Credit to Guild Wars Insider's Arawulf for catching this. Speaking on the official forums today, Jon Peters laid out the problems ArenaNet perceives melee combat having mechanically, what advantages it already has over ranged, how it needs to be taught better to new players, and some of his own tips for short-range gameplay. So do you think ANet will be able to level the playing field, or does the game design just not favor close quarters? Share your thoughts below!
Jon Peters on Melee Imbalance
Playing as a thief this weekend, daggers and dagger/sword definitely did a lot more damage than my pistols, even with "worse" weapons. However, whenever facing a boss (this was especially evident during the end event), whenever I went to go melee, I would get 1 or 2 hit, resulting in me just using dual pistols for most large scale encounters. I know that most of the monsters telegraph their moves, but with the extreme amount of particle effects, it was nearly impossible to see.
It isn't a huge deal, but it definitely pays to play range in some circumstances.
Two examples I noticed playing with the guardian (who doesn't have a viable ranged option).
PVE: Many bosses/champions can 1-hit KO melee attackers, so ranged attackers are definitely safer.
PvP: Without range, you can't hit people on high ground. This was a big problem for me when I played guardian as the scepter's orb only moves in a slow, straight line.
At the end of the day though, I found melee more fun to play, so I'm not really complaining, it just takes a little bit more practice to master. And of course, all the professions (except guardian) have a viable ranged option, so they can always switch to that when needed.
Definitely found melee at a disadvantage despite the apparent damage discrepancy. I found it almost awkward in melee combat and it was even more apparent in water combat with the z-axis being present. The spear just felt flat out dreadful in water combat.
Also in WvW I was single handily able to thrash a thief with range as a necro, it was almost too easy to keep distance with range with the staff. Coupled with minions it really felt like an unfair fight in favour of the more squishy necro. This seems completely flip flopped when compared to GW1. I don't know why but melee seems almost useless in PvP and is only beneficial in PvE if you are able to tank large amounts of damage because as mentioned you can take a lot of damage from melee if it hits. That is just how I was experiencing it.
Definitely found melee at a disadvantage despite the apparent damage discrepancy. I found it almost awkward in melee combat and it was even more apparent in water combat with the z-axis being present. The spear just felt flat out dreadful in water combat. Also in WvW I was single handily able to thrash a thief with range as a necro, it was almost too easy to keep distance with range with the staff. Coupled with minions it really felt like an unfair fight in favour of the more squishy necro. This seems completely flip flopped when compared to GW1. I don't know why but melee seems almost useless in PvP and is only beneficial in PvE if you are able to tank large amounts of damage because as mentioned you can take a lot of damage from melee if it hits. That is just how I was experiencing it.
If the thief knows what he is doing it's not easy to keep distance. A thief gets several abilities that allows them to teleport to the target and when they are close they will kill you fast if you are a class with low hp or armor. I spent most of my time in PvP as a thief and most people did not stand a chance.
It's a shame really, because I thought double daggers was really fun my thief, but it seemed like ranged oriented professions (elementalist, mesmer, ranger) had more tools to kite me than I had gap closers. I can wreck a fool if I can get to him, but otherwise it's GG.
As with every profession it's a matter of getting to know your builds, plus how and when to use them. Melee is completely viable, just make sure you have skills available to adapt to different situations, that's what this game's combat is about. You can't just tank and spank like other MMOs. On my thief in WvW I had to make heavy use of stealth, swiftness and cripple to stop people kiting me in 1v1 confrontations after realising my normal build wasn't working.
I think the biggest issue is boss aggro in PvE. Most bosses only target melee attackers, and they usually 1-hit them, while the ranged attackers can stand around at a safe distance. They need to mix it up somehow so that you feel threatened from range as well. Make bosses target both types of players and give them 1-hit KO attacks that can reach long range. That will force everyone to be on top of their game.
The rotting oakheart did this well by spawning little worms that would go and engage ranged players in melee combat forcing them to adjust.
PvP was generally fine. Most classes have more than enough skills to close the gap with ranged attackers. The only issue I had with guardian was the high ground like I mentioned above.
The only issues I had with melee was ofcourse being the main target from enemies (I assume the AI is currently designed to go after the closest player, which is obviously going to be melee most times). The other issue was the awkwardness of following and trying to hit enemies as they moved around. It was very awkward at first without auto-movement and takes some getting used to. I wish the camera would atleast center on whichever enemy I tabbed to. That would help getting into position to hit them a lot. Other than that it is very refreshing to play as a melee character in this type of game that isn't a tank. If I have a motherfucking giant sword and intimidating armor, I should be a machine of destruction, not a distraction who's single purpose is to stay alive and draw attention from ranged players.
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