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.?