Reviewing Chivalry will not be an easy task, so make yourself comfortable while I attempt to give as legible a testimony as possible. I warn you that this is going to be a long read.
Chivalry as a standalone product was released in September 2012, five years after its' initial debut. It had been known beforehand as "Age of Chivalry" - one of many Half Life 2 mods. Being officially accepted into the Steam market must have been an incredible experience for the developers, which really shows in the early builds of the game. The tutorial is one of the only things that remain untouched since the release, and I could really feel the enthusiasm. It's easily one of the best tutorials I've ever seen. The voice acting is phenomenal and the early maps look & play perfectly. The level of immersion was unreal, and I've yet to see anyone come close. I'd go as far as saying that the first few weeks one of the best experiences in my entire gaming career. Everyone was amazed at the fact that the combat system played so well, and that it actually worked in an online environment with up to 32 players.
The developers' enthusiasm carried on to make a few important patches, as well as new weapons. Unfortunately, however, all good things must come to an end.
At some point, Torn Banner decided to completely redo the hitbox system, into what is now known as the "bubble". They decided to fix something that wasn't broken - the hit detection. A crucial selling point of the game. Everyone opposed the change, everyone still hates it to this day, but the new system remains. You wouldn't think that changing cubic to spherical would make that much of a difference, but it did. Things were so bad that the developers decided to implement FAKE DISTANCE
between the players, in a game that's very much about spacing. I can't help but compare this move governments subsidizing things that don't work. Fake distance, multiplied by your ping, means that if an enemy is moving away from you, you cannot hit them with fists or daggers, and short weapons are worse in general. Longer weapons are completely unaffected.
The next decision was to make the claymore (the sword in the game's logo) stronger. Everyone preferred the slower, more damaging weapons to the faster but weaker claymore. Despite being one of the longest weapons in the game, they also made it one of the fastest, while still being able to kill anyone in 4 hits. This instantly promoted it from slightly below average to a game-breaking absurdity, and votekicked on sight. I'm sure Torn Banner will patch this.
Next up: customization. A very neat idea and executed quite well. One tiny little problem - both red and blue teams can wear a black uniform, they look almost identical. Are they going to patch it?
Somewhere around this time, Vanguards (the class with the longest weapons) became glitched, because their charge attack catapulted them forwards at least three times the distance, as if they had a jetpack. These rocket Vanguards were funny at first, though they did lose their charm after a month or two. When they finally fixed the issue, it turned out that the patch broke the audio, the graphics and toggle sprint. This took another few weeks to revert back to normal.
Introduction of microtransaction hats. Great! More revenue means more patches, right?
Introduction of microtransaction weapon reskins. Guys, can you fix the claymore?
Introduction of microtransatction character reskins. Guys?
Introduction of even more hats... I think I've seen this happen before.
In the meantime, people had discovered a bunch of exploits. Instantly striking with gigantic, slow weapons, feinting without any stamina cost, shrinking their hitbox to the size of a football or just about anything you can think of that defies both physics and proper game design. Most of the community have enough decency not to use the claymore (they don't want to be votekicked), but by now they've figured out what works best. As a result, you see very few of the 40+ weapons ingame.
This was the rise of incredibly arrogant "pro" players, who are on a mission to have the highest K/D ratio possible, and throwing tantrums if they take any team damage. It is enough to google "what's the best sword" or "how to glitch through blocks", and turn Chivalry into a game of lucky hit, because no honest man can defend against that in an online environment. These players can be overwhelmed due to their lack of fundamentals, but it just isn't worth it. At this point, the fun has been completely sucked out of the game.
You may have also heard about a game called Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior. A flawless concept, and the beta was tons of fun... only it remained a beta forever. It was released as DLC for 20$ and abandoned by the devs, because they couldn't get the netcode to work.
I find myself wondering what happened to this once fantastic, once indie game studio, and how they drove a perfectly good game into the ground, as well as failing to deliver such a promising sequel.
Hopefully, Torn Banner will attempt to improve the situation, but we all know that's not going to happen. Maybe a competent modder will do all the heavy lifting for them (for free).
You may see me ingame every now and then, but it's more for sentimental value than anything else. The new maps and other content is nice, but I'd much rather have 2012 Chivalry again.