Melee and Kiting

In the extreme off-chance you have not been following the gripping drama unfolding in the comment section of my post about Guild Wars 2 questing (which long ceased to be about questing), let me summarize my position on the design intention of melee kiting mobs.

…actually, wait. Let me quote GW2’s Jon Peters instead (emphasis mine):

Hey all. I wanted to talk about this a bit since it is a hot topic here and also on the internets. The intention is that both styles are viable. Certainly right now Melee is more difficult than ranged. There are some things we will try to do to address this, but I think the more you play you would find they are closer than you think.

First what’s already there:

  1. Melee does more damage. Melee damage is simply higher than ranged damage across the board.
  2. Melee has more control. With a few intentional exception Melee has a lot more control than ranged.

What Melee needs:

  1. defensive tools on more weapons, particularly on lower armor professions.
  2. ai needs to favor Melee a bit less than it currently does.

What else:
Finally because of the more action based nature of combat Melee needs to be taught better. Effective Melee requires skills that translate over from FPS games which are notoriously harder on casual players. You have to wasd to move, constantly aim with your mouse camera, and hit skills on 1-5.
Some tips:

If you have learned any good Melee tips that you think we should pass on to newer players feel free to post them here. I’ll start with a few tips of my own.

  • If you don’t have mouse look on when using a skill you will turn to face. I sometimes let go of mouse look as I activate to help me aim through the chaos and then click it back down in between attacks.
  • Melee has a lot of hard hitting skills and good setup. Utility skills Can really help set up big Melee attacks. Bulls charge on warrior, scorpion wire on thief, judges intervention on guardian.
  • Know when to run. No matter what you are not a tank. You have to move in and out avoiding damage. If you have to soak damage try and bring boons like Protection and Regeneration or conditions like Blindness and the very undervalued Weakness.

Thanks for reading this all. Rest assured we will keep working on this and just keep in mind the subtle differences in GW2 combat that take a while to sink in.

The above was posted May 1st, the same day I basically pointed out the same thing, vis-a-vis the melee vs ranged discrepancy, with my first GW2 beta weekend impressions. As of the second beta weekend, there has been no improvement I could detect. Jon mentions that melee deals more damage “across the board,” but what difference happened to exist was not perceptible to me.

But for the sake of argument, let us assume Jon is correct. Let us assume, as Conwolv does, that I “like to make up excuses for [my] poor playstyle” rather than have any possible legitimate complaint. Let us, in other words, look upon the design principals as they exist in their purest form:

  1. Melee deals more damage | It is more difficult to get/stay in melee range.
  2. Melee is at greater risk of damage | Melee takes less damage.
  3. Ranged deals less damage | It is easier to stay on target.
  4. Ranged is at less risk of damage | Ranged takes more damage.

Do you believe the above is good, balanced game design?

Go ahead and write down your answer.

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Write it down?

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If you wrote “Yes,” you are wrong. Don’t feel too bad though, as Blizzard makes this mistake repeatedly, and ArenaNet appears to be on track to do the same for different reasons.

You see, the problem with the above “balanced” game design is the notion that both ranged and melee are intended to ultimately be viable, e.g. be equivalently good at damage. If ranged DPS is as good as melee in the long-run, that means there is no benefit to it being more difficult to get into/stay in melee range. If melee has greater burst damage to compensate, that merely imbalances PvP and/or forces encounter designers to include adds that need to be killed quickly… and somehow make it so that ranged cannot simply kill them in the time it takes melee to switch targets.

Similarly, “risk” is not a particularly compelling balance mechanism for two reasons. The first is simple psychology: most people are risk averse. Would you rather have $50 right now, or $100 if you win a coin flip? Both have an average payout of $50, so there is no difference between the two… right? Second, there are “perceived fun” barriers that designers have to keep in mind when crafting encounters. Instant-death mechanics are probably not fun for a lot of people, even if that is a way to balance ranged having an easier time avoiding said attack than melee (whom would only take 50% damage or whatever). At the other end, if melee doesn’t take enough damage, they could potentially ignore the mechanic altogether.

There are potentially ways to balance the melee vs ranged rift, but the bottom line is that a “mirrored” approach simply does not cut it.

Flying the Melee Kite

This brings me back to the GW2 melee problem.

Simply put, melee has every possible disadvantage. Instead of melee taking less damage per the balancing mechanism for #2, melee takes the same or more damage. You have less time to react to “Dodge This!” abilities, nevermind how few of those abilities ranged even has to care about. As Jon points out, “You have to move in and out avoiding damage.” What does ranged do? Move… backwards? To be honest, at the levels I played, my Ranger never had to move at all if I lead off with a snare. And here is the thing: even if that changes later, I would not be doing more than my melee toons already do.

More often than not, melee characters having to kite mobs is a sign of design failure. What else could it be, by definition?

One of the interesting defenses that a commenter named Fn0 presented was the following:

GW2 goes further. Capiche? It is not the same. GW2 allows you as melee (as in, you started melee at level 1) to spec as full-blown ranged with the blink of putting a ranged weapon equiped. In GW2 you can respec in battle with they key ` which allows one to, for example, switch between melee and ranged. This means we are much more hybrid than in previous MMOs.

It is an interesting thought that ArenaNet might be endeavoring to do away with both class roles (i.e. the Trinity) and any distinction between ranged and melee classes. I do not believe the argument works particular well, given that melee vs ranged is still a balance issue regardless of whether each class can be both – just because a Thief can be ranged 100% of the time doesn’t fix the fact that melee is imbalanced. And I have a more subjective problem with the idea of presenting Thieves, Guardians, and Warriors as “ranged” archetypes. But it is an interesting thought just the same.

Having said all that, what do you guys think? Is kiting a “standard strategy for melee in all MMO games?” Even in questing and general PvE? Are the discrepancies between melee and ranged classes something you think about at all? I have not played TERA, so I would also be interested in knowing how melee vs ranged is handled in that game. And if you played a game where you thought things were balanced pretty well, let me know that as well in the comments below.

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Posted on June 20, 2012, in Guild Wars 2 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. The day I ranged face a situation like melee face every day where they are getting beat with no way to retaliate is the day I think games are serious about balancing this.

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  2. It looks like every new MMO is being designed by a new batch of people, completely unaware of the failings of the previous systems.
    It almost seems like they feel that since WoW fucked it up, there’s nothing wrong in fucking it up exactly the same way…..

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    • I don’t recall a game which had it right, so I think the problem is not knowing what not to do. The problem is knowing what to do.

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  3. I agree that melee having to kite is unnatural. Kiting can come in for emergency situations where you are trying to run away or wait on a cooldown, but normally? No, melee needs to be able to stay in melee range.

    As for ranged vs. melee in the abstract, I don’t think there is any way to fix it. Ranged is just better. It is better in real life, it will be better in games that approximate real life to some degree. Even if melee is given cooldowns to juggle rather than kite, they are still worse. Would you rather have to juggle cooldowns to stay alive or not have to juggle cooldowns to stay alive? If they are close enough, as in WoW, then people will play melee just because they prefer the style.

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  4. I played an enhancement shaman in WoW and a rogue in RIFT, and kiting is what you do when the pull went wrong. Switching to a ranged weapon is what you do when the raid boss is poorly designed. :P

    That being said I’ve been idly pondering lately how to make life more difficult for ranged and less difficult for melee, and to be fair to the professionals it’s not an easy nut to crack.

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    • “it’s not an easy nut to crack.”

      This.
      especially in GW2 where there’s no tank threat mechanic and where setup flexibility is one of the main, big premises.

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  5. Tbh I am surprised at some of the vehemence you were met with in that other argument. you must have touched a nerve there. ;) one can have different viewpoints, but none of us have the ultimate view on how things will really turn out or if they will work out the way we perceived them last beta.

    Anyway, I agree with the issue – it’s certainly not a case of “just learn to adapt”; I understand that a thief can go ranged, but that’s hardly what you’re looking for when choosing that class. GW2 does not intend to do away with archetypes / class variety or else I missed something.
    having to run out a lot or kite, even at increased dps to compensate for it, is disruptive and doesn’t sound like much fun. many players will choose to play classes that they feel less at risk with or where the playstyle seems easier, so effectively a lot less players would choose to play melee as a consequence.I watched one of the early 5man videocasts of Totalbiscuit some weeks ago where he talked about this precise issue, but I am not sure I can still find it now.

    At this point I have a question though because it seems to me not everyone is necessarily talking about the same thing, but 2 different ones: is your main concern for equal viability of classes or equally difficult playstyles?

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    • is your main concern for equal viability of classes or equally difficult playstyles?

      Well, you kind of need both for it to work, right?

      If I had to pick just one though, it would be the “equally difficult playstyles” part. If there are 50 enemy types in GW2 with abilities that must be Dodged, a melee class will need to be aware of every one. Ranged simply doesn’t. That typically doesn’t bother me, but when I’m told that it’s intended for melee to kite too, a line has been crossed.

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  6. You can comment the design is flawed, but it might just as well be the numbers. I say: if the designs are compelling, let us try to balance the numbers first and then if not possible go back to design. The most difficult part of balancing is balancing solo play lvling (PvE and PvP), multiplayer PvP (lvling and end-game) _and_ PvE end-game in ONE game because then you need the same abilities to function different or have different output. After all, PvE content is dumb and scripted (solo, coop, raid/operations/dungeon 5/8/10/15/16/25m) whereas the various types of PvP allows room for creativity and imagination (and different amount of players versus players e.g. WvWvW, sPvP/BG/WZ, arena, duel, world PvP). All these different types of gameplay in different types of games does make the discussion complex.

    “You see, the problem with the above “balanced” game design is the notion that both ranged and melee are intended to ultimately be viable, e.g. be equivalently good at damage.”

    What you wrote after “e.g.” is contrary to what was written above. The above said melee do more damage than ranged. This is what Jon wrote:

    “Melee does more damage. Melee damage is simply higher than ranged damage across the board.”

    He included a list, not just that damage should be equal.

    Keep in mind though that since fight last less long with more damage there is less chance to make mistake. This should also be included in risk reward. I will give you an example on this in other game later on.

    The more damage from melee in fight is same in WoW on static fight. Go do Ultraxion. Who is highest DPS? Melee (except feral kitty because they can’t shred. Rogue loses some in execute phase too.) and demo lock (who in patch 4.3, as ranged DPS, does best dmg during complete lack of movement in melee range, has good single target and AoE burst, and very heavy stacked AoE in melee range; Ultraxion falls in first category). And that is _fine_. It is _OK_ that some classes or type of DPS or specs are better than others on certain fights. PvP-wise this means that the ranged must kite the melee, and the melee is being kited by ranged in PvP. We see this back in games like SWTOR, WoW, and also in GW2.

    As I already said in GW2 there is no such thing as pure melee or pure ranged. So you should roll the class you like the lore behind, or because you like the initial abilities (buy white quality weapons from weaponsmith, level them up, and then try your profession in PvP!). I admit it does make sense to roll a thief if you expect a rogue-like playstyle, but it is better to decide with less prejudice what you’re going to play, or read into the lore. If you believe a thief in GW2 ought to be melee-only you did not understand the lore behind thief nor did you understand in GW2 there is no melee-only or ranged-only profession. Question is, is this your mistake or the games? This is why I like that games don’t use same terminology so to not create wrong expectations. The Warzone is not a Battleground. The Operations is not a Raid. The Concealment Operative is not a Rogue. While we do make these compares to give people an idea, we should also remember that they are compares and not equations. So one can compare a conceal op with a thief a rogue because all have stealth class mechanics and are “the sneaky class in game” but we must also acknowledge they’re taken out of context.

    Aside from that, it appears in GW2 solo play melee fits more a playstyle to people who know (and remember) tactics and know the field (you stated you CBA w/that). They know when to run and when not to run therefore maximizing their DPS. There’s some trial and error here, and will to improve and learn after wipe by responding quicker. Ranged is more forgiving but cannot reach the high amount of DPS a good melee is achieving no matter what. They’ll be less bursty, and receive a lot of damage when failing to kite.

    Therefore, the initial response of a melee player is important whereas for a ranged player it is important to not make positioning mistakes during kiting. What do you prefer? I agree most would prefer the latter, but that does not mean the former shouldn’t be an option. Just most options for players should be in the latter (ie. there should be more ranged) because that is what most people prefer so that you get every class roughly as popular as each other.

    In Diablo 3 during solo play the kiting is high risk high reward for classes like demon hunter and wizard because if they get hit they are one or two shot. Make one mistake and you are dead. Contrast this to a melee, they won’t be one or two shot. Some affixes are harder for melee, some for ranged. Still, a DH won’t stack defensive stats whereas barb and monk do stack lots of that. I’d say the risk aversion is flipped around here unless you are a very good player. If you’re very good you won’t fail your kiting as DH. Your reward is higher as DH because you do more dmg (more about that below about TERA). It shouldn’t come with surprise the barbarian is popular in hardcore.

    There’s also mechanisms where melee are favored: D3 mortar, stack phase, melee with gap closers versus ranged without (my spriest and operative doesn’t have them). There’s also situations where the lack of gap closer will make you have to react quicker no matter if you are melee or ranged.

    I also suggest you go watch world first Diablo 3 hardcore inferno kill video. The way they killed Diablo as well as bosses before that is due to heavy kiting mostly by the barbarian. Because the barbarian was good at kiting, and the wizard positioned well just outside of screen (less chance of aggro), and because they had good continuations due to positioning after both had to kite, the wizard was able to do more output which leads to shorter fight which leads to less possibility of mistakes. This did require exercise and communication though.

    “As Jon points out, “You have to move in and out avoiding damage.” What does ranged do? Move… backwards?”

    With default keybinds the player presses two times the same move button on wasd or point your mouse somewhere and press v. This moves the character away like a barrel roll. During the entire time of said movement they cannot be hit. After that you created a gap and you are able to do whatever you want (e.g. move/kite, channel something, wave at your opponent as they come closer). Welcome to GW2!

    “Having said all that, what do you guys think?”

    What I think: the nay-sayers (ie. you) should come up with various examples of alternatives to kiting as melee, or mechanics to make gameplay harder for ranged to equalize the field. I see you complain but you don’t come up with alternatives.

    “Is kiting a “standard strategy for melee in all MMO games?””

    We’ve not covered all games. They variate, even from patch to patch.

    Usually the melee are being kited, and if a melee is almost dead going to kite won’t make sense because by the time they’re out of range they’re dead by ranged. My operative can write a book about sorcerers in Huttball. However there are alternatives and relatives to out of range kiting: LoS, burst, gap closer/opener, stealth. Also, sometimes it is OK to die due to positioning change or “picking a different weapon” in FPS (in past the good player out of ammo conundrum). An example of that is enemy attacking in Huttball while you need to be on defense but just scored. Since you’re not positioned to own mid either you’re better off dying quickly there, to regroup/reposition.

    I did notice that in TERA during character creation the tank and melee characters had difficulty of 3/5, 4/5, or 5/5 with the 2 ranged characters having 2/5 each. The healers had either 3/5 or 4/5. Since I want to be challenged, but don’t enjoy playing melee 24/7 (do like it every once in a while) I went for the 4/5 healer option.

    In WoW we had very few fights where ranged kited. Most fights tanks (= melee with lots of dmg mitigation and CDs) kite if there is kiting necessary. Nobody said the partly ranged paladin is particularly good at kiting. No, it is the warrior with all his gap closers. Ie. you want a warrior for P3 Spine HC. During lvling the player is barely challenged so we can dismiss that part of the game as irrelevant. WoW also lacks the A in ARPG; it is far more MMORPG than ARPG or hybrid.

    In SWTOR I played a concealment ops. I had 2 stuns (one AoE which broke on dmg allowing me to run away or channel a heal). I kited, and had I opted for lvling spec I’d have instant self heals to use during kiting (instead, I had to use stuns + channeled heal + kite). The big AoE patches not to dance in are impossible to miss in this game. Because of my ridiculous burst from behind and ability to stealth through content I was able to solo a lot of content easily with little risk. I’m not even going to attempt to compare this to assassin PvP tank (content just takes longer) or full healer (content takes longer, and you need to constantly switch between strong heals and weak dmg). For quick lvling, hybrid is the way to go in a game like this. Interesting note: the operative is the only class in SWTOR who doesn’t have gap closer, but they do have stealth. The two are not mutually exclusive: assassin has both.

    I don’t agree with comment melee combat is always more risky IRL. Someone who is skilled in martial arts would prefer melee combat; he’d pwn most opponents, and could be deadly (instant gibs exist, as well accurate methods to torture). Someone who is skilled shooter would prefer that. While I’d say the “only a few classes with high risk high reward” option is viable perhaps the truth to accept is that playing a melee character is generally harder than a ranged character. A rogue-like character with burst and ability to skip content is therefore a good solution in my opinion because this makes fights shorter (means less risk), easy way to withdraw from fight. A feral too, because then you can swap to something more viable.

    Also, since you cannot faceroll as melee in GW2 like in WoW, since you don’t want to learn/remember tactics of content (THE content; lvling), since you don’t want to play ranged on your thief I’d say the only possible outcome is don’t play GW2? I guess TERA is also out of the question. I’m invited in TSW BWE and I’ll roll “melee”, if possible, to see if I can make some observations.

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    • What you wrote after “e.g.” is contrary to what was written above. The above said melee do more damage than ranged.

      Melee doing more damage than ranged makes sense insofar that it takes time to get into melee range (plus any downtime related to *sigh* kiting), thus melee has a shorter timeframe in which to deal the equivalent amount of damage as ranged. If the actual situation is that melee simply outperforms ranged in equal skill scenarios, I do not see how that can be said to be making both viable.

      I am not a believer in the sort of “as long as we have equal melee and ranged-friendly bosses, it all balances out” design Blizzard frequently leans upon. I know why they do it, and it obviously “works,” but I don’t like it.

      It is interesting what you have said about TERA, in that they straight-up rank the difficulty of melee/healers differently than ranged. I consider that extremely poor design – difficulty shouldn’t be based on the class I play, but rather how I play – but at least they are up-front and honest about it.

      With default keybinds the player presses two times the same move button on wasd or point your mouse somewhere and press v.

      I am well aware of how to use the Dodge key. Although I would point out that Dodging does not move you away any faster than normal movement, and thus most mobs simply move with you and continue attacking (unless you Dodged their special move, of course). You obviously take 1-2 less hits during that window, and deal zero damage yourself, but you can be assured that the vast majority of players will be surprised by how often they will be 1-2 hits away from death, compared to the breezy faceroll of ranged in comparison.

      It bears mentioning, by the way, that I found it took longer to kill things as melee than ranged too. Maybe that will change in later levels when ranged actually has to kite instead of killing mobs within a snare.

      What I think: the nay-sayers (ie. you) should come up with various examples of alternatives to kiting as melee, or mechanics to make gameplay harder for ranged to equalize the field. I see you complain but you don’t come up with alternatives.

      Give every mob a withering ranged attack such that ranged is constantly needing to press into melee range to survive. You know, the equivalent thing that these sort games ask melee to do.

      I am only half-joking.

      Also, since you cannot faceroll as melee in GW2 like in WoW, since you don’t want to learn/remember tactics of content (THE content; lvling), since you don’t want to play ranged on your thief I’d say the only possible outcome is don’t play GW2?

      I already own GW2, incidentally, so not playing is out of the question.

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      • “Give every mob a withering ranged attack such that ranged is constantly needing to press into melee range to survive. You know, the equivalent thing that these sort games ask melee to do.”

        I think I agree with you. Most ranged attacks (over all MMOs) actually work quite fine in melee as well, pure ranged attacks are very rare – while pure melee attacks are common. Most mobs have one to begin with. Melee characters have quite a few of them too, while ranged usually have few if any pure ranged attacks (WoW’s hunters are an exception).

        It even shows in the vocabulary – kiting is well known and many consider it one of skills beginners must learn to become advanced. The opposite action (keeping a ranged opponent in melee to stop them from using their powerful range-only attacks) does not even have a name.

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      • “Give every mob a withering ranged attack such that ranged is constantly needing to press into melee range to survive.”

        “Every” might be going too far, but yes, it’s a fine solution – making some mobs into “snipers” that are lethal at range but helpless once you get into their dead zone.

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      • Regarding your first point, that is why melee with burst dmg from stealth are powerful during solo play. The warriors and DKs can chain pull, tank with their big armor, and then do big AoE. Heck, even as tank. One way to solve it in GW2 is to make the melee do simply higher dmg. Another would be akin to TERA’s solution: tell people up-front that melee does better damage, but is also harder to play. By the way, from what I’ve gathered the ranger (2/5 stars) is weak in end-game in TERA, and they’re going to nerf the other ranged (sorcerer). So TERA does have the high risk high reward mechanism.

        Blizzard encounters go further than that. On Spine HC you don’t want ranged with DoTs on breaking the grab, and you want all DPS with high burst dmg. On Madness HC you want DoT classes since they both scale with haste and proc spellweave. Some burst is still good. On the first fight even on farm the mage has to go arcane. Fire is too unreliable, it leaves behind DoTs or the crits don’t proc when they have to on the single target burst. On the latter, while arcane does have some nice burst the AoE for P2 is bad, has no blast wave slow, and the DoTs are simply better also due to multiDoTing, plus of course spellweave. In FL affliction was best spec until Rag HC where you really wanted to be demo due to AoE, stuns, and the brilliant ilvl 346 mastery trinket from Tol’Vir dungeon. Incidentally, both classes in both situations must do huge reforging to be optimal for both fights. Not required on farm when overgeared, but during progression for sure. Melee-wise, you need some ranged who break the grab and the rest can go melee with good burst (sub rogue pref). Our melee are consistent top DPS on the tendons. More or less the story as Ultraxion.

        Anyway, if you don’t want fights which are more friendly for melee than ranged and vice versa then you also quickly get into the argument of different classes and different specs having to perform same. This is really a can of worms and very difficult to balance in encounters without becoming boring. The easiest way to solve such is give classes the same or similar abiltiies much like Blizzard did with Cataclysm. Now, that I initially did not like, because it made the unique feeling classes had less.

        We must also take into account the solo versus multiplayer difference as Ephemeron stated. In the Diablo 3 video the barbarian was barely doing any damage (not taking much) but was keeping aggro, kiting, and following the boss mechanics near perfect. In single player this tactic would take ages (increasing the chance of making a mistake). So it makes sense for a melee to team up with a ranged (who tanks for him). I was trying to do this in TERA but on my trial account I had to ninja invite people because I wasn’t allowed to whisper or talk in any chat channel. The partner I managed to invite wasn’t a teamplayer so I can’t comment.

        If you take the above about WoW into GW2 singleplayer context: it is fair that every class (including thief) can down boss X, but it is not fair if only a ranged can kill boss X. Since there is no such thing as melee or ranged in GW2 it is OK to make certain encounters either melee or ranged unfriendly. If you further want to balance bosses making the difficulty the same for every weapon (spec) then it is going to take a lot more testing, and what for really? Why not have this imbalance and let players allow to theorycraft and optimize? If something turns out to be “imba”, nerf it.

        I suppose no surprise, I played some TERA trial past 2 evenings as melee (lancer, slayer, and warrior). Got lancer till level 4, slayer till level 7, warrior till level 11. I could basically tank ‘n spank. Usually I did not; I tried to evade enemy attacks. They were noticeable due to animations.

        I wasn’t challenged. It was the same ol’ stuff as WoW: the easy low level, picking up quests manually; ie. felt grindy. I find it insulting and a waste of time. I rather have it difficult from start, like GW2 (I felt challenged on my mesmer and elementalist). At level 4 on my 3rd melee character I noticed some kind of boss. The combat took longer here, so I had to use tactics here.

        Did I have no fun at all? I did, I like having only a few abilities available and the combat system a-la ARPG I find attractive. I can certainly see it work and part of challenging PvE design later on but I cannot comment on it based on experience. Also, it was cool I could (seemingly randomly?) smash enemies onto the floor allowing me to hit them hard while they’re on ground. What I did not like is I found the game too childish, but that might be a matter of getting used to, and is very subjective. Also, all the women boots have high heels like the demon hunter. Bit weird to see your character jump off a mountain, survive with 5% health, landing safely on her high heels. Either way the initial lvling is unlike GW2 where I felt immediately challenged, and that was a Good Thing for the chemicals in my brains at the very least.

        Looking forward to your TERA experience, Azuriel. On US servers you can play the game for free for a week with coupon code TERATRIAL.

        As for the dodging in GW2 I thought there was a slight movement advantage to dodging. I could be wrong. While Googling I did notice some interesting trait mechanics related to dodge on the wiki. See http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Dodge

        “It bears mentioning, by the way, that I found it took longer to kill things as melee than ranged too. Maybe that will change in later levels when ranged actually has to kite instead of killing mobs within a snare.”

        This is difficult to compare as it is influenced by gear and skill as well. I don’t remember much ability to tank ‘n spank as ranged. I remember I had to move, and moved.

        “Give every mob a withering ranged attack such that ranged is constantly needing to press into melee range to survive. You know, the equivalent thing that these sort games ask melee to do.”

        Like mortar? Maybe. So Bob the barbarian sees Alice the wizard kiting and killing this monstrous creature. He starts to run towards Alice to save her, charges and… ouch, mortar. Splat. Dead. Either way, yes this type of design is what games need more. With projectiles being caught by invulnerable minions and reflects damage also being difficult to tackle for ranged.

        Let us say, hypothetical, melee got stuns and ranged got slows. Would that work? In PvP the problem would be chain stuns.

        “I already own GW2, incidentally, so not playing is out of the question.”

        Pretty sure nobody forces you to play. If you are disappointed with beta I suppose you could cancel your pre-order since they did not deliver you a product yet. I don’t know the law in this regard in your country though.

        PS: @ Imakulata, on Yor Sahj hunters don’t have min range, and in MoP the min range requirement is completely gone. Legolas can finally kill the cave troll again from short range.

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  7. GW2 melee classes can inflict alot of conditions. So I could imagine following scenario:
    Charging an enemy inlficting a stun. Blinding them making 75% of their attacks miss. When the blind wears off inflicting a bleed and getting out of enemy reach. Snaring them with a ranged weapon until my charge/blind ability comes back.

    Something like that sounds alot more fun than standing behind the enemy, who is completely oblivious of me hitting them with a two handed axe twice my size, because in front is some small gnome with a shiny shield.

    Making it easier for melee classes to avoid the dodgethis!™ mechanics, an ability like 6th sense would be nice, warning you of the incoming smashofdoom™. It would only be active while in actual melee range. Maybe call it Hea(r)t of the Battle, or something.

    Making things more difficult and more challenging for ranged would need faster enemy ranged attacks that are harder to avoid, more gap closers or throw downs.

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  8. Melee having to kite – and, in fact, the whole “melee vs. ranged” dichotomy and its associated – has mostly historical reasons for its existence; Chainmail begat D&D, which begat other tabletop RPGs, which begat CRPGs, which begat MMORPGs.

    In wargames, melee kiting was a perfectly valid tactic; for example, a unit of light cavalry could “kite” a heavier yet slower opponent into a trap, setting them up for a devastating flank charge, instead of fighting them face-to-face. The unit didn’t get to fight, but it was OK, because it still brought you one step closer to victory.

    Even in MMORPGs, this approach still works in team-oriented encounters. An off-tank leading an add away from MT or a warrior carrying a flag in a battleground usually isn’t feeling particularly slighted, even though he’s technically engaged in “melee kiting” – because he’s ensuring his team’s victory by his actions.

    However, in the absence of the team/army (i.e., during solo play), this model falls apart, as you correctly observed.

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  9. Wanted to give you and fellow readers a heads up that this evening (your morning/afternoon) there is a stress test for GW2 in 4 hr time limit from 10 AM GMT-7 till 2 PM GMT-7. For UK, that means from 6 PM till 10 PM. See http://www.arena.net/blog/help-us-stress-our-servers-on-june-27

    Too bad it coincides with both UEFA semi-final and my weekly WoW raid.

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    • http://www.arena.net/blog/announcing-the-guild-wars-2-launch-date

      2 more dates for GW2:

      Next BWE: 2012-07-20 till 2012-07-22.
      Release: 2012-08-28.

      PS: My WoW DS HC raid went quick, and the beta took 1 hour longer than advertized. I’ll spare you my emotional comments when I was in rejoice with my mesmer (did not even level anything on her). Strange how one can be so attached to a character. Suffice to say I’ve been able to level a warrior norr to level 3 and my human thief to level 4 or 5 (from level 2,5… I thought I was higher level, but OK). Unfortunately my computer crashed with the notes I made (about thief), and I don’t find myself able to restructure the notes due to lack of details. I do like to note that I was challenged with the various weapons I managed to find. I can say that the gameplay of the thief is about: stealth, copying mechanics (spellsteal), burst DPS, kiting, and more which I forgot. The various “perks” are the glacing of the cake of the weapon spec. In TERA I’ve been playing a warrior and I am enjoying this; may go play more melee in MMOs.

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