Melee DPS in War: Huh! What are they good for?

Absolutely nothin!

OK, that’s not literally true but I needed to say it to invoke the classic song. You young’uns will just have to trust me.

Anyway I spent the weekend alt-hopping, and I’m growing increasingly disillusioned with melee DPS classes in Warhammer Online for doing RvR (they do great at PvE). I’m writing this post so people can tell me how stupid I am and convince me that melee DPS is deadly when handled right.

Over the past couple of days I’ve played a healer, tank and melee DPS on both sides of the fight. Healers are hard to kill and, well, heal. Tanks are hard to kill and do plenty of damage. Melee DPS drop if you look at them wrong and do plenty of damage, assuming no one looks at them wrong. (None of this includes Range DPS…I haven’t been playing them.)

The problem boils down to survivability. Melee DPS armor isn’t anthing to crow about, so you really need external help to stay alive. Healers tend not to heal DPS classes for a couple of valid reasons: 1) Healers are busy keeping themselves and the Tanks alive & 2) Melee DPS takes damage so damned quickly that it’s almost impossible to keep them up unless the healer is laser-focused on 1 particular melee DPS. Plus some healers seem to have an inherent disdain for melee dps since all they do is “smash buttons to do damage”.

Before you react too strongly to that last paragraph I say again, I’ve been playing a healer on and off the past few days, and I too didn’t heal the melee DPS after a few tries. It just wasn’t efficient to do so. By the time they draw the attention of the other side and start taking damage, they’re as good as dead. You can’t dump healing on them fast enough to keep them up unless you ignore everyone else.

Tanks seem to be plenty good at busting through enemy lines and laying the smack down on their healers & ranged DPS. A tank with a pack full of potions can stay up for a long time even without heals; have a healer drop a HoT on him now and then and it’ll take sustained attention from 3 or 4 enemies to bring him down. And his damage is good, too.

To test all this I’ve been playing Scenarios (which, btw, reaffirmed my dislike of them and the people that play them, each of whom is apparently the single person on their team who knows how2play!), so I have a “scorecard” to check. I’ve won some, lost some, playing as Order, playing as Destruction. My Tank consistently ranked near the top of the charts for my side in terms of Damage Done, and near the bottom in terms of deaths. My Melee DPS was the inverse, often topping the charts in number of deaths and being near the bottom in damage done. It’s hard to do damage when you spend most of the scenario face down in the mud.

All of this experimentation was done in Tier 1, so hopefully things change. The classes I played were a Rune Priest, Ironbreaker and Marauder (and I play a Witch Hunter as my ‘main’). It’s possible I picked the best tank and the worst melee dps, or something equally odd to skew my experience. In particular when playing Order I’ve had some bad Witch Elf experiences, and I think that has to do with their short-term stealth maybe?

I’d love to hear from other melee DPS players. Has it been rough for you, or do you do ok? There were literally times with that Marauder that I was killed before I even reached the back ranks of the baddies. They saw me incoming, I got a face full spells and was respawning before I knew what had hit me (literally). I played a high level Marauder in beta and I know they get that freaky tentacle that’ll yank an enemy TO you rather than you trying to charge through enemy lines, so maybe that’s the basic Marauder M.O.?

3 thoughts on “Melee DPS in War: Huh! What are they good for?

  1. Purely on a gut-reaction level, first-impressions thing, I’d say Witch Elves may have a slight edge over witch hunters… but they go down pretty fast too. Those are the only 2 mDPS you can really compare, sadly, since the Marauder and the White Lion both get medium armour, which may partly explain why marauders seem so damned hard to kill.

    I’m leery of crying that we’re underpowered, even though I do kinda feel that way with my own light-armour Witch Hunter. At one point in beta we were almost overpowered — executions HURT, the DoT ones hurt a lot for a long time, and our straight up melee damage was awesome. Then came the … let’s call it reduction-bat, which I still think hit a little TOO hard — but apparently witch elves got smacked with it too.

    I’d love to have some 25+ WH/WE weigh in on this. I do know WH takes quite a while to mature, and will always be ridiculously vulnerable in the middle of a mosh given that they wear nothing worthwhile in terms of protection. I also know, however, that there are times when the planets are correctly aligned and both WH *and* WE become horrible forces to be reckoned with. Is that occasional burst of ultra-goodness enough? I’m not sure. I really really wanted a WH main at release… and now she’s languishing at R7.

    Tough call, this one. Smakendahed and I batted this one about a bit on his blog too.

  2. Melee DPS is deadly when handled right… *hehe* there ya go you wanted someone to say it, but honestly they are. I am not one of those people that play them right. I do what I suspect you do and that is rush to get through the lines to the squishies. All that gets me is out front and noticed, promptly followed by Focus fired and dead. There have been a few times when I do curb my bloodlust and play smart, approaching from the sides or back, striking then slipping away. More often then not though I stay too long and die. End up in face to face melees and die. Invariably I chase a target that eludes me , trying for that finisher to kill then and that gets me dead. Get the point, on what not to be doing 🙂
    On the other hand I play regularly with an guy ( Zurgg) who knows how to play a melee DPS and does so with skill. He still regularly tops the death counts, as he is also susceptible to the old blood lust *hehe* However it is very rare that he is not at the top of the damage and kill counts. Tier 1 , 2 and now 3. Heck he started in on T3 scenarios at 20 and was still doubling most other players damage tally. Some people are just naturally skilled though and can mash those buttons better then anyone.
    For the rest of us we can be lethal and effective as well though. We just have to remember one primary rule.. Do not get noticed! Don’t charge forward, don’t rush madly at the squishies. Follow behind a tank, let their bulk mask you. People will invariably cast the first enemy they see or the one threatening them most. So tuck in behind your tank, hang back a moment at the point of contact. then when everyone has picked their target and all embroiled in the fight.. waltz in and start killing. Players already fighting have lost their situational awareness to a large extent so you can pick a target , kill, then second rule, slip out for a moment and re-assess. Don’t also get caught in the turmoil.
    The few times I do maintain control I have done extremely well ending up with damage tallies well above others, large counts on single kills and … well…less deaths. Ya can never resist going too far all the time *grin*

    Two more quick things. get the bestus dang weapon you can at all levels. You knwo yer gunna die fast , armour won’t save you. Your weapon will kill em faster and let you be away though. Also against a good enemy try another role. Go Healer guard. Don’t go for their healers, protect yours. Someone going for your healer isn’t trying to ill you but no one is better suited for killing them faster to save your healer.

  3. I played a WH into his teens during CE closed beta… and they do seem to start coming into their own once they get stealth.

    I started one on release, but stalled out about level 6. I was getting frustrated with the scenarios that required rushing a flag… when everyone else would stop at the chokepoint leaving my squishy rear dangling out there for the focus fire. =P

    Now that folks have a better idea as to how to play these scenarios – and we have more tanks for leading the charge – I’ve seen a bit more success through following the heavies into the scrum, /assisting them or the RDPS.

    It really IS much better to give than to recieve. Focus Fire, anyway. =)

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