In this section, I outline what mechanics I’d like to see added to the next Elder Scrolls game. Some of the things in there like dodging and aerial attacks may seem like a no-brainer, but surprisingly, they’re not part of Skyrim or Fallout, both of which follow the same basic design formula.
Personally, I’m more for making combat more dynamic, and there’s nothing like dodging attacks to get things moving. Dodging could work in a number of ways, from double-tapping a directional key (eg: double tap A to dodge left) to having dedicated directions to dodge in. A system that I’ve found that works great for dodging in third-person is the Mass Effect method, where you hold down a direction and tap your Sprint key, which to me has always been the left Shift key. If you hold down Shift, you’ll break into a run. Simply tapping Shift will make your character roll in whatever direction you were moving in.
But wait, there’s more! In the hopes of offering even more customisation options, your dodging should be customisable. Instead of just having the ability to roll, maybe you can unlock perks that allow you to teleport out of the way, or perhaps you will do some other fancy movement, just like some characters in Mass Effect 3.
Dodging would likely consume Stamina, or Magicka in the case of those with the teleporting-dodge Perk. A dedicated dodge-meter could also make the cut.
By aerial attacks, I don’t mean aerial combos, but I do mean the ability to swing your weapon in midair before you hit the ground to execute some form of special move. Disabling your attacks or spellcasting while you’re not connected to the ground feels counterintuitive, particularly if the spell you want to cast is Levitate and you happen to be falling to your death. Those techniques could be locked behind perks, and would probably find themselves inside the Acrobatics tree should that skill return.
Initially, when I thought of combat styles, it was mostly a way to add flavour to your character’s animation, but the more I think about it, the more relevant it becomes to the new combat system I’m proposing. To further elaborate, some weapons, like the Sword, are able to inflict both Slashing and Piercing damage. Having different Combat Style would allow your character to decide which one of these two damage types to favour, giving the player the ability to adapt to enemy armour types on the fly. Each Combat Style would have its unique set of animations to indicate to the player what particular one is currently in use. Combat Styles could be hotkeyed just like you would a spell or weapon, or Special Ability (see above).
Combat Styles can be learned through Perks in the relevant weapon trees (One-Handed, Two-Handed, etc), but do not have to be unique to weapons use and may benefit Mages as well. For example, one Combat Style could favour Spellpower while another could favour Magicka regeneration rate.
I like to be all-inclusive. If you want to be a ninja, then a ninja you will be. Thrown Weapons are not new to the franchise, however, as Morrowind had them already (albeit they were rather underwhelming). These will include things like Shurikens, throwing daggers and axes, javelins and even alchemical grenades. They will each have their own attack speed, weight and damage. Obviously, a Shuriken is going to deal less damage than a javelin (or an arrow for that matter) but you will be able to throw out a larger number in the same amount of time and carry more. It’s all about that DPS (damage per second). Similar to a bow and arrow, to use a Thrown Weapon, click, hold and release.
Thrown weapons should be sturdier than arrows and so should have a very small chance of breaking unless striking against armour that has the HARD MATERIAL attribute. Thrown Weapons should have a break chance of 10% to 15% on impact.
As far as the skill for Thrown Weapons themselves go, Perks will include things like showing you the arc the projectile will go as you hold the attack button, increase your overall throwing distance, and consume less stamina when throwing.
In the interest of making Ammo (Arrows, Bolts, Bullets) and Thrown Weapons Enchantable, I propose a new way of approaching them; instead of just equipping the Ammo, you can also equip a container that carries an Enchantment. This way, if you don’t have, for example, a bow with an Enchantment on it, your Quiver will provide that bonus instead. Enchanting both Bow and Quiver will stack the Enchantments, but container Enchantments will always be weaker than the ones on a weapon. Think of the containers as a proxy for Enchantments on Ammo and Thrown Weapons because these tend to run out, and you can’t just stack un-Enchanted bolts on top of Enchanted ones.
In the case of Thrown Weapons, the same mechanics apply, but instead of ‘containers’, they have something like belts that hold your Shurikens or Knives.