A melee focused game

“This is a melee-focused game.” That phrase has bee used to describe and advertise this game from the beginning, and developers stick to it. Many players disagree, though, to the point of using the same phrase sarcastically whenever discussion veers to the “ranged meta”, which some claim doesn’t exist and other swear is a thing. Why is this?

The other day I noticed, it’s probably a question of definition. From the players’ point of view, a “melee focused” game is one that encourages the use of melee combat, likely by limiting ranged options and rewarding melee more, up to the point of making melee far more powerful. This isn’t always (or even usually) the case at the moment. From the developers’ point of view, “melee focus” seems to mean a lot of mechanics associated with melee and little with ranged. That is, they have focused on making the melee combat more than ranged.

The latter has led to there being a lot more mechanics to punish melee combat too. Taken by themselves, melee and ranged are roughly equal in power, I think. Similar amounts of damage done, similar range of enemies hit with attacks… Close enough. But melee combat is far more complex. You need to dodge and block to keep safe, and tactically decide when to do what. You need to position yourself well to be able both defend and attack. There’s different knockback on weapons, pushes, two (well, actually three or even four) kinds of attacks and different damage at different points of cleave. On ranged side, we have… Full damage to each enemy in “cleave” (pierce would be a more accurate term), only a few ranged enemies to punish backliners (and most of those serve more to keep melee fighters away than to target ranged combatants), and on most weapons the choice of aiming or not in attack variance. There’s no blocking, and dodging is less effective with ranged weapons out, but ranged combat is also inherently safer. The positioning part is still there tactically, but I think there’s slightly less to consider there too. Bosses also have a few extra methods of punishing melee combatants, and none against ranged.

These points, with the addition of ranged-focused careers (and a few weapons by themselves) being able to generate easily enough ammo to last them the whole map without picking up a single stack (often by using that same resource to generate more) make, for players, ranged combat the far easier and safer option. And when its raw strength is comparable to melee (and actually in some cases, namely Bosses, stronger), it ends up being the better and more used option.

What to do about this, then? Reducing the raw power of ranged is a possibility, but I don’t think that’d be a good idea. It would easily lead to crippling several careers. I think adding a few mechanics from the melee side, namely reduced damage on pierce, could be a start. Another could be to add some mechanics to punish ranged users specifically, be it sniper enemies who target ranged users or something else. There’s probably still more things that could be done, but I have no more ideas.

TL; DR version: There seems to be disparity between what makes a melee focus for players vs. developers. These should be brought more in line with each other.

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Imo the game does a good job of encouraging melee combat in that it’s the best way to maximize performance compared to other skilled players who are also trying to maximize their performance. There’s only a few classes that can rely on their ranged weapons permanently and, of them, only one class that has optimal performance by never putting it’s ranged weapon away (but still entering close-quarters combat as quickly as possible). It’s a healthy spectrum and the most powerful classes by far are melee based, it’s just that the scoring system is terrible and doesn’t reflect actual performance when any of a handful of skewing elements are present. In general, though, people should be playing the game like a Hollywood fantasy film a la Lord of the Rings where people shoot until the enemy gets at all close or they get close to the enemy then they dive in like maniacs, because that’s just how you kill more faster relative to others. VT2 is a pretty organic fantasy combat experience unless people are playing Turtletide 2: Fear of Melee, which a lot of people are.

Edit: IMO the best thing FS could do is fix the scoring system because most people don’t understand how crits, splash damage, and DoTs totally skew the results such that most players with a hagbane firing into the melees’ backs think they’re doing a ton when they may as well not be there most of the time, for example, yet their damage dealt will invariably be 10k+ thanks to splash + DoT

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I would love to hear a bit more about how the devs. themselves view this dynamic right now and how close it is to what they were shooting (no pun intended) for originally.

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In my opinion the strength, cleave and versatility of many ranged weapon is just out of proportion to melee weapons specially considering that they have range and can be fired almost/up-to infinitely on certain careers without very high skill requirements.
Sure many melee weapons are generally considered not balanced in the “they are garbage” kind of way so we might see an improvement from this side as well.

I personally dislike the decision to enable ranged focused careers to replenish ammunition mainly from ranged combat in a “melee focused game” and would like them to have talents like scavenger from Vermintide I.

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There ya have it. There is not a single thing in this game that is more dangerous at range than it is up close (maybe bar Stormers, which are neutral). Combine that with the fact that the best way to handle HVTs is to instagib them as they appear and behold, the ranged meta.

I like your idea regarding new specials. Skaven snipers would be both loreful and appropriate, as for Chaos a Skin wolf (=werewolf) special/elite that gets enraged by burst damage from ranged and charges the culprit. Enough to disrupt the pew pew but not shut it down completely. Another popular and more immediate tweak is dramatically increasing melee damage on bosses.

Not that complicated really. Just make it so that the risky thing is appropriately rewarding, and the rewarding thing appropriately risky. Then again, with Fatshark everything is complicated.

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Having set up some were outside of the walk able map they wait only a glance of the suns reflection on their scopes should warn a targeted player to dodge… or take a heavy blow.
They only spawn fixed with the roamers or in front to ensure that there is a fair chance to see the warning.

Always thought they would be a great addition ever since Vermintide 1.
How do you like my idea?

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I would prefer they set up somewhere in map on a LOS vantage point, and then you see a green warpstone laser dance about the map looking for a target. When it finds a target you’ll hear a cackle and that means you’ve got 1-2 seconds to duck behind cover or a hapless skaven or northlander.

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