Fine Tuning Melee Mechanics
Casters and Rangers in Path of Exile have distinct advantages in Path of Exile, as opposed to Melee. It’s only a matter of time until Melee undergoes some much-needed adjustments (read: buff), and there are a number of ways to improve upon it. Here’s a short list of areas that Grinding Gear Games may want to consider tweaking, so that even the average player would appreciate.
1. Core Mechanics and Play Style. In its current iteration, Melee is vulnerable to a vast number of mods and mechanics. These include Bearers, Bonds, Heralds, and Necro Vigil, to name a few. These mods have a distinct upper hand against the Melee action as opposed to ranged actions. Melee is not a feature that is available in full screen mode, unlike a ranged attack, which can be initiated off screen. This allows the ranger to kill enemies before taking fatal damage, conferring a huge discrepancy in advantage.
One solution to the vulnerability of Melee characters is to allow them to change position and attack in the same move. Similar to a lunging attack, this deceptively simple yet purposeful movement allows for greater range, yet the implementation of this mechanic may be complex.
Another way to buff Melee builds is to make them more durable when attacked. The Fortify action is one problem area that could benefit from a patch, especially if Fortify itself were to become an intrinsic characteristic of all Melee actions and skills. Implementing Path of Exile items such as jewels that momentarily rebalance the Melee build’s susceptibility to attacks from Casters or Rangers would come in handy.
2. Acquiring Gear and Leveling Up. Currently, leveling up a Melee build requires more time and other resources than leveling up others, such as casters. Specifically, Spell Casters can gear their defenses simply because they only need to achieve three links and one gem level. In contrast, with the exception of a handful of PoE items, Attack characters need anywhere from five to ten just to stay competitive. Additionally, Attack characters need to plan their resources around Accuracy, since it is another gear-related stat.
If Grinding Gear Games chooses to nerf Casters and Rangers, Melee could become a much more attractive build type for players frustrated by the current handicap they deal with every time they encounter these types of builds.
3. Name Locking. One of the most noticeable problem areas for Melee is that it cannot be aimed in a general direction to target multiple enemies. Instead, the player must select an individual target with the expectation that the size of the splash will affect other targets in the vicinity. This particular mechanic makes Melee a particularly tedious action for many players.
If it were possible to implement a multiple strike function in the game, while at the same time not requiring a target to be specified, this would increase the strength of the Melee action. Also, multiple strike attacks would benefit as a repeatable action that the player could choose to cancel at his or her discretion, but GGG may need to consider very carefully whether this buff would shift the balance too much in one direction or the other.
The diversity of skills needed in Path of Exile is what makes it unique, re-playable and enjoyable for all players of the game.