Melee combat involves four directions of attack and four directions of block. A player's movement direction will decide which direction they attack or block in.
When used while strafing, weapons will be prepared to swing in the same direction the player is moving. For example: If the player is strafing to the left and holds the attack button, their weapon will be readied on the right side of their screen, and will swing from right to left when the button is released. These attacks are easier to land, but will probably deal less damage because of the arc detection.
Overhead Swings and Stabs
When moving forwards, weapons will be prepared for overhead chops, while the back direction will ready stab attacks. These attacks will deal more damage than side swings, but will be harder to land because of the arc detection.
All melee weapons register their hits in an arc detection system. In other words, a weapon will deliver multiple hits along the arc of its swing. For this reason, it is often easier to hit an opponent when swinging from side to side, but the player is more likely to deal more damage when engaging with an overhead or stabbing motion.
As you ready your weapon, you'll notice a small charge bar on the bottom of the screen. This indicates how much damage the swing will inflict on the opponent when it lands. A fully charged attack will deal the maximum damage possible for each hit, whereas an uncharged hit will deal less damage. A fully charged attack will also damage opponents through shields and break through blocks.
There are four directions of block; the direction will be chosen automatically according to your nearest opponent's attack direction. It is best to block in the same direction your attacker is attacking in for maximum effect. This "Perfect Parry" will not only stun the opponent, but will also allow a quick counter-attack. If your enemy's weapon is glowing, it means they're at full charge; blocking a fully charged attack will only mitigate some damage and has a chance of stunning you. A small weapon cannot perfect parry a heavy weapon.
The effect of blocking is also influenced by the sizes of each weapon. A large two-handed weapon will reduce damage more effectively from a one-handed weapon, whereas a one-handed weapon will not fare so well at blocking a two-handed weapon. A two-handed weapon is able to Perfect Parry and Counter-Attack any weapon, whereas one-handed weapons can't Perfect Parry and Counter-Attack two-handed weapons.
A Counter-Attack is a quick attack (much quicker than a normal swing) that can be used after a "Perfect Parry". You can achieve a perfect parry by blocking in the correct direction, then use the attack button within a second (NOTE: While still holding down the right-mouse button) to quickly counter-attack your stunned opponent.
Shields can be used to block both melee and ranged weapons. Shields have a certain number of hit points depending on the class. Once a shield runs out of hit points, it will be unusable until repaired. You can repair your shield by picking up armor throughout the map. Shields can also be used to bash opponents by attacking (mouse1) while blocking (mouse2) with the shield. A shield bash can be charged like a normal attack; a fully charged shield bash can knock a chest from your opponent's hands. The greater the charge of your shield bash, the further an enemy will be knocked back. If you are struck while charging a shield bash, you will take full damage from the swing or projectile, but your shield will not lose hitpoints.
Rolling and Kicking
Players can initiate a rolling maneuver to help dodge incoming attacks and projectiles.
Players may also Kick other players, causing knockback and damage. Kicking can be used to knock enemies off of cliffs or into traps.
Ranged weapons are used to damage your opponent from a distance. The most effective ranged weapons are the Knights' Crossbows, the Vikings' Javelins and the Sharpshooter's guns. All of these weapons are affected by gravity. The best way to get used to their arcs is by practicing with them.
The flintlock pistols are not affected by gravity as much, but have a bit of a random spread to them; this makes them difficult to hit with at longer distances. They become even less accurate while running, making them mostly good for closer ranged skirmishes.
The Blunderbuss is the Shotgun of the Pirates. This weapon's spread only makes it useful at close range, but its damage is worth the risk. The Blunderbuss is best used once the enemy has been softened up with your sword. You will deal far more damage once their armour is low! The best time to blast a Heavy Knight is when his health is at "About To Be Pushing Up The Daisies". If you can't survive that long then blast away once his status is "Bleeding Profusely".
All ranged weapons inflict more damage from further away (except the Blunderbuss). Shooting an enemy that is right next to you will deal the least damage.
Every class has a special attack that can be used when the meter is filled. You can fill the meter by doing damage to your opponents. When the meter is full, you use the special button to unleash your special. These are powerful attacks that can easily be used to finish off one or more enemies in the right circumstances. Specials for 2.3 include:
- Heavy Knight: A 360-degree spin attack with the two-handed sword.
- Archer: A triple-arrow shot that deals extra damage and pierces shields.
- Man-at-Arms: An invigorating fart that boosts the Man-At-Arms' damage, and leaves behind a toxic cloud to slows and damage enemies.
- Skirmisher: A forward lunge with the cutlass that deals extra damage to anyone in the way.
- Captain: An exploding cannonball loaded into the blunderbuss.
- Sharpshooter: An improvised grenade fashioned from a powder horn, and a match.
- Berserker: The Berserker becomes enraged, which increases his damage and speed for 15 seconds. Can be used with either weapon.
- Huscarl: A shield charge that knocks players back and deals damage to anyone in its path.
- Gestir: A powerful charge with the spear, just watch out for walls!
Your special can also be used when carrying a chest; this will give you a temporary boost in speed, which allows you to quickly escape. This can be employed by any class.
Some specials can take a bit of practice to get the most out of them. For example, the Gestir's spear charge can be tricky to execute, and some specials can be ineffective if you don't time them right or aim them right! The Skirmisher's lunge is generally most effective when used on an opponent's back or on their front if they're backing off.