My idea for the upcoming combat changes is the following:
Having a system on which your attack changes accordingly to the movement the player is executing. This may detract from the core Minecraft mechanics of being a very simplistic game. But I think this change, along with weak / strong attack mechanics and the 2 hand mechanic that is already in the game post 1.9 update can make for both a more frantic combat with combos and another slower, more methodic combat.
How it would work
There would be a total of 8 types of attacks with melee weapons, keeping them more or less fresh even when having played for a long period of time and allowing for a massive amount of personalization when it comes to combat movement.
The charged mechanic would have cool-down after using it which would leave the player with no offensive capabilities for some time, but also having more damage than a non-charged attack and dealing more knock-back to the opponent.
The directional attacks would also affect weapon damage:
A forward attack would do more damage than normal, while also dealing more knock-back than usual with a cool-down effect (all of this being lower than a charged attack)
A backwards attack would do less damage and also deal almost no knock-back and it wouldn’t have any cool-down.
Neutral and side attacks would have a cool-down which would be approximatetly 0.25x the actual time; just to allow combos but allowing for some counter-attacks.
I would also keep the "special" movements tools/weapons have in versions 1.9+ but repurposing them to more concrete inputs. Sweeping Edge could be used as the backwards charged attack as a defensive measure or in lateral charged to move more than just a player. The axes should disable shields aswell; but only with a charged attack (with any direction) or a forward sprinting attack (just like they already do)
Bows would need the same time to load the arrow, but the recharge would be stopped If the player suffered any type of damage while “reloading” the arrow. In that case it would shoot the arrow dealing considerately less damage than by releasing the arrow by yourself.
I consider crossbows very similar to bows since they need recharging to full before being able to be shoot. The only difference is that they would not release the arrow when the player is hit while recharging.
Simulation of PvP
If a player were to be hit with a strong attack it would receive a large knock-back which couldn't be countered by moving in the opposite direction; but since the knock-back would be higher the attacking player wouldn't be able to continue the combo.
On the other hand if the attacking player uses a weak attack. It would add a weak knock-back to the opposing player which could be countered with their movement, but since there wouldn't be so much knock-back, the attacking player could combo the attack into another one.
The second hand could be used with:
A shield to defend from those combos allowing for counter-attacks
A bow to make long range damage possible when adding separation between players
A fishing rod could help the attacking player keep the opponent in close range in order to deal more damage; but risking their own defence against shields.
When talking about survival / PvE I think the system would work in a very similar way to how the 1.9+ combat does. Since Knock-back and combos are not an important factor of this type of fighting.
All in all my idea would not only give players with more choices when it comes to combat. It would also create a sort-of weapon triangle with the secondary weapons where:
The fishing rod would win against the bow (since it wouldn’t be able to reload the arrow) and lose against the shield.
The bow would win against the shield (assuming the range and not taking into account the blocking arrow mechanic. But also taking that mechanic into account the opposing player wouldn’t be able to attack or it would risk being shot) and lose against the fishing rod.
The shield would lose against the bow and win against the fishing rod (Since it would stop the combos).
I apologize for any grammar / vocabulary mistakes I may have made
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