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Incline How to make Skyrim combat fun

Blackmill

Scholar
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
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326
I've thought some about this. I find the best gameplay is usually centered around dealing with uncertainty. Uncertainty in if your attack will hit, how the enemy will respond, where the enemy even is, etc... That usually means gameplay needs to be turn-based (or at least allow for pausing) since more uncertainty requires more time to process. I think the only exceptions are games like DotA. But these games often involve controlling (or playing alongside) multiple units, and for other reasons too, are very different than typical RPGs. I don't know if Skyrim's combat can be fixed without essentially making a brand new game. It's also always difficult to balance player skill against the player character's in-game strength.
 

HarveyBirdman

Savant
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Jan 5, 2019
Messages
993
I've thought some about this. I find the best gameplay is usually centered around dealing with uncertainty. Uncertainty in if your attack will hit, how the enemy will respond, where the enemy even is, etc... That usually means gameplay needs to be turn-based (or at least allow for pausing) since more uncertainty requires more time to process. I think the only exceptions are games like DotA. But these games often involve controlling (or playing alongside) multiple units, and for other reasons too, are very different than typical RPGs. I don't know if Skyrim's combat can be fixed without essentially making a brand new game. It's also always difficult to balance player skill against the player character's in-game strength.
Dice rolls in ARPGs are the worst idea. It's the worst part of Morrowind.
In other words, what you're trying to say is: "Look at me! I'm on the Codex! Give me good things for saying turn based combat is good!"
Nobody enters a TES forum spouting shit about turn based combat for any other purpose.

If you want to make an ARPG, look at what Dark Souls/Demon Souls/Bloodborne accomplished, and adapt it to the system you like.
 

Deleted Member 16721

Guest
I'm in the minority who thinks dice rolls are tolerable and in some cases preferred, even in ARPGs. Morrowind's problem wasn't the dice roll combat, it was the fact that the combat was over too fast. The game should have been RTwP. That would allow you to use all the cool magic, scrolls, potions, artifacts and other items you receive in an interesting manner. Otherwise I still prefer dice rolls. Combat could have been tuned to include fumbles, poor accuracy animations and enemy dodges. A lot could have been done to improve it rather than cut the pen and paper style ruleset.
 

Butter

Arcane
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Morrowind's problem is that all you do is sit there spamming the left mouse button 20-30 times per enemy, unless you're playing Bloodmoon, then it's 100-200 times per enemy.
 

HarveyBirdman

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RTWP wouldn't have made combat any slower, because every player would opt not to pause at mid levels.
There's a thread open right now about RPG economies making or breaking games. The concept also applies to the economies of combat.

As to preferring dice rolls in general, I respect what they have accomplished for the genre, and think many titles benefit from dice rolls (especially turn based games). But for once in my life, I actually agree with Todd: when I see a sword hit somebody, I want it to actually hit.
Now, maybe damage could be based on dice rolles, i.e. I'm a terrible swordsman, so even though I hit, it was with the flat of my blade for minimal damage. But no developers code in these terms.
 

Deleted Member 16721

Guest
Morrowind's problem is that all you do is sit there spamming the left mouse button 20-30 times per enemy, unless you're playing Bloodmoon, then it's 100-200 times per enemy.
,

That's why RTwP wih tweaked damage amounts and combat mechanics would have improved it.

RTWP wouldn't have made combat any slower, because every player would opt not to pause at mid levels.
There's a thread open right now about RPG economies making or breaking games. The concept also applies to the economies of combat.

As to preferring dice rolls in general, I respect what they have accomplished for the genre, and think many titles benefit from dice rolls (especially turn based games). But for once in my life, I actually agree with Todd: when I see a sword hit somebody, I want it to actually hit.
Now, maybe damage could be based on dice rolles, i.e. I'm a terrible swordsman, so even though I hit, it was with the flat of my blade for minimal damage. But no developers code in these terms.

Yes, there should be subtleties. Animations for fumbling attacks, animations for enemies dodging, parrying and evading, as well as hits that graze or are absorbed by armor. RTwP would slow it down as attacks would be round-based with say, 5 second rounds. You could drink a sujamma, cast Sanctuary and do 2 chops and a stab with your axe. It would add more time and opportunity to use all the items in the game rather than combat being over swiftly by mashing the mouse button. Just my 2.
 

HarveyBirdman

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That's why RTwP wih tweaked damage amounts and combat mechanics would have improved it.
Okay, sure, rebalancing the whole system could make RTWP viable. I still don't like it for TES though.

One of TES's main attributes is emphasis on immersion. For example, the the first-person perspective is one of the most important selling points for TES, and always has been. Cyberpunk 2077 is directly plagiarizing Daggerfall marketing re: first person perspective. I'm shocked nobody has pointed this out yet.

To me, the ideal, mythical TES combat experience never removes me from immersion. That means no pausing to change my entire armor loadout, or my whole weapon loadout; no drinking 15 potions in a billionth of a second; and definitely no pausing combat to come up with strategy.

I think TES has always wanted to be a first person Dark Souls (see the infamous post-Morrowind ex-dev interview ripping on the simplified combat), plus content. However, Beth has always put combat on the back burner, because other things were more pressing, and nobody really competed with them in the first person combat space for decades. Maybe Dark Messiah, but the scope of RPG-ness isn't even comparable.

Yes, there should be subtleties. Animations for fumbling attacks, animations for enemies dodging, parrying and evading, as well as hits that graze or are absorbed by armor. RTwP would slow it down as attacks would be round-based with say, 5 second rounds. You could drink a sujamma, cast Sanctuary and do 2 chops and a stab with your axe. It would add more time and opportunity to use all the items in the game rather than combat being over swiftly by mashing the mouse button. Just my 2.
Again, you're probably right about that, but I'd rather see TES as an ARPG. Turn based and RTWP combat are great, but they aren't immersive. The archetypical Platonic ideal of an ARPG, which I hope TES becomes, would bring those subtleties into the character progression system, combat planning, and moment-to-moment combat decisions.
 
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I think TES has always wanted to be a first person Dark Souls (see the infamous post-Morrowind ex-dev interview ripping on the simplified combat), plus content. However, Beth has always put combat on the back burner, because other things were more pressing, and nobody really competed with them in the first person combat space for decades. Maybe Dark Messiah, but the scope of RPG-ness isn't even comparable.

What did they put the combat on the back burner for? Their writing is mostly shit, their exploration as well, their mechanics and character development are all terrible... Don't say the graphics engine. :)
 

Deleted Member 16721

Guest
TES with.action combat could benefit from longer, slower battles, yet still with lots of action.

Quickslots for spells and items (improve the favorited quick menu) so you could use several abilities and items as needed without making it a slow RTwP system. Skyrim kind of achieved that really. TES 6 will have the deepest system for combat for sure.
 

Valky

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What did they put the combat on the back burner for? Their writing is mostly shit, their exploration as well, their mechanics and character development are all terrible... Don't say the graphics engine. :)
To move the staff onto the next game as quickly as possible. Bethesda is a fast food restaurant of video games.
 

HarveyBirdman

Savant
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Messages
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I think TES has always wanted to be a first person Dark Souls (see the infamous post-Morrowind ex-dev interview ripping on the simplified combat), plus content. However, Beth has always put combat on the back burner, because other things were more pressing, and nobody really competed with them in the first person combat space for decades. Maybe Dark Messiah, but the scope of RPG-ness isn't even comparable.

What did they put the combat on the back burner for? Their writing is mostly shit, their exploration as well, their mechanics and character development are all terrible... Don't say the graphics engine. :)
Designing a massive theme park by hand.
 
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Dec 17, 2013
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Had to install another mod: Enhanced Camera - https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/57859

I didn't realize Skyrim forces 3rd person camera on horseback riding, which is beyond retarded. Aside from killing immersion, it also ruins horseback archery. So this mod fixes that, allowing first person riding, sitting, crafting, etc. As a welcome side-effect, it also lets you see your legs and body when you look down.

P.S. Also updated OP to reflect the latest mods I am using, just to make things clearer.
 
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Dec 17, 2013
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Lol, Skyrim's vanilla inanity is a gift that keeps on giving. Was playing with the previous mod setup when I ran into my first vampires. Imagine my surprise when the master vampire attacking me was doing some sort of insta-attack animation. I couldn't even flinch before he already hit me, every single time. Apparently that's a known issue with vampires and spellswords, which the original Blocking behavior mod did not fix, but the Combat behavior improved mod does fix. So I installed that instead, and was able to parry vampires too.

Weirdly enough, that messed up Ultimate Combat's weapon swing trailing animation (the flashing effect following a weapon swing). So I deactivated it in the mod menu.

Updating the front page with the latest.

P.S. Also installed https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10753/ to hide arrow quiver when bow is not equipped. It was so annoying to have the quiver cover up half the greatsword.
 
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Ran into a couple of issues:

1. Some of the bandit bosses (those guys at the end of the bandit dungeon) seems to be hitting through the timed block. I will time it right, the timed block effects go off, they get staggered even, but they still do damage. Happened with the one in Redoran's Retreat and in White River Watch.

I tested on the White River Watch one, he would kill me in 2-3 hits if I was not blocking at all OR regular blocking (holding block up). If I was timed blocking him, it would take him 5-6 hits to kill me. So seems like there IS some damage mitigation from the timed block, just not a complete negation. I took him out later on, using health potions, and he had a weapon with +fire enchantment, and gloves with +2handed damage. So maybe one of those enchantments bleed through the timed block, not sure.

Anyways, since it does mitigate half the damage or so, it's still somewhat effective against these guys, but you do need better weapons/armor or healing potions, since you can't just cancel damage entirely.

2. Some of the bandits get stuck sometimes on terrain. They will attack several times, and then just freeze in place and not move anymore. Happened a few times. Not sure if it's general Skyrim or the mods I have. Seems like it happens in narrow dungeon corridors usually, so ...
 

cepheiden

Educated
Joined
Nov 14, 2011
Messages
37
I never said timed blocking doesn't exist; I just don't think it's a good substitute for blocking. The gameplay you posted functions like parrying, which is fine -- good even -- but still doesn't fix blocking.

How would you fix blocking then?
 

DJOGamer PT

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I never said timed blocking doesn't exist; I just don't think it's a good substitute for blocking. The gameplay you posted functions like parrying, which is fine -- good even -- but still doesn't fix blocking.

How would you fix blocking then?

Pretty easy. You play a better game.

On a more serious note, here's a good system:
You can only block physical attacks with weapons, and weapons function with timed blocking (like I described in the previous page).
With shields you can block "indefinetively" - but stamina doesn't recover, or recovers at a really slow pace.
Everytime you block an attack you lose stamina. The amount lost depends on your shield/weapon weigth and the attacks Poise Damage.
If you loose all you stamina or your Poise breaks, then you are staggered.
You can't block attacks that have a bigger area than what your shield/weapon can cover (example: you can't block a bull's charge with a 2h sword, or a dragon's flame with any shield).
The advantage of shields is that they have better defenses and can protect from more threats, however weapons consume much less stamina and a sucessfull block results in a small stagger for the enemy (small enough to give you and edge at that moment, but also small enough so that a skilled combatent can protect himself from the incoming strike).
 

TheImplodingVoice

Dumbfuck!
Dumbfuck
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Uninstall it and play something else.
 

HarveyBirdman

Savant
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
993
I never said timed blocking doesn't exist; I just don't think it's a good substitute for blocking. The gameplay you posted functions like parrying, which is fine -- good even -- but still doesn't fix blocking.

How would you fix blocking then?
I don't feel like typing it all out, because I'd change pretty much everything from top to bottom.
Long story short I would keep TES's basic idea of leveling up skills through use and earning perks, but completely overhaul the leveling and perk system itself.
Press a button to block. Holding the button maintains the block stance. The various character systems and equipment determine stamina loss, damage reduction, and success at pulling off the block.
 
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Dec 17, 2013
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Ok, so unfortunately my original mod setup is not really viable. The more I played, the more I ran into the issue with enemies getting stuck and paralyzed (and I had to bash them to get them out of being stuck). After some research this turned out to be an issue with Ultimate Combat and Combat Behavior improved conflicting (they both modify the same file), and you can't merge the conflict because Combat Behavior Improved doesn't have a FNIS patch. Oh well.

So I tried a different approach. Combat Behavior Improved is an absolute must, because without it, you cannot parry half the enemies in the game (anyone with 1-handed weapons, vampires, spellswords). So I decided to remove Ultimate Combat, and replace it with other mods. I am now using SkyTweak to mod in a timed block, and also mod damage (On Adept difficulty, players does 1x damage, but takes 2x damage). This seems to work really well, since you still do good damage and fights are quick, but on the other hand, enemies do massive damage, so you HAVE to parry properly or you die fast. I also used Challenging AI mod to improve vanilla enemy aggressiveness (in vanilla they just stand around like morons).

The OP has been updated with my latest stack. Below is a video of me fighting the Old Orc near White Run (he is looking for an honorable death). Without Ultimate Combat's stagger after a parry, the combat is actually even more fluid, because you constantly have to be looking to defend, even after a successful timed block.

 

Falksi

Arcane
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Feb 14, 2017
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This is like watching someone trying to resuscitate the corpse of Jimmy Savile
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
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Dude... you're wasting your time on a fool's errand.

Not really, until Disco/Outer World/RDR2 come out, I don't really have much to play anyway, and Skyrim is kinda fun with these mods.

Update: I replaced Challenging AI mod with Enhanced Enemy AI (https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/73172/). Similar mod but I think much better. Enemies really kick ass now, with complicated attack patterns and much more aggression, leading to intense fights.

Also, installed VioLens, to disable Kill Moves (those cinematic finishers by player and NPCs). The NPC ones were messing with my mod list, as they would often one-shot you at almost full health, without you having any chance to parry or do anything.

Updated OP.
 

DJOGamer PT

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Yeah really.
Again that game needs to have every system and mechanic rebuilt from 0, for it's gameplay to be good.
So if you want some good Hack 'n' Slash combat just play another game.
 

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