If you like to classify things into neat categories, you probably wouldn’t want to become an expert in medieval weaponry, least of all one that specializes in polearms, of which the poleaxe and the glaive are just two of a dozen or so confusing variants.
We can probably agree that all polearms are fearsome weapons, by virtue of being dangerous enough without the need to be attached to a lengthy haft, but in being so mounted it conflates to highlight their similarities rather than reveal what makes them different.
Essentially - which is to say simplistically - a poleaxe is polearm weapon closely related to the halberd, in that the profile of both is close to that of an axe rather than a hook (bill), sword (glaive) or scythe (fauchard).
Where the halberd and poleaxe differ is that the cutting blade of the of the latter tended to be a little smaller and the point longer.
The smaller head and piercing spear-like tip meant that less force was required by the user to penetrate plate armour, while the typically heavier, broader - and sometimes longer - halberd was better used to cleave into a more lightly-armoured foe.
In terms of effectiveness, the two weapons couldn’t be more different, even if when it’s difficult to tell them apart physically.
In terms of in-game effectiveness, the Poleaxe is practically impossible to distinguish from a halberd. Essentially they are one and the same and consequently it’s a weapon that seems equally as effective against light and heavily-armoured troops.
Partly, this is down to the fact that the Poleaxe character is paired with plate armour, which can lend the weidler an air of invulnerability that causes them engage the enemy rather impulsively and recklessly.
While the Poleaxe-wielding General is among the foremost vanguard classes in the game and can hold their own against among any other, it’s easy to ignore their weaknesses and get carried away in the moment.
- Bec du Corbin: Having a smaller, lighter head meant that poleaxes could be used in a similar way to quarterstaffs, which means they were great at hooking the legs out from under people.
- Lochaber Strike: Brace your weapon in the ground and you’ll be ready to repel almost any attack.
- Halberdier’s Thrust: There won’t be many generals on the battlefield who’ll be able to parry this powerful thrust forward.