Skip to content


Making MELEE viable and fun.

For all Wasteland 2 discussion that does not fit elsewhere, suggestions, feedback, etc. No spoilers allowed.

Moderator: Ranger Team Alpha


Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby abyss » April 28th, 2012, 2:54 pm

" I got to fight a giant robotic scorpion with my fists."
-Chris Avellone, on why Wasteland's in his top 10 games of all time.

Image

This thread is for the love of all things melee, including unarmed. What game mechanics, weapons, abilities, and perks would you like to see available for melee builds?

Wasteland 2 is a party based game. Melee characters should be fun and useful in every combat, and not end up being dead-weight compared to ranged characters. In a balanced party of 4-6, how do you prevent the melee characters from being too situational and time-consuming?

To me, mixing melee specialists along with ranged, makes the game infinitely more fun to play. In many tactical RPGs, going ranged-only is always the most optimal way to play, and is often distilled to repetitive "line up the broadsides" combat. Having a balanced party that includes viable melee roles offers a far greater variety of tactics and exciting combat scenarios.


There are several crucial gameplay mechanics I think would make melee much more balanced and fun, rather than just boosting raw stats of weapons to make up for all their risks and shortcomings:

Reach weapons
D&D, Roguelike style. Simply, some weapons have more reach than others . A spear, whip, or halberd can attack from 2 or more tiles away.

Arcing weapons and abilities
D&D, Age of Decadence style. Large, cleaving weapons like the Proton Ax, that swing across a wide arc, capable of damaging multiple adjacent targets in one attack. Gives melee characters a useful crowd control capability so they aren't completely left behind as soon as shotguns, machineguns, and big guns come into play.

Melee specific perks and abilities for closing, and staying in combat
Melee characters being viable only when you have the best power-armor is just bad game design. Do it like the classics and give melee characters the tools to engage, and stay in melee through every stage of progression.
Tactical RPGs like ToEE, KoTC, Darklands, Warhammer and Gold Box games have the following mechanics:
-Perks only for close-combat specialists that avoid or mitigate damage.
-Shooting penalties whenever characters are in HtH range.
-Closing attacks like "bull rush" or "charge".
-Attacks of opportunity, where a melee character gets a free attack against opponents attempting to pass through their melee range, or against unsafe actions such as a point-blank aimed shot or reload.
-Bonus damage and attacks for surrounding, and flanking a target in melee.
-Backstab damage whenever a character is directly behind an enemy.
-Melee bonuses against unconscious, and knocked down characters.

Weapon unique effects that can alter playstyle and tactics
Pure damage boosts aren't enough. Having unique effects on weapons can offer new tactics, keeping combat fresh throughout the game. Poisonous giant wasp stingers, disease-causing infested spears, shotgun/dynamite loaded fist weapons, diamond-tipped spears with high armor penetration, sledgehammers that are great for knockdowns and send people sliding across the room, cattle-prods that stun, shivs that are accurate, fast, and have high crit but low base damage - all these flavorful weapons could be updated from the previous games to have useful tactics, even for endgame characters.


Here are a couple staple melee roles I'd like to see viable for teamplay in Wasteland 2:

Image

Strong, tough brute, proficient with 2h weapons. Armed with a big knockdown weapon like a sledgehammer or tree trunk.
For team protection and defense, he's useful for blocking choke points, and standing in the middle of a path to gain free attacks-of-opportunity against critters trying to rush past for the party members in the back. On offense, his large swinging weapons allow him to damage multiple characters bunched together. Against dangerous single targets, he occupies them with knockdowns, and excellent limb crippling ability. Has the perks necessary to do his job and stay useful in combat throughout the entire game, not just with end-game power armor. His weaknesses are being melee, he has to run around a lot, and risks taking overwhelming focused fire from multiple targets while in the thick of things. His accuracy making targeted attacks against precise targets (eyes, sensors, inhibitor chips) is below average.

Image

Agile, sneaky creeper, focused on stealth and precision. Loves to plant timed explosives in underwear. Excellent initiator, able to sneak up to a target and outright kill, or severely debilitate a tough opponent. Melee kills from stealth are silent, and don't break stealth. Melee misses from stealth don't break stealth. Can play defense by staying in stealth during combat, and popping out with a deadly attack against an unaware rusher. Outside of stealth, he can support the brute with his bonuses against knocked down characters, and deadly backstab/flanking damage. High accuracy, critical chance, and critical multipliers means he's great at crippling and blinding. Compared to the brute, has poor untargeted, non-crit damage. Weaker constitution means he can't take as much sustained fire. He's better for hit-and-run, tactical assists, far more successful at doing his damage in bursts than charging in against tough opponents and taking them on face to face. Stealth means he doesn't have access to the heaviest, damage-reducing armor, and he takes longer to get around the battlefield. In D&D, leveled Rogues can be specialized to cause stat loss for every sneak/flank/backstab attack - having abilities like that keep the melee character viable, helping them pull their weight even when teammates are blowing everything up with heavy artillery.


Depicting Melee in the Wasteland universe:
(Or how to get rid of a Vertibird)

Click image
Image
Last edited by abyss on May 2nd, 2012, 3:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
abyss
 
Posts: 52
Joined: March 16th, 2012, 10:39 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby Leif » April 30th, 2012, 1:56 am

I think depictions of martial arts should be realistic rather than fantasy or lore based, but if you spend a lot of time and effort in improving your technique you should be powerful enough to keep up with other forms of damage. You never have to reload your fists, but getting 'disarmed' is even more problematic than usual.
User avatar
Leif
 
Posts: 64
Joined: March 31st, 2012, 3:26 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby grot » April 30th, 2012, 2:53 am

Mmmm; you could spend many a happy hour thinking up silly little ways to make melee as diverse as possible, couldn't you?

'Never Know Your Luck When It's A Free-For-All' - A perk allowing your misericordia-wielding scumbag to swoop in, score a critical hit on fallen or paralysed foes, then chew the rings off their fingers, find the drugs concealed in their digestive system, etc, picking up more loot than his fellows would normally.

'He's Still Coming!' - The melee character charges, dead ahead, at the enemy. As long as he maintains his momentum and does not deviate from his suicidal assault, after X squares/hexes/whatever, ranged foes have an increased chance to fail their nerve and miss their shots at him.

'Leave This One To Me' - If two accomplished melee characters enter melee combat together, awestruck by the duel, other combatants may refuse to open fire on either of the pair, and will gain/suffer combat increases and decreases based on the result of the fateful single combat.

'Oh, God, It's Hideous...And It's Tearing His Head Off!' - Zero-charisma characters may cause panic in nearby enemies when they make a melee kill.

'The Sting' - A diplomatic/melee only perk which gives them a chance to make a double-cross attempt before battles with human enemies - a successful double-cross places them plum in the middle of the enemy starting zone at the beginning of combat, under the player's control, with the foes ignoring the betrayer until he decides to initiate combat with them. A failed double-cross, naturally, leads to the party member being incapacitated for the duration of combat or even killed outright.

And so on. Pointless daydreaming, of course, but good fun all the same.
grot
 
Posts: 24
Joined: March 6th, 2012, 9:02 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby Hertzila » April 30th, 2012, 6:10 am

I've got nothing to really add to your stealthy melee archetype. With good perk selection, skills (both character and player) and something akin to stealth armour/camouflage, a 'ninja' type build might not just be viable but actually pretty deadly.
One thing to give him a bit of versatility though: silent throwing weaponry. Maybe it's just me and my love for JA2's head-exploding throwing knives but IMO this type of guy could really use something to give him a bit of range in addition to deadly and debilitating melee skills.

To the brute guy, well, let's face it, he will need the best and heaviest armour there is to find. No amount of perks, traits, skills and what-have-you will be enough when the lead really starts to fly, especially in the open.
There's some use for him, as a meatshield and a 'wall' that'll stop people from reaching your ranged guys (to that end, something akin to Avernum's 'area control' could be used: any enemy that tries to run past is automatically slowed by removing some amount of APs, thus forcing to either eat damage, attack the brute or retreat) and as a counter for massive amounts of melee fighters (hits against multiple adjecent guys), but this build really only works when there's a chokepoint of some kind, eg. indoor corridor, so it's dangerously situational. Unless he's also fast and can close into melee range/chase targets before lead poisoning, in which case his weakness out in the open remedied somewhat, but a gun would still be more useful.
If it's worth killing, it's worth overkilling.
Hertzila
 
Posts: 159
Joined: April 20th, 2012, 11:33 pm


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby Marty Czosnyka » April 30th, 2012, 6:23 am

I think this old adage is the best, "Never bring a knife to a gun fight." In close combat or stealth scenario's, MAYBE, but for the most part guns are always better. I think once your unit gets armed with firearms, that realistically there is no other reason to bear melee against firearms. It's didn't work for the samurai's when guns were brought over to japan, it didn't work for anyone else, it won't work for this game. =p
Marty Czosnyka
 
Posts: 45
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 9:45 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby deus » April 30th, 2012, 7:42 am

Marty Czosnyka wrote:I think this old adage is the best, "Never bring a knife to a gun fight." In close combat or stealth scenario's, MAYBE, but for the most part guns are always better. I think once your unit gets armed with firearms, that realistically there is no other reason to bear melee against firearms. It's didn't work for the samurai's when guns were brought over to japan, it didn't work for anyone else, it won't work for this game. =p


In what context won't it work for this game which that implements, HP, to-hit and damage resistance?
deus
 
Posts: 80
Joined: March 24th, 2012, 9:44 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby suz » April 30th, 2012, 8:39 am

To be honest I was never a fan of melee in gun sci-fi based games.

One of the reasons is that it being overpowered to the point where you can effectively use it without power armor or power fists or something similar - is hurting my suspense of disbelief very hard - someone wearing a leather jacket and some hand wraps perforating a person wearing power armor is making me cringe - a wasteland crawling with Dan Netherland's is a bit unbelievable.

If we're talking of plasma cutters/super pointy knives/proton axes then it's fine with some tweaks, but a melee combatant shouldn't just shrug off 12 gauge slugs.
User avatar
suz
 
Posts: 572
Joined: March 15th, 2012, 11:21 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby deus » April 30th, 2012, 9:18 am

Ehm... everyone one can shrug off a 2 shotgun blasts.

What's the difference?
deus
 
Posts: 80
Joined: March 24th, 2012, 9:44 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby Aldereth » April 30th, 2012, 12:05 pm

suz wrote:To be honest I was never a fan of melee in gun sci-fi based games.

One of the reasons is that it being overpowered to the point where you can effectively use it without power armor or power fists or something similar - is hurting my suspense of disbelief very hard - someone wearing a leather jacket and some hand wraps perforating a person wearing power armor is making me cringe - a wasteland crawling with Dan Netherland's is a bit unbelievable.


I personally am a fan close range and melee combat. Problem is most of the time, it is shoe horn into a game mechanic that is designed for guns that is either no fun or ill balance like Suz pont out here. While I advocate for the inclusion of melee but it has be well balance and fun. Post Acopalytic setting like wasteland is not conducive of barehands against power armor.

Here is a suggestion of some game mechanics that may work:

1. Have mobs that have power armor or themselves an automatons have damage reduction that would render anything that is less than a "sci-fi" power melee weapon pretty much useless to prevent the problem of breaking suspection of disbelief.

2. Increase the number of attacks for melee and higher probability to land "aim shot" than gun to provide incentive for player to get close and melee a foe if the foe is not in a power armor. The lower than gun damage vs. aimed shot that produce debuff is a fair trade off to provide tactical incentive to go for that option. This idea can expand to small arms at close range, if you want to encourage player to use a hand gun at close range instead of using an assault rifle all the time.
Aldereth
 
Posts: 69
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 8:40 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby Tartantyco » April 30th, 2012, 12:12 pm

My Character Ruleset goes some way towards addressing the melee issue by combining Unarmed, Melee, and Throwing into one Melee skill and synergizing attributes so that melee focused characters get increased damage resistance and avoidance as well as movement speed so that they get into close combat a lot quicker.

I'm still working on it and focus a lot on making different character builds more viable than they were in W1/FO1/FO2.
Tartantyco
 
Posts: 13
Joined: April 16th, 2012, 1:27 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby Drool » April 30th, 2012, 5:30 pm

Tartantyco wrote:My Character Ruleset goes some way towards addressing the melee issue by combining Unarmed, Melee, and Throwing into one Melee skill and synergizing attributes so that melee focused characters get increased damage resistance and avoidance as well as movement speed so that they get into close combat a lot quicker.

So you're solving the problem with melee characters being overpowered killing machines by making them more efficient overpowered killing machines?
Alwa nasci korliri das.

I neither work, nor speak, for inXile.
User avatar
Drool
 
Posts: 5272
Joined: March 17th, 2012, 8:58 pm
Location: In the mine, chilling with the Shadowclaw


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby rakenan » April 30th, 2012, 8:34 pm

As long as melee with a firearm *IS* arbitrarily inferior to actually shooting with it, I'm fine with melee being powerful. But doing more damage with a gun by bludgeoning somebody with it than by shooting them with it in W1 was asinine.
This year, I resolve to work harder. . . because it's obvious the world is not going to end itself.
rakenan
 
Posts: 99
Joined: March 6th, 2012, 8:21 pm


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby Marty Czosnyka » April 30th, 2012, 8:38 pm

Drool wrote:
Tartantyco wrote:My Character Ruleset goes some way towards addressing the melee issue by combining Unarmed, Melee, and Throwing into one Melee skill and synergizing attributes so that melee focused characters get increased damage resistance and avoidance as well as movement speed so that they get into close combat a lot quicker.

So you're solving the problem with melee characters being overpowered killing machines by making them more efficient overpowered killing machines?

Agree with drool, that is the only way melee is ever viable in those situations, to buff the heck out of it. In reality, if an equally geared mob is running at me with max melee, and I'm equipped with equal gear with a gun at max skill, I'll shot him down before he even takes a step near me. Knife meet gun........ I just don't see it being viable in this setting. Only way some melee is gonna get any hits off on me is if I miss a whole bunch, like me being blinded with dirt or sand or something, or he's got a whole bunch of fodder between me and him that I waste a clip on before I switch, where he has a chance to get close and harm me. I just don't like the idea of balancing around making melee viable in a game where gun beats rock paper and scissors.
Marty Czosnyka
 
Posts: 45
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 9:45 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby Inca » April 30th, 2012, 9:19 pm

Melee as the main figting choice is not viable (if your opponents have ranged weapons) however, there is a place for melee:
When you had to give up you gun as in entering bars, casinos, prisons etc.
When you want to be stealthy
When you ran out ammunition
When you need to subdue an enemy (for intelligence, to arrest a criminal, to take hostage)
When you participate in sports (boxing matches, ultimate fighting)

The important thing is to remeber that this is a scondary skill, or at least a skill that only one member of the party really needs to develop.
Good..Bad..I am the Guy with a Gun!
User avatar
Inca
 
Posts: 303
Joined: March 14th, 2012, 7:35 pm
Location: PA


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby abyss » April 30th, 2012, 10:14 pm

Marty Czosnyka wrote:realistically there is no other reason to bear melee against firearms


If you want realistic don't play games with killer bunnies, cyborgs with tricycles for bodies, brocolli forests, and brain transfers. The designers say so themselves - Wasteland 1 is loved because you could fistfight a giant robot scorpion and come out on top.

"Make everything except guns useless because realism" is a terrible argument. If you want realism, stop playing games. Go join the army and spend months cleaning latrines, standing in the cold, watching trees grow, then get shot in the neck from some invisible threat that spent weeks camping a ditch. Have your entire squad wiped out by a homemade IED that a kid hacked together with fertilizer. Get cancer from exposure to agent orange and depleted uranium ammo. Have your lungs melted by gas, and spend a month in agony before dying.

Wasteland is a universe where you can bash in a gun-wielding nun's head in with a book, fistfight a spinning octopus with blades-for-arms, and wield proton axes, like a man. If players want to make melee characters, they damned well better be useful parts of the team.

Gameplay where the only tactic is to line up your team like a broadside, all wearing the same armor and gun, is boring and awful game design. This is about game balance. The designers and writers were involved with some of the greatest games of all time - they're smart enough to come up with whatever sci-fi mcguffin they want to make ANY mechanic fit into the universe.
User avatar
abyss
 
Posts: 52
Joined: March 16th, 2012, 10:39 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby MinscAndBoo » May 1st, 2012, 5:15 am

Melee is often difficult in a gun totting game because the levels have to be tailored. Players are predicted to pick gun totting characters, so they get priority.

So consider this:

Add support perks/traits to melee characters:

- Trait / Block stance /
-- restricted movement when active -- unarmed only -- use your arm plates like a shield (party cover bonus +15).

- Perk / Camouflage tango /
party members traveling within 2 squares of you get +10 to stealth.

- Perk / Leadership /
-- unarmed only -- party members within 2 squares receive a bonus to perception and action points.

- Trait / Spotter /
-- restricted movement when active -- party within 6 squares receive +2 to perception +10 small arms.

- Trait / It's not a tumor /
due to your large muscles and boasting, you get a bonus to intimidation, the opposite sex is attracted to you and children wont steal from you (mostly).

- Trait / Moon walker /
-- unarmed only -- run twice as fast in the heat of battle and walk with +5 to stealth.

- Trait / Shake the pillars /
-- unarmed only -- pick up and throw objects lying on the ground (tables/chairs etc).
R I G I N of
The BIG list of indie games

ᴋɪᴄᴋsᴛᴀʀᴛᴇʀ ʙᴀᴄᴋᴇʀ
Wasteland II ⋆ Shadowrun Returns ⋆ Vigrior ⋆ The Dead Linger ⋆ Drifter
Carmageddon: Reincarnation ⋆ SKYJACKER ⋆ Spate ⋆ Kinetic Void
Chuck's Challenge ⋆ Rob Swigart's Portal (1986) Reborn v2.0
User avatar
MinscAndBoo
 
Posts: 150
Joined: April 14th, 2012, 3:15 pm
Location: The real wasteland of Australia


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby NeverShadow » May 1st, 2012, 5:52 am

the thing is, that not all encounters happen in an open environemnt where you can see your enemy charging at you from 60 feet while you casualy bring up your gun and shoot him in the face. in close quarters (in buildings, ruins etc...) melee charactes can be VERY important, closing short distances quickly and engaging (knocking down, disarming) oponents while your ranged team mates pick them off from the room entrance...
i can imaging alot of ways a melee character can dramaticly improve survivle rating in indoor encounters, but hey taking a shutgun shell in point blank should hurt...
every role has its shortcomings, im sure a sniper will be hard pressed against melee if they manage to get close to him.
NeverShadow
 
Posts: 3
Joined: April 12th, 2012, 3:47 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby suz » May 1st, 2012, 6:22 am

"Make everything except guns useless because realism" is a terrible argument.

Make melee so overpowered you don't need guns is a terrible gameplay. Why need to buy guns, micromanage ammo, pay attention to position and outrange enemy npcs when you can just get 7 unarmed champions who can just steamroll over everything in melee wearing leather jackets and some hand wraps?
User avatar
suz
 
Posts: 572
Joined: March 15th, 2012, 11:21 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby Aldereth » May 1st, 2012, 9:25 am

suz wrote:
"Make everything except guns useless because realism" is a terrible argument.

Make melee so overpowered you don't need guns is a terrible gameplay. Why need to buy guns, micromanage ammo, pay attention to position and outrange enemy npcs when you can just get 7 unarmed champions who can just steamroll over everything in melee wearing leather jackets and some hand wraps?


I think you just describe Hong Kong Style Action Flick :p

So yeah, Balance in all things.
Aldereth
 
Posts: 69
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 8:40 am


Re: Making MELEE viable and fun.

Postby abyss » May 1st, 2012, 1:16 pm

suz wrote:Make melee so overpowered you don't need guns is a terrible gameplay.


Completely agree. No archetype should be useless on the team. Balance is about the team supporting each other, covering your teammates' weaknesses. Making any role so overpowered that it makes everything else obsolete and there's no need for tactics, is terrible game design. That was the point of the original post.

An all melee team is going to have some major drawbacks - they'll take much longer to kill things since they need to run up to things to hit them, instead of lining up from a mile away and focus firing anything on the battlefield. In the process, they'll take more fire and be more vulnerable to spread weapons like machineguns and explosives. They won't have the ability to control movement with hit-and-run attacks. With ranged, you can cripple and slow down the guys in the back, separating the enemy. You lose the ability to disable a dangerous target by hitting its sensor, you can't make a swarm of bots turn on themselves by hitting their inhibitor chips from far away. If you're facing a super-tough opponent like an elder deathclaw or octotron, losing the ranged ability to cripple and kite before closing will get a lot of your guys injured. Losing ranged crowd control and focus fire will hurt the most - you won't be able to fire a rocket-launcher to take out 3 guys in one shot.
Last edited by abyss on May 1st, 2012, 1:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
abyss
 
Posts: 52
Joined: March 16th, 2012, 10:39 am

Next

Return to Board index

Return to Wasteland 2 General Discussion (No Spoilers)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests