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Incline How to make Skyrim combat fun

Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
3,972
How to turn Skyrim combat into a modern, reactive and fun action combat system with timed parries, stagger, and aimed shots:


*******************************************************************************************************************************
Latest List of Mods Used

*** Required ***

SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender) - https://skse.silverlock.org/
Enables many of the subsequent mods to work.

SkyUI - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/3863
Allows a UI for mod options, used by subsequent mods.

Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/71214
Fixes a ton of bugs with the vanilla game.

Ultimate Combat - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/36006
Adds timed block (with sound/blur/stagger effects), poise/stagger mechanics, new attacks to enemies, locational targetting to bows.

Combat Behavior Improved - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/67017/?
Slows down NPC 1-handed attacks by a fraction of a second, allowing timed block from other mods to actually work. Also slows down bashes, allowing them to be timed blocked, and fixes an issue with vampires and spellswords having insta-hit attacks, so they can be parried too now. Finally, allows you to block in the middle of an attack, leading to more responsiveness.

Set game difficulty to Master - this is both to make the combat more challenging and also to make timed blocking properly essential, otherwise the combination of heavy armor and damage reduction from regular (untimed) blocking will keep you safe.

*** Optional, but suggested ***

Enhanced Camera - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/57859
Allows first-person perspective for all actions that in vanilla force third-person view, e.g. riding on horseback, crafting, sitting. Also lets you see your body if you look down.

Auto Unequip Ammo - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10753/
This mod will hide arrow/bolt quivers on your back when a ranged weapon is not equipped.

VioLens - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/56980?tab=description
This mod lets you customize kill moves. I use it to disable them entirely for the player and NPCs, mostly because with the difficulty of this mod list, NPCs can routinely one-shot you, without you even having a chance to defend, because the cinematic kicks in right away.
Once installed, launch game, go into mod configuration menu, and set Kill Moves to OFF.

*******************************************************************************************************************************


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

OLD VERSION

SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender) - https://skse.silverlock.org/
Enables many of the subsequent mods to work.

SkyUI - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/3863
Allows a UI for mod options, used by subsequent mods.

Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/71214
Fixes a ton of bugs with the vanilla game.

Combat Behavior Improved - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/67017/?
Slows down NPC 1-handed attacks by a fraction of a second, allowing timed block from other mods to actually work. Also slows down bashes, allowing them to be timed blocked, and fixes an issue with vampires and spellswords having insta-hit attacks, so they can be parried too now. Finally, allows you to block in the middle of an attack, leading to more responsiveness.

Enhanced Enemy AI - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/73172/
Makes enemies more aggressive. They will attack more often, and use blocking, power attacks, and bashes.

Enhanced Camera - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/57859
Allows first-person perspective for all actions that in vanilla force third-person view, e.g. riding on horseback, crafting, sitting. Also lets you see your body if you look down.

Auto Unequip Ammo - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10753/
This mod will hide arrow/bolt quivers on your back when a ranged weapon is not equipped.

VioLens - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/668/?
This mod lets you customize kill moves. I use it to disable them entirely for the player and NPCs, mostly because with the difficulty of this mod list, NPCs can routinely one-shot you, without you even having a chance to defend, because the cinematic kicks in right away.
Once installed, launch game, go into mod configuration menu, and set Kill Moves to OFF.

SkyTweak - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/33395
Allows you to customize almost every setting in the game. For my mod setup, we will use it to enable timed blocking and adjust damage.
*Requires the following mods to work:
* FISS - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/48265
* Grimy's Plugin - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/69341/?
Once SkyTweak is set up, open the mod configuration within the game, and in SkyTweak settings, do the following:
- Enable Timed Block under Scripts
- Set Weapon Timed Block Period to 0.25 (it's 0.3 by default)
- Under Combat, set Adept Damage Taken to 2.0 (it's 1.0 by default)

- Under gameplay settings for the game, make sure the Difficulty is set to Adept

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


As some of you might know by now, I take a certain pleasure in modding flawed combat systems in RPGs (especially action RPGs). In years past, I have posted detailed modding guides for games like New Vegas and KCD that I felt outlined how to improve their flawed combat systems into something enjoyable.

But Skyrim, wow. I've tried to improve its shitty combat with mods for so many years now, but it just felt impossible. It's as if it the game was designed and developed with such a high degree of incompetence as if to defy any attempt to improve it. A degree that only Bethesda might be capable of. I've tried all the combat mods recommended on various reddit threads and other internet corners, and they all came up severely lacking.

Something like Requiem might improve combat in an RPG way (better progression of enemies), but it doesn't really work for a game that's an action RPG at its core. After all, the enemies might get harder, but if you are flailing away at the left mouse button to take down a bandit, and then 100 hours later, spamming that same button at a vampire dragonlord, what's the point?

Most of the suggested combat mods tried to improve the action aspects of the game (timed blocks, dodges, stamina management, enemy behavior, etc), and I tried most of them (e.g. Wildcat, Combat Evolved, Duke Patrick's Realistic Combat, TK mods, and many others), but there were fundamental problems with most of them, having to do with issues with the underlying engine.

For instance, most modern and/or good action RPGs that have melee combat involve timed blocking or dodging (everything from Gothics 1/2, Risen, Witcher 3, Dark Souls, etc). It essentially brings in player skill and active participation elements to combat, since you can't just spam attacks, and must watch the enemy and respond in a real time manner. Most Skyrim combat mods try to achieve this by introduced timed blocks, whereby the block only works, or works better, if you press it within a certain short time period of blocking an attack. Great idea, right?

The problem is, not only did Bethesda not implement this in the game, which is mind-boggling in the same way most of their design decisions are, but because their combat revolves around holding up block forever, and somehow blocking damage, they coded damage calculations and animations around that. So for fast weapons (one handers essentially, one handed swords, maces, daggers, etc), enemy NPCs have their damage applied to the player pretty much as soon as the attack animation starts. For vanilla Skyrim, this is not a problem, since they expect you to be holding up block indefinitely anyway, or just spamming attacks, but this makes timed blocking impossible regardless of the mod against this type of enemies. By the time your blocking goes into effect, the enemy damage is already applied. Those of you trying these mods might have noticed that, that it's essentially impossible to time block a one handed enemy with a faster weapon, unless you initiate the block before you see them start the attack, and just luck into them attacking at that time.

But now, I finally found a couple of mods that fix this issue, and another combat mod that can be used on top of those to turn Skyrim combat into something... fun. Shocking!

https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/59487/? - Blocking combat behavior improvement

This is the intiial mod that makes it possible. It increases the delay before 1handed attacks by NPCs are applied to the player by a fraction of a second, allowing you to actually perform timed blocks (if you are using a combat mod that implements that, and time the block correctly).

I have tried this mod and it seems to work well, even in 1st person. However, there is a newer version of it available now, which I haven't tried yet, but intend to soon, which adds even more features, but might break more in 1st person (if I use this in the future, I will provide feedback, for now using the first one):

https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/67017/? - Combat behavior improved

This one adds the same delay as the previous mod, but also adds more stuff, like being able to time block bashes from NPCs.

So use one of the previouis two mods, and then, use the one below:

https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/36006 - Ultimate combat

This is a comprehensive combat overhaul, which adds the actual timed block feature (made possible by the installment of the previously mentioned mods). In addition to that, it actually makes the timed block cool and Dark Souls-like, by not only having a successful timed block prevent all health and stamina damage, but also having a chance to stagger the enemy, and playing a cool blurred effect when it succeeds.

Also, this mod adds cool stuff like giving enemies a ton of cool new attacks and moves, locational damage for arrows, poise/stagger system, and improved bosses.

So after installing the first and third mods on this list, and increasing the difficulty to Master, I fought the bandits at Bleak Barrows (in the beginning), and it was by far the most fun I ever had with Skyrim combat. Obviously very early in, later impressions might change, etc, etc, but for the first time ever, the combat is actually reactive, and interesting. You have to constantly be blocking different kinds of attacks with good timing, and getting your own attacks in between. Since with Ultimate combat, enemies attacks often and with different approaches, there is now a constant flow to combat, attack, defend, attack defend, and this is what a good combat system should be like!

So if anybody else is bored while waiting for Outer Worlds/Furry Disco Disco, try this out and let me know how you feel about it.
 
Last edited:

Ibbz

Augur
Joined
Jun 20, 2002
Messages
489
Does it make the combat similar to Dark Messiah of Might and Magic?
 

DJOGamer PT

Arcane
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
5,988
Location
Lusitânia
Man you're wasting your time with this.
Skyrim combat, like most aspects of that game, are broken on a base level that could only be fixed by making a whole new game from the ground up.
Even with all those mods I can still see alot of elements that still prevent the combat to truly be good: lackluster animations, poor game feel, few well toughout mechanics, lack of variety in terms of playstyles and few others, that all lead to low skill ceiling and just plain boring gameplay that's not worth your time.

ninja edit:
Shit I still don't get how they could fuck up Skyrim combat, when all they had to do was just slap on Dark Messiah's combat and be done with it. Specially when by 2010 Arkane was already owned by ZeniMax.
 
Last edited:

Bester

⚰️☠️⚱️
Patron
Vatnik
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
9,094
Location
USSR
As some of you might know by now, I take a certain pleasure in modding flawed combat systems in RPGs (especially action RPGs). In years past, I have posted detailed modding guides for games like New Vegas and KCD that I felt outlined how to improve their flawed combat systems into something enjoyable.

But Skyrim, wow. I've tried to improve its shitty combat with mods for so many years now, but it just felt impossible. It's as if it the game was designed and developed with such a high degree of incompetence as if to defy any attempt to improve it. A degree that only Bethesda might be capable of. I've tried all the combat mods recommended on various reddit threads and other internet corners, and they all came up severely lacking.

Something like Requiem might improve combat in an RPG way (better progression of enemies), but it doesn't really work for a game that's an action RPG at its core. After all, the enemies might get harder, but if you are flailing away at the left mouse button to take down a bandit, and then 100 hours later, spamming that same button at a vampire dragonlord, what's the point?

Most of the suggested combat mods tried to improve the action aspects of the game (timed blocks, dodges, stamina management, enemy behavior, etc), and I tried most of them (e.g. Wildcat, Combat Evolved, Duke Patrick's Realistic Combat, TK mods, and many others), but there were fundamental problems with most of them, having to do with issues with the underlying engine.

For instance, most modern and/or good action RPGs that have melee combat involve timed blocking or dodging (everything from Gothics 1/2, Risen, Witcher 3, Dark Souls, etc). It essentially brings in player skill and active participation elements to combat, since you can't just spam attacks, and must watch the enemy and respond in a real time manner. Most Skyrim combat mods try to achieve this by introduced timed blocks, whereby the block only works, or works better, if you press it within a certain short time period of blocking an attack. Great idea, right?

The problem is, not only did Bethesda not implement this in the game, which is mind-boggling in the same way most of their design decisions are, but because their combat revolves around holding up block forever, and somehow blocking damage, they coded damage calculations and animations around that. So for fast weapons (one handers essentially, one handed swords, maces, daggers, etc), enemy NPCs have their damage applied to the player pretty much as soon as the attack animation starts. For vanilla Skyrim, this is not a problem, since they expect you to be holding up block indefinitely anyway, or just spamming attacks, but this makes timed blocking impossible regardless of the mod against this type of enemies. By the time your blocking goes into effect, the enemy damage is already applied. Those of you trying these mods might have noticed that, that it's essentially impossible to time block a one handed enemy with a faster weapon, unless you initiate the block before you see them start the attack, and just luck into them attacking at that time.

But now, I finally found a couple of mods that fix this issue, and another combat mod that can be used on top of those to turn Skyrim combat into something... fun. Shocking!
TLDR for others so they don't have to waste time reading it: Bethesda didn't implement Chivalry/Dark Souls style blocks, but the following mods do.
 

Bricker

Educated
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
88
As some of you might know by now, I take a certain pleasure in modding flawed combat systems in RPGs (especially action RPGs). In years past, I have posted detailed modding guides for games like New Vegas and KCD that I felt outlined how to improve their flawed combat systems into something enjoyable.

...
Huge thanks for that!
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
3,972
Does it make the combat similar to Dark Messiah of Might and Magic?

Better. Wasn't DMMM just basically about kicking enemies off ledges? With these mods this feels like an actual combat system.

can it be paired with requiem? Are those mods compatible with special edition(like requiem might be soon?)
are the above combat mods compatible with endereal: the germans?

I have no idea. But these mods are very fast to install. Basically just extract Data files and drop them into Data folder. Then just delete them and grab vanilla files from Steam (if needed) if you want to uninstall. So try it and see. I would imagine they would conflict with mods that change lots of combat mechanics, but not mods that change content. For most mods, you can also use other mods to disable various parts of the mod, so if you disable stuff related to blocking, then it might work together. But really only one way to know for sure. I am going to try the second mod above, to see if it works reasonably well in first person, and then will probably try to combine these with TK Dodge. Will post feedback on how that goes.

TLDR for others so they don't have to waste time reading it: Bethesda didn't implement Chivalry/Dark Souls style blocks, but the following mods do.

It's not just that, although that's an important part. As I mentioned, Ultimate Combat also adds a ton of new special attacks to enemies, based on type (humans get on extra set of attacks, animals another, dragugr another, etc). This makes combat more fun and involving, since you have to deal with various different moves (regular attacks, power attacks, dodges, blocks, special jump attacks, etc). Also there is a poise mechanic tied to stagger, where power attacks damage more poise, heavy armor gives more poise, and once poise is lowered sufficiently, you or the enemy gets staggered. Locational damage for bows too.
 

deama

Prophet
Joined
May 13, 2013
Messages
3,464
Location
UK
Can you make a video showing them off? Just like a 5-10 mins video of you fighting stuff.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
3,972
There are some videos on the nexus mod pages, but they are in 3rd person, which I don't like in Bethesda games, given how ugly models/animations look, and 1st person just feels better.

I will try when I get home later.
 

deama

Prophet
Joined
May 13, 2013
Messages
3,464
Location
UK
There are some videos on the nexus mod pages, but they are in 3rd person, which I don't like in Bethesda games, given how ugly models/animations look, and 1st person just feels better.

I will try when I get home later.
I was hoping for the entire mod pack you mentioned demontration, and ye, in 1st person would be nice.
 

DJOGamer PT

Arcane
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
5,988
Location
Lusitânia

:brodex:

Just play an Action game if you want well designed, challenging and fun combat ffs.

If there's any thing I learned, in my teen years, from spending a summer month trying to mod Skyrim into a decent game is that game is broken beyond repair.
Only good total conversions mods justify installing Skyrim or Oblivion to begin with.
 

Ibbz

Augur
Joined
Jun 20, 2002
Messages
489
Does it make the combat similar to Dark Messiah of Might and Magic?

Better. Wasn't DMMM just basically about kicking enemies off ledges? With these mods this feels like an actual combat system.
Obviously you could, but ignoring the kick, the combat was miles ahead of anything Bethesda ever produced.
 

YldriE

Learned
Joined
Oct 9, 2018
Messages
116
Location
Europe
Obviously you could, but ignoring the kick, the combat was miles ahead of anything Bethesda ever produced.
Nostalgia is blinding you, Dark Messiah is pretty good for its time and first-person aRPG combat isn't a big enough trend for it to have serious competition, but vanilla Skyrim is already slightly better (not to mention the much higher diversity in gear, spells and skills) and with mods it gets stomped so bad your balls hurt by proxy.

In fact I don't quite remember when Arkane was acquired by Zenimax and what it entailed, but the first time I played Skyrim it felt like the Arkane influence was obvious. I wouldn't be surprised if Bethesda realised they were completely out of their depth and got help from Dark Messiah veterans.
 

HarveyBirdman

Savant
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
989
Timed blocking is retarded.
Parrying is a different matter.

Skyrim's combat cannot be salvaged. Just be an archer, and use no bow slower than elven. It's the only way.
 

Ibbz

Augur
Joined
Jun 20, 2002
Messages
489
Nostalgia is blinding you, Dark Messiah is pretty good for its time and first-person aRPG combat isn't a big enough trend for it to have serious competition, but vanilla Skyrim is already slightly better (not to mention the much higher diversity in gear, spells and skills) and with mods it gets stomped so bad your balls hurt by proxy.
I've played both again recently, DoMM is still far superior from a combat stand point - it could be just the engine as much as anything, Skyrim just does not have the same feel.
 

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