Make knights cry. This is a guide on how to use crossbows in Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. It starts out with the basics for anyone just beginning to use the crossbow. Further down it gets into advanced tactics and movement prediction.
"I became a knight killing machine after following this guide!"
"I became a knight killing machine after following this guide!"
Crossbows and bows each have advantages over one another. This guide only covers crossbows, but you should be aware of the differences between crossbows and bows.
Crossbows shoot bolts at a higher velocity than bows shoot arrows. When you use a crossbow you don't have to lead targets as much and you have more range than you do with a bow.
You have to reload crossbows between shots and when you reload a crossbow you can't move, but once you have it loaded you can move around at normal speeds. You can also switch to your sword and switch back to the crossbow and it will be ready to fire. And while you are aiming a crossbow you can still move at normal walking speed.
When you draw a bow back and while you have it drawn you move a little slower than normal walking speed depending on which bow you're using. You can't quickly switch from a sword to a bow and fire off a shot, you have to draw it back before you can fire.
Drawing a bow back doesn't take long though. It takes a lot longer to reload a crossbow than to draw a bow back, especially for the medium and heavy crossbows.
Even if you solely use crossbows it is good to know the advantages and disadvantages, especially when facing off against enemy archers.
There are three types of crossbows to choose from, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The first crossbow and only crossbow unlocked by default is the medium crossbow. It has pretty good power. It can one shot archers with a hit to the torso. This makes it a pretty good weapon against other archers. It can also kill anything but a knight with a single headshot. The reload on it is fairly slow though. It is better to keep a fair distance and use it as a sniping weapon.
The second crossbow is the light crossbow. A shot to the torso doesn't kill any class in one hit. It takes two torso shots to kill men at arms and archers so it isn't the best anti-archer weapon. But it can still kill any class except the knight with a headshot. The light crossbow has a very fast reload time and you can aim down the sites faster than with the other crossbows. This makes it viable for closer ranged combat and typically the best crossbow for attacking in team objective maps. Since you can fire off shots so quickly it is great for assisting teammates and finishing off enemies. You just have to be prepared to use your melee or go for headshots in one on one close quarters situations, but if you keep an eye out and see the enemy coming you often have time to reload and take a second shot.
The heavy crossbow is the most powerful equipable weapon in the game. It can 1 hit kill any class with a headshot and kill men at arms and archers with a single shot to the torso. It takes forever to reload though. You actually have to bend over and crank it to reload. It also takes a bit longer to aim down the sights. Because of this it is good to keep your distance from enemies and it is best used for sniping. It is great for defending in team objective maps. It is also the easiest to hit targets with because it has the fastest projectile speed and longest range. It is great for killing enemy archers because you can out range them. You just have to make sure you make every shot count because it takes so long to reload.
The light crossbow is typically the best for attacking in team objective maps because you need to constantly push forward and assist your teammates. When you are defending the heavy crossbow often works better because you can stay in the same spot defending the objective. The medium crossbow is also pretty good for defending until you unlock the heavy crossbow. For LTS, TDM, and FFA games it depends on the map, number of players, and their classes for which crossbow is the best. Each crossbow caters to a different play style.
Mouse settings are extremely important when it comes to aiming. Bad mouse settings can hold you back from unlocking your true potential. A lot of people use bad mouse settings and don't even realize it. People get used to bad settings and are afraid to change, but most people become better than they were after only a few hours of playing with the new settings. If you want to have the best possible mouse settings check out my pro gaming mouse guide, it will improve your aim.
Lower sensitivities make it easier to aim but harder to make quick turns and drags when using melee weapons. You can either find a nice balance between the two or use two different sensitivities in the game. A lot of gaming mice have buttons that allow you to quickly change your DPI at any time. You may want to use this to increase your DPI when you are meleeing and decrease it when you are using the crossbow to make aiming easier. It is also possible to bind keys to change your sensitivity using third party macro programs or with some advanced editing of your UDKInput.ini file.
You can adjust your sensitivity in Chivalry from the main menu by going to configuration then input. Make sure you have mouse smoothing unchecked. Mouse smoothing smooths out your mouse movements instead of using your exact mouse movements which will make your aiming less accurate. For increased accuracy you can lower your sensitivity below what the GUI allows by using the sensitivity command in the console or editing the sensitivity value in your UDKInput.ini file. I use an in-game sensitivity of 1.0 and 3600 DPI on my mouse which equates to about 14 inches of mouse movement to perform a full 360 degree turn. I increase my DPI to 7200 when I need to focus on melee fighting which is about 7 inches of mouse movement for a full 360 degree turn.
When you are looking around without aiming you can turn as fast as you want, but when you are in the firing position and aiming with your crossbow the game limits how fast you can turn and aim. This makes it impossible to do a quick 180 and shoot someone behind you while aiming. If you want to do a quick 180 you have to stay unaimed, turn, then aim just as you are looking at your target. It is faster to to track targets general position without aiming and only aim when you are ready to shoot.
The bolt fired from a crossbow does not instantaneously hit its target. It has an actual speed and takes time to travel to its target so you have to lead people if they are moving, even at close range. The bolt is also affected by gravity and will drop as it travels further. You have to aim above targets that are farther away.
The default key for zooming in is left-alt. Once you are aiming you can hold left-alt to zoom in which helps a lot when taking high precision shots. You can also change how far your view is zoomed in by changing your field of view (fov) in the video configuration. The options allow you to set it anywhere from 60 to 120 degrees. A higher fov gives you more of a peripheral vision so you can see enemies coming from the sides, but a lower fov allows you to see things farther away. When you zoom in with a higher fov setting it does not zoom in as far as with a lower setting which gives you a disadvantage when using a high fov. To get around this you can edit your UDKInput.ini file to lower your fov when you are zoomed increase it when you unzoom.
If you hold middle mouse button after you shoot a bolt your camera will follow the bolt. This can be a valuable tool when taking long range shots to adjust your aim. It is also useful just shooting high above the map and seeing where the enemies are. This is easier to do with the light crossbow because its projectile velocity is slower.
You can choose between the pavise shield or extra ammo when picking your load out with the crossbow. In almost every situation it is better to have the shield than the extra ammo. The pavise shield will protect you from projectiles such as arrows, bolts, throwing knives, and throwing axes,
The pavise shield doesn't work like the other shields in the game. You can't hold it in your arm, you either have it on your back or you stick it in the ground and can hide behind it. The default key for sticking it in the ground is 3 and you can pick it back up by pressing e. You only get one shield so you need to be careful with it. Ammo crates will not replenish your shield.
A shield stuck in the ground will break after being hit a couple times with a melee weapon. Pavise shields you placed on the ground will disappear as soon as you die. Sometimes you can temporarily block off small areas by placing your shield there and shooting anyone that tries to break it, but it is generally better to just keep it on your back.
When you reload a crossbow turn around, crouch, and look up. The shield on your back will protect you from any projectiles coming from behind. It is generally better to keep the pavise shield on your back at all times because of this. If you are running away with the shield on your back it will protect your upper body and if you look up while you run it will protect a little more of your legs.
A good tactic against enemy archers is to turn your back to them just as they fire so that their arrow or bolt will hit your shield. After they shoot you can turn around and take a shot at them without worrying about being hit. You can do the same thing against other classes when they throw knives and axes.
Shields often glitch when you place them in the ground and will instantly break. This usually happens because it is too close to someone or it is on uneven ground.
You can use the shield to get into spawns and other areas you aren't supposed to. If you stand with your back to the area then walk backwards and jump as you place the shield sometimes it will push you up and you can jump off your shield up into that area.
After you use a catapult or a ballista with a shield on your back the shield model will glitch and sometimes it will obstruct part of your view. It doesn't effect anything in a major way but it can be distracting.
One of the most important things for archers is positioning. If you are in a good spot shots will be a lot easier to make and you can help your team out a lot more.
Long and narrow paths where people have to run straight at you are great spots. It is much easier to hit someone running straight towards you than if they are running perpendicular to you.
You also want to be able to see where people are coming from a good distance away. Usually the higher the spot the better. You have more time to shoot people or reposition yourself if you can see them coming from further away.
It is a good idea to keep objectives in your view or setup near an objective when defending in team objective maps. Most of the enemies are going to be heading toward the objectives.
You want to be as hidden and as sneaky as possible when you're an archer. If people don't know you are aiming for them they won't try to dodge you. It is much easier to hit someone running in a straight line.
It is generally better to stay to the left side of maps. When people have shields they run with them in their left arms, so if you are facing someone and they are to the right of you their shield won't block as much of their body.
Generally you want to avoid close quarters combat as an archer, but you will often be forced into it to help your teammates or to defend yourself against charging enemies.
It is a good idea to take your sword out before an enemy hits you. If you get hit by an enemy you will be stunned and can't shoot your crossbow right away. By the time you can shoot they will be able to hit you again. If you take your sword out in time you'll have a chance to parry their attack.
The other classes have the advantage over archers in melee situations. Men at arms are quicker, vanguards and knights have more health, and they all have better melee weapons. It is best to avoid one on one situations with other classes unless they are severely injured. Try to hold them off as you make your way to teammates.
Don't be afraid to help teammates to double team enemies. If you have already shot it is often more useful to take out your sword and help instead of reloading. If you're using the light crossbow you can often reload quickly enough to take a shot at an enemy, but if you're using the heavy or medium crossbows it is usually more helpful if you join in the melee because the fight will be over before you finish reloading.
Shields are often the best counter to archers. When someone is approaching you with a shield the best thing to do is usually shoot them in the foot. That way they will have less health if you are forced to melee them. Against noobs you can sometimes wait until they swing and shoot them in the head, but good players will just shield bash you which stuns you and you won't be able to get a shot off. You can't shoot someone's head even if they have their shield tilted downwards. Your crossbow is still lower than the top of their shield and has to travel at an angle to go up so the shield covers more of their head than it looks like it does. If you have a good high ground advantage you can sometimes hit the top of their head, but if you are on even ground you can't.
If you can't get a good shot on someone approaching you it can be better to draw your melee weapon and save the shot for later. Fight them with a goal of getting some separation then whip out your crossbow and shoot them when they aren't ready for it.
When you are approaching enemies around corners you should keep your crossbow aimed right at the edge of the corner and at head level. Then as you are rounding the corner when an enemy comes into view your crosshair will already be aimed at their head and all you need to do is pull the trigger. You will kill them before they have time to react.
One of the hardest and most rewarding things is hitting a seemingly randomly moving target by predicting its movements.
Hitting someone running in a straight line is fairly easy once you get used to the speed everything moves. Recognizing how far you have to lead someone based on how far away they are, the angle they are running, and the speed of your bolt just takes a while to get used to. As you play more you will eventually be able to perfectly hit any target moving in a constant direction. It just takes some time and practice.
The most challenging targets to hit are players that see you and move erratically to avoid your shots. It may seem like they are moving randomly, but there is always a pattern. Your ability to pick out these patterns is what will set you apart from other archers.
The biggest give away to how someone moves is what their goal is. Are they trying to make their way to the objective? Are they trying to kill someone? Are they trying to kill you? Once you figure this out you will have a better idea of the path they will take. They may zigzag but the general direction they move will be towards their goal. You should adjust your aim knowing they're going to move in that direction more.
When people zigzag they spend most of their time at the edges as they change directions. They also tend to have a fairly constant time span between each direction change. A good time to shoot is at the edge of their zag. As they change directions shoot at the inside of their body and they will run right into your bolt.
Some people randomly jump as they run so you either miss them or hit them in the legs. These people are actually easier to hit because they can't change directions while they are in the air. Just wait till they jump then aim where they will land for an easy hit.
A good tactic for people with lightning fast reflexes is to listen for your shot then instantly jump right after you shoot. This tactic is especially common with men at arms and is a lot harder harder to deal with than random jumpers. If you know someone is a jumper aim for their head. Then when they jump you'll hit them in the chest instead of hitting them in the leg which does a lot less damage.
Sometimes people will duck, but this is less common because when you duck you slow down and it makes you easier to hit.
When people are in melee combat they tend to stop as they swing. Look at who they are fighting and judge where they will collide with them. Just be careful not to shoot your teammate. It is better if you keep the enemy between you and the teammate he is fighting. Good teammates will keep this in mind when they are fighting, but good enemies will too. If you have good teamwork you can do things like have your teammate duck as you take a shot.
Archers usually have the easiest movements to predict. When archers are behind something they need to peak around it to take a shot. Archers often get into rhythms with their shots and you can catch on to the timing of when they will peak. There are usually only a couple spots they can peak from and you can usually get a good idea which spot they will peak out of. You need to time your shot so it arrives just as they peak.
Bow archers need to draw their bow back in order to shoot and they move slower with a drawn bow. When archers draw their bow back they slow down and usually move in the same direction because they are concentrating on their shot which makes it the perfect time for you to shoot them.
When good crossbow archers reload they have their back turned so their shields protect them. But the first thing they typically do once they finish reloading is turn around. If you time your shot right you can hit them just as they turn around.