[Feedback] Melee Combat & Warrior's Forge (no tl;dr, long text)

  • [Feedback] Melee Combat & Warrior's Forge (no tl;dr, long text)

    Hi.

    Here comes the second part of my weapons & armor feedback for the summer alpha, this time concentrating on the Warrior's Forge.

    Melee Combat in general
    Since the warriors forge is the building with all the melee weapons, I also want to talk about melee in general. Right now, there are not a lot of reasons to run melees instead of ranged characters. As long as you have healers and ranged dps, you are pretty much fine for everything as long as you have at least one plate + shield in your group who can take some pressure because of more hitpoints and the shield spells. The general problem is, that the risk of going into melee range is only worth in a few situations. One of those is shrieking the enemy team. The main problem is, that melees die way too fast in most situations, especially when they run special weapons like the Halberd and the only thing they can do about that is to backline (aka not being useful) until there is a chance to charge in without being focussed to death. The damage they do is mediocre compared with most other weapons, except for the Battleaxe, especially because melees don't have enough uptime at the enemy front to do enough autohits to be worth taking. You especially see that when you have more melees than ranged characters in small gangs. Those groups will always (!) lose against ranged groups, wether they be magic or physical dps. Thats mostly because focussed targets can rotate in the backline and still do damage while a melee that has to bail needs to wait until he has enough hitpoints to get back to the front. Most other games give melee dps roles/weapons favorable dps in comparison to the ranged ones to make up for that.

    I don't know if that would work in Albion however. My idea would be, to give 1H melee weapons inherent abilities, that are applied on every autohit. Pretty much like the passives, only that it is one fixed characteristic on top of the passives, that you can still choose. A Broadsword for example could increase physical and magical armor on autohit for a small amount (50% of what Inner Fire gives for example), the Battleaxe could apply a bleeding effect on hit, the Hammer could increase cooldowns on a character it hits - something like that. The 2H weapons however, they should just do cone AoE damage. The harvester seems to have a cone attack, so the tech seems to be there. It would not only be fitting if those big weapons would hit multiple targets at once, it would also make up for the lower uptime at the front you have with them. This would still not solve the problem of certain melee combinations (especially those that are working with PBAoE spells) being just too squishy at the moment.

    Whatever you do, the melee weapons just need serious work in order to make them favorable over ranged weapons.

    WEAPONS
    Broadsword
    A classic weapon and the most obvious choice for tanking characters with the Defensive Stance, Taunt and Reduce Armor. In the alpha so far, we found that Taunt however, is quite a slotwaste. You can build enough aggro if you let the tank build up at the start of a fight enough, especially when he uses Reduce Armor instead of Taunt. On top of that, Taunt has no effect during PvP, which makes Reduce Armor the better choice since you always have to expect PvP to happen and you don't want to carry an ability around that doesn't help you during PvP. The Broadsword itself seems quite underestimated because it is rarely seen in favor Hammers and Battleaxes. All the one handed weapons do the same dps and the only difference are their skills - so taking a Broadsword isn't a bad choice after all, especially if you go with Hamstring/Reduce Armor, you can do quite a lot of damage and hinder someone to escape.

    A word about dash though: The skill itself is not really helpful right now, because you will use it often to catch up to running targets. When you hit Dash, it charges you directly behind that target and by the time you reach the character, he is sometimes already out of reach. If you would change it so that it either applies a minor slow on the target or makes you charge in front of the target, it would really make it more useful. I will go into that later when I talk about the 2H weapons.

    Battleaxe
    The most straightforward weapon when it comes to melee dps and one of the most favorable ones. Decapitate is the only melee skill among all weapons that does a lot of damage regardless of armor type and Enrage is a perfect skill to chase after targets, especially because it stacks with other movement speed increasing skills/buffs. The only downside to this weapon is the fact that it doesn't have energy regen on hit, but you don't really need that because you are mostly relying on your autohits until you can decap someone. The rest is just chasing with enrage or run. The fact that you can run it in conjunction with a shield makes you pretty durable in fights. I would love to run that weapon with a Call of the Bear Horn however, but that makes your character just too squishy at the moment, I guess. It is one of the few melee weapons that I would actually consider worth taking even right now.

    Rend however is just - sorry - shit. It brings no utility and choosing Enrage and Decapitate is pretty much the way to go, because you NEED the mobility as a melee to be able to catch up on targets. Rend doesn't bring enough to the table to make up for the loss of uptime on a target. The big advantage of the Battleaxe is not only its damage, the weapon is also the most mobile one of all the melee weapons. You can pretty much escape every situation, even if there is a root involved while also being able to catch up on enemies pretty much at will.

    Hammer
    The idea of a CC focussed 1H weapon is good, but it doesn't work out in reality. I see a lot of people running Hammer/Shield combinations and never (!) has anyone who ran that combo made any difference to the outcome of a fight. As previously stated, the dps is the same as for ever other 1H weapon on the Warrior's Forge, and the skills most likely are nice for setting up kills with the only exception that they underperform in regards to other weapons. Bash would be nice, if there wouldn't be a Domination Staff with a root that works on range and does nearly the same damage. If Bash was more of a Hammer Throw that works at range, it would make the Hammer really a weapon worth taking because you can engage with it as well. Thunderclap would synergize much better with that, making it a viable choice in comparison with Skullcrusher. If Bash would be a ranged skill, it would also be a perfect equivalent to Enrage which is pretty much the gap closer that the Hammer is lacking.

    A word on the stun passive: 10% is far too low of a procc chance to make this passive worth taking. You need CC's to be reliable and this one isn't, especially because those two seconds won't buy you anything in a fight.
  • Shield
    One of the most versatile offhands in the game. While Shield Bash is just not worth taking (just take a Hammer or Domstaff instead), Shield Wall and Rescue are top skills right now. The passive is strong and gives every character a considerable amount of physical protection. Nothing to argue, the Shield is one of the best items you could possibly take as an offhand. Actually, you could never do anything wrong with it. I don't think that this is because the Shield is overpowered, but more because the other offhands are underwhelming or only worth taking for special roles (like the Book for Disablers or Healers).

    Mace (2H)
    Most people say that they find the Mace weird which might be because it is the only true hybrid weapon in the game right now. I say, we need more of that. It does decent damage in melee when used with Inner Fire and you can heal from the backline which makes it a very flexible weapon as well. You are not mobile enough to catch up people who are running away, even with dash to secure a kill except for taking Thunderclap with you, which seems right. Thunderclap however, feels a bit like it is underperforming right now, though.
    The only skill that is never worth taking right now is Purify. It might give you the chance to free one teammate from a root for example, making the 2H hammer a powerful Anti CC, but I am not sure if that makes up for the loss of damage. If you'd change the CC resistance to a temporary physical and armor buff on the target, then it might be worth taking. Still have to really try that skill in a live environment however. Being able to undo roots sounds very tempting right now.

    Halberd (2H)
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this weapon design. In the early days of the alpha, I ran the Halberd in conjunction with a Shriek chest and I cancelled whole groups out with that combination. As soon as people catched up on that, they always focussed me because they knew I was cannonfodder. The Halberd is a mighty group debuffing weapon and I would love to use it more, but right now, there are other weapons that give me more flexibility to aid my team in combat. It is some kind of luxury for a team to have a dedicated halberdier. If you got your healers, your main frontliners, your ranged dps and your dedicated CC guy, then you might take a halberd. Every skill synergizes perfectly with the weapon theme, especially Intimidating Shout. It is an awesome skill and quite unique and gives so much back to the group. The only skill that I feel should be changed entirely is Whirlwind. The damage is not enough to make it worth using and the visual representation is confusing because it paints a red runic circle on the ground that stays long after the skill has been used. IF you would change it however to an PBAoE field spell, that stays for a few seconds and does the Whirlwind Skill damage every second, it would actually be worth taking and probably synergize better with Thunderclap for example.

    Having a bit more range than other melee weapons is a plus as well and can net you the final stab that you need when chasing a target. I have yet to find a way to make it work in large groups, however.

    ARMOR
    Passives
    Max HP Increase
    Is the most obvious choice. It is better for PvE and PvP alike because it allows you to sustain most bursts, especially when Mages lock onto you. +HP is the way to go right now.

    Thorns
    20% Damage seems much, but in reality it isn't. You need the +HP to survive the initial burst on the frontline and the damage that is returned while you are actually fighting is neglectible in comparison to everything else. It is just a weak passive and not worth having over a bigger HP pool if you take plate right now.

    Chest Skills
    Anti-Magic Barrier
    It says Anti-Magic but it absorbs all damage which is right, according to its tooltip. I remember the Magic Reflect component being bugged some time during the Alpha, but I haven't checked if it has been fixed in the meanwhile. Its a standard shield spell on top of that. You probably always want to take that if you are a melee character.

    Reconstitution
    I've seen some people run this skill when they at least also ran it in conjunction with Shield Wall. It seems they do pretty well with it, I personally haven't used Reconsti because I like to run two Shield Spells instead and I feel that Reconstitution underperforms in comparison numberwise. But I might be wrong here.

    Warstomp
    Awesome AoE snare. Unfortunately, you will often take one of the other two skills instead, because you need the defense in favor of this skill.

    Alright. Thats it again. Hope that Feedback helped and I haven't forgot anything major. Otherwise, I will probably bump this thread for additional feedback. Thanks for making a great game!

    - Storm