I just played a few games of Merc with halberd and started noticing that something was off when swinging into density (just normal horde density). Felt like good ol' phantom swings. Not my first time playing Merc (though it has been quite a bit ago I last played him) so I'm used to the halberd being an absolute lawnmower.
So, I went on the modded realm and tried to get a bit more info on what might be going on with the creature spawner. It's not that easy to replicate it and unfortunately I don't have video rn, too lazy. BUT you should be able to easily test it yourself. What I found was this:
Halberd is capable (on Merc atleast) to hit 5 slave rats without a crit. Maybe somebody knows from the weapon stats how much you hit since I don't know it by heart, but 5 should be a given. You also don't seem to ever get a phantom swing on a single lone rat (atleast I don't think so). However, try to place slaves in somewhat of an arc still in attack range, let's say 3 or 4. Let 2 of them be kinda stacked into each other/phasing into one another and also all 3/4 not too far apart. Sometimes, for whatever inexplicable reason, you just won't hit them all. Even if it clearly should have. If you don't move a bit from your position and swing in the exact same arc, you will hit the remaining rats you didn't hit the first time. Often what happens with 4 spawned rats (tried it with that the most) is that you'll only hit 2, sometimes only 3.
I can't consistently replicate it, and I'm not sure why. But it happens frequently enough to be noticeable during normal gameplay. It's not flukey, though inconsistent. So if you try it out, you'll have to try it many times to get it, don't think 10 times will cut it.
I don't remember this ever being an issue before 1.2.1 (didn't try merc in beta, don't know if it was already there). Since they did change how precision strikes work in the last patch, the connections seems obvious (if I'm right). This is a hugely annoying issue. Even though halberd is a top-tier weapon, it is hugely annoying to swing into the horde expecting to decimate it, only to phase through like 3 rats and only hit 2 or maybe even only 1. Hope anybody can confirm my findings or just quickly test it yourself. I'm 99% sure these phantom swings are there and pretty impactful, considering you can go from 5 hit targets to 2 (huge deal for horde clear on a char specifically built for horde clear).
Kinda long post and maybe better fit on Fatshark bug report, but wanna confirm if others have same experience? Hope formatting ok since first post on reddit.
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