NOTE: This post isn’t biased towards 1.9+ in any way. I think that both of the pre-combat test systems are heavily flawed and not the most fun when in play (I still sort-of prefer 1.9+). If you enjoy 1.7/1.8, that's great! This thread isn't telling you that you shouldn't enjoy 1.7/8, It's just me stating all of my problems with the system.
TLDR; CPS matters too much, the KB is too strong, sprint resetting is a bad “mechanic”, there is no variation at all in terms of weapons, and fights are too dependent on ping.
1.7/8’s PvP system is widely used, and quite frequently regarded as Minecraft’s best PvP system, and I disagree. I think that It’s a badly designed system and this post goes over why I think that.
Reason 1 - CPS matters TOO much. A lot of people say that CPS doesn’t matter too much and that good aim should carry you, but from what I’ve seen, that really isn’t the case...
In 1.7/8 all the way to the new combat test, there exists code that checks if you’ve hit a entity within a certain amount of time from them leaving hitstun, and if that condition is met, the attacking player gets to take reduced KB. This has remained in the code all the way until today, but the system where it has the most impact is 1.7/8.
It makes CPS matter more than a lot of people say, and gives an advantage to higher CPS players. Ive had many games where it felt like I was hitting a wall, while I would go flying back every hit simply because they clicked faster. This is only made more apparent in 1.7 specifically because of the absence of the miss penalty. And with the removal of the early hold-to-autoattack feature, it just encourages people to use macros to help click faster. No one should have to force themselves to click faster than they should, and risk damaging their hands to be able to stand a chance against others. Clicking fast shouldn’t be a skill people have to be good, and I’m glad that this aspect was “removed” (codes still in the game) in the 2 newer systems.
Speaking of flying back...
Reason 2 - the KB is frustrating, and Sprint Resetting is a bad “mechanic”.
In the case of sprint resetting, it’s akin to L-Cancels in Smash Bros. Melee. There is no reason to not be doing it, and it adds an unnecessary thing to do every time you wish to attack the opponent. But, unlike L-Cancelling, sprint resetting is an oversight. The earliest PvP system was a sloppily programmed mess of features that only made it in because Notch wanted to have pseudo RPG mechanics in his survival game. A feature he decided to add was to make sprinting while hitting a mob send the mob back further, because he thought it was funny.
Where sprint resetting becomes a thing is when the hold to sprint key was added. No code was added to prevent the ability to always get max KB on every hit, hence why it’s a thing now.
And for KB, it’s frustrating. It makes fights look dumb because everyone is constantly flying all over the place, it makes you feel helpless when you get locked into combos (even more when the attacking player clicks fast), it makes enchantments like knockback too OP, an it’s all just poorly though out. I feel that having KB is a good thing, but it’s just much too strong in 1.7/8.
It had many of the issues combat-test 5 had, but horizontal, and worsened because of how attacking works.
Bows are also too strong because of the wacky KB.
Reason 3 - Little to no variation.
Much like how axes ruled the meta in 1.9+, swords ruled the meta in 1.7/8. There is no reason to not be using a sword in 1.8, unless you wanted to torture yourself with lower damage output.
There’s also the issue of everything having 3 blocks of reach. Doesn’t matter if you’re using a sword or a pickaxe, you only have 3 blocks. All this does is buff swords even more.
The only weapon to have more than 3 blocks of reach is the bow, and those suck because of the strong KB and their strength. Just thank god we didn’t keep the machine-gun bows from the early days. That would’ve been a damn nightmare to deal with.
Reason 4 - fights are heavily ping dependent.
This is an issue that plagues all PvP systems, but I’m going to talk about how it affects 1.7/8.
Because of this games horrible lag-compensation (if you can even call it that) fights are ping dependent.
The player with the lower ping will always win against the higher ping. People are warping all over the place, and laggy players feel especially helpless because now they involuntarily give the opponents openings to hit them.
Back when I had bad internet, it felt like people had more reach than they should, and I felt like I was taking a ton more KB than I should be taking.
1.7/8, in my opinion, was a horribly designed system. And it really shows that minecraft was never meant to be a game based around competition. Also, it just doesn’t feel very minecraft-like.
It’s only lately that they started giving PvP more thought, and I feel that they’re doing a superb job of implementing it in a interesting way, while keeping it simple for PvE. Way to go, Jeb!!! Can’t wait to see the new combat finally get released to the public.