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The way I see it, Player vs Mob combat is fine - The player is at a nice advantage, you aren't likely to die from 1 mob (except creeper), and it doesn't take much time. However, Player vs Player works in the opposite. When two people decide to get into a duel to the death, or two groups decide to fight each other, the whole thing lasts about 30 seconds or less. Not much fun.
First, add a better blocking system. I propose that when you right click with a sword, you are actually going to set up a block that needs to be in the right spot in order to successfully block. So, now, while right clicking with a sword, instead of controlling where you are looking with your mouse, you are controlling how your sword is blocking by circling it around a fixed point. Same with attacking with a sword, except with a different button.
If swords meet like this: -|- and one is blocking, it is blocked. If they meet so they are more or less perpendicular, no need to get specific, it is blocked. Mobs would have a similar effect, i.e a spider jumps at a particular spot, zombies bash their arms in a specific direction, etc, etc. When an attack is blocked, the attacker is turned to either side a random but reasonable amount to allow the blocker to reap his just rewards, though if the failed attacker is quick he may be able to turn back in time to block the blow. The block can also be used to block an arrow if in the right location relative to the arrow, though this will be hard
However, this method obviously isn't going to work with the current combat system. Rapid clicking enemies will just quickly adjust and pummel you until eventually you miss a block, which won't take long. So, to fix this, I propose attack with a sword takes some time to "pull back" or whatever. That gives each person time to set up a block or start pulling back for a counter attack.
When the fight is over, you simply release the button to go back to controlling the viewpoint with your mouse.
Also possible would be a kick attack, which would do very little damage but have longer knockback, allowing for a possible kick then strike after a successful block.
Personally, I think that this will greatly enhance the minecraft combat system, which is in itself boring because it takes virtually no skill, just run up and rapid click. With this, you will need skill, timing, etc, instead of just a quick hand. This idea will also open the groundwork for more varied weapons like battle axes that attack at different rates but do differing amounts of damage, and shields, which may be able to do very little damage with a bash, but are much easier to block with.
Alternatively, this could be done with different buttons representing different attacks, i.e. G = upper left swing, H = upper right swing, etc, and then when you are right clicking it is the same except you block in those locations.
TL;DR / Recap
First, you would press the focus button, or whatever it would be called. This would focus your viewpoint so that you adjust your attack/block angle instead of the direction you would be looking
Instead of swinging the sword instantly when the left mouse is clicked, there would be a quick "draw back" animation before the actual strike happens. This would allow for your enemy to have to time attempt to block it.
In order for that to happen, I suppose there would need to be a similar effect for mobs, i.e. zombie needs to draw back a punch, spider needs to retract in order to pounce again, etc.
If anyone wants to make a mod for this, I'd be grateful. My Java skills aren't too great
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