[The Basics] Weapons – Melee

A bit of hiatus recently due to real life commitments catching up with me and I’m feeling a bit of the brunt of keeping up the schedules for both. :/ Fortunately, here’s something for your reading pleasure before I do something more content-heavy.

Well…the initial plan was to work on different types of SHv2.0 building and raiding strategies. However, with the new announcements on the DH5 social media channels (about the ‘new’ room, changing dynamics of minions) remind me (time and again) why I should wait for the new update before I decide to provide a more comprehensive coverage.

(And no, I dislike doing speculative posts since lack of grounded knowledge is the bane of every academic literature…)

In short: Don’t worry, those posts will come in due time ;).

In the meantime, I decided upon something much more…consistent…in terms of mechanics.

But truthfully, this was inspired by a question on the forums where someone asked about weapon types and choices….which kinda surprised me why I never went into it since I’ve been repeatedly typing out the same information (with some modifications) in posts across the forums before.

Introducing a new section: The Basics, where I cover basic principles and mechanics in the game, which includes topics like Weapons, Traits, Skills, Damage Calculation, etc. etc.

Hence, while some of this information might be pretty straightforward and make veterans go ‘meh‘, I’ve presented the information which is more relevant to this time ‘period’…(man, I really feel old now), since DH5 is a consistently updating game and what has been written at the start of the game has become obsolete by now. (Yes, I say that while casually browsing through my blog posts of yesteryear.) 

And if you were wondering: No, this would not be the same as a ‘strategy’ post like this (which I will never allow myself to ever conjure up something as superficial as that).

Let’s get into this, shall we?


Combat Mechanics

Unlike its predecessor (DH4), DH5 is unique in the sense that there are no classes and play style is entirely dependent on the elemental type, armors, weapons and skills which you pick. Thus, I daresay selecting the weapon is one of the key aspects of early gameplay that determines how one would experience combat.

Nonetheless, this would change as you progress through the game, picking up various weapon types from chests and trying them out to find your play style (which I highly recommend you do if you’ve not done so yet).

Furthermore, for those less privileged to pull legendary weapons from chests, this also determines the different traits you would want to have on weapons. Do note that these traits are bound to change whenever there is a new system in place (eg. SH v2.0).

A commonly brought up example would be the numerous (angry) complaints that control skills (ie. slow, stun, fear, attack fear chance, pushback etc.) are ‘worthless’ since minion setup now focuses on pure champion configuration, which are naturally resistant to them.

mossies
Crowd Control for 3 mossies?

To which, I reply that they need to get off from their ivory thrones for the game is more than just raiding in legendary league and these traits are still relevant in other aspects of the game (eg. Trials of Elements). Moreover, there is an official report that enhanced minion dynamics and AI are going to be implemented in due time, meaning more players will be using minions in the future if done well.


Speed

One of the aspects when it comes to deciding a Weapon, attack speed is fundamentally governed by the different weapon types and their different respective attack animation patterns of different durations. Every weapon has its own attack animation and unique inherent effects attached to them (elaborated individually below).

Doing an experimental simple screen (low quality) recording documentation of Melee Weaponry at the moment, using the current dark WC since it has a healthy mix of crowd swarms and solo targets. Expect more stuff in the future!

When wielding the weapon, you attack in cycles, where 4 strikes is equivalent to one complete attack cycle. A power attack will be done on the last strike, a slightly slower un-cancellable attack but with an enhanced capability to your strike (which I’ll get to that later).

In general, the speed of the weapons (as written qualitatively in one of the hint pages) is as follows (in order of descending speed):

Dual blades (Duals) > Crossbows > Glaive = Staves > Greatsword
[Fastest -> Slowest]

weapon-types
That hint page we always see as a loading title screen

Of course, this needs a bit of work to decipher which ones are truly faster/slower than others, which I’ll dedicate a future post to.

TL;DR: Each weapon has its own attack animation, with varying speeds and merits.


Damage

So the next question you’ll have in your mind is…how is damage balanced out between slower and faster weapons of the same attack stats? Wouldn’t duals and crossbows always deliver more damage since they’re faster than everything else?

Well, this has been answered previously by Dummy previously in this age-old but still fairly relevant forum post. Scrolling to the end of that post, an interview with a dev has indicated as such (emphasis on the underlined text):

“Basically, your attack is compared to their defense, and this creates a damage mitigation coefficient that is then applied to your attack damage, and then you add all the things like crit, crit dmg, elemental bonus, various damage bonuses and also another coefficient regarding weapon attack animation length (this is why greatswords deal more damage per hit than, say, a crossbow, even though you might have the same attack).”            – Gameloft_ME

If this sounds Greek to you, here’s a hypothetical example:

I have a Crossbows and a Greatsword, both Nature, at both 2,400 attack, and I want to attack a guardhouse turret (null element).

Assuming that both have no attack speed boost, no crit damage, no additional elemental bonuses, damage boosters etc., my Crossbows does 3 strikes every 3 seconds, while my Greatsword does 3 strikes every 6 seconds

Since Crossbows hit faster than my Greatsword, the damage distribution  is as such:

– 2,400 attack split equally across the 3 attacks in Crossbows, 800 attack per strike

– 2,400 attack split equally across the 3 attacks in Greatsword but factors in the slower speed, hence 1,600 attack per strike
(since Greatsword takes double the time to output the same number of strikes as Crossbows)

This means, in terms of Damage per second (DPS), since they both are of the same attack stat, both weapons would essentially deal the same damage. This, however, will be mitigated further by other factors (such as crit damage, elemental bonus, elemental advantage/disadvantage, damage boosters, enemy defence etc.).

Remember I mentioned Power attacks above?

Well, these are special attacks where you receive a damage boost (in addition to an enhanced strike). While this sounds great in principle, the trade-off is that this attack is slightly slower than usual and should be considered strategically since a second more in the same spot might potentially lead to certain death.

Of course, when you think about it….having high attack speed or haste as a skill transforms your character into an OP fast hitting beast since it essentially boosts your DPS to insane levels.

TL;DR: Weapon types and their animation lengths affect their ‘seen’ damage; Increasing your attack speed boosts your DPS aplenty.


Individual Weapons

In this segment, we go through all 5 individual weapons in detail based on melee and ranged categories, looking at the different attack patterns, specialty (of the weapon), strengths, weaknesses and difficulty ratings (on a personal note) of how easy (or hard) is it to use them.

Each category, of melee and ranged, will be punctuated with a set of traits that are relevant for using these weapon types.

*Due to a self-imposed word limit constraint, ranged weaponry will be covered in the next post.


Greatsword

Attack pattern: Arc swing -> Arc swing -> Arc swing -> Frontal Slam (power attack)
Speciality: Power attack knocks down minions and staggers champions
Difficulty rating: Easy

Starting with the reportedly slowest weapon in DH5 universe, Greatswords are bulky weapons with a long reach: every strike has a relatively large arc range in the direction which you are facing. Thus, these wide-range, hard-hitting strikes makes it easy to weed out weaker monsters from large swarms, causing them to knockdown or just taking them out entirely.

Arc Swings are generally about 45 deg in the direction you’re facing, while the Frontal Slam narrows the arc to a line in front of you but increases your reach, allowing you to hit minions a tad further most melee weapons, which is great against more dangerous foes.

greatsword
Though hidden behind the column, the frontal slam gives additional reach to the already wide-range of the normal strikes

Unfortunately, animation issues for the swings have been reported as the swing does not register all the minions shown within the range. Personally, I find that this was intended since no changes were done to rectify this since the game’s inception.

Strategically, the slowness of the weapon speed might cause players to rely mostly through attacking with the first 3 strikes, allowing them to run away easily from foes before they get swarmed (esp when they initialise the power attack which adds an un-cancellable additional 1.5 sec to the animation length).  This makes players play defensively and only strike when needed, using the power attack cautiously and when it is safe.

TL;DR:
+ Hard hitting strikes with wide range provides good crowd control
+ Relatively easy to use
– Slowest weapon around
– Don’t rely on animation to see which minions are hit, but on the flying numbers


Glaive

Attack pattern: Long stab -> Arc swing -> Arc Swing -> 360 deg Swing (power attack)
Speciality: Power attack causes Knockback for non-champions
Difficulty rating: High

Glaives are proportionately lighter than Greatswords and hence are slightly faster in attacks. Attack patterns normally demonstrate long reach of the weapon, allowing you to strike out at further monsters. Moreover, its power attack spins the character around for a full 360 deg sweep of the ground, knocking weaker minions into the sky and making it great for crowd control.

glaive
Glaives enforce the ‘safe space’ principle, keeping monsters out of your personal zone

Interestingly, Glaives are deceptively slow in comparison to Greatswords (which I had the perception that they were the slowest for one period of time). This makes them hard to use since players might get caught up at stabbing and jabbing monsters and keep up with the final attack which keeps them rooted to the ground, making them a prime target for ranged projectiles and multi-hit attacks.

This also explains why in Auto mode you do not perform the final 360 deg swing as the in-built AI prioritises in staying alive by playing defensively, which means dodging and attacking only when the system recognises when it is safe. With the long execution to hit that final swing, the AI would prefer to dodge roll away instead to ensure that it doesn’t get swarmed.

But a simpler reason would be that most probably the monsters are dead by the third strike already…you overpowered beast. 😉

TL;DR:
+ Excellent Crowd control with power attack
+ Very good reach (with normal attacks)
– Power attack slow to execute, roots player to the ground


Dual Blades

Attack pattern: Close swing -> Close swing -> Close swing -> Arc swing (power attack)
Speciality: Attacks are undistrupted by crit on character (no stagger)
Difficulty rating: Medium

Fast and deadly, Dual Blades are common weapon choices because of their speed and capability to allow you to keep attacking continuously without pause and negates any form of stagger received when a critical damage is done on you.

Despite being exceedingly popular, what they don’t tell you is that Duals are horrendously underwhelming when it comes to crowd control as its regular strikes are limited to one monster each. It is only with the power attack of a wider arc swing that expands its range and a bit of its reach.

duals
A concentrated Arc Swing essentially increases one’s range when using duals

Regardless, the only method of handling a swarm is to take out each opponent as quickly as possible, which is tedious considering that monsters might dodge your attacks, run/fly off or simply swarm you such that its hard to target one at a time.

That said, Duals are in no manner effective when having low attack stats as you’ll find yourself chipping away at enemy HP like a tooth pick against a bear…you’ll eventually make a dent, but not before your head comes off.

Duals are best classified as late game weapons, where you’ll need some practice (and some attack stats) for them to work effectively. But when they do, you’ll have a ball of a time with your extra sharp tooth picks.

Oh yes, HP/Hit and Critical (chance and damage) are the way to go too. As you’ll be chaining attack after attack quickly, more HP will be regenerated and this is necessary for melee personnel who are going to take more hits to the face than ranged users. Critical, on the other hand, just has more chance for activation since you’re hitting so often.

TL;DR:
+ Fast and immunity to stagger
+ Good for pairing with critical and HP/Hit to increase chances
– Horrible at Crowd Control
– Not effective if attack is too low


Favoured Melee Traits

When choosing traits for your play style, Melee users generally would benefit from enemies not attacking back and are kept rooted to the ground. Thus, avoid control traits that make opponents run away (fear, pushback) but lock them to a spot with stun or even, slow. Of course, if you’re just starting out, reducing the crowd by making them run off is an alternative option if the map isn’t too small.

Berserker and Brawler damage does extremely well too. Berserker, boosting damage when your HP is critical to make you more badass when the screen flashes red, and Brawler, for increasing your damage when there are more enemies closer to you, which is inevitable when you fight with melee anyways.

While Bloodrage is excellent as well, but it might be more effective for ranged users, since there’s only a short 6 seconds interval before the sweet 10* damage multiplier dissipates.

pyro.png
One of the better configured and balanced weapons I’ve gotten, providing both offensive and defensive qualities for a melee weapon

Defensively, HP/kill, HP/hitelemental armor bonus, dodge are neat additions to your trait list as you’ll be receiving a lot more hits compared to ranged users, these will keep you alive much longer on the battlefield.

TL;DR: Control traits – Stun and Slow; Damage boosters – Berserker and Brawler; Defence traits – HP/kill, HP/hit, Elemental armor bonus, Dodge


Okay, we’re way past the 2k word mark and let’s leave this post for now as I can hear some of you guys snoring in front of the wall of text…

Next week (or preferably soon) would feature the continuation with Ranged weapons!

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