Before the combat update comes, I want to talk about what I think should be added.
1. Defensive mechanics- You have two options to prevent some/all damage. A timed parry, that lasts 2 seconds, will negate all damage from melee weapons and stunlock the enemy for 0.5 seconds. Or you could block, which you can hold up forever to negate 60% of the damage, but your enemy will not be stunlocked. Each of these slow you down by 70% and make your character delay when turning. Blocking/parrying will only cover you in a 180 Degree angle from the front. Any attacks that hit your backside will get a 50% damage bonus.
2. Weapon collision- If your enemy attacks you, and you swing right before the attack hits you, your weapons collide. This will cause both of you to be stunlocked for 0.5 seconds and no damage will be dealt. However, heavy weapons ignore this completely.
3. Incapacitate/Unconsciousness- Upon reaching low health, you will enter a wounded state. This will cause your character to fall down and toss and turn, screaming in pain. You will get up if not damaged in this state after 20 seconds, but you can still be looted. Then there is unconsciousness, consciousness is measured by a hidden percentage. Blunt weapons can decrease this percentage by a certain number, depending on how powerful they are (Developers decide). Once the percentage reaches 0, it instantly goes down to -5%. Once your consciousness goes below 0%, you go unconscious, you can't see or hear anything and can't interact. Your character will also fall to the ground and become lootable and draggable. If your opponent hits you while unconscious, your percentage goes down even more, up to -50%. It takes 2 seconds to regain 1% of consciousness.
(Credits to LeoIvonav for 4-6)
4. Ability to lock and switch your targets on the fly - it's often quite hard to catch up to a person with a high sprint level on servers with high latency - they would skip all over the place, disappear, teleport around you and deal you damage in a matter of moments. And I don't think I have to mention the fact that you need that option for the PvP firefights 5. Higher exertion/panic/pain affect your windup speed, but not the hitting speed. That way you can still get away from a lunging zombie/incoming attack/shove without having to stand there locked into place because your swing animation is slow as hell. Slower windup lets players be more careful about timing their swings, allows more window for less exhausted players to take advantage of an extra hit as well as some restricted movement during the windup itself.6. Ability to properly push/shove other players away, with a chance of making them stumble and fall. We always get moments where we're caught in a terrible position with no weapons, and have that reluctant asshat fighting you with some form of axe or melee weapon. By allowing players to push them away, dazing/stumbling them, you get a chance to get away, introducing this cat-and-mouse mechanic where it takes skill to hunt down and kill even an unarmed player. (Unless they have a shotgun... If so, just run. Simple, right? Just like in real life.)
7. Stealth moves- Things like dragging a zombie/player out of an open window to stun them, and then beating them senseless with a bludgeon weapon to cause a KO. Or waiting for someone by hiding behind a wall, and hitting them as they pass for a 20% damage bonus and a stagger.