If you've played anything like Skyrim or Minecraft, Salt's combat will be pretty easy to pick up. Left click to perform a basic swing, hold left click for a more powerful attack that consumes stamina, and right click to block. This applies to most melee weapons, while mining picks and daggers have their heavy attack assigned to right click, with no block function. To avoid attacks, dodging can be performed by holding a directional button and hitting jump. While shields are not yet in the game, you can block attacks and get reduced damage at the price of some stamina. With the introduction of the 1.9.5 update, if the player times a block at just the right moment, he can stun the opponent and get a guaranteed critical hit upon his next attack.
There is different types of melee weapons in Salt. So far in the game there are maces, swords, daggers, axes and spears for melee combat. Though almost any right hand equip can be used as a weapon (pickaxes and shovels), these five are designed for combat.
The mace, besides a basic attack and power attack, also has the ability to break weak boulders and collect those materials. Maces comes in different shapes: some can be crafted with just a wood log (Hardwood Club), others are obtained by fishing (Gigantic Mouth Sea Bass) or defeating rare enemies (Ceremonial Mace of the Ancients). They are all one-handed weapons.
The dagger is a weapon used by those who prefers to sneak behind their victims. The primary attack is weak but quick and you cannot block with this type of weapon. The daggers' special attack does a decent amount of damage on its own. If attacking an enemy from behind who hasn't seen you, it does massive damage. All daggers are one-handed.
Swords comes in various forms, ranging from simple one-handed short swords to scimitars, blades and two-handed swords. The one-handed swords are quick, decent weapons while the two-handed swords are slower but deliver powerful secondary attacks and greatly reduces damage upon blocking. Swords can be crafted (Moonrock Sword), obtained by completing quests (Treasure Hunter's Scimitar) or looting rare chests (Pirate Cutter).
Axes are generally slower than swords but do even more damage. They can be one-handed or two-handed.
The spears are uncommon weapons with both a melee attack and a ranged attack. While the primary attack is quick and does moderate damage, the secondary attack allows you to throw the spear. You can then retrieve it by picking it up from the ground or the unfortunate enemy. Spears are one-handed weapons.
Ranged weapons are useful to engage the enemy, allowing you to damage them before they can even reach you.
This weapon uses arrows to shoot at targets at a distance. Arrows are mostly crafted from wood logs (of either type) and flintstones/hardstones. They have variable damage and chance for retrieval (as in the real world, you can go to where you shot an arrow and most of the time retrieve it). Clicking and holding left click will draw an arrow back, and releasing fires the arrow at the intended target. For distant targets, you must account for projectile drop and aim above the target. Combined with added damage for headshots, this adds a significant amount of skill to this style of combat. Right click raises the bow into a defensive posture for blocking incoming attacks, though it has not been tested how well this works. Right-clicking also un-nocks an arrow, allowing you to not fire an arrow after drawing the bow.
You can buy bombs from merchants, or craft them with volatile ore. The volatile bomb explodes on impact, while the fused bomb will explodes after a few seconds. Bombs have a high blast damage and radius so make sure you get a good running start after you've thrown one. They're very useful to target a group of enemies, generally pirates around campfires. It should be noted that bombs are capable of damaging Ancient Statues. Bombs are rather difficult to come by for a new player. Crafting them is also expensive, because the player would need hard-to-come-by materials, such as volatile ore or volatile catalyst.
With the introduction of ship cannons in the 2.0 update, you can fire cannonballs at enemies from your ship. They do the same amount of damage as a regular bomb. The vertical direction of the cannon can be adjusted by winding up it's rotary lever in order to get a better range; it's horizontal direction however, cannot be adjusted. Just like bombs, cannonballs can destroy Ancient Statues.
The secondary attack (left click by default) of the spears allows you to throw the spear at an enemy. The precision is quite varying, though. Spears have a 100% retrieved chance, so you can pick them up after throwing them. The Spear of Tiger Spirit and its upgraded version allows you to throw infinite spears.
While not a direct combat option, tripwire and thorn tripwire can be deployed and enemies can be lured into them. The trap will reduces the enemy's speed for a few seconds. The thorn tripwire do additional damages. Both traps can be crafted with wood logs and plant fibers or thorn vines.
This dodging system is inspired at least in part by Dark Souls, and the timing is absolutely critical as the number of invincible frames are quite short. If you wait until the target is just about to attack (lifting their axe for example) and jump to the side away from their weapon (right in most cases), the damage can be completely avoided. The most difficult part of dodging is actually keeping your weapon trained on your attacker. Jumping a consistent direction when dodging allows you to more easily train the muscle memory needed to keep doing damage while jumping around. Some equipment like the feathered boots allows you to dodge faster and better.
Parrying is a combat mechanic that if the player time a block at just the right moment, he can stun the opponent and get a guaranteed critical hit upon next attack. The parry window is extremely small, but it's guaranteed to happen when you blocked the same time as the attack lands at you. Only melee damage from human enemy can be parried. Parrying also cost stamina, similar to blocking.
Parried enemies can be indicated by a weapon-crushing sound, causing them to lean back a bit. Succesfully performing a parry allows you to deal an instant critical attack. If the parry blow happens at the same time as a critical attack, the damage will be multiplied in a "Super Critical", that is to the exponential power of the critical damage bonus (e.g. 300% critical damage, will instead result in 900% super critical damage).
Some equipment and properties in Salt can improve your chances to win a fight. You can apply various poisons to your melee weapons and arrows. The Strength attribute allows you to do more damage per hits. The Critical Hit Chance attribute augments your chances to deliver critical hits. The Critical Hit Power attribute augments the damage dealt by critical hits. The Poison Resistance attribute lowers the damage dealt by the poison. Finally, if you try to avoid combat, you can run really quick or hide.
Tips for Beginners Edit
Although being good at dodging and blocking attacks can be useful, the easiest ways to kill enemies would be by using a bow. Getting 2-3 headshots with the shortbow and crude arrows will kill a common pirate but obviously that's hard to do. If you give yourself enough distance however you will easily be able to get at least one shot in doing enough damage to take out a quarter of their health, meaning finishing them off will be easy business.
If you're on an island with pirates, there will most likely be campfires around the island. There can be sometimes 1-3 pirates assigned to each one so after you kill them both, rest at the campfire for 4 hours to get all your health back and continue with clearing the rest of the island instead of using health potions and bandages when necessary.