Curious about people’s opinion about the change on the knife spear to FRAGILE_MELEE

There’s been a lot of backlash about it from both sides regarding the nerf to make it more breakable and I was curious just how many people were on both sides. I personally have no opinion about it because I start the game with high fabrication so I’m able to skip the knife spear and skip straight to the forked spear.

  • Pro Nerd
  • Anti Nerf

0 voters


There is currently a crusade going on against spears because they are simple and effective weapons.

Amusingly, we were told to use wooden spears instead of knife spears if we wanted earlygame weapons, and some digging in the jsons shows something quite funny. Making a power supply out of scrap is easier than making a sharp piece of wood. A shortbow is equally difficult. A grenade is equally difficult. A handmade shotgun is the same difficulty as sharpening a damn stick.

IRL spears were not incredibly common just because they are easy to make - they required very little training and were highly effective against things with shorter reach. Meanwhile they are getting nerfed because they are accurate to reality. The plan to have zombies get stuck on them and force themselves forward would have been more than enough of a nerf, instead people are trying to force them to be even slower (IRL spears are not anywhere near as slow) and break incredibly quickly.

So instead we get ‘selective realism’ where tedious and annoying realism is ok, but effective realism is not? Fortunately this is something easily fixed in this particular case. Quick mod to un-nerf knifespear, and pre-emptively un-nerf forked spear:


Good reply, nice and concise. Thanks!

Thanks for your bug report, you can expect skill requirement increases to all of those soon.


Cataclysm: Breath of the Wild? :wink:


I think the overall change is good, but the spear just breaks down to fast. If it could last for twice the hits it would be great.

I also feel its going to simply result in people carrying around more spears rather, with little meaningful game play changes.

Teheh good first contribution?


I agree that spears a super useful IRL for good reason and should be a preferred weapon in survival situations. My head canon though questions how in the world they would ever be effective against zombies where the only vital part is the brain without a chain link fence/bars to hold them at bay. You have very limited targets since you need to hit an eye socket, straight through the nose, or through the mouth/lower skull. You either have a guard to prevent the corpse walking down the shaft or they’d be useless if you hit anything other than the brain.

I’d prefer spears to work as a means of maintaining standoff with anything undead. Stab it in the torso and either you are strong enough to prevent the monster from approaching or the monster pushes you back a tile as it approaches. Skill check would be if you can maintain footing while being pressed back or if you fall backwards on your back. Its what I’ve been told you do when hunting boars, pin it, grasp shaft to maintain spacing, press it to the ground, let it wear itself out/bleed, slit its throat when its exhausted. The only way you prevent being gored is maintaining spacing.

Taping/tying a knife to a pole should probably fail quickly, I don’t think that is a bad thing though. Thinking every broom stick would last for more than a day with an adult hitting things as hard as they can seems silly.

I did alot of research on spears last night, general consensus was that spears were usually only used at range, vs cavalry and were actually pretty fragile and broke during their first engagement. If anything got past the range of the spear they would have dropped them and switched to their axes /swords. They were mostly used due to the fact they required little training to use.

I’m not saying you’re wrong, but Greek hoplites famously used spears, against other infantry, and in fairly extended developments. Similarly, light cavalry lancers (I’m thinking of the Polish hussars but there were others like the British Light Brigade) used spears to repeatedly stab fleeing infantrymen and even had training drills to practice stabbing people and clearing the weapon if it got stuck.

Did your research cover them and if so, how did it account for them versus the “fragile spears” concept?


I personally don’t feel strongly either way. I understand the desire to nerf, as I personally feel the “standard” game is a bit easy. But It’s also easy to see how a weapon that some people like so much become inviable to their play style be upsetting.

About the spears not being effective against zombies because they would have to either hit the eye socket or the thin line connecting the brain to the body, I don’t think it’s fair. I believe the game lore doesn’t work that way, otherwise most weapons that are not cut or bash should be nerfed to the ground. And only headshots should count…

If there is a way to make the pierce/cut damage only apply when using reach, and only use the bash of the pole when face to face, since it’s fairly unwieldy to use a spear at close quarters, it would be cool. Another possible nerf would be to nerf them whenever indoors, since using a weapon like that without ample space would also be horrible.

But from what I’ve read part of the complaint is the lack of consistency. I feel like that’s just part of the development of cata. Each person work on different stuff, sometimes with a large time gap between them, so some parts move to a different idea, while others stuck in the past. When you are making a change it can be hard to know which direction to follow. But now that there is a clear direction of where to go, just expand on that. Apply the fragile tag to the other weapons that are also made in a hodge podge manner.


–For me, personally, I never use the knife spear because I’m alway a derp and forget it exists early game. So I don’t care much either way myself. I can definitely see why it would be done, and from what I understand the knife spear is super makeshift, which means that it would make sense it would break quickly.
–As a side mention, I’d never want to use a spear in a real zombie apocalypse. They are most certainly good weapons, but the axe is what you want. I wish I could find the actual study thing I read about it, but I’ll try to summarize it: Someone wanted to test out different types of weapons for the theoretical end of the world. So a sort of ‘obstacle’ course was set up, simulating different areas you might be in (broken down house for example). Each weapon has its own moments, but the axe performed the best overall. Especially if you go for the idea that you need to get the head to kill a zombie.

I’m not saying there weren’t cultures that used them, in fact they were widely used. The reason the hoplites were so effective wasn’t due to their spears, it was because of their strategy, and they usually carried a sword as a secondary for when their spears were broken or lost.

I didn’t go into great detail in my previous post as i was just leaving work, but every culture I read up on (Greek, African, Norse, Bashkir, China) used spears or javelins, some of the biggest reasons they were used, they either derived from some form of tool or they required very little steel to produce compared to other weapons.

However since i was mainly researching how they were carried during travel as that was what i was working on. However my opinion on the nerf for the knife spear wasn’t based on the spears crafted by professionals but rather on the fact its a wooden stick with a spiked object tied to it, afaik the other spears were unaffected,

If character skill effected the quality of the weapon or there were methods of reinforcing the weapons (One culture i read about would soak the shafts in water when not in use to maintain the flexibility and strength of the wood) but i feel that would be a different topic altogether.

also not saying that I’m 100% correct on everything, and my communication skills are shit so forgive me if I’m wrong, I’m not a history buff and also have very little knowledge of the topics and am going off of what i read last night, and brushed up on as i wrote this.

Mmmmmm maybe the breaking mechanics for items could be buffed. As in instead of trying to re buff the knife spear or implement the whole zombie stuck on spear mechanics just have a percentage chance or some special breaking item drop when you break an item to get a part or two back. As I can see it a knife spear is fragile but i only see either the stick or more likely the binding breaking and leaving the knife and stick intact both usable to make another knife spear. That being i dont know the code and how hard this is and also sloves the whole item breaks and matter leaves the universe weirdness in game.

Actually, while they would be cumbersome in clearing doors or corners, the rest of the time a spear is mighty convenient indoors: there’s less space a foe can approach you from, so the spear’s advantages are maximized, and the situation does not hamper your stabbing movements at all, unlike, say, a sword, which would need swinging it around.

@Stone, there are several problems with your logic.
Spears were used, a lot. Granted, this was mostly when they had coordinated infantry, because spears are not only a world easier to use in those tightly-packed situations than just about anything else, they negate most of the weapons’ disadvantages and leverage their advantage against both infantry and cavalry. Yes, they would also carry backup weapons, but they were that, backup.

Even on a more personal scale tho, spears were pretty damn popular for hunting, trying to get a boar or a bear with a sword or knife is just getting yourself killed. A zombie, much like a boar, is stupid, animalistic, and possibly stronger than you, so it’s definitely a good weapon to use.

The other issue is the ‘it’s makeshift and not profesional, so it will suck’. The problem with this logic is that regardless if it applies to all spears or only low crafting spears, it should then apply to all things or only low crafting things as well. If you can’t reliably make a pointy-thing-on-a-stick, you can’t possibly be doing long-sharp-thing reliably either. If all your options for that crafting level are fragile and faulty, you’re back at square one.

I think that, for the purposes of making other weapons popular, what we need is to make it less useful against multiple foes: let zombies get stuck on spears, let zombies grab you or the spear and prevent you from swinging it to the other rooting corpse, etc.
If that’s done, it’s fine if the spear dominates the 1v1 low skill solo hunter kitting scenario, the players would need to switch to something shorter once the zombies get close.
The players would also have the alternative of using a ranged weapon instead of a spear for that kitting job, and since the spear is bigger, other weapons would make better backup weapons since they’d be 'w’ielded faster.

The game’s learning curve is entirely too high as it is. It borders on the inaccessible to new players, especially those who don’t instinctively look for youtube videos and game forums.


Fragile melee is in general a decent idea, allowing us to perhaps make makeshift weapons less useful.

Knife spear is the titular makeshift weapon and a good example of a quickly degrading one too. It made of duct tape for sake!


Nerfing things by making them break faster is a great way to annoy the players without actually balancing much.

Damage nerfs, speed nerfs, crafting difficulty - all fine for balancing an early weapon.
Durability of a fast-crafted item made entirely from common ingredients - achieves nothing except annoyance.


I don’t really mind the knife spear much, what I really mind is trying to do the same to the forked spear, I would raise the requirements a bit, maybe make the time needed to craft it longer, so it simulates the player doing things like, carving a groove in the shaft to help the spikes hold and such things.

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–It’s by scientifically proven (because I say so) that things made with duct tape are at least 10% better than without. And during the apocalypse, that is increased by another 15%.
–The nerfs you said @Coolthulhu make a lot more sense to me than just making it break down faster.
–I can’t say much for the forked spear, because I use it even less.
–I’m definitely not as in-tuned with spears as I am with fists. I often like to get my guys beat up by punching brutes to death and throwing random objects at them. And I tend to switch around a lot too. Although any weapon with a reach ability is most certainly really good!

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