I started playing Oblivion a couple of weeks ago and one thing that I absolutely love about that game is the fact that I can cast a spell without the need to switch weapons and lose my defense, something that is not possible in Skyrim. In Skyrim I love the fact that I can dual-wield spells, giving mage characters more variety on how to approach combat. Both games have benefits and drawbacks when it comes to combat and lately I have been thinking what can be modified/added to improve this aspect of the game and I think I found the answer: Sidearm Combat.
Sidearm Combat basically gives you one more slot in which you can equip weapons or spells without interfering with your right and left hand. When it comes to weapons there will be only specific ones you can equip in your off-hand, and this is because each weapon will perform a different action, making sidearm weapons feel unique and different from traditional TES weapons you will equip in your left and right hands.
These are some examples of sidearm weapons I came up with:
- Shortsword – what I did here is I split the traditional TES Sword into 2 catagories: Shortsword for the sidearm weapon and Longsword for the traditional weapon. The shortsword is a weaker version of a longsword, being able to unsheathe your shortsword and fight with it for a maximum of 10seconds (you can put it away whenever you want though), you can also block with it. This weapon could work perfectly with a bow, if an enemy gets too close draw your shortsword and deal with him/her no problem.
- Hammer – just a regular and small hammer. It will have a small range, but if you hit your enemy it will be stunned for a couple of seconds.
- Wakazashi – this small katana will allow you to do a simple but effective dash attack, perfect for fast combat characters and surprising your enemy. This weapon could work flawlessly with a two-handed Katana, this way being able to play a samurai daisho character.
- Shortbow – just like the swords, I split the bows into 2 catagories: Shortbow for the sidearm weapon and Longbow for the traditional weapon. The shortbow has weaker damage and range than the longbow, but it could be useful if you want to get a couple of shots on your enemy from the distance before charging in on them.
- Pocketbow – the pocketbow is just a smaller version of the regular crossbow (like the one Geralt from The Witcher III uses). It also has the same properties as the shortsword and shortbow.
- Throwing Weapons – I feel like putting the throwing weapons as sidearm weapons will work perfectly. These could be plenty: shuriken, throwing knives, throwing hatchets, throwing spears, chakram, kunai, exploding bombs etc.
- Light Shield – this will only work if they add back the light/medium/heavy armor system. Medium and heavy shields can only be equipped in your left hand and the light shield only as a sidearm shield. From a design perspective the light shield will be round and small, and attached to your left forearm with 2 leather straps leaving your left hand empty. The light shield will be very useful for those who want to dual-wield sword/axes/destruction magic but still want a way to defend themselves.
When it comes to magic, I feel like there should't be sidearm spells because of redundancy. For an example, let's say we already have flames in TESVI as a novice fire spell, it would be stupid to try to re-create a sidearm novice flame spell because it will end up being the same thing. So with magic you are able to place in your off-hand any novice/apprentice/adept spell you like, maybe even expert who knows, just as long as it's not a two-hand spell. And to further improve this system there can be multiple perks that can expand the number of spells that can be put in your off-hand, what they do, how they react, the damage that they do etc.
This change to the combat system would work perfectly with the TES universe, bringing a lot of depth to how you want to approach combat without straying too far away from home. There would be a lot of combinations of weapons and spells which will keep the players interested in trying and testing new possibilities. Because we even saw a similar system in Oblivion with spells I think it would actually be easy to implement and could be a lot of fun.
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