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Dual Wielding Feedback
Introduced in a time before feedback threads...

In order to avoid reviving an old bug fixes and improvements thread from before we had threads dedicated to feedback:

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/new-game-features/-january-2019--bug-fixes-n-updates-327/

This was when dual wielding weapons was introduced and I was encouraged to start a thread because other people may have opinions on it.

Being as vague as I can about the mechanics of it, personally using it and having it used on me while somebody is in a certain posture is pretty unbalanced and some people with certain assets at their disposal have found a way to cheese this posture and essentially lock you into combat with them. This is very imbalanced and frustrating to deal with imo

I think the parrying bonus needs to lowered or removed. The problem is that it has no real drawbacks in many situations. It's not expensive for a lot of weapon types that can get an offhand weapon for less than a thousand chyen, and having a shitty off-hand weapon isn't really a disadvantage to you if the parrying bonus you get makes your opponent completely unable to hit you.

Basically the parry bonus made gear a lot less relevant for fights between melee characters and it's made those fights a lot more boring by turning them into stalemates/wars of attrition. I say this having used it to my advantage many times.

I keep hearing this tactic pop up in very odd ways. Almost anyone using melee right now uses it, builds around it, touts it, etc. It's dominated that particular landscape so much, that you're considered foolish -not- to lean into it.

What I mean by hearing about it in strange ways is that the conversations are always.. cheesy. Gamer mentality? Clearly influenced by mechanics rather than flavor or personal choice? People will always optimize, but this has been one of those cases that's so egregious it's hard to ignore.

Like waddle said, one of the weapons that "unlocks" this is worth pocket change and people are using -that- to fend off high end gear. There's just... a lot about it that's silly.

I think one of the issues is how cheap the off-hand weapon could be. If your attacks were based on your weaker weapon, or on some average of your two weapons, that would make a difference.

The stated intent (looking back) was to make a risk vs. reward of losing more gear, but that's not happening now. If the trade-off was between one expensive weapon and two expensive weapons but better parrying (like it is for instance with brawling) I think that would normalize the issue a lot.

First off. I think staring too deep at the mechanics here, is bad, albeit, in frustration I can understand doing so. I've done it, and continue to do it. Thinking about the systems purely mechanically, is a poor form. So I think I'll rather than pointing at mechanics as they are. Point to some changes that can be made to improve realism. A lot of these were already made in a fantastic thread by Vera, by various people and by Vera herself.

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/weapon-balance-1761/

But I concur with some of them. And I'll summarize here. Without delving too deep into mechanical thinking.

First...

There are some weapons that should not be single handed weapons, and should in fact be two handed. Or at least not permit dual wielding.

These are logical to think about, and I won't bother listing them here.

Second...

The bonus is too uniform between weapon types. A knife being duel wielded shouldn't provide the same uniform bonus as a sword, or a big fuckoff hammer.

If the bonus' are different, then inequality of bonus' can exist without problems. Because asymmetric design will take over.

Third...

Two handed weapons don't have a similar bonus to compensate for their weightyness and the sacrifice of a free hand when using them.

I think Pavane's suggestion here makes sense, but it would also encourage silly stuff like dual-wielding katanas more, which, personally, I think is kinda weird. Wielding a katana and wakizashi simultaneously is more practical and even has real-life examples of it happening, but taking the step up to two katanas...

It's badass, sure, but sometimes a different offhand makes a lot of sense. Consider the parrying dagger.

Also: I wanna get ahead of the 'there are ways around this' response to this thread I'm expecting. Yes, you can counter the dual-wield parry strategy. But the ways around it involve investing in alternative combat skills or expensive items, or just leaving the fight altogether. Meanwhile all the other guy had to do was drop a few hundred chyen at the hardware store to bring an extra pipe to the fight. It's a passive, cheap, no-brainer of a bonus--so it shouldn't require much strain to counter it, but it does.
Yeah, the katana dual-wield problem is real. But then katanas should really prolly be two-handed weapons. I was shocked when I realized a sledgehammer isn't a two handed weapon -- the combat emotes strongly imply it is, for instance.

Parrying daggers definitely are a thing, but the long blade/short blade skills gap means that's not going to happen.

Ultimately, though, I think even if we saw more dual katanas that would be, even if silly, better than our current situation.

I agree with Pavane's comment. I can find instances of people using a katana one handed with a wakizashi in their offhand, but I was always taught to use one with two hands, since the unique curve of the sword is the most effective with two hands. We had to use a bokken to cut a piece of suspended newspaper in half as if it'd been cut with a razor and ruler to know we were doing the technique correctly.

I'm also surprised a sledgehammer isn't two handed since, well, I've held one before. Though I guess there are the tiny 3lb and 4lb ones.

I'm sure this has come up a lot before, but personally I feel dual wielding should be it's own skill that compliments another skill. Just because you can hold a pen/sword/gun/etc. in each hand doesn't mean you're going to be able to use both at the same time in a way that's actually useful.

+1 to separate skill.

There is a reason dual-wielding is almost non-existent IRL and even if we're following rule of cool (which we should since it's cyberpunk) wielding two weapons at once effectively should take a ridiculous amount of skills/stats.

And I'm not sure it already does this (I haven't really dual-wielded, only had it used against me) but even at high skill, there should be a clear drawback to offset the parry bonus. Probably in terms of accuracy.

I think the corollary of having a skill system where it can take ~2-5+ years for a character to develop to their maximum potential, and where all experience assignments are effectively permanent, is that significant changes to how those systems work (in terms of weakening them at least) need to be very conservative.

Unless there is a full refund on invested UE on affected skills, I don't see how something like spinning a whole facet of a skill off into a new skill could be viable. I am sure there are very high investment UE characters who are built around skills working the way they are, and may not even be able to re-invest in new skills if they were created. Possibly 'breaking' their characters.

If there is actually an endemic problem where certain types of characters with certain equipment routinely win out over comparably skilled and equipped character (which I feel like would be obvious on the staff side), then tweaking numbers is probably the much safer route rather than re-working things significantly.

You can respec if it makes sense for your character to use it.

help respec:

- In special circumstances (at GM discretion) when BIG CODE CHANGES are made that negatively affect your character

- In special circumstances (at GM discretion) when BIG CODE CHANGES are made that it makes sense for your character to be able to utilize.

Not if you've already respec'd once, Nyan, or, if you don't want the "if you have a reason to" part to be an OOC reason - it's intended to be used for IC reasons.
I won't talk fully on this, as most who have HEAVY bias shouldn't, but I've seen it mentioned that people will get a very high tier weapon and pair it with an extremely low one. Why not lower someone's defense bonus if they have two mismatched weapons? 99% of the problems of it seeming 'cheap' in combat is fixed doing that.

Also, I agree with making high tier long blades two-handed. It would put a more clear divide between long and short blades.

@deaddragon

It doesn't solve the problem of it being too cheap. Like I implied before, the parry bonus outweighs the disadvantage of having a weaker weapon. Would you rather do marginally more damage (using one more expensive weapon) or become pretty much untouchable to the type of character you're fighting? (using two cheap weapons)

I mentioned specifically people buying weapons for less than 1,000 chyen to get this bonus, but even at 5,000, 10,000, or 20,000 chyen, it's still too cheap. Nothing else in the game will give you that much of an advantage for that kind of investment. That's why I say the parrying bonus just needs to be lowered across the board.

Underlining some of waddle's point, there's a reason it is -the- meta currently, in a system where strong meta leaning builds shouldn't really be present. And reiterating my previous point, it's a choice based on mechanics more than anything else.

This is all being said with the understanding that people will, naturally, gravitate towards optimization in the face of RP choices. People go after the better armor, weapons, chrome, drugs in general. It's a fact of life that people want to get the best build and will dip towards wanting to win fights.

However, the changes requested should be implemented to make it more of a -choice-. People who'd benefit from this tactic/build should have more freedom, rather than being locked into feeling like they need to cheese this particular style.

@waddlerafter Well then a slight edit to my suggestion my post, weigh up bonuses on both weapons. Having a weaker offer-hand weapon = less defense, having two weak weapons = even less defense. Don't lower the bonus on its own, but make each weapon have its own weight with a set-bonus to say. It will also stop weapon meta of 'this does the most damage so I'll only use that.'
Just going to reiterate that the value of "an extra hand" being better covered in mechanics can help alleviate single build superiority.

Developed effects of a spare hand, a dual wielding hand, and a two-handed weapon with varying advantages/disadvantages, allowing for side-grades and personalized style, rather than a singular "two is better than one" approach, can do a lot here.

I think this could be solved by only allowing specific weapons that players have specialized in to a certain extent via @assign UE to allow the defensive bonus you get from dual wielding. This way nobody can just pick up anything from the hardware store and immediately become a defensive God. Want to block like crazy with katanas? Specialize in that specific kind of katana.

Though I will say that I don't see this issue applying to katanas at all and don't believe they need to be wielded in both hands. They're expensive and there are historical examples of certain individuals using two at the same time that I won't weeb out and go into.

@Necro

Some things work like that already while others can't work like that.

Sorry for such a horribly vague reply, but I hope you understand.

@PCow

Yeah, I think if you were sacrificing something by having another weapon in that off-hand, it would help; making it more of a choice, like HolyChrome said. Or maybe some simple rock paper scissors stuff like making 2H weapons ignore the bonus. Keep in mind there aren't really a lot of 2H weapons in the game though and we'd probably want to make more of them 2H to go this route.

@deaddragon

Varying parry bonuses depending on weapon choices would help. I'd still argue that the best bonus you can get should be a bit lower than the bonus we have now.

Not certain how specialization really works beyond educated guesses, so I'll take your word for it.
I said in previous feedback left with staff that if the parry bonus is left as-is than we should have 2H weapons that are significantly more difficult to parry to offset that benefit.

This was.. not long after the change took place and it became immediately apparent to me personally, that dual wield parry is downright silly.

I also think that while we're discussing potential changes to the combat system/skills, that we should also bring up the following:

The attack benefit and defense benefit of both Kamikaze and Guarded should be toned down, in my experience. While we want people to be able to punch up to more UE invested characters, I've seen people land hits in Kamikaze that have left me stunned, and I've seen, on countless occasions, people in guarded fending off 6+ people successfully until other game mechanics kick in.

I think both situations are silly.

My educated take on this:

1) Katanas should be two-handed weapons

2) The bonus/penalty should scale to the kind of weapon you have. Butterfly knives vs. kuhkri knives.

I think restricting specific types of weapons from being dual-wielded only quells part of the problem. A majority of combat does not include dual katanas, if I were to make an educated guess.

Forcing more money investment barely makes a difference, since that just makes it so money wins every fight, every time. Betting two expensive weapons versus one and a half expensive weapons on any given fight doesn't really change how exploitable this really is. The mechanic of dual-wielding at it's core is fundamentally busted, from people's observations in this thread.

Thanks for your input, I think you're right for the most part.

I don't see how "money wins fights" is an issue, this is universally true in every aspect of the game.

Do you have any ideas how we could balance dual wielding without breaking the mechanics of it? Perhaps make parrying cost you more, or harder to do?

While money may win fights a majority of the time in Sindome, that's usually due to stuff like chrome, nanos, candy, etc. Weapons do play a part of it, but when you are simply paying money to do something this broken, I don't think the investment here really justifies how good the return really is.

I don't know how to balance it since the system is purposefully obfuscated for obvious reasons. This is good to avoid gaming the system all the time, but it has the double-edged sword of us really only being able to complain about it until it's tolerable.

I think wielding a weapon in your offhand giving a bonus to parrying makes sense, but how it is right now just seems to be impenetrable coupled with the guarded stance. To be honest, I don't really know what you'd need to do to fix this, for reasons mentioned above.

That made me think...

It's possible that you simply weren't up to the task of trying to breach that defense. If someone's faster than you, has better skills than you, and can catch all your incoming attacks, what stops them from parrying you and your minions away? You can attack from a distance or... something else...

My point is, maybe it's not really broken but it's IC. If we had staff telling us "yes, it needs tweakin", different story.

Although I have encountered it myself, it's really not just me, a lot of people have been observing this in the thread. And if they are to be believed, they're similar in skill and everything, the only difference being this one mechanic.

There are ways around it, 'attacking from a distance' sure, but that also comes down to what was mentioned earlier. That is extremely expensive, and requires you to invest in a completely different skill, just to counter this one low-effort strategy.

Staff aren't going to catch everything that is unbalanced if it's not fed back. This is why we have a feedback forum.
No one has any way to determine how skilled their character is relative to another character, without cheating.

I've certainly known characters who believed themselves to be comparable to another for X, Y or Z reasons when in fact there was a massive gulf.

Player perception of problems can arise for a lot of reasons.

That's also very true 0x1mm, and since players don't know for sure, some unknown factor may be influencing this entire discussion without us knowing. But, there are quite a few echoing words here, so I'm inclined to believe there may be a teensy bit of a problem.

People can't really tell if they're similar in skill or anything, but they can guestimate with some modicum of accuracy, I believe.

To qualify that statement, no one has any means to determine the exact skill/stat/gear source of combat outcome disparities compared to another character.
@0x1mm

I can see exactly how much dual-wielding is working in my favor by taking out a second weapon in the middle of a fight, and I've done that many times. I don't need to know all the numbers involved to be able to say that it's too much of a bonus for the investment.

I didn't come to this conclusion because I fought one guy who was dual-wielding, lost, and got salty; it's something I've observed in dozens of combat encounters with a bunch of different characters.

Another important point to make is that this isn't a thread about one or even a few players who are utilizing this tactic or even just "fitting a template" of the tactic.

The fact that the tactic is so prolific is evidence enough that this simply isn't a matter of one or two very skilled players people are upset with, and agenda posting about. The tactic gets results across the board, so much so that people facing it and even using it are recognizing it as an issue.

This would not have been issue I'd bring up if I haven't seen the tactic dozens of times, like waddle says. And if it means anything, it's been confirmed that staff are looking into it so a debate over whats and whys is pointless. When the issue, if deemed one, is resolved, we'll all be told all about it.
No I get that waddle, I've used it myself. I just mean it won't necessarily be clear to players where the balancing is, since they don't have access to the numbers.

Like dual-wieldable weapons may be balanced around dual-wielding, in which case you would expect that to always be better -- it might just be that the things that counter those weapons are less common. I don't know that to be true, but I am just saying something being really common and good doesn't necessarily mean it's overpowered, it may also be that players are not tapping into counter-play options or not appreciating skill discrepancies in their impressions.

If weaker dual-wielding characters are defeating stronger non-dual-wielding characters routinely because of that mechanic, then there is definitely a problem. I am just not sure that would be apparent to anyone but the staff.

I don't really have a dog in this fight, I just read a lot about game development theory and how perceived balance and statistical balance vary, often wildly -- but it is still important to balance for both! I am not trying to downplay anyone's impressions.

Relevant article:

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-05-11-balancing-hearthstone

This thread should have been created in the Game Problems & Complaints section. Not in the New Features section.

Locked.