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Following over 100 people asking, "Why do I keep losing at fencing?" Here is Aubery’s Simple Fencing Guide (For English Sailors Eyes Only):
There are 4 lessons that you need to learn:
Before the fight
You will stand a better chance when fencing if you start the fight with more crew, higher quality crew and better morale.
- Crew Quality:
- Ships boys (Useless ... they cry, die and tend to get in the way)
- Sailors (Average quality... nothing more to say)
- Veterans (Hardened sea dogs, the kind of men you want at your back in a fight)
Always hire the best crew that you can afford. The quality of the crew affects how quickly they die and how quickly their morale falters.
- Crew Quantity:
More is better in a fight (enough said), when you win a fight you can often pick up veterans from the enemy crew to boost your numbers.
- Crew Morale:
Keeping morale high is very important; you are not likely to win many fights if every one is crying with despair.
Winning Fights: Whenever you win a fencing match your crews pride in their captain is reflected in their morale. It automatically goes to 100 (max.)
Buying Rum: This is the most expensive way to raise morale, however it very effective and fast. You can either buy rum in a Pub, or use rum from your ships stores. Each use raises the crew’s morale by 10 up to 100 (max), the quantity of rum varies with the size of your crew. Some ports sell rum cheaper than others.
Hiring a Cook: A cook will feed the crew, tell them stories and slowly raise their morale. The better the cook the faster the morale goes up. The best that I have seen is 4.9, I recommend taking a cook with at least 2.0 skill on long voyages as anything lower only seems to slow down the rate that the crew loses morale.
Hiring a Soldier: Morale: a soldier will not raise the crew’s morale before a battle, but he help to keep it up once the battle has been joined. Fencing Skill: for each level of fencing skill, your condition is raised by 10 points. This is a great help in the heat of the battle. Fencing skill also seems to affect the amount of damage that you do (please confirm).
Starting the fight (Stat. = Number of Enemy Crew and their Morale)
Before engaging you should attempt to reduce the number of enemy sailors and their morale. You can identify their relative strength by targeting the vessel (T), and looking at the color of the crew symbol:
- Red = Stat. higher than you (You crew will start the fight angry or crying)
- Yellow = Stat. approximately equal to you (If you have more condition you should be able to win this fight)
- Green = Stat. worse than you (the enemy crew will start the fight angry or crying)
The best way to reduce the enemy’s crew and their morale is by shooting them with shatter ammo. It can take a while, but the crew color will change eventually.
A word of warning: Pirates tend to have higher condition and larger stat. than nation vessels of the same class.
Enemy starter harbors are a great place to earn your first few points of fencing, as there are lots of the nations NPC sloops and if you die you get a new sloop and 5000 cash from the enemy harbor.
Choice of weapon
There are 3 weapons to choose from:
- Cutlass (the slowest weapon, but it does the most damage)
- Sword (Medium speed, medium damage)
- Rapier (Fast speed, low damage)
Which weapon to use really depends on how you plan to fight the battle. If you expect to have more condition than the enemy and just plan to hack and slash until they surrender then either a cutlass or a sword is best to use.
If you plan on facing an equal or larger opponent and hope to win by surviving until the opponent’s crew looses morale and starts crying then a sword or a rapier is the best choice.
The start of the battle - Scoring some free hits:
Rush forwards as far as you can before engaging the opponent. This will give you enough space to score 3 free hits and score the fourth before the opponent can respond. This takes practice, as it requires good timing.
As the enemy steps forward attack (left mouse button), then retreat a step. You should be able to hit him and retreat before he can hit you back. Keep repeating this until you are backed up to the side (Obviously you can do more free damage with a cutlass, than with a rapier).
Winning the battle:
OK, now it gets interesting...
If you are ahead on condition and don't mind ending the battle injured:
Hold down the left mouse button and keep attacking. He will score a hit back for every time you hit him, but he will be reduced to 1 health and will surrender first. I have not seen any difference in damage between different hit locations. However when a ship has just shot you up lots stabbing its captain in the groin lots seems fair game. (Comments on location damage?)
If you are behind on condition or want to be at peak health for the next fight:
Parrying is really quite simple and sensible. (If you do not want to be stabbed by the person holding the sharp pointy thing, then block - obvious really). Parrying buys your crew time to kill the opponent’s and make them cry. As soon as the opponent's crew starts crying you will only need to score 1 or 2 hits and he will surrender no matter what his condition is in.
The art of parrying:
To parry use the right mouse button, I recommend just holding it in.
You can either parry high or low:
- High - Right button held in move the point over your shoulders (up)
- Low - Right button held in move the mouse pointer over your feet (down)
Knowing when to parry - you can actually see where the opponent will attack by watching his arm.
- HIGH: If attacking high then the arm extends forward.
- LOW: When attacking low the arm (and body posture) dips down.
As soon as he moves his arm, move the mouse high or low as appropriate to block.
Waiting it out: It can take a while for your crew to kill of 300 men and make them cry for their mothers. Just keep parrying and have some patience. You had plenty of patience when you were shooting his ship and reducing his crew, this is just like that. When the enemy's morale goes angry you are getting somewhere, as soon as it drops to crying start attacking and enjoy your relatively painless victory.