There are two types of challenge in a game: fun challenge, that makes you like the game and encourages you to keep playing it, and frustrating unfair challenge, that makes you wanna quit it. And it is very hard to differ one from the other, especially since the same things can cause both, it’s just a matter of numbers. Increasing mob numbers, their damage, attack speed, stagger resistance and stuff, yes, it makes the game more challenging, but at some point it makes the game very unfair and not fun.
And I think that’s one of the main reasons, why people use ranged combat so much in game. It’s not because they want to abuse the game, it’s not because they don’t find hand-to-hand fighting fun and immersive, it’s because they find melee combat unfair, frustrating and unbearable.
So here are 10 things (not it’s 13 actually), that IMHO kill melee combat on Legend. I think that paragraphs 1,3,7,11 and 13 are the most impactful ones, with other things being secondary.
Enemies hitting you outside of your attack range, and this problem is of course not limited to daggers and other close combat weapons. This one wouldn’t be so bad by itself, if a) even regular pink rats weren’t able to hit you from very far away b) if enemies were not shielded by a swarm of other units most of the time, completely immune to your push and damage. Fun fact: I even got hit by regular enemies as a host several times after dashing away from them. So even dash range isn’t enough to break the distance of some of the attacks.
Very fast enemies’ attacks and very low stagger time. Firstly, with such fast attacks even moderate ping makes melee combat unbearable, since it is very hard to outspeed your foes. Secondly, it makes most of the slower weapons, especially 2h weapons, unplayable, since it is very hard to find a window for an attack when fighting more than foe, even at 0 ping.
Update: Idk if FS fixed something silently, or maybe I just got more skilled, but after 1.0.7-1.0.8 stagger seems to work as good as pre 1.0.5. Fast attacks + slower weapons/ping problem still remains though.
The game seems to have a p2p connection system, that increases ping and delays, which makes it impossible to react to bots actions.
Shielded stormvermin. If there are enemies nearby, then they become more annoying and more tough than Chaos Warriors, because you have no choice but to kill ALL the surrounding mobs before you can get to them. This is especially devastating in a wave, since they deny you all the cleave.
In groups of 3, especially if having some support, these guys become basically unkillable, because as soon if you stagger one, others will cover them with their bodies. And you can’t backstab them, because they will instantly turn their facing to block your attack.
Stormvermin shields should be breakable. Very durable, but still breakable. Or they should not get back to regular state, if hit while staggered. Stagger time should be independent from the fact, that they’re being hit or not.
Unpushable stromvermin. Regular stromvermin are not that scary tbh, and can be dealt with, but they still cause a lot of frustration when fighting them in melee, especially since patch 1.0.5. They have both fast and slow attacks, they have little delay between their attacks, they’re very resistant to stagger and they’re armored, so you usually have to charge attacks against them. As a result of all these factors, a lot of times you can get outspeeded when attacking them, taking a hit. Even if you outspeed them, most weapons will not get them staggered; as a result, you will get hit in return.
Another problem with stromvermin being immune to push is inability to deal with several stromvermin at once. They will just chain their attacks at you until you die. And you will die fast, because their charged attacks remove all block (not sure about shields) from you. Two charged attacks in a row usually equals gg.
And they also prevent you from dealing with infantry, when they stick near it, and I don’t mean their armor. The thing is you usually want to push enemies before hitting them, but stormvermin will ignore the push and charge their attack, forcing you to either block or dodge and preventing you from attacking.
And all these problems are caused by one thing - their immunity to push. And poor weapon balance of some weapons, having very bad stagger on charged attacks.
Control-immune monks. Monks are the worst right now. There is basically no way in a game to deal with 2 monks in melee without taking damage, since they’re virtually immune to any pushes or staggers and have negligible openings between their attacks. Even one monk is a major threat, which is very hard to deal with.
I don’t think any other non-boss enemies are too strong at the moment and need fixing. And I am even glad that Maulers are not pushable by anything, except shields, since the patch. Also I don’t like their range nerf, but that’s irrelevant to the topic.
Bad controls responsiveness. Several things make controls poorly responsive, but the major one is the fact, that a lot of times your character makes light attacks when you want them to make a charged or a push attack. As far as I understand the situation, the right click does not register until the animation of the attack is finished. So if you press right click and keep pressing left click, you’re going to keep doing regular attacks, not push or staff charged attacks. However, that doesn’t explain the fact, that lots of times your character refuses to make a push after already getting into block, or makes regular attacks instead of charged attacks all of a sudden.
Also control responsiveness drops so much with fps drop, but this one is at least understandable.
And there is another problem with charged attacks, usually with slow weapons, when a charged attack animations starts, but a character ends up doing a regular hit, if you release the button. Just unsynced timing and animation.
Regular attack slowdown after a charged attack. On most weapons a regular attack, performed after a charged attack, becomes slowed down, almost as slow as a charged one. This weapon behavior breaks a lot of combos. Often when a mob charges you or you charge at a mob, you want to charge an attack beforehand, and then switch to a regular attack spam. But since the regular attack becomes so slow, this combo becomes worthless, makes you more exposed to the enemy and can even result in dps loss.
The problem is even worse, since a lot of weapons are not suited for charged attack spam. So there are weapons that allow you spam either charged attacks or regular attacks, though switching between them is very inefficient. And there are weapons, the majority of them, for which you use only one attack type, switching to charged hits only against armored foes.
Btw charged attacks, performed after regular attacks, for most weapons take less time, than charged attacks performed in a chain. But that doesn’t compensate for the above problem, because you made a fast charged attack, congrats, what do you do next? Switching to regular attacks is pointless, charged attacks spam is bad for most weapons, so your only option is block. So there is no point in doing this. You want to open with charged attacks, and charge your weapon during openings; you don’t care about finishing combos with it. Though to be completely honest regular attack -> charged attack -> block might be a viable combo for some weapons.
Poor multitarget weapon balance. Somehow, there is a few weapons, that are good at dealing with multiple enemies: they have good AOE, they stagger very well, they deal damage to the foes they hit, and do all of that at the same time. And somehow the majority of weapons are capable of none of the above. And also somehow all of the weapons, that fall into the first category, are armor-piercing weapons: Falchion, Halberd, Glaive, 2h Hammer, even 2h Axe. So we end up in an interesting situation: weapons, that are supposed to be good against multiple targets are worse at doing that, than weapons, whose primary aim is to deal with armored foes, because even though they hit a lot of targets, they deal very little damage to them and do not stagger them at all. It turns out that it is better to kill, let’s say, 2 targets and to stagger 2 more, than to wound 10 targets, but kill or stagger none of them. The only 2 non anti-armor weapons, that are good against swarms, are 2 swords and Spear. The first one is good, because it attacks fast, otherwise it behaves like every other non-aa weapon, spear is good because somehow it behaves like an aa weapon, thank god. And, shocker, I think most weapons should have decent damage and stagger, as well as the above examples.
And don’t get me wrong, all these things are only true for legend. On champion any weapon is playable. But on legend due to mob sizes and due to special HP you NEED your weapons to behave like this, else you can only get saved by ranged weaponry.
Poor charged damage and stagger on most weapons. A lot of weapons have lower charged damage and stagger, compared to their counterparts, even though they have similar charged attack speed. I could get this unfairness, if they had better wave clearing capabilities, but no, they do not. And even if they had, the difference is too big. On legend a player must be capable of dealing with armored foes. You can’t always rely on your teammates for that, because of constant force majeures… and even if you could, why would you do that, when you can just pick a weapon that can do both?
Update #1 Guys, thank you, but I don’t need advices on how to beat Legend. I can beat Legend, I know how to workaround the difficulties I listed. The most effective workaround is to take an OP anti-armor high stagger long reach weapon (cough halberd) or pick a ranged-heavy class, and your only concerns are paragraphs 3 and 7.
This post is not about me not being able to beat the game, neither it is some sort of guide. I just wanted to list melee combat problems that in my opinion this game has and to listen to other people thoughts on that. The latter part allowed me to recognize which of the problems are most important, and identify a few more problems, which I completely forgot about.
Update #2 After spending some time in discussions, I found three other problems, which I originally missed. And not some minor ones, but very important. So there’s 3 more things, that I think should be added to the list.
Enemies lunging through a wave. I understand the lunge mechanics and what it was made for. Lunging is needed to stop players from indefinitely kiting the enemies. Without lunge attacks a player could potentially kite any number of enemies if given enough space. So enemies are supposed to do lunge attacks, and usually do so, when a player runs or dashes away from them. But very often, let me emphasize that: VERY OFTEN, an enemy lunges an approaching or stationary player, not a retreating one. And that’s not a big problem by itself, although such behavior confuses and requires some fast reaction to block. The main problem is caused by the fact, that enemies can stack up. And when you’re dealing with a big mass of enemies, some of them can lunge at you from the back line. Usually you can’t see that because of all the swarming. And even if you notice that, you have to stop your attacks, because you can’t reach the lunging enemy through the mob. And with slower weapons you might not be able to block even.
Regular enemies, most noticeably marauders, hitting so hard with their charged attacks, which in turns almost completely negates a player any right for a mistake. There isn’t much to add, except that this problem adds up to the previous one, making it even worse.
Bugs, like silent enemies, especially stormvermin, that sneak up to you and one-shot. Or a sometimes enemies just hit you through block, yet again Stormvermin and CW can do it with their charge attacks too. And lots of other bugs.