I have a few thoughts on how to improve the different categories of weapons, and shields, and also on the feedback you get during combat, and on the skill descriptions in the game. SHIELDS I confirmed with Chris that, as it applies in the game right now, all bonuses you get from shields -- both from both active and passive skills -- are only applied to attacks against the front face of the player. If someone attacks you behind, no shield bonuses apply. This is a great tactical element involved in shield combat. The player has an added incentive to move away if a second enemy comes at him from his back, and make sure all of his enemies are in front of him. I believe this is true for all combat, since you're more defenseless from your back, but for someone who relies on shields over heavy armor as a defense, its especially true. Unfortunately, a lot of players don't know this I think because there's nothing in the game that suggests that. The Angles skill description, for instance, says "+x Damage Resistance." When someone sees this, the easiest conclusion is simply to say that it adds to the pool of the Damage Resistance stat. To fix this, all of the skill descriptions for Shield skills need to indicate directionality. For example, "+x Damage Resistance on front face", or whatever other terminology might sound better. Or, simply refer to a Block modifier if there is one that's impacted. In addition to the skill descriptions, combat should also give you feedback to make this clear. When someone swings a sword, and your shield blocks it or mitigates the damage, you should get a CLANKING sound. When a player starts hearing clanking sounds from enemies attacking him from his front, but hears no clanking sounds from enemies attacking him from his back, its much more clear what's happening. Just that alone would make combat feel a lot better IMO. Different sounds would obviously also have to make it in when non-physical sources, like flames or lightning hit your shield, if your shield blocks them, since clanking wouldn't be appropriate. Other than the audible feedback, it might also make sense to give some visual feedback; some type of effect to indicate some type of collision has occurred. A lot of times, players will be fighting with an enemy in front and in back, and so the clanking alone won't indicate one enemy is hitting you and another isn't. A second thought on shields is its not clear to what extent a small Buckler functions differently than a Heavy Round Shield in terms of this type of protection. They have different Damage Avoidance and Damage Resistance stats. But should each give the same type of cover? I'd suggest that shields should have a separate stat: Cover, or Cover Extent -- whatever you'd want to call it -- which would range from Narrow to Wide. That might, as an example, function like this, Where more narrow cover from a shield would protect your flanks less, while more wide cover would protect them more. Possibly, the shield cover could also be weighted towards the side of the arm that's holding the shield. But that's a consideration the devs have to weight depending on how they want combat to work. I feel shields would also benefit from a Strength Bonus as applied to their offensive skills like Shield Bash and Charge. The Strength Bonus would not just apply to damage but also knockback, knockdown, and stun. For knockback, the Strength Bonus would impact the distance. So a knockback from someone with high Strength and a shield with high Strength Bonus would push the target far. While a knockback from someone with low Strength or a shield with low Strength Bonus would not push the target much. A small shield like Buckler would have a low Strength Bonus, while something like a Round Shield would have a high Strength Bonus. Even larger shields would have diminishing benefit, since its harder to push around people with a bulkier shield. Strength Bonus between wooden and metal shields could differ. Finally, it would be nice to see some shields with a Damage stat, like Spiked Shields. The damage would accrue on top of any offensive shield skills. ADDED: It would also make sense if shields could use Offhand Attack, since you have the ability to punch with the edge of shields, and this would be different from the Shield Bash attack. Bucklers would also be able to use Offhand Attack straight on. POLE-ARMS Just like shields, pole-arms need some audible and perhaps visual feedback when you're blocking incoming attacks, so the player understands whether or not directionality matters. The skill descriptions should probably also be updated to indicate they're only effective against a front face attack. Whether or not some type of Cover Extent would apply would depend on whether there are different lengths of pole-arms, between short and long. A suggestion I've made in other threads, though, is that Staves should count as pole-arms but have the Puncture and Skewer attacks disabled, since they don't have a blade. Possibly also Pull, since I'm not sure how a staff would be used to pull, although someone who has more familiarity in fighting with staves might have more to say about that. The most elegant way to do this would be to split pole-arm Damage into two stats, Damage and Piercing Damage. Staves would have zero Piercing Damage, and any pole-arms that had zero Piercing Damage would cause the piercing attacks to be disabled during combat. This would also cover pole-arms that do have a blade but don't have a clear pointed end, like billhooks and voulges, and probably would also cover pole-arms like bardiches which do have a point but not enough of a point to skewer someone. The second category would probably have low, but not zero, piercing damage. ADDED: Pole-arms probably need another stat like 'Grip', which would affect the degree to which they pull. Not only would we talking about Staves, but also bladed weapons like Spears, as you said. And, on the other hand, some have asked for a Shepherd's Crook in the game, which would function mostly like a staff, but which would also have the Pull skill available. BLADES Blades I believe would benefit from a similar consideration. Some blades are good at slashing, and others at piercing. Curved swords like falchions, for instance, are better designed for slashing attacks than piercing ones. Some may even be near useless at slashing, but good at piercing, like Stiletto daggers. Some weapons that may be considered blades may be useless at piercing, but good at slashing, like Sickles or Sickle-swords. (Or at least piercing in so far as thrusting attacks are concerned.) So split Damage into two stats, Piercing Damage and Slashing Damage. Blades with zero Slashing Damage would have the slashing attacks disabled in combat, and blades with zero Piercing Damage would have the piercing attacks disabled in combat. Beyond that, some swords would simply be more useful for piercing, while others would be more useful for slashing. Successful parries and ripostes also need an audible cue, a lighter CLINKING sound, to distinguish from the clanking sound of the shield. I'm also assuming Riposte and Parry should only be effective against hand-to-hand attacks, and not against missile attacks. If this isn't already the case, it should be. The skill description for Riposte should note this, or if it uses the Combat Parry Modifier (does it?), it should note that instead of saying its just "+x Damage Resistance." It would also be nice to introduce swords and daggers better designed for parrying, which have a higher parrying stat but lower strength bonus or damage, like Rapiers and Poignards (or Poniards), or something like a Bilbo, which would be between the two sizes. Specialized parrying daggers like the Main Gauche could be introduced, which would function better as an offhand weapon. BLUDGEONS Like with shields, their Strength Bonus should affect the extent of knockback, so that someone with low Strength or a bludgeon with a low Strength Bonus would only be able to knockback a short distance, while someone with high Strength and a bludgeon with a high Strength Bonus would be able to knockback a large distance. RANGED I've suggested before the same skill disabling mechanic described above to distinguish bows from crossbows. After all, a player isn't going to be able to do Rapid Fire or Multi-Shot with a normal crossbow. Ranged weapons need something like a Maximum Arrow Capacity stat. A Longbow might have 8, which would allow it the full benefit of Multi-Shot. While a normal crossbow would have 1, only allowing Multi-Shot to shoot one arrow at a time. If there were ever a Triple Crossbow, this could be increased to 3. A second stat could be something like Maximum Load Speed. A Longbow, again, might have 8, while a normal crossbow would have 1, only allowing Rapid Fire to shoot one arrow at a time. A Repeating Crossbow, if there were ever one, could have this increased. There's no need to disable their skills, just reduce their degree of effect.