10 things, that kill melee combat on Legend

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.

General things:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. The game seems to have a p2p connection system, that increases ping and delays, which makes it impossible to react to bots actions.

Enemies:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Weapons:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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Lol, what now?

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What do you mean?

I can agree with some of your points - like, obviously a p2p system is not ideal and nobody likes high latency. I can also agree that weapons need balancing and they will continue to need it long after today, like in every game ever made.

But things like:

(They are. With the right weapon and attack.

Makes me think you still have a lot to learn.

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Ive never seen that care to share with the rest of us?

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MB i was thinking about chaos shields for some reason

I can attest that flamesword is playable, as it is infact quite decent it just takes some getting used to ( may also require some stats from gear ) this is from champ / leg experience.

P.s my bot uses this weapon and i love sienna bot to death.

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It’s only because you spend 5% of the time using it, and 95% of the time using your staff. In this scenario any weapon will do, as long as it can block. Try finishing a level without using a staff at all, and we will see.

Also, (casplock on) this is just a minor unimportant remark I made for fun, to show that some weapons are even worse than the worst. Why put so much attention to that?! (casplock off)

I use flamesword in Legend consistently and spend much more than 5% of the time using it. Arguing that playing Sienna with just her melee weapon is harder and that consequently said melee weapon is useless, is silly.

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But why, why would you do that? I mean flaming sword is not as bad as a 1h axe, it is only about as painful to use as Keriliian 1h sword, but it gets outperformed by EVERY other Sienna weapon in EVERY category.

Flame sword and 1h hammer are both excellent weapons, just learn to use them.

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1h axe of course, sorry. 1h hammer is one of the best weapons in the game.

Haven’t used 1h axe in V2 yet so I can’t say for that.

Wooden shields can be broken, the metal shields can not. The metal shields have insane cover and durability, aswell as their ability to keep their guard up.

Im going to keep linking this untill its changed haha

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I’ll give you that the slow charge speed can feel clunky to use and can be situational. Some attack speed can go a long way. Keep in mind the flame sword’s charged hand-spell attack is the only attack that can hit any number of enemies in front of you, regardless of armour, and will even stagger and apply DOT to all. In those really desperate situations in a pub legend where you are the last man standing or surrounded by trash mobs with lots of armour in between, this can obviously be invaluable and a game saver. No other weapon can do that.

This is the reason (imo) why FS decided to make it’s overall melee damage a bit lower than the regular longsword (which is fantastic against trash but horrible against armour and heavy armour) to balance it out a bit. The first two light attacks of the flame sword, however, are still pretty good vs trash. Since the last patch, the 3rd light attack (the stab) also applied a DOT effect (as well as having some anti armour capability).

Tbh, if any of Sienna’s melee weapons should be considered useless for Legend, that def goes to the longsword because it takes more than several hits to dent a CW. Even fighting a SV is pointless and better left to someone else. Being extremely good against trash just doesn’t cut it.

Bringing any of her melee weapons in Legendary should also depend on team comp and staff used. Seeing that a comp could use some more anti-armour, bringing the mace is fine, with a staff for cc.

You swedes! if you’re reading this - give bolt right click a small damage buff, and some more anti armor for the longsword’s charged attack. Cut down on its light attack damage if you have to because right now it is nearly pointless to bring in pub Legendary.

Edit: Also Elf’s single hand sword is not as bad as some people make it out to be. Its anti armor capability is surprisingly good. Godlike compared to Sienna’s longsword, really.

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I’m always surprised nobody uses dagger since it strikes a good balance between anti armour and waveclear as it’s variety in charge attacks is very specialized and the default strikes are swift enough to weave with in melee combat. I’m always the one picking off SV’s and CW’s if they get close, on any difficulty setting.

Saying that her weapons are trash feels kind of ignorant to the depth of the melee system when taking into consideration block-cancelling, push-stabbing to chain into certain attacks etc… I’ve never had any issues with her melee weapons besides the default sword being good at a lot of things except elite clearing. But if you’re going to use that sword you’ll probably have someone else in your team to pick up on that. Otherwise I run either dagger or mace and in rare cases flamesword and they make do just fine even when dealing with hordes or a patrol almost on your own.

A lot of weapons have a subtle nuance with a learning curve to them, and they each have their own use. If anything I’d like to see another 2handed weapon for sienna to add more variety but otherwise I think she’s quite fine on that part, the staves could use some work in particular. Elf is more in need of some armour pen on some of her weapons I think.

As for actual problems with melee combat on Legend I’d say stacking elites is far more of an issue, especially for the fact that they’ll chain into attacks so frequently that if people mess up and you’re the last person standing you’re going to have a hard time getting enough time to do anything, since they don’t even stop moving after a heavy strike most of the time. They have no realistic fatigue for such a heavy overhead strike and will stride right after you meaning it will take time to chip them down to the point where you’ll be neck deep in leeches and assassins by the time you kill a large patrol on your own. (shieldvermin in an SV patrol… or a CW patrol…) been there many times that I was the last one standing because of a silent patrol.

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I hate to be that guy, but . . . I think you just need to practice and get better at the nuances of the game. Many of these things you list as issues are intentional design decisions meant to add depth and challenge to the game. They’re not flaws (or mistakes or bugs) for the most part, unless you just don’t want challenge.

  1. Enemies have a longer range than the player, this is true. This is to intentional to make the player have to play smarter. You can’t just swing into a horde and be fine, you have to dance to and fro, dodging, blocking, pushing, and attacking with lights and heavies to control it. ANY character with ANY weapon is going to have a hard time against a thick horde in a bad situation and will likely take hits. This is intentional. It means that you, the player, did not take control of positioning.

  2. Bad connection can make it harder, so then you just play a bit more conservatively. I mean, this has been a thing in games since forever. “Bad ping” is a huge liability in FPS games, too, yet people still play them. Overall, I find my connections are a lot better than in the first game, so they did something quite right in how they implemented this net code.

  3. Yeah, P2P isn’t great, but they’re bringing dedicated servers at the end of the month.

  4. They are problematic right now, especially groups of them, and they are a bit too tanky. They certainly can be backstabbed, however, and certain classes/weapons are far better at dealing with them than others - Shade and Slayer murder them, and Saltzpyre’s Flail ignores shields on its last two hits and deals armor-piercing damage.

  5. Stormvermin can be pushed, but they are resistant to it. There are thresholds of pushing that existed in the first game (meaning some weapons could not stun or push them, and yet often these weapons were considered some of the best in the game). You can’t just overpower them unless you have an extremely heavy and strong weapon (like the two-handed hammer). Avoiding their attacks is . . . Jesus, this is going back to NES days of learning how enemies behave. They have predictable behaviour that you can use against them. If you run they use a running lunge. If you stand still they will overhead or sweep - there’s a lot of wind-up on these, giving you lots of time to move out of the way or dodge.
    Yes, several Stormvermin at once is difficult. That’s the nature of it. YOU ARE OUTNUMBERED. You have to outplay them while being at a disadvantage. Get them all to commit to an attack, dodge out of the way, then hit with a charged attack to chip at one. Keep doing this and you will win.
    They are much more dangerous when surrounded by common adds, but again; that’s the design. You have to play extra mobile, whittle down the group to make it more manageable.

  6. Monks are challenging, but they’re meant to provide a different form of challenge from Stormvermin. You have to block and wait for openings to attack, and you can often get a power attack in before they reach you. Like shieldvermin, they are best dealt with by one player drawing their attention while another kills them. I think they can be pushed (Maulers and even Chaos Warriors) if you have ENOUGH stagger power, but not sure how high it has to be to do that.

  7. I’ve never experienced any of these problems, myself. Could it be something with your PC or mouse? Literally never heard anyone else say this.

  8. Never noticed this, either. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist at least for you, but really never had a problem with it.

  9. Balance isn’t perfect right now, but keeps getting better. One-handed swords are quite usable - it’s possible to manage an entire horde with Kruber or Kerillian’s one-handed sword even on Legend, and the advantage in mobility is noticeable and very useful when there is an otherwhelming number of enemies that slower weapons would really struggle against.
    But yeah, there probably need to be a bit more in the way of tweaks.

  10. Another balance issue, and valid. Some weapons are better than others.

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I use the dagger sometimes for those exact reasons. Also it too applies a nice DOT effect.

Gonna try to be a bit more on topic and informational.

I assume you are talking about the ‘ice-skating’ effect that is especially noticeable with say CWs. I have to admit this was more predictable in V1. However, once your learn the gist of it, it becomes trivial, I promise you. It is all down to timing and seems very much intended. Which is to say the devs don’t want you to just randomly dodge and evade any and all attacks, they want you to time the dodge with the attack. You find out it is better to stop running and let the CW start his attacking animation and dodge mid swing, which you should have plenty of time to do. It takes some practice but once you get it, you won’t get hit by another ice skating move ever again (well, almost). I admit the graphics side of it (which is the confusing part) could be done better.

I would say that last part is a bit of an exaggeration. Continuing the example with the CW, some of his attacks are faster than others. Chances are the player will be most surprised if attacking from behind and the CW switches aggro to that player. The turn animations seems to be instantaneous and maybe that should be looked at. However, I think muscle memory plays a big part here so learning the different attack animations of the elites is important, no doubt about that. The more that is ingrained, the less often you’ll be surprised by the fastest attacks. Sometimes the window of opportunity for a block or attack is not very generous, but still doable. I also think it comes down to playstyle and you should feel free to build some attack speed if you want to hit certain enemies in-between their attacks with more confidence and less risk.

The stagger effect and duration is plenty generous in my opinion. 1.00 was an utter joke from that perspective. Elites were just trash that anyone or anything could stagger. Tbh, Champion difficulty right now needs to be made considerably harder because they reverted some of the stagger changes from the 1.5 beta, which I think was wrong and has made the second hardest difficulty too easy. Which results in players thinking they are ready for Legend, when in fact most of them are clearly not.

It’s a coop game. Again, monks in 1.0 were just trash that took some extra hits to be killed. They are supposed to be hard and dealt with cooperation from your team. That is why they are infamous. When you aggro them, start circling around them so your team has a chance to kill them. You could potentially dodge and attack (once you learn their attack animations) but why would you risk that when your team will kill them much faster. The same tactic can be applied with any dangerous elite, like Berserkers or CWs.

  1. Aggro them. Keep blocking
  2. Make a semicircle around them so their attacks don’t catch your allies.
  3. Your allies are now free to kill the monks/berserkers in the next few seconds. Easy peasy.

You are right, leaving them for last is the best option, avoiding them in the meantime shouldn’t be a problem. Keep in mind what most players do is wrong - don’t group up on a single shieldvermin and stunlock him with your light attacks. Get behind them and use your charged attack to actually deal damage. Depending on the weapon, they should be dead in seconds. I’ve also seem to have some luck with using fast weapons to attack their feet. It seems to me they take damage this way regardless of using light attacks.

Once you learn their moves and what attacks can be cancelled with what weapons, you should have 0 problems. I can’t remember the last time I was hit by an SV, especially given that they are quickly focused down, if not killed from afar. I’m not bragging, I’m telling you its easy, it just takes some practice. Of course they have different attacks, etc. If enemies only had one attack type with the same timing, nobody would play this game. The soul of the game is in the challenge, imo.

Imo, pushing should be used in specific circumstances and as a tactical option, not as part of your bread and butter attacks and def not against any enemy (unless you do it on purpose as a way of utilizing certain attack moves of certain weapons - for example, after pushing with Sienna’s mace, it skips it’s first attack and goes straight to swinging left and right, which is great for mobs. Additionally, many weapons deal enormous anti-armour damage with their push>stab attack and stamina should be saved for those). The devs never intended elites to be interrupted by simply pushing. That would just make them all trivial. Don’t push if you don’t actually need to. It can become a bad habit imo.

I wouldn’t say its bad. Timing blocks and attacks very much depends on the weapon you are using and having muscle memory. I honestly think this is just a question of getting to know your weapon with time. Again, I think the devs do not want a game where you can mash left click/hold left click randomly with good results. Your actions should be timed, precise and with purpose. You should know at what point of your current attack animation you can start doing something else. You are not mean to ‘charge attack spam’ or just mindlessly spam anything really. You should choose your attacks and actions carefully based on the enemies around you.

Now in general I agree that certain weapons, especially many of the heavy, two handed ones, need some tuning so they can fit their purpose better, ie stagger enemies that other, lighter weapons can’t. But it should go without saying that this balancing act is a long term process and judging by the patch notes, the devs are well aware of these issues and are actively working to fix them.

Additionally, if ping is a problem for you, just host your own game. You should immediately feel an increase in responsiveness and predictability.

I honestly believe that the information provided here can be easily applied and will improve your legendary experience. This is not a ‘git gud’ post. I am far from being the best. The secret for me is that knowledge will often do you more good than pure mechanical skill, though obviously the latter goes a long way and is an important part of killing specials before they can do anything, which is what your whole team should be aiming for.

Good luck!

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Did you just assume my playstyle !? You better check your prililedge.

On a serious note, no i use melee seemingly a lot more than others, mainly cause it covers quite well on a horde, for me its probably closer to 30/70. But i’m not gonna argue for arguments sake. I will agree that its charge animation can be wonky at times and really fukk up with the overheat ‘‘slow’’ mechanic.

Yeah, there is always gotta be that guy, that will support the devs no matter what. I didn’t want to write that one, but since you feel ok saying to a completely unknown person to get better (which basically means l2p), well, what do you expect? Rude.

Also about the challenge. I said in the beginning, that there is a fun challenge, and a bad challenge. A bad challenge is the one, that a player has little control over. I do understand that a lot of things I mentioned are made so by design, I am just saying that the design has some flaws and needs fixing.

But I might be wrong. Maybe you’re right, maybe the game is great and almost flawless, and god only knows why are so many players leaving it now. I guess they’re just dumb.

I don’t wanna argue about every paragraph, well, because there is nothing to argue about: I stated my point, you stated yours, and persuading unknown people in the internet, well, that’s not the most productive way of spending time. But here is what I want to say:

  1. That’s why I either use high-stagger weapons I’ve listed, or kill them at range. And that’s my main complaint about weapon balance: why would I use a non-staggering weapon and put myself at disadvantage, when there is no reason to?
  2. idk. Everyone I’ve played with and talked to even a little had this complaint. Maybe your PC is just ridiculously powerful. And here is a bug report on the topic for example, noticed by devs.
  3. Just equip a 2h Soldier sword, get to a mannequin and measure the gaps between regular and charged hits, and their combination. I suggest using soundtrack for that, because it’s much easier. This way you will see, that a charged attack made after a regular attack is performed about 20% faster than a charged attack made after another charged. As for regular attack, it will be about 35% slower, compared to 2 regular attack in a row.
    9, 10. At least you agreed that some weapons are weaker than the others. That’s definitely a positive moment!
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