After a good amount of hours and getting killed a bunch of times. I got a good deal of experience on how to kill enemies in this thing; to the point of winning a duel against a knight and then murdering around 12 brigands of that camp. I will share whatever I can about how to best fight off enemies. Remember that most combat in the game is optional but there are at least a couple of obligatory fights.
There are six weapon archetypes in the game, I will not count shields as they are defensive weapons, nor bows because there are guides on that. All weapons have different models, some are straight upgrades but others are on the same tiers and have different stats.
Remember that at all times in combat you can switch weapon to match your opponent’s armor.
This is probably the first weapon you will get and is not quest related.
Overall they are pretty balanced, reach is generally the same as axes which they trade in comparison to the longsword for better handling and quicker strikes. They are your jacks of all trades, they have a bit of blunt damage in case you use them against armor, but its not great so I would not advise it. It is better used in close quarters against one or maximum three enemies at once. Like both types of swords it excels in slashing an stabbing, but this varies depending on the model. Combine with shield for better defense and the ability to retreat if you fail at an assault.
This is the weapon I usually carry with me, it is heavier, a tad bit slower than short swords but have a longer reach.
You will see most “high tier” enemies, including an early-mid game boss carrying them for a reason. Their moveset is good, the reach is good plus they usually (some exceptions, again depending on model) have a big crossguard so they also have good defense. One of their drawbacks is that they are usually a high maintenance weapon, so you will definitely get some practice in the grindstone. Something you want to know is that their ripostes are some of the best in the game combined with high piercing damage. If positioning is good, you can take a good bunch of enemies with this because of reach advantage.
Axes are the weapon you have with you if you want a brute character with good slash damage. Reach is decent on the mid-late tier models, but suffers a bit on the early ones. They require high strenght and will let you take on enemies with low and high armor, while suffering when attacking mail. Combine with a shield as most axes have a low defense rate.
They say it in game and I will repeat it here, this is your get go when facing armor. With some exceptions, like the warhammer; their reach is short so you will want a shield to close the gap, until you are skilled with them they will feel slow and clunky, but its worth it. You need to be aware that, regardless of armor bodyshots will not be effective, bash the wretches on the head.
As mentioned above, you can switch weapons at any time. So once you obtain enough carry capacity (which you should if you go for a knight build anyways) Try to at the very least carry all the weapon types on your horse. Pick your weapon depending on the enemy you are facing.
No armor to gambeson
These are either not experienced, or carry “cloth” armor, slashing will do a lot of damage if not at least be effective against these type of enemies. I would go at these with a sword or an axe, be careful though as experienced ones will be good at dodging and/or try to get some distance and shoot you with a bow.
Mail and mid tier armor
The most common type of enemy after you make decent progress.
These will usually carry a helmet and are decently armored, slash attacks will still work but not be as effective anymore. Axes will be decent against these but the best is to get a sword with good pierce damage and hit them with stabs that after wearing down their armor will do about 25-33% of their health. These enemies are pretty aggresive and after a while will start to be in groups of 3 and up.
Plate is usually saved for bosses, very rarely will bandits have this much.
Despite what movies tell you, plate armor:
- Does not limit movement to the point you can barely walk. Enemies in plate can and WILL dodge your attacks.
- Is extremely resilient to slashing and piercing attacks. It is pretty much like mail, save for the fact it is also resistant to piercing attacks. For this, unless for the sake of roleplay, there is never a good reason not to use plate yourself.
Use a warhammer, there is no other way to put it; you will not make your enemy bleed very easily but a good combo will have them disoriented and you can make short work of them unless they are very experienced.
Until you have mastered getting rid of one or two enemies at a time, DO NOT engage groups of enemies. The best way to deal with large groups is either go with help or running to your horse and flee until they are scattered into manageable clusters.
Keep an eye on your positioning so the enemy archers are on the back of whoever you are dueling at the time and try to not get flanked. For this purpose always back up unless you are pushing for an attack, deal with the unarmored enemies first as that will clear your flanks; if the archers are a problem, disengage and rush them, you should be able to kill them before they can switch to melee.
A good technique is to learn how to clinch.
And then hit them either with a stab or overhead swing, depending on the weapon you have. This is especially useful against single targets, drive them into a corner, clinch and use the fact you don’t need to go after to hit them hard.
Your bow is better left used when either hidden or to gain the initiative in combat, bear in mind that if someone rushes you, unless they are very far you will not have time to draw your main weapon before they hit you.
Positioning in this game is everything, open field combat is fine and dandy as long as you are sure you can beat someone and they are alone. If an enemy over powers you, cover yourself and retreat, then try to lure them against a wall and clinch. Generally in this game you are alone against groups, so pick your fights smart.
The best way to prepare yourself is to practice with Cpt. Bernard, it will raise your skills a bit and give you a good feel on the weapon. Do not try new combos or weapon types on real enemies, you want to know how a combo moves you around the field. After some training or decent equipment you can try weapons on low tier enemies, just so you can get a feel of the reach.
Try to learn your ripostes and how to apply them. Back then it was the only way for me to beat Runt.