I do not remember where I found it, but I remember reading something written by the valheim devs where they said that one of the things they want to change with the combat system is bows. They said that, as bows currently are, they are a bit overpowered. Personally, I could not agree with this more. Since then, I have been thinking about what the best way to make bows a little less OP would be. Currently, they’re just a safer way to kill enemies. You can approach them in melee and risk getting hit and possibly dying, or you can just cheese them from a range and not risk death. To help my proposed solutions to this problem make more sense, I will also talk about the two types of situations in which it is very easy to cheese enemies with a bow.
The first situation is when you’re on top of something. In most biomes, it is very easy to find places where you can stand on top of something and render all attacking enemies helpless as you fire at them. Sometimes, the enemies will have archers (or other ranged enemies) with them, but that doesn’t seem to happen very often. And even when it does happen, the enemies’ ranged attacks are usually very easy to dodge (at least in my experience). The obvious solution to this would be to make the enemies capable of doing things like climbing rocks, but I think that a much easier solution would be to make using hundreds of arrows be not as convenient. For example, you could make the current recipes which create arrows make 8 arrows (since they cost 8 wood) instead of 20. You could also discourage players from carrying hundreds of arrows by making it so that you can only fit 20 arrows in a single inventory slot (rather than 100). Of course, this might not be the best way to discourage players from carrying tons of arrows, as inventory management is already a pain, but personally, I would think twice about carrying 200 arrows if doing so would me cost 10 inventory slots. If you wanted to further encourage players to not carry hundreds of arrows at a time, you could make fired arrows retrievable.
The second situation is when an enemy is advancing towards you and you’re backing away from it. Currently, drawing back an arrow (as far as I’ve been able to tell) doesn’t slow your movement speed. Because of this, players can simply keep backing away from the enemy and keep firing at it. Of course, the enemy will (most of the time) eventually catch up to the player (since walking backwards is slower than walking forwards), but in my experience, they tend to be dead by the time that happens. I think that drawing back as arrow should slow the player’s movement speed by at least 50%, maybe more.
There is one more problem with bows that I think should be addressed, and it is the bow skill. For melee weapons, their skill causes more damage to be done, and less stamina to be used. For bows, their skill causes more damage to be done, and their draw time to be decreased. Basically, melee weapons start to cost less stamina and bows can be used faster the more skill you have in them, in addition to both of their damage values being increased. The problem with this is that it’s not a balanced tradeoff, and this is because the amount of stamina that bows cost to use is directly proportional to the time you spend drawing it back. This makes it so that, at higher levels, bows have way more DPS than other weapons, while still costing less stamina to use. My proposed solution to this is the obvious one, make the bow skill lower the stamina cost, not the draw time.
If anyone has any more ideas to help make bows more balanced compared to other weapons, I would be interested in hearing them. What do you think of my ideas? Do you like them as is, or do you think something about them can be improved? I would love to hear people’s thoughts! Also, if you’ve read this far, thanks for your time!