with something more useful (like that sweet backflip with the daggers). So what can be done to make kick useful? Maybe giving it one (or a combination) of the following utilities:
-Stun: a stun with enough duration for the player to capitalize on it. this stun can only be broken out of by rolling
-Knockback: a push that gets the player out of melee range in order to recover stamina or flee.
-Hyper armor break: interupts hyper armor moves, adding a knockdown effect when its successfully used as a counter.
-Shield break that actually works: again giving frame advantage to the one who landed the kick.
-Charged kick: holding down the kick button begings a chage that can be released at any time, but when fully charged the kick will ragdoll the target, pushing them off cliffs and such, however, if the player is hit while chaging they get knocked down.
-Out of Stam Emergency Kick- theres often times where i use my last bit of stam thinking this blow will end my opponent only to find that they suvived by a pixel of health, and frustrated that I’m unable to do anything but take free hits from this walking corpse til i get my stamina back. This desperation kick is slow and weak but it should be enough to finish the job at the cost of resetting the stamina recovery timer along with any stamina you had already recovered.
Blocking: blocking sits in a spot where its OP when its used strictcly for turtleing permanently but not so good for counter attacking as it has the same problem as the kick, where enemies recover either at the same time or slightly faster, often stealing your initiative by using a hyper armor move (more on that later).
To balance things out I propose blocking melee attacks spend stamina proportionate to the weapon and attack type used by the opponent. However, stamina should now recover while shielded but at a decreased rate so that lowering your shield is still your best option for stam recovery but not required. When a non-shield smashing attack is successfully blocked, the player should be able to counterattack the opponent instantly bypassing the block stun. If blocking attacks with shield smashshing properties the player will suffer a brief block stun that delays the counterattack. If a player runs out of stamina from blocking too many hits, their shield will be knocked out of the way leaving them open.
Hyper armor: one thing I’m finding increasingly annoying is having my combo interrupted because an enemy simply thought of using a heavy attack, activating hyper armor even before the animation plays out, and stealing my initiative in the cheapest way possible. The most most frequent offender being the Stinger-like sword stab, which seems to be meant as a gap closer with a long wind up that should leave you open if you use it up close, but enemies keep using it for its hyper armor from frame 0. To fix this I suggest that hyper armor starts just before the active frames (damaging portion) of the animations as opposed to as soon as the button is pressed.
Vulnerable states: Ive been cheapshot by enemies I just knocked down with a combo finisher because they intantly recover by simply attacking. If im correct (read it on a loading screen once) the game already has dodge as a quick recovery from knockdown and other vulnerable states, so why are thralls allowed to break out of a knockdown with an attack that has no transition from lying facedown to standing upright instead of being programmed to roll out of it? This would make AI enemies more interesting to fight and less cheap when they counter you with mechanics that were built in for that purpose instead of BS.
Parry/Redirect: I mentioned before that my kick button get more use when its replaced by some other function, like that daggers backflip. But how come daggers are the only 2H weapon with a unique use for the kick button? Why not give weapons from the Bruiser class their own defensive ability? Giving Bruiser weapons the ability to parry will give players a risk vs reward defensive option. Unlike blocking with a shield, parrying is a reaction based move that spends a set amount of stamina when it is used, regardless of it intercepting an attack or not. When a parry is used on a humanoid weapon attack, said attack is interrupted and it leaves the opponent in an off balance vulnerable state where the only options are dodging out or attempting to parry the counterattack (should they be equipped with a 2H weapon). A successful parry attempt allows the user to instantly cancel the recovery animation with any action, however, if the parry attempt fails, the recovery animation plays out completely, leaving them open to the incoming attack, and the parry cannot be initiated while in the recieving end of a combo. Parry could also be used to redirect arrows, inflicting cripple on anyone unlucky enough to be in its path. Parries can be used against creature attacks with varied levels of effectiveness depending on the animal size.
-small (canines, felines, spiders, etc): the parry works exactly as it does with humanoid opponents, interrupting the incoming attack and allowing for a quick counter.
-medium (apes, werebeasts, antelope, etc): attack is interrupted but counterattack is slightly delayed by recovery animation. This hints the player that its best to avoid parrying larger creatures.
-large (rhinos, elephants, bosses, etc): attacks cannot be interrupted and weapon bounces off the creature as if hitting a shield. If a parry is attempted on a charge attack, only a portion of the damage is absorbed and the player gets knocked back a few feet instead of being flung.
Ok, I’ve rambled enough. This concludes my list of suggestions to improve melee combat, but im also thinking of a few things for ranged combat as well, but ill leave that some other time. I hope someone at FC takes the time to read it and maybe take some of it into consideration, I’d be extremely greatful if they did, to the point where i would buy copies for my friends XD