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Melee combat thoughts[message #363004] Mon, 26 April 2021 09:00 Go to next message
ShaDoOoW

 
Messages:45
Registered:April 2009
Location: Czech Republic
Hi, after finishing a game where I played with 4 melee specialist (my IMP, Razor, Hector, Snake) I decided to discuss melee combat balance because during play I found number of smaller and bigger issues.

I won't talk about bugs here, I already posted fixes for most of them, but balancing. Before I start - I do realize that it is not realistic to go into gunfight wíth knife. That is not how it works and obviously melee mercs are not supposed to just run from one enemy to another in daylight and kill them easily. But this is a game that has ton of unrealisticism in it, hell even the main story "bunch of mercs liberating whole country from evil queen" is unrealistic. Game has this trait and therefore it should be worthwhile to use it. A lot of mercs has this trait too which makes them bad choice, if melee is not viable.

Now, how did I even made it work a bit. I started game at Experienced difficulty + very slow gun progress and lowest BR settings and I disabled the new enemy weapon choices from unstable (stupid feature imo that doesn't reflect difficulty and gun progress setting and completely removes pistols and shotguns from game as you won't see them, anyway). My IMP was Athletic+Melee+Stealthy and every melee merc was also Athletic (after I could afford Snake, till then I used Haywire, but absence of Athletic makes him weak).

Athletic is extremely important and not just for melee combat. We all know it is most overpowered trait and if you want to kill enemies with knife it is a must.

So this + fighting during night prefferably and removing enemies one by one. Walking around in stealth and then turning it off and run straight at the enemy with aim stab at neck and kill him. That kind of worked as long as enemies had mostly pistols (which under this setting is almost whole game). But there were many issues even under this situation.


So about the issues.

Dodge chance of enemy. Since enemies get random traits, enemies with Hand to Hand, Martial Artist or Melee are forcing reloads. Sometimes not even sending 2 mercs helps. Player does not know the enemy has this trait (I don't count debug level of ALT info as a valid method) and since they have the usual dodge animations he won't find immediately after missing the stab either. It is clear after 4th stab in row misses, but that is way too late. When they had pistols, it was still doable - they rarely killed my merc, later in game when they had ARs and MGs it became instant death.

Now I don't know exactly what should be done about this. Perhaps different dodging animation would help to realize after first stab, that you need to go for leg stabs or use pistol instead, and be able to continue without reaload. The bonuses to dodge might be too big as well, 60% for Martial Artist is really huge. From 20 enemies, there are always at least 3 who has one of the three traits gaining 30-60% dodge chance.

It also doesn't make a lot of sense to me that enemies can dodge so easily when they are holding sniper rifle, MG or even AR. I saw in code that this in past was the case and I think Seven changed it so the bonus appliest everytime. That is too good and doesn't make much sense. Holding a large rifle in both hand should impact one's close combat dodging abilities I believe.

Another thing is, that a lot of time you run towards enemy, you miss or rather he dodges because he is a martial artist and then, because he is holding assault rifle, next round he empties the clip into you from short distance where he has 99% chance to hit. Shouldn't be harder to hit someone who is literally on your body dodging left and right trying to stab you with large rifle? Currently assault rifles (at least under NCTH) solves every situation except when you lose the gun better than anything and this is one of the situations. Why would you use pistol or god forbid a knife when you basically cannot miss with autofire from body2body range? I realize, that this might prove too good for players since AI will probably not be able to run back a bit before shooting and they usually carry just one gun unlike player. But it is something to consider.

Aimed stab locations. There is no point aiming legs at all. Even with melee specialist, doing 6 damage surely must be a bug. It is not worth the increased chance to hit at all, especially because there are no other benefits of aiming the legs. You won't cause enemy any extra AP/energy loss, you won't make him unable to move. Totally pointless except if you want to roleplay the "senators killing Julius Cesar" in JA2. Also not much of a point not to make unaimed stab I would say, but the differences are extremely small and I don't have real data to prove my point. I end up in my gameplay to always aim at neck - that was 99% times oneshot, at least if I hit. If not I had second merc nearby who tried it again which usually worked. When not I let it go and either played with 2 heavy wounded mercs or replayed if one of them died.


Knife values balance. I think the values are so so. The only thing I would change is that I would add a CTH bonus or damage bonus or maybe a penalty when using katana/sabre in one hand. But just penalty might make it weaker than other options like Rambo Knife. I always worked with inventory in a way I had one hand free with knife, but it is actually not needed, CTHs are not affected by holding a bear in offhand at all (and that is probably okay for usual knives). Swords should also give a penalty to the defender to dodge, at least in a sword vs knife/nothing situation imo. You can't dodge that well against large blades unlike smaller knives.


Interrupts. Reason why melee falls off later in game hard. Once the elite units were more common I stopped running towards them because that gave them interrupt and started waiting with my melee specialist around corners countering possible enemy flank. I got interrupt, but because in either case, when interrupt happens enemy is 2 tiles away and you need to move 1 tile towards him, that gave him counter-interrupt and I ended up dead. Shooting with gun does not have this issue. I ended up using throwing knives with Razor to keep the roleplay running, or SMG into legs to make him collapse and then stab him into backs for the good feel. Again not sure what to do with this, but it is a problem.

(Almost) No AP penalty for enemy. Stabbing does not impact enemy AP/energy a lot (if at all, unsure). So many times I ran into situation where enemy survived my attack and he had 6~ hitpoints left, yet he was able to kill me in next round with autofire. Guns offer suppression mechanic, punches causes high energy loss, but regular knives seems to not do any of that (throwing knives actually do cause suppression). Suppression is obviously a bit nonsense, but "shock" mechanic would have imo. Of course this is highly related to the fact that when you are in RT and spot enemy and new round starts, all enemiest starts with 100 (possibly altered by energy unsure about that). So not even guns works well, you either kill him or he will shoot back no matter what. Still, something to consider.

Various.
1) Unlike guns CTH calculation does not include merc experience level. Considering this is used in pretty much everything else, I think exp level should be included in calculation.
2) CTH calculation might be bugged in case that dodging chance is much higher than hit chance. Look at this code "iChance = 67 + (iAttRating - iDefRating) / 3;", if I read it correctly, it means that if the initial chance after substracting iDefRating is negative, it gets higher after divided by 3. Whether it can actually happen I don't know though.
3) Game has two more knives that I could not find. Sam Garver's Knife and Letter Opener. Anyone knows where I can get them? Also steak knife is really great, but it seems it can only be acquired with recruiting Razor. It would be nice if he was pre-placed in one of the town buildings I think.

[Updated on: Mon, 26 April 2021 09:16]

Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363005 is a reply to message #363004] Mon, 26 April 2021 09:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:2498
Registered:December 2012
Location: Russian Federation
Adding enemy trait/specialty icon could help identifying their strong and weak sides.
Also should be possible to add some kind of CTH indicator (at least in the form of highly likely/no chance).
Also, [F] key always shows you CTH for attack so you can decide if you want to risk aiming neck or go for more likely legs stab.
From the boxing matches experience, hitting legs is often useful as you drain enemy energy, but they cannot kill you in one attack next turn.
As for dodge chance, I think having long rifle actually helps as it's basically a long stick or even spear, used in melee fights from ancient times.

In general, I always thought hth is mostly for boxing matches and punching enemy to steal some stuff while having some armed backup support, and melee is mostly for night operations or disguised spies, not for day attacks against enemies with machineguns. Maybe this could be fun in some special mod where enemy only has pistols and clubs and some kind of law restricts mercs from carrying guns in cities.

I also remember from IIS it has special code to prevent interrupt when melee specialist runs to attack enemy.



7609+AI (r2090) | Experimental project | Modpack | Youtube | Trunk (r9005) | 1.13 Starter Docs | 1.13 How to get | Win10 fix | Discord


Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363007 is a reply to message #363004] Mon, 26 April 2021 14:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
LatZee

 
Messages:174
Registered:December 2015
Why in hell should you be privy to that information about the enemy? Do people in your part of the world walk around with sticky notes on their foreheads about their skillsets? cheeky

In the end, your ideas always come to the same thing... you complain that high risk/low reward approach you have chosen has, well, high risks and low rewards, so, surprised pikachu face? cheeky

Combat is supposed to be messy and unpredictable, shitty and dangerous, and that is one thing that JA2 1.13 is doing brilliantly. You should never have assurances that your plans will work, the game should never reward putting yourself into super risky positions where if you don't succeed it's all over. Instead the game is telling you repeatedly, don't put yourself into such positions, or rely on save scumming, in which case, as we already said, everything works (as long as you reload when it doesn't).

And what's with the fucking infatuation with athletics. Athletics is pretty good, especially for a minor skill. It's only the best skill in the game if you constantly use it offensively and then reload every time it gets you into trouble. You should really play a game on ironman, where your actions have actual consequences, and get a more realistic picture, before having more opinions about the things that you, well, don't know enough about to have an opinion that matters cheeky

As for all the knife things, well, knifes serve pretty well in the same role they have in reality, a weapon of really last choice, if you find yourself grappled or something. That is all they are. Try rushing someone with a rifle while wielding a knife in reality, and you'll quickly get the lesson that humanity has known for tens of thousands of years - range/reach beats all. Even without shooting, you'll get your face smashed in before you get to stab them.
Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363008 is a reply to message #363007] Mon, 26 April 2021 15:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ShaDoOoW

 
Messages:45
Registered:April 2009
Location: Czech Republic
Quote:
Combat is supposed to be messy and unpredictable, shitty and dangerous, and that is one thing that JA2 1.13 is doing brilliantly. You should never have assurances that your plans will work, the game should never reward putting yourself into super risky positions where if you don't succeed it's all over. Instead the game is telling you repeatedly, don't put yourself into such positions, or rely on save scumming, in which case, as we already said, everything works (as long as you reload when it doesn't).
With that mindset, why even having melee trait and melee weapons in game? Using them is always high risk and low reward so why bother? Assault rifles solves every situation the game throws you into and better than anything else.

Quote:
And what's with the fucking infatuation with athletics. Athletics is pretty good, especially for a minor skill. It's only the best skill in the game if you constantly use it offensively and then reload every time it gets you into trouble. You should really play a game on ironman, where your actions have actual consequences, and get a more realistic picture, before having more opinions about the things that you, well, don't know enough about to have an opinion that matters
Seems to me like you are one of those who has his whole team stacked behind some building wall in the map corner and just waits for enemies to come to him. Then yes, athletic is not needed. If you actually try to search for enemies yourself or flank them, then you quickly realize Athletic is strongest trait in the game. Not only running costs less AP, but it saves energy as well. Non-athletic merc will end up with half the energy anytime he tries to run abour 40 tiles which significantly affects his total AP, CTH and who knows what else. And more importantly, Athletic merc that tries to run 20 tiles distance (say between building A and B ) and sees enemy in middle of that path can still react. Non athletic merc will end up in middle of the path with 0 AP and is dead. But obviously, if you follow the logic about high risk and low reward you would never put yourself into such situation, why risking running into enemy when you can lure them towards you right?

Quote:
As for all the knife things, well, knifes serve pretty well in the same role they have in reality, a weapon of really last choice, if you find yourself grappled or something. That is all they are. Try rushing someone with a rifle while wielding a knife in reality, and you'll quickly get the lesson that humanity has known for tens of thousands of years - range/reach beats all. Even without shooting, you'll get your face smashed in before you get to stab them.
Yes that is true. The turn based nature of the game allows to close gap without giving enemy the opportunity to do this, so I suppose his ability to hit you reliably with long rifle from 0 range is justified.




Oh latzee and one more thing. Why so toxic all the time?

[Updated on: Mon, 26 April 2021 15:40]

Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363009 is a reply to message #363005] Mon, 26 April 2021 15:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ShaDoOoW

 
Messages:45
Registered:April 2009
Location: Czech Republic
Reply to seven:
Quote:
From the boxing matches experience, hitting legs is often useful as you drain enemy energy, but they cannot kill you in one attack next turn.
This however doesn't apply for knives. I tried this with my 4 melee specialists and stabbed one enemy into leg 10 times and he still killed one of my guys later.

Boxing match is different in many regards as you don't start with 100 AP there and punches has high energy drain cost either way. You can never get enemy falling down from loss of energy using knives, but it usually takes 3 hits with fist to do so. And that is fine, all I am saying is that aiming at legs with knife is a noob trap.

Quote:
As for dodge chance, I think having long rifle actually helps as it's basically a long stick or even spear, used in melee fights from ancient times.
Well yes, there is some logic in that. What I was imagining is that when the weapon is heavy you are losing mobility and close attacks are all about that. Sure if the knife attack is direct stab and defender is prepared for it, he would be able to use the gun as a shield or rather as a blunt tool and prevent the attacker to reaching his body with that knife. In my opinion the attacker would never went for such approach and would try to get behind him or stab from side since his mobility won't be that high. Of course, JA2 animations suggests the melee attacks are simple and if the attack was happening the same way then I agree that having rifle in hand would allow defender to dodge the attack. That is imo a bit confining ourselves with game animations.

Quote:
In general, I always thought hth is mostly for boxing matches and punching enemy to steal some stuff while having some armed backup support, and melee is mostly for night operations or disguised spies, not for day attacks against enemies with machineguns.
Yes obviously, I was using it in daylight but it was ten times harder/riskier and always ended up with heavily wounded merc. I don't complain on that. The problem is that the risks applies in night as well. Night time is more viable because enemies 20 tiles away from you can't see you and they usually don't fire at you if you are in a melee fight with one of them either. Still is is basically not viable strategy because of the issues I written above. Not raising alarm might be beneficial, but you can achieve that with silencer too. At the worst case you can use throwing knives.
Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363010 is a reply to message #363008] Mon, 26 April 2021 19:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
LatZee

 
Messages:174
Registered:December 2015
ShaDoOoW wrote on Mon, 26 April 2021 14:17

With that mindset, why even having melee trait and melee weapons in game? Using them is always high risk and low reward so why bother? Assault rifles solves every situation the game throws you into and better than anything else.
Using your logic why have ambidextrous or knife throwing in the game unless this is going to be a full blown circus simulation, with clowns, juggling, lions jumping through the flaming hoops and a dancing bear. Why have scouting or survival in the game unless this is going to be one of those survival games where you kill crabs with a stick, build a mud hut and drink your urine to survive. And so on for every minor skill in the game.

That is all that melee is. One. Minor. Skill. As for melee weapons, there are more different coloured shirts and pants in the game than melee weapons, so why is this not one of those fashion games where you put together different outfits, compare them with your friends and all that...

So, why bother with melee weapons? You shouldn't. Why do you think that melee weapons are something that should be a big, central part of the game, and not what it clearly is by design, an emergency last resort option or something you do for extra challenge.

Reality is that knifes are not really a weapon. If they were purely a weapon, we'd stop producing them a million years ago. Knifes are a tool. You carry a knife around to slice the sausage, cut the rope, clean your nails, and once in a million years, maybe stab someone who jumped you. That's all knifes are in reality. So why should they be more in a game that tries to be relatively realistic, within the confines of fact that it is a game.



ShaDoOoW wrote on Mon, 26 April 2021 14:17

Seems to me like you are one of those who has his whole team stacked behind some building wall in the map corner and just waits for enemies to come to him. Then yes, athletic is not needed.
And then I'm the toxic one cheeky yeah, I understand, everyone who actually knows how to play the game is a cheating cheeser, I remember cheeky you are right, I never move away from roofs and corners. I rely 100% on interrupts because that is so safe and not risky at all. That is the only reason why I don't understand that athletics is the only way to play the game.


ShaDoOoW wrote on Mon, 26 April 2021 14:17

If you actually try to search for enemies yourself or flank them, then you quickly realize Athletic is strongest trait in the game. Not only running costs less AP, but it saves energy as well. Non-athletic merc will end up with half the energy anytime he tries to run abour 40 tiles which significantly affects his total AP, CTH and who knows what else. And more importantly, Athletic merc that tries to run 20 tiles distance (say between building A and B ) and sees enemy in middle of that path can still react. Non athletic merc will end up in middle of the path with 0 AP and is dead. But obviously, if you follow the logic about high risk and low reward you would never put yourself into such situation, why risking running into enemy when you can lure them towards you right?
No, I definitely don't flank a numerically superior enemy. That is suicidal, unless it's one of those stalemate like situations where no side really wants to advance. Then I might try a slow and very wide flank. While sticking to cover. In the early part of the battle the enemy is numerically superior and very aggressive. I don't have to search for them, they will search for me. I rely on range and cover, staggered defences combined with organized retreats if needed, herding enemies into kill zones if possible and if it comes to that, retreating from the battle if things are going too wrong. I try to never put myself in a do or die positions. Live to fight another day.

Once the battle breaks, and the enemy becomes more cautious, then we can talk about advancing or flanking. I do it in organized manner. Moving in formation, from cover to cover. I don't send anyone alone to sprint for 40 squares, that's idiotic. There is a reason why every army in the world will teach you bounding overwatch as a method of either advancing or retreating. So, slow and methodical, always moving in well spaced groups. Athletics does nothing here because I don't want anyone to stick out.

That doesn't mean that Athletics is useless. I love Athletics guys, they are a joker who can sometimes do things that no one else can. But that is not always. Over the course of campaign, a really good, reliable long range shooter will have 10 times the impact of a speedy guy who can't shoot, and is a central point around which the team is built. Of course, if they are both, super duper great.
Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363045 is a reply to message #363010] Thu, 29 April 2021 17:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ShaDoOoW

 
Messages:45
Registered:April 2009
Location: Czech Republic
LatZee wrote on Mon, 26 April 2021 19:36
And then I'm the toxic one cheeky yeah
Toxicity breads toxicity. I am sorry I could not withstand it and reply in more civilized manner, but after dealing with your posts full of toxicity and ego on discord and reading them again here I fell to your level.

Either way, this thread can be locked/deleted. I started it only to get opinion on the matter from peoples, who doesn't visit discord where I briefly started the topic already. If there are no such peoples anymore and all I get is reply of you and seven I am not going to discuss anything anymore. Thanks for your feedback both.

[Updated on: Thu, 29 April 2021 17:57]

Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363049 is a reply to message #363045] Thu, 29 April 2021 22:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
CarsonBlackman

 
Messages:55
Registered:August 2019
Location: At the beach
Some thoughts...
There's an old saying that goes, "Jack of All Trades, master of none". Selecting traits, major and minor, is how we define our mercs. With only a limited number of points to spend, and a wide variety of traits, the game allows for a lot of creativity but also limits us. Some traits are generally useful all the time. Some are much more specialized. You can create a merc that is generally useful all the time but lacks special skills that every squad should have. Specialization has limited usage but when it's needed it can be a game changer. Example: Every team has, or should have, an engineer to pick locks and disarm traps. Those traits come at the expense of other traits resulting in the engineer usually less effective in a firefight. Same for squad leader. You need both but a merc can't be both engineer and squad leader, not enough points. It works the same with the minor traits. Athletics may allow a merc to rapidly reposition (flank) and still have enough BP to do something when he gets there. Melee, when combined with Covert Ops and stealthy, can allow a sneak and silent kill but that same merc isn't going to pick locks very well or shoot a mortar with any chance of hitting something. Character counts too. You would want your squad leader to be assertive and your engineer pragmatic. Shooters either dauntless or malicious (I prefer malicious, but that's just me. We also get to select one background so there is another level of specialization. When you stack a background with traits and character that are compatible it can all dramatically increase the effect of everything but spreading it around negates the effect. "Jack of All Trades, master of none".
In a tactical situation, flanking isn't just an offensive move. Pushing a merc out to one side also guards your flank. A well cammoed merc in good cover can spot approaching enemies. If well enough hidden he can allow other mercs to shoot while he remains undetected. Having a merc that has a skill set that maximizes the effectiveness of flanking can turn a battle.
Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363051 is a reply to message #363049] Fri, 30 April 2021 01:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
edmortimer

 
Messages:1477
Registered:January 2015
Location: Home Free
Quote:
"Jack of All Trades, master of none"
"But sometimes better than a master of one."

Is the rest of that saying. Just saying. All your points are valid except that there is a place for a jack-of-all-trades in a squad -- Spam makes a good one -- but it's all about strengths and weaknesses and the tactical situation.

Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363053 is a reply to message #363051] Fri, 30 April 2021 18:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
CarsonBlackman

 
Messages:55
Registered:August 2019
Location: At the beach
My point was, and still is, that a merc that divides up his limited number of skills is never going to be as good at any of them as a merc that specializes in only one. A jack of all trades may have a place, but sometimes the difference between a squad leader and a deputy can be the difference between winning and losing a battle.
Spam actually is a good example. He's a technician and a paramedic, so he's better than average at both skills. When "better than average" gets the job done, he's a good choice. But he wouldn't be as good as an engineer or a doctor, so when you really need an expert he's going to come up short. His background as a UN Peacekeeper does give him some modest buffs to mechanical and medical stats but his character as an optimist actually decreases his chance to detect traps. And except in very unique situations stealthy doesn't really compliment either technician or paramedic.
An engineer with demolitions, a background as a Tech Whiz, and a phlegmatic character would maximize everything into an expert mechanical merc. A squad leader with teacher, a background as a Military Advisor, and an assertive character would be your go to guy for training militia. A merc with martial arts and melee, hitman background, and a malicious character is deadly in HTH, or with a knife, or a katana, and it's a silent kill. I could go on but you get the idea.
Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363061 is a reply to message #363053] Fri, 30 April 2021 23:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
edmortimer

 
Messages:1477
Registered:January 2015
Location: Home Free
I get what you're saying. i did not say you were wrong except as far as your evaluation of a Jack character. in your examples you keep trying to fit the Jack into a specialist role, and of course that doesn't worl. Try making your sniper the mechanic . . . doesn't work in a max-min situation. The Jack character is a utility player - he's not the superstar. He's the one who picks up the slack when the superstar is down. Spam can assist the doctor, the technician, and the sapper. He can hold his own in a fight in a supporting role, holding down the flank or being the decoy. He is the one guy that makes the other guys look good.

Of course, min-maxing also means there is no room for a utility guy because maxing out is the only consideration.

Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363069 is a reply to message #363061] Sat, 01 May 2021 17:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
CarsonBlackman

 
Messages:55
Registered:August 2019
Location: At the beach
Some slots in a squad can be filled with a "Jack" merc. Sometimes it's better to have two Auto Weapons/Heavy Weapons mercs instead of one Machinegunner and one Bombardier for example. But when it comes to things like Engineer or Squad Leader, I would prefer to have the best guy I can get in those slots. The concept for me goes way back to my days of FRP with paper and pencil.
I got into this discussion after reading the "toxic" comments discussing the relative value of HTH combat, Athletics, and "high risk, low reward" actions. IMHO there is no "right way" or "wrong way" to play JA. If someone wants to create a squad of supermen and blast their way to Meduna they can do that (I've done that). If someone wants to create only one average I.M.P merc and then only use the A.I.M. and M.E.R.C. characters they can do that (I've done that). Obviously, some experiments in strategy or tactics aren't going to work as well as others. But finding out what works and what won't is part of the fun.
At least it is for me.
Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363070 is a reply to message #363069] Sat, 01 May 2021 17:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
edmortimer

 
Messages:1477
Registered:January 2015
Location: Home Free
Quote:
Obviously, some experiments in strategy or tactics aren't going to work as well as others. But finding out what works and what won't is part of the fun.

That's why I stay with JA2 - because there are a wealth of options, characters, items to make every campaign different. I try different combinations of characters, strategies and tactics each time i sit down for a campaign, or for that matter, even when playtesting.

Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363102 is a reply to message #363070] Mon, 03 May 2021 06:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Victor_Tadeu

 
Messages:86
Registered:December 2015
Location: Brazil
I... I really don't know if I get your point. You are talking about playing mostly solo HtH/Melee characters and complaining they come short in so many situations? Well... yeah. I'm not saying Melee or HtH are pointless, but JA2 is a game about shooting people, not Assassins Creed. And even if we consider the reality the game is trying to mimic, of course going to a small battle only with knifes and guts will put you in a lot of terrible situations if the other side has pistols, rifles and machineguns.

The way I see, melee characters in JA2 are a situational/specialized merc, not your run-of-the-mill regular warrior soldier with an assault rifle. It's like playing only with pistols or only shotguns, than saying it sucks because it would be harder. No, pistols and shotguns don't suck, neither melee, but they are not supposed to be your main use to all situations. I mean, you can play that way for fun and a challenge, but the game isn't balanced for that neither should it be. Like real life, having a squad armed with ARs, a pretty generalistic weapon, is way better than having a troop with only shotguns or only snipers. But what is even better than a squad with only ARs, is a squad with mainly ARs and some supporting roles like snipers, machinnegunners and close quarters with SMGs and shotguns with melee or HtH traits.

The way I use melee mercs, I find they quite useful and great. Of course I don't try to stab every enemy, I give them a smg or a carbine, and when the situation rises, I charge at HtH combat and they usually MELT the enemy. But I don't do it mindlessly: there could be another enemy I'm not seeing or the target itself may also be competent in HtH, that's why I have a squad, not single Rambo soldiers trying to stab everyone. I NEVER charge into melee when I don't know if there are more enemies or the target is standing with full AP, or I will only have a change for one or two hits that MUST score. One great tactic is to actually suppress the enemy with a long burst from someone else and them send your Rambo to stab the fucker. It's so damn fun AND effective! The melee merc is great for flanking or generally being closer to the enemy, and when I know an enemy expend his whole APs shooting someone else, they can't interrupt the bodybuilding HtH athletic mercs charging him who will knock him dead or out of breath in two hits. The way most battles go, I like to really assault the opposition, so my HtH/Melee mercs usually have SMGs/Carbines to close the gap while being supported by machinnegunners, snipers, regular soldiers with AR/BR, etc, and if the opportunity present itself, I send them to finish someone off. Would a SMG, pistol or shotgun do the same job? Of course, but it's a game, it's about choices and what's fun, and I do find fun to stab someone instead of bursting him whatever I could. In short: melee mercs is part of a team with different capabilities that support each other, not a squad with only melee mercs depending on his on success in every attack to not get killed if he fails.

Also, I disagre with you knifes are weaker than other options. Their balance is to have WAY MORE damage than fists or small pistols; and enemy do lose AP points and overall effectiness by losing health. Also I find HtH and blunt weapons are quite innefective in the hands of non-melee characters, so knifes are what they have in a pinch. When there is an on going firefight and you want someone to finish off a fallen/vulnerable enemy quickly, knifes is so much better than fists or missing shots with a small pistols, especially against dying, out of breath, suppressed or prone enemies, situations where generally one single stab on a prone enemy will put him out of the battle either by killing it or by seriously injuring him to make him VERY innefective.

I don't think there is a wrong way to play JA2, but if you are going for a melee/throwing only experience, do it for fun and challenge, but the game is not balanced for it neither should it be. The game is balanced to have MANY options, not to going on with only one for every situation.

[Updated on: Mon, 03 May 2021 06:53]




Born, play JA2, die, reload, die again, reload again.
Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363107 is a reply to message #363102] Mon, 03 May 2021 16:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
CarsonBlackman

 
Messages:55
Registered:August 2019
Location: At the beach
The discussion about the relative values of a "Jack" merc vs. a "Max" merc didn't mention HTH but it still would apply. A merc maxed for HTH would be considered a "specialist". As such you wouldn't want to create a squad of all HTH mercs any more than a squad of all Engineers. Not in a game where firearm combat is the norm. Think square peg/round hole. It might fit but it won't be a perfect fit and might need a BFH to fit at all. Might be fun to try it once but I don't see it working for an entire game. But like the other specialists, used properly in the right situation, round peg/round hole.
Building a "Max" HTH merc. Give him the AGGRESSIVE character for "slightly bigger damage in close combat". After selecting MARTIAL ARTS you can select only one minor trait. This is where it's decision time, HTH weapons or bare hands. HTH weapons would choose MELEE with a background of HITMAN. Bare hands gains little benefit from MELEE so either STEALTHY or ATHLETICS. Neither directly affects HTH combat but both have advanantges that make it easier to get there. Backgrounds of BOUNCER, HITMAN or WRESTLER all have pluses but also minuses, none are a perfect fit. Pick your poison.
Another possibility is SPY instead of MARTIAL ARTS. Even when not disguised there are significant advantages to HTH. When disguised, walk right up to him. Sometimes you can even pull off a kill without losing the disguise.
One HTH weapon often overlooked is the Stun Gun. A hit is an instant KO followed by an auto kill or a prisoner.
Re: Melee combat thoughts[message #363121 is a reply to message #363107] Wed, 05 May 2021 20:08 Go to previous message
Victor_Tadeu

 
Messages:86
Registered:December 2015
Location: Brazil
CarsonBlackman wrote on Mon, 03 May 2021 10:33
The discussion about the relative values of a "Jack" merc vs. a "Max" merc didn't mention HTH but it still would apply. A merc maxed for HTH would be considered a "specialist". As such you wouldn't want to create a squad of all HTH mercs any more than a squad of all Engineers. Not in a game where firearm combat is the norm. Think square peg/round hole. It might fit but it won't be a perfect fit and might need a BFH to fit at all. Might be fun to try it once but I don't see it working for an entire game. But like the other specialists, used properly in the right situation, round peg/round hole.
Building a "Max" HTH merc. Give him the AGGRESSIVE character for "slightly bigger damage in close combat". After selecting MARTIAL ARTS you can select only one minor trait. This is where it's decision time, HTH weapons or bare hands. HTH weapons would choose MELEE with a background of HITMAN. Bare hands gains little benefit from MELEE so either STEALTHY or ATHLETICS. Neither directly affects HTH combat but both have advanantges that make it easier to get there. Backgrounds of BOUNCER, HITMAN or WRESTLER all have pluses but also minuses, none are a perfect fit. Pick your poison.
Another possibility is SPY instead of MARTIAL ARTS. Even when not disguised there are significant advantages to HTH. When disguised, walk right up to him. Sometimes you can even pull off a kill without losing the disguise.
One HTH weapon often overlooked is the Stun Gun. A hit is an instant KO followed by an auto kill or a prisoner.
Man, you are right about the Stun Gun. I never ever even used it once. It must be awesome with a stealthy spy or night ops.



Born, play JA2, die, reload, die again, reload again.
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