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 Post subject: [Informer Article] Awesomely Inefficient: Dual-Wielding...
PostPosted: November 23rd, 2014, 4:13 pm 
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We've all seen it and we've all done it: Wield two uber hunking weapons and started swinging them around bashing creatures left and right.

Only problem is, most games execute this style of fighting incorrectly.

I've noticed a recurring theme in most games which offer the ability to Dual-wield: The attack pattern is a sort of Right, Left, Right, Left. This may technically be 'dual-wielding', that is, wielding two weapons simultaneously, but it is not dual-fighting because you are only using one at a time. If we want to get literal, I would argue this does not even count as Dual-wielding. Why? Because according to dictionary.com:

Wield
"to use (a weapon, instrument, etc.) effectively; handle or employ actively. "

If both are not being used simultaneously, how are they being used actively, or even effectively?

They're not. They can't be. If you are only actively using one at a time then you are just as good if not better to use sword-and-board(sword and shield for those unfamiliar with the term). Think of it like this:
When wielding a weapon and a shield do you choose which to use each second? No, you continue your attacking rhythm with the sword and block or bash with the shield as needed. This is exactly how dual-wielding should be done; attack with both weapons and block/deflect with whichever one is most appropriate at the moment throughout the fight. This may mean you strike 5 times with your left while deflecting or holding your right, or vice-versa.

A Right, Left, Right, Left style implies you are only able to calculate with one weapon at a time, thus, you are not proficient with your style. If this is the case then why are you using it? For a proficiency reference, think of your favorite FPS and your favorite weapon there. Why do you use THAT weapon instead of the many others you could? Because there are certain aspects of it you like and have learned to use it to its maximum potential. Switch to a weapon you never use and you'll do worse, because you're not as proficient with it.

RuneScape, unfortunately, exemplifies this very well. Only on some ability attacks does the player actively use both weapons. During auto-attacks it is a simple Right, Left, Right, Left.
Lord of the Rings Online, however, is a pretty good example of what dual-wielding should look like. For starters, only 3 out of 10 classes can dual-wield. When those classes attack they actively swing with both weapons, simultaneously, during both ability and auto-attacks.

LotRO makes a good point here in that they don't allow every character and his brother to dual-wield. It is an exclusive feature of certain classes. Why is this important? Since true dual-wielding requires the mind to be thinking of both weapons simultaneously and the body actively using both, it requires more mental and physical aptitude and acuteness than normal combat. It makes perfect sense that the majority couldn't do this at all and even less could do it well enough to use it as their main form of combat. In LotRO roughly 30% of the population can dual-wield, which is actually a much higher percentage than you would find in real life.

For a comparison, albeit much scaled down one, think of Juggling. It uses the same basic parts of the brain and body in basically the same way - coordination and thought on multiple elements always in a constant motion. How many people do you know that can juggle? How many of those could do it really good? Furthermore, how many of these are good enough to win a juggling competition on a state level? That's about how many people on average are good enough to dual-wield as their main form of combat.

Now I know I'm talking about games and games are fiction, but doesn't it just make sense to have the characters swing simultaneously? After all, wouldn't that look even cooler?

I think the reason many games portray this incorrectly is because of a key game aspect called Balance. I think they fear the balancing issues that may arise if both weapons were to be used simultaneously. Logically, if you are wielding a 100 damage weapon and a shield and another player is dual-wielding 100 damage weapons then they will be doing 200 damage in the time you are dealing 100.

Which is absolutely true.
And 100% OK.

Why?
Because the player using sword-and-board is not going for damage, he's going for defense and/or survivability.
The player using akimbo (dual-wielding) is going for damage and/or utility.
And the player using a two-handed weapon is going for damage and/or power.

These are three distinct playstyles and should not be equal by any means. If they were equal we wouldn't need all three!
I don't think I need to explain the role of sword-and-board and two-handed fighting, but I will explain that of dual-wielding.
A dual-wielding person's strength is his versatility and speed. In a real-life or movie situation, the ability to strike faster is a great boon and often allows you to deal just as much damage as the two-handed user. However unlike him, you can drop (or preferably sheathe) either your left or right hand weapon should you need to grab an object or comrade. This allows you to continue to fight and/or defend yourself while aiding a comrade or carrying something vital. During combat, two weapons allows you to block and deflect with your weapons better than one large weapon but not as well as with a weapon and shield, this is why the dual-wielder may also be a secondary tank.

What are your thoughts on this? Has the world of games gone dual-wield happy because it's 'cool'? Do you know of a game that exemplifies either style of dual-wielding? I'd love to hear about it.

This was originally posted as an Informer Gaming article.

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 Post subject: Register and login to get these in-post ads to disappear
PostPosted: November 23rd, 2014, 4:13 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: [Informer Article] Awesomely Inefficient: Dual-Wielding.
PostPosted: November 27th, 2014, 2:49 pm 
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I'm not sure I would completely agree. I mean, I could swing my right hand and then start with the left about halfway through the blow. Charging straight at your opponent with two weapons doesn't seem so effective.

To take another example, boxers hit with both hands, but you see a lot more strategy than just smashing away with two fists simultaneously. Just some thoughts :P.

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 Post subject: Re: [Informer Article] Awesomely Inefficient: Dual-Wielding.
PostPosted: November 28th, 2014, 10:55 pm 
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but then you never really defend with your off-hand weapon. dual wielding in rs you're going for damage because of the extra weapon.

even those who use rapiers and swords in real life tend to use the rapier as defensive when further away and offensive when they get in very close.

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 Post subject: Re: [Informer Article] Awesomely Inefficient: Dual-Wielding.
PostPosted: November 30th, 2014, 2:32 pm 
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Arceus wrote:
I'm not sure I would completely agree. I mean, I could swing my right hand and then start with the left about halfway through the blow. Charging straight at your opponent with two weapons doesn't seem so effective.

To take another example, boxers hit with both hands, but you see a lot more strategy than just smashing away with two fists simultaneously. Just some thoughts :P.

Exactly my point. True dual-wielding requires more skill than simply swinging more weapons. You must be planning your next attack while executing your current one.

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 Post subject: Re: [Informer Article] Awesomely Inefficient: Dual-Wielding.
PostPosted: December 4th, 2014, 1:12 am 
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I've been meaning to respond for a while. Just have forgotten to.

To put it simply, I think the Right-Left-Right-Left approach is appropriate and realistic. Simultaneous attack wth dual weapons is not. Unless you are someone who is extremely proficient with both hands AND able to plan your next move in the process of making a move, then no, it wouldn't make sense that you should be able to use both weapons at the same time...at least not frequently or without great risk to your defence.

The point of dual-wielding is to maximize damage and speed, true. But another component of dual-wielding is being a greater threat. By this, I mean that if you have two weapons in hand and you miss with one attack or if a person tries to attack you and you are able to perry the attack with one hand, you still have another weapon in your other hand you can counter attack with. Dual-wielding is as much about being a greater threat as it is about taking advantage of an exposed enemy.

The biggest issue with dual-wielding in games is that there is no way to mimic this threat, flexibility/versatility, or counter play. Instead, games are forced to provide only one style of "attack with one hand, then attack with the other, and repeat." Of course, most the time dual-wielding in RPGs is about stacking attack stats to maximize damage of abilities rather than the aforementioned other benefits.

Until games grant dual-wielding an advantage in counter play potential against other classes of fighting, dual-wielding won't match real life expectations.

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 Post subject: Re: [Informer Article] Awesomely Inefficient: Dual-Wielding.
PostPosted: December 4th, 2014, 10:59 am 
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Let's get some swords and give it a shot.


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 Post subject: Register and login to get these in-post ads to disappear
PostPosted: December 4th, 2014, 10:59 am 
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 Post subject: Re: [Informer Article] Awesomely Inefficient: Dual-Wielding.
PostPosted: December 4th, 2014, 2:01 pm 
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Ataronchronon wrote:
Let's get some swords and give it a shot.


This has to be the best reply to an Informer article ever. (Seriously, this is the best I've seen)

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 Post subject: Re: [Informer Article] Awesomely Inefficient: Dual-Wielding.
PostPosted: December 5th, 2014, 12:36 pm 
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Ataronchronon wrote:
Let's get some swords and give it a shot.

Sure thing!
Only two slight problems: 1, we don't live in the same country and 2, neither of us are proficient dual-wielding, so the test would be flawed.

Duke Juker wrote:
To put it simply, I think the Right-Left-Right-Left approach is appropriate and realistic. Simultaneous attack wth dual weapons is not. Unless you are someone who is extremely proficient with both hands AND able to plan your next move in the process of making a move, then no, it wouldn't make sense that you should be able to use both weapons at the same time...at least not frequently or without great risk to your defence.

It is entirely reasonable to think that only a few would be able to dual-wield efficiently.

Unless you are someone who is extremely proficient with both hands AND able to plan your next move in the process of making a move, you would not dual-wield because as has been stated, it would be both inefficient and potentially harmful to you. This is one reason why you rarely see it in history. Sword-and-board was simply a better and more easily usable style. If you wanted to cause destruction you would forsake the shield and use a two-handed weapon(great axe, great sword, claymore, flamberge). Realistically, unless you are very proficient with the style, dual-wielding is not something that the majority of people should use, in fact most can't use it.

A fair number of games apply this fact to a point by limiting which classes can dual-wield. This is the most logical thing as each class is believed to have been given specific training in their forte and thus those classes who can dual-wield have received special training.

Runescape doesn't do that. In the tutorial they give us a dagger or sword and say, "Good Luck!". No where in the lore is it ever explained how every single Runescape character can dual-wield. Are we really all ambidextrous, despite being right-hand dominant for almost every task?

A more logical approach would've been to have either a quest chain build up in the Eastern lands OR a skill that allows dual-wielding. I'm not entirely sure how a skill would work for this, but having it be a reward for a hard quest would make it much more reasonable. And since the Eastern lands are both unknown and based on Asian culture, it makes perfect sense for them to be the ones to teach you how to dual-wield. After all, the Japanese were the ones with the Samurais who fought with Katana(longsword) and Wakizashi(shortsword) or Tanto(long knife).

This would've made for a good reward and great way to open up the Eastern lands, but dual-wielding was a touted feature of EOC; one of the big hype-bringers of that update. With it Jagex was bringing a feature used by many games over to their (previously)unique style of combat.

Duke Juker wrote:
Until games grant dual-wielding an advantage in counter play potential against other classes of fighting, dual-wielding won't match real life expectations.

True.

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 Post subject: Re: [Informer Article] Awesomely Inefficient: Dual-Wielding.
PostPosted: December 6th, 2014, 11:46 pm 
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Jasonmrc wrote:
Runescape doesn't do that. In the tutorial they give us a dagger or sword and say, "Good Luck!". No where in the lore is it ever explained how every single Runescape character can dual-wield.

But we can all be masters of melee combat, archery, magic, piety, crafting, the mining of ores, the smithing of metals, catching fish, chefs, woodcutters, crafting of runes, exploring Daemonheim, being agile, mixing potions, the "five-finger discount", making bows/arrows, slaying things, farming things, building things, hunting things, summoning things, and Runespan Divination.

RuneScape is a video game

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