Explaination[edit | edit source]
This technique is a form of Hitbox Manipulation and actually discusses these while executing stabs.
"Drag" is the coined term for hitbox manipulation and actually includes more than just stabs,
it includes things like moving slashing weapons faster to increase node to node length and therefore increasing damage, as well as increasing area coverage with the sword.
Overview[edit | edit source]
A drag is a special, subtle type of stab performed by having a stab travel in ways that affects the hitbox of the weapon and can even fake out your enemy. It is named for the mouse movement performed to execute this kind of stab; the mouse is dragged or pulled across the surface in any direction, or set of directions (they can even draw shapes if they so wanted). Players use this kind of stab in combat to "go around" the enemy's shield or parry. The drag can come in many varieties and is extremely useful at even the top tier combat. Drag-stabs are easier to perform with slower stabbing weapons and with weapons which spend a long time extended during the stab.
The drag-stab moves in an arc, and forms node to node connections very similar to a slash, covering more area in space making it easier to hit the target and often providing large speed bonus. The drag-stab also moves around a parry or shield block, if the parrying player is looking directly at the enemy. Traditional stabs typically move straight at a player, but with a drag-stab they can arc around the players weapon.
Drag-stabs are also very subtle. Players who are semi-experienced with drag stabs typically start by aiming a little off to the left or right and move their mouse in towards the enemy during the stab. A player may also perform an extremely wide drag and start looking way off to the right or left and come in towards their enemy. This is more obvious but can be more useful in "totally" going around a player's parry and used to get a big speed bonus. The third kind of drag is where a player quickly moves their mouse back and forth during the stab. This type of drag is really good for circumventing a player who knows how to parry a drag-stab. An additional drag type is where the stab moves in a circle.
Drag-stabs can also be used to fake your direction. Remember that drag-stabs do not have to travel linearly. A good parrying player can anticipate most linear drag-stabs and might even be able to see some of the common switch ups and parry or block them, but if you actively avoid or fake him into turning you can go far around their parry and come back in on the other side with an easy hit.
Parrying a drag-stab is difficult and requires you to be very attentive and experienced. Different weapons also must be parried in a slightly different fashion too. Generally speaking, the best way to block a drag-stab going from your left to the right is to rotate left during your parry. Being attacked by longer weapons seems to require you to rotate less. Other shorter weapons, such as the boar spear, may require you to rotate a full 90 degrees or more. Subtle drags also tend to need a little less rotation in your parry. However, many drag-stabs look tiny and still require significant rotation. You are often better off over-reacting and making a large turn.
Countering[edit | edit source]
With the partisan you must stare at the blade of the partisan. Parrying a partisan also has a high reward as the weapon attack is semi-slow and you can typically get in a good swing while they are stunned. If you see an enemy preparing a stab and it is pointed off to the left or right, expect a drag-stab, probably a linear one. It may be a good idea to turn a little and stare at the partisan blade, with both your eyes and your character. When your enemy "releases" the stab, at max range it may only take a ~30-45 degree rotation to block it. If the enemy rushes in and gets unusually close it may take a larger rotation on your character to block it. This is because some drag-stabs appear to hit you with the side of the weapon, rather than the point, but still do full piercing damage even though the majority of the weapon appears to have passed you.
Blocking a drag-stab using a shield is performed in a similar fashion, but is much more difficult and causes no stun like the parry does. This makes it more of a high risk, low reward situation in a duel. However in a battle, the shield is more of a teamwork tool, and while one guy tanks hits with his shield the other can come attack. Shields are also more vulnerable as the smaller ones offer little protection to the legs and head.
The wiggle drag is very difficult to block, and is somewhat chance based. The wiggle drag operates like a normal drag-stab, but in a sort of way, especially if your ping is high. The attack is blocked the same way as a drag-stab, but you have to turn the direction that the weapon's head is coming back at you from when it is actually in range to hit you.
Besides that, there are tricks for avoiding the wiggle drag, or the similar circle drag. If you strafe the player will have to follow you (with their aim) and it turns a wiggle drag into a good old, drag-stab, which can be parried in the fashioned explained above. One of the worst things you can do when fighting an opponent who wiggle-drags or circle-drags is to stand still or move straight towards or away from them.
Community Opinion[edit | edit source]
The drag-stab is a lesser known combat technique.
Some of the drag-stabs also do not seem to operate along the rules of basic physics. Piercing causes damage by applying force on a single point, but many of the drag stabs performed glance with the side of the spearhead, not the point, which should cause minimal damage, at worst a shallow slice to bare flesh. Wiggle drags also make less sense, because a large weapon, such as the partisan, is a long lever, and rotating long levers quickly and countering its own momentum takes tremendous strength.
Many players think drag-stabs "break" combat, they often make shields useless, and make some attacks unavoidable. The wiggle drag is also especially hated because it often feels like it is impossible to counter. Experienced player can parry them and they can be blocked with a shield, wiggle drags and circle drags are frustrating because they are extremely difficult to parry and nearly impossible to block with a shield.
Some drags move faster than the player can turn, and drags can be moved fast enough to avoid blocks, but still hit players. In some ways, drag-stabs resemble the old switch hitting mechanic that still hasn't been fully fixed.
One possible solution might be to lower the player's rotation after a fraction of a second (maybe a 1/3 of a second) after the stab has been executed. This might at least reduce wiggle stabs effectiveness while still letting players stab opponents who try to side step the stab. Another might be to lock the player's animation so the camera keeps moving but not the player. Possibly another might be to add in a momentum mechanic to the game, where nodes are predicted along their current trajectory, and if the actual movement deviates significantly from the predicted path damage could be heavily reduced, or a negative speed bonus be provided.