Minecraft 2, Part 5: The Combat
(This originally appeared on the Minecraft Forum here)
Minecraft 2, Part 5:
Minecraft’s combat is pretty simplistic. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it does mean that it’s not very satisfying, at least for me. Aside from whether I want to use a bow or an axe (whose special ability is useless in SSP), there’s no variety. Most of the enemies are easy to defeat and can be cheesed in simple ways. I’d like to change this. Making combat too complex and convoluted would be a detriment, but adding in more ways the player can fight is fine if it is done in an intuitive manner.
Remember, a term like 15/10/5 means 15 on easy, 10 on normal, and 5 on hard.
For those of you who don’t know, mob is short for “mobile,” which basically refers to any entity that has AI and can move around. Mobs will be discussed on a case-by-case basis as the environments in which they can appear are discussed, but there are certain properties all mobs possess:
HP and MaxHP: The mob’s health, which is diminished by dealing damage. That’s probably a given at this point.
AP: Natural armor points, which can be further augmented by giving the mob armor.
MR: Magic resistance, which determines the mob’s chance at resisting a magical effect. This is normally low, being either 0-20, though some more powerful mobs can resist your magic with ease.
KR: Knockback resistance, which reduces the amount the mob takes knockback.
Player Relation: Can be Passive, Neutral, Hostile, Utility, Ambient, or Tamable. This determines how they will act towards players. Passive mobs will never attack the player. Neutral mobs will only attack the player when provoked, and will stop attacking the player when they get too far. Hostile mobs will always try to attack the player as long as they know the player exists. Utility mobs are mobs that can be created by the player and perform a specific purpose. Ambient mobs never hurt the player, die easily, and drop nothing of use, and have simple models and AI to minimize lag. Tamable mobs are mobs that can come under the control of a player through some action such as feeding them.
XP: The amount of XP the mob drops via various actions, such as being killed or breeding.
Pack Size: The number of mobs the game will try to spawn upon a successful spawn attempt.
As lighting is no longer something the game keeps track of, spawning now works a lot differently. The surface is y>=0, and note that chunks are cubic.
Most Passive Mobs: The game attempts to spawn a passive mob whenever the player is above the surface level once every five seconds. The game picks a random block in a chunk with a safety of 50 or higher within a 15 (or less with lower render distances) chunk radius and within ±16 vertical blocks of the player’s position. If the block below it is a valid surface block, such as grass or snow, then the game attempts to spawn a pack of passive mobs based on the biome. The game makes up to five attempts , multiplied by the pack size, to spawn a mob near the spawn block, which can be anywhere within an 11x11x11 cube centered on it. The game selects a random block within the cube, and then looks down, then up, for an air block within the cube with a valid surface block below it and another air block above it. If this succeeds, the game spawns the mob.
When the game generates a chunk with a valid surface block in it, it has a 1% chance of forcing a passive mob pack to spawn, though if conditions are extremely unfavorable the mobs may still fail to spawn.
Neutral Mobs: There aren’t many of these, and they can be vastly different, so they’ll be discussed on a case-by-case basis. They will never spawn in a “safe” chunk.
Most Hostile Mobs: Hostile mob spawning largely depends on three values: Proximity to player-placed blocks, proximity to mob-repelling blocks, and the chunk’s “safety” value. The game attempts to spawn a mob 10/15/20 times per second, and looks anywhere within an 8-chunk sphere to place them. A block is chosen, and if it is an air block, the game then checks a random value against the chunk’s safety value. If the value is greater than the chunks safety, then it checks a random block in an 11x11x11 cube centered on the spawn block. Once it has found an air block, it checks for any nearby blocks that repel mobs, such as lava. It then checks a 5x5x5 cube around that block to check that none of the nearby blocks were placed by the player. Finally, the game then checks below, then above that block for an air block that has an opaque block below it and enough air blocks to hold the mob above it. If it succeeds, the mob is spawned and the game continues to attempt spawning mobs until it has run out of attempts or it has spawned the entire pack.
Utility Mobs: Most utility mobs do not spawn naturally, and those that do have unique spawning circumstances.
Ambient Mobs: Ambient mobs spawn the same as passive mobs, though the game attempts two spawns per second and only does it within an eight chunk radius of the player.
Tamable Mobs: They spawn in largely the same manner as a passive mob.
Chunk Safety: Every chunk has a safety value that is determined by a variety of conditions. Safety effects the chance hostile mobs will spawn, with a safety of 100 negating hostile mob spawns in that chunk.
Being at or above the surface level of y=0 gives chunks +20 safety.
The world spawn chunk and all chunks in a 11x11x11 cube around it have +30 extra safety.
Chunks in a 7x7x7 cube centered on the player’s spawnpoint will have +30 additional safety. This does not stack with the spawn chunks’ safety bonus.
Surface chunks in most biomes get +80 extra safety during the day, preventing mob spawns above the surface. During the night, the safety bonus depends on the phase of the moon, with a +20 bonus during the full moon, and a -20 penalty (negating the inherent surface safety bonus) during the new moon.
Villages give a +30 bonus within their bounds.
Placing a torch or another light source within a chunk give it a +5 safety rating up to 50. Certain other blocks also increase safety.
Dimensions other than the Overworld do have safety values in each chunk, but do not have a bonus to surface safety. All portals provide a +100 bonus to the safety in their chunk and directly adjacent chunks, preventing hostile mobs from spawning next to your portal.
Dying within the last five minutes causes the game to act like all chunks have a +25/10/0 safety bonus, though the actual chunk safety values are not overwritten.
Commands and external editors can manually edit a chunk’s safety value.
Mobs and players no longer have invincibility frames, which means that fast weapons and duel-wielding are actually viable (Damage-over-time effects are handled differently because of this). Mobs do have a knockback cooldown to prevent being easily pushed around, so that for half a second after taking knockback, the mob will only take knockback from sources that deal more knockback than the previous source.
Weapons and Abilities
The player now has the ability to side hop or backpedal, which is activated by double-tapping the appropriate movement direction. This can be used to dodge an incoming attack and takes the same amount of hunger as jumping. In addition, mobs and players now have a bit of a wind-up animation so that the player can tell when they’re about to attack and can react accordingly.
There are four types of tools and five types of weapons. Each one has its own special ability when used in combat, though weapons are obviously more valuable for this purpose. All weapons have a weight value, which slows you down by that percentage when you wield the weapon. Two-handed weapons disable the offhand slot. All weapons and tools have five types of attacks:
Quick: This is a regular attack achieved by clicking with the appropriate mouse button.
Sprint: This is an attack performed by clicking during a sprint. Sprint attacks do extra knockback but usually don’t have any kind of area of effect(aoe).
Charge: Holding down the mouse for a short time and then releasing will cause a charge attack. Charge attacks do double damage and have an additional effect, but consume a lot of hunger. While charging, the player is slowed down. If a charge attack is performed with a tool that can mine, the player must start the charge while not looking at any minable blocks. You can only charge with the weapon in your main hand.
Jump: While descending in the air, your attacks do 1.5 times damage and have a different animation. While ascending in the air, you perform normal quick and sprint attacks.
Jump-Charge: Charging an attack while falling will cause a special attack when you land. Releasing before you touch the ground will cause a regular quick attack. A jump charge requires at least a three block descent and is more effective the greater the fall, though that risks fall damage. You can only jump charge with the weapon in your main hand.
Weapons either swing, slash, or stab. Swinging attacks go from the shoulder and hurts the enemy in front of you even if you aren’t pointing directly at it. Slashing does an aoe attack in front of the player, similar to the current sword’s sweep attack. Stabbing just hits whatever mob the player is pointing the crosshair at.
All attacks have a base +10% piercing since armor can’t completely negate damage.
All weapons have cooldowns that begin to deplete after the attack animation has finished. You cannot attack before the previous attack has finished, and attacking before the cooldown is back to zero will reduce the damage of the next attack.
Attacking with a weapon at the same time your enemy attacks causes a parry to occur if your opponent also has a weapon. This prevents either attack from connecting. A player cannot parry with their fists, a bow, or a dagger.
A pickaxe’s primary function is to mine stone and ore and doesn’t do much damage in combat. However, it is good for weakening heavily armored opponents.
Special: Disintegrate Equipment: When a pickaxe successfully does damage to a mob or player wearing armor, the pickaxe does significant damage (based on its tier) to a random piece of armor they are wearing. If used to successfully parry an attack, the pickaxe will damage the enemy’s weapon. If used to attack a mob or player who is using a shield, the shield will be damaged unless the enemy bashes at the right moment. Pickaxes are less effective at disintegrating equipment of a higher tier than they can mine.
Quick: This performs a swing similar to mining.
Sprint: This is identical to quick attack.
Charge:: A charged swing does double damage to equipment.
Jump: This damages the enemy’s helmet if it has one and it is not blocking or parrying the player. If the attack connects, but the enemy does not have a helmet, it does damage to a random piece of the enemy’s armor.
Jump-Charge: This does small damage to all of the enemy’s armor and cannot be blocked or parried, though it can be countered with a bash. The damage to the armor is increased with a greater fall.
An axe’s primary function is to chop wood at an increased rate from the player’s fist. In a pinch, it can make for a good throwable weapon.
Special: Tomahawk: While charging, the player can throw the axe ~20 blocks by pressing the drop key. The axe will mow through mobs and can do quite a bit of damage when used in a crowd, but it will become lodged in the block it lands in and will have to be retrieved by pressing the activate button on it. In addition to the durability loss from hitting the mobs, the axe takes some extra damage from landing unless it lands in a liquid. In addition, as a touch of “realism,” parrying an axe with a weapon containing wooden parts will do a large amount of damage to it, instantly breaking weapons made completely of wood.
Quick: This is a simple swing.
Sprint: This is a simple swing with +5% piercing.
Charge:: While charging, you can drop the axe to activate its tomahawk ability. A charged attack is a powerful swing with +15% piercing.
Jump: This does a somewhat powerful swing with +10% piercing.
Jump-Charge: This does an extremely powerful swing with extra damage and extra piercing depending on fall distance.
The hoe’s sole purpose is for tilling land. If you had hoped to use it for combat, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Special: Master of the Mundane: The hoe’s insane speed and lack of a cooldown can make it useful for keeping back a hoard of enemies, but as it has no inherent effects it shouldn’t be used if you have an actual weapon. (I’m open to suggestions for an actual special ability.)
Quick: A mediocre swing.
Sprint: A fast mediocre swing.
Charge:: A slightly less mediocre swing.
Jump: A mediocre swing from above!
Jump-Charge: A somewhat competent swing that has a chance at stunning your opponent based on the height of the fall.
Like the hoe, the art of shovelry isn’t very effective damage-wise, though a few may get some use out of its special ability.
Speed: Above Average
Knockback: Below Average
Special: Shovel Might: Performing a jump attack on an enemy from above will bounce the player up a small amount. Each consecutive jump attack will bounce the player up even higher. This can be used to get high up or get significant height for the jump charge. This ability is less effective on enemies with helmets, bouncing the player half as high and doing less damage. A properly timed shield bash will cancel out the bounce.
Quick: An inverted swing, done from the feet up to the shoulder in the opposite direction of other tools’ swings.
Sprint: Does a stab.
Charge:: Also does a stab.
Jump: Activates the Shovel Might ability.
Jump-Charge: Creates a tremor that goes up to ten blocks in front of the player and damages all mobs and players hit by it.
The sword has the fastest DPS of any weapon, though its special ability isn’t very impressive. It’s also capable of doing all three types of melee attacks.
Durability: Above Average
Damage: Above Average
Knockback: Below Average
Special: Whirlwind: Releasing a charge attack does a spin attack, doing damage to everything near the player, though less damage is done per mob compared to a normal slash.
Quick: The sword does a quick slash in front of the player.
Sprint: The sword stabs the mob in front of the player.
Charge:: Activates the Whirlwind ability.
Jump: The sword does a swing from the shoulder.
Jump-Charge: The sword does a swing for the entirety of the charge, damaging mobs mid-air and doing large damage to any mob near the point of impact.
The hammer is a heavy two-handed weapon which has the highest potential for damage and knockback. While its DPS isn’t as high as the sword, it is more effective when used in a group or against foes with a shield.
Special: Shield Disabling: The axe’s shield disabling ability has been moved to the hammer. Attacking someone using a shield, even if they bash, will disable the shield, forcing them to put it down and making them vulnerable for a short while.
Quick: The player slashes the hammer, hitting everyone in front of them.
Sprint: The player swings the hammer, hitting only the mob directly in front of them and doing insane knockback.
Charge:: The player hits the enemy hard, with a chance at giving it a short slowness effect.
Jump: The player bashes the enemy on the head, performing extra knockback.
Jump-Charge: The player hits the ground, doing damage and knocking back everyone nearby. This takes a moment to recover from.
The dagger is the cheapest and fastest weapon a player can make, but its low durability means that it is useless in a head-on fight. It is meant for stealth.
Special: Sneak Attack: When the player attacks an enemy that doesn’t detect them, the dagger does 30 times more damage, killing weak mobs and severely weakening stronger mobs. When used against a player, the dagger will only do extra damage if the player is hit in the back and they haven’t been hit by that player for the last five minutes.
Quick: Performs a quick stab.
Sprint: Performs a quick swing, with the dagger facing down instead.
Charge:: The player does several stabs in quick succession, though only the first stab may be a sneak attack.
Jump: Performs a quick stab.
Jump-Charge: As soon as the player lands, they will stab the enemy, which will count as an automatic sneak attack even if the enemy detects them as long as the enemy didn’t detect them when they started falling. This is the only jump-charge that is not any more effective when done from higher up.
The spear is a medium-range two-handed weapon, capable of doing melee damage from a short distance away. While its damage is low, it provides a lot of piercing damage.
Damage: Below Average
Special: Breakthrough: Charged and jump-charged attacks completely ignore armor, though they can still be parried, blocked, and bashed.
Quick: A quick stab forward. +5% piercing
Sprint: A quick stab forward with slightly greater range. +15% piercing
Charge:: The spear has no kind of charge attack. Instead, while charging, the spear is held horizontally and the player can damage mobs simply by ramming them. +100% piercing
Jump: A slightly slower stab forward. +30% piercing
Jump-Charge: A slow stab with high knockback and +100% piercing.
For usage in combat, unarmed is often a poor choice, being slightly worse than daggers in damage output. However, with gloves the damage can be increased and you can become quite deadly with your fists.
Durability: Infinite, though gloves lose durability with each hit
Special: Knockout: A charged attack has a chance at stunning the enemy, with a greater chance against low-health enemies. Players are slowed instead.
Quick: A quick hook (considered a stab).
Sprint: An upwards punch (considered a reverse swing).
Charge:: A slow hook (considered a stab) that activates the Knockout ability.
Jump: A downwards punch (considered a swing).
Jump-Charge: A downwards punch with both hands. Less effective on enemies with helmets.
The bow is a unique weapon, able to launch arrows at enemies from a distance. There are a few different kinds of bows, with different abilities. All bows can do headshots, which do extra damage and can stun enemies (or slow players). Headshots are 50% less effective if the target is wearing a helmet. It is less accurate while used when the player is swimming, in the air, or sprinting, and needs to be charged to do full damage.
The shield is a defensive tool you hold in your offhand. It provides a static defense bonus, and provides even greater defense when the offhand button is held. While holding up your shield, you can press the main hand button to bash, which consumes a lot of hunger but can cancel nearly every attack against the player if timed properly.
That’s it for combat. Next time, we’re finally going to talk about the Overworld!
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