May 052014

Lego Musketeer
Most people (or Legos) who fight with swords use only one of them

Single-weapon fighting (SWF) has been getting a ton of attention over on the forums ever since Vargouille posted his original Swashbuckler thread last week. His updated version, presented in a second thread, eventually turned the focus away from the enhancement and more towards the fighting style.

Which is good, because as we discussed last week, if SWF isn’t perceived to be useful then very few people are going to be playing Swashbucklers: a shameful waste of such an awesome concept.

There has been a lot of back and forth in Vargouille’s thread. Normally I give up on giant threads like this, they end up wandering in every direction at once, and I don’t expect anyone from Turbine to try and sift through 22 pages of inanity. With less chance of Turbine reading comments, the thread posters are left only to argue amongst themselves and I don’t find that very appealing.

But for some reason I stuck with this one, and eventually Vargouille posted his updated version of SWF:

SWF: +10% Attack Speed (stacking)
ISWF: Upgrade to +20% Attack Speed, 150% Ability Score bonus to your damage (like THF)
GSWF: Upgrade to +30% Attack Speed, 200% Ability Score bonus to your damage

Other options discussed here today also included critical profiles, defensive bonuses, double strike, different new doublestrike, triplestrike, die sides, armor piercing, increase to all damage, etc. Some of these still may be on the table, some are less likely due to technical or design issues, but we’re still happy to hear discussions.

This is much better than the original idea (a strange all-new way to add to the size of the weapon damage dice), but I’ve been thinking about all this over the weekend, and I eventually decided this is still not right. Not because the melee bonuses are bad, they are not, they will appeal to many character types that do not want to be STR builds (or even DEX builds) and that is pretty cool.

But I think it may be short-sighted to focus on melee capabilities in the first place. I think SWF would be better served providing non-melee stuff like Dodge, to make it truly distinct from THF, TWF and S&B. You have to give SWF a dab of melee capability to give it better DPS than S&B, but stop there, and go in a different direction.

Vargouille already specified that Turbine is avoiding Dodge (dodging Dodge?) on purpose for armor-based reasons, so instead, what about something like this:

SWF: +1 to weapon enhancement, +1% to double strike, +5% to Concealment
ISWF: +1 to weapon enhancement, +1% to double strike, +5% to Concealment
GSWF: +2 to weapon enhancement, +2% to double strike, +10% to Concealment


Even if you disagree with the specific suggestion (maybe Concealment is bad for another reason?), the approach of adding a little melee capability plus a lot of defense gives every weapon style a distinct reason to exist.

Imagine that each weapon style was ranked for damage per hit, attack speed, and defenses, and that each style had a distinct ranking in each of those variables:

Weapon Style Graphing
Ranking the Weapon Styles

The rankings in this hastily-thrown-together chart do not attempt to quantify the values of these attributes, just a relative ranking. For instance THF damage per attack is much higher than any other style but in this ranking is only one higher. Similarly S&B defenses are much better than any other. Etc.

TWF still looks pretty attractive. But everything else has it’s arguments too; it is harder to say which is “best” and easier to say which is better for specific situations and character types.

Which is what we want, right? Choices? Viable choices?

  9 Responses to “Single Weapon Fighting. Or As Most People Call It, Swordfighting”

Comments (9)
  1. Its tricky: make the defenses too good, and not only do you risk marginalising S&B (even further), but you end up with it being favoured by the people who won’t actually use it in combat: Casters.
    Personally, I’d like it to go the route of fort bypass and crits as opposed to doublestrike and attack speed: we already have TWF as a style that provides lots of hits.
    Possibly boosting tactical DCs instead/as well: making up in more versatility what it might lose in DPS.

    • True! It would be a different kind of defense. No one would be tanking a boss with SWF. But still, you are right. Balance matters.

  2. Well Put Geoff. And I think you may be on to something here. Especially since it SWF will never come close to catching TWF in terms of DPS.

    And I think that it is in facta good idea to try to make SWF truly distinct from the other styles. Though, I wonder what they really mean by “for armor based reasons.”

    All the great fictional swordfighting, swashbuckling charcaters, wore no armor, yet, they could dance around their foes and sting them to death.

    Heck, there wasa great dialogue exchange in last night’s Game of Thrones Episode between Arya and the Hound about it. Serio Forrel really was the greatest swordsman in the known realms, but he only died becauuse he didn’t have a real sword.

  3. Well, I have not been keeping up with the thread. But from what you post here, I must say that Vargouille’s new concept of SWF is better than his original (if only marginally – and yes, I agree – it still needs work). I mean, the idea that a fighting style – any fighting style, for that matter – can fundamentally alter the properties of a weapon (i.e. changing it’s base hit die/dice) was just…wrong (IMO). Getting more damage out of it? OK, sure – I can accept that, but not changing die/dice size. Not too mention (as I’ve tried to explain) changing die/dice is much more difficult to properly code. I’m sure this is why they originally were excluding multi-dice (multi-die??) weapons from being able to use SWF (‘cuz they’d have to change both and not just one). I also like your idea of adding to the enhancement value; I thought of that, but it would add to both “to hit” and damage, and I was trying to keep with the original damage (only) increase. But I do like adding to the enhancement value better, as one SWF should make it easier to hit one’s target, too. I’m not so sure about “concealment”, though. Maybe it’s just the term, not the effect, I have an issue with (that’s probably it).

  4. Of course if you make it add to the weapons Enchantment bonus you have just significantly v increased its implement bonus for casters…

  5. I can understand avoiding using Dodge, so they went to another miss-chance that won’t get screwy with armor–Concealment. Not a bad idea.

    I think, like several other class trees, the proof will be in the beta tests. I think they’re close to a build that would work…although I’m still a fan of a high-reposte ability that works for 30 seconds with a 1 minute cooldown (say, 75% chance of a counter-attack, 25% higher chance of critical hit).

  6. Haven’t thought this through a ton, so there may be holes, but what about attaching evasion to swf or iswf. In that way those that take the 2 level splash of rogue or monk, can actually go a different route and stay pure or add in other classes. How many 2 rogue/x/x and 2monk/x/x builds are there out there? When I think of the swashbuckler types its the ones who avoid the ambush and trap by cutting loose the chandelier cord and swinging past or diving over the edge of a rampart to grab a branch and swing safely to the ground.

    Could do a choice – having swf break out with 3 different choices – (evasion, deadly strike, feint/parry) with gswf having 3 choices including the 2 not chosen and an improved version of the one selected etc.

    High damage seekers will still go thf or twf, and defense tank types will most likely go s&b but soloists and support types would be much more adaptable to style of play.

    I like the concept and appreciate that turbine seems to be listening more.

  7. I like the idea of SWF giving you an increase to your tactical feats, maybe even being able to disarm your opponents at some small chance, of course not sure how that would work though. However, being able to get some type of ac bonus, whether it be through dodge or some other type of mechanism, does makes sense to me. When you think of a sword fighter like “Zorro” he is agile, not wearing heavy armor, very quick, and hard to hit. Not sure on how to get that work.

What do you think?

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