On February 6th, Slow Down when swinging was removed
This caused the sword combat behaviors to spiral into a messy, non tactful sword play where players eagerly and constantly mash their swing button, while running at their opponents with no thought. For a Brief period, the block function did not work with this change sometimes. They eventually fixed blocking, but that still did not help.
Because since then, blocking attacks was a detriment due to how someone swinging at you could run around and hop in full speed while you are forced to keep pace with your blocking, standing completely still. This also inadvertently made it more difficult for Controller users.
The developers did not see these dynamics.
This is still present.
(They also added the gun switch delay during the same time)
To balance the sword more, they added No sword combo-ing on environment.
A change wanted since before 6th of February. This change nerfed the crazy button mash of sword combating, but only a little. As it did not really penalize the players.
Before the 6th of Feb, players would sword combo into moving slow. This was obviously undesirable, and why this change would be the better fit to come out before the drastic No Slowdown on swinging change.
To truly nerf the sword. They added Longer cooldown when missing a Swing.
The sword was obviously overpowered, the guns were less desired and had their own problems, However. This change was still doing very little to simmer down the power of the sword. Because of how hitting the environment gave a differing cooldown from missing completely.
You can try this yourself.
Even for charge attacks, missing completely versus hitting the environment have different properties that are still present.
As of the Seabound soul update, I missed this:
Hitting the environment with a sword strike will now correctly classify as a miss and delay the player from striking again for the full cooldown.
They did something! But a bit too late for me I feel. This mostly affects charge attacks hitting the environment as you wont be able to dodge hop out of the halt. This will force players to make use of the next section which they need to fix, and I pleaded them to fix ever since they added it.
Due to the differing cooldowns, and the terrible feedback of the animation when missing completely, players found themselves having a hard time switching off of the sword and into something more useful like their food (banana).
Without any Insider Testing, they released Switching from Sword Any time...
This has helped the frustrated players who did not get to switch away from the sword, and also gave others a Win button.
On the very first day, as soon as I spawned in the tavern, on simply reading the patch notes, I found out that you can now do the Shovel Trick with the sword. This granted exploiters a Vortex that combos into infinite strikes, as well as Macro or Practiced techniques where you Strike Twice, Block-Hop through your opponent and behind them to repeat the cycle.
This is also still present.
With the added fix from the section above, I bet you this will be the new "exploit"/"Feature" discussion that you guys will have.
Ever since then, the sword has not been touched directly as the balance between the guns and the sword seemed to have balanced out, mostly due to the guns, but things are still shaky as many of the issues and more are still present.
This whole sword combat Balance is like a wobbly Jenga tower.
Hit reg fixes for the sword gave the range of strikes more consistency.
A general fix between the gun and the sword where things should be more consistent. For the sword, it did not change much of the current dynamics. Players outed frustrations for not catching other players, or being caught in a stun. Despite the fact that mid-air pirates still cannot be halted, things did get a bit more consistent with the expectancy in Range, and the footsies.
Ever since that first sword change...
Countless videos and gameplays from other players with sword combat, I noticed a huge lack of vision and awareness. The player swings wildly in hopes to hit. This was not the case previously (before the 6th of February). This is all due to the Dynamics and how players are encouraged to constantly jump before being halted by a stun, and the speed at which the opposing pirate runs out of the Field of View. This all creates a very Visually mess of fights as well. That slowdown prevented these kinds of things from happening.
The blocking, the vision, the ease of use and then counter-playing was much more apparent with the slowdown. The gun changes would have been better if the sword wouldn't have changed, but they did both. Which caused a reactionary slew of patches to the sword that eventually lead to this mess. A passable mess, but no longer as fun and dueling as the Old sword. Just that slowdown was a very big component to the balance of the weapon, its ridiculous how different this weapon is from then.
The Insider sword change that did not last a Week.
A big while ago, I lost all hopes on the melee combat ambition of Sea of Thieves when I got to witness and try a terrible sword change worse than anything we have gotten. Nobody on the Insider forums liked it, and the developers retracted it quickly. I essentially gave up on the game as this was evidence to me that they had very little ideas on how to improve melee.
And I pretty much did give up. I played the game long enough to be satisfied and was afraid that a Live service would do something like this ever since release. My fears came through and now im one of the skeletons that spawn which you will shatter.
Now I only get the pleasure of talking about the sword change for this one last time.