270: A Knife to a Gun Fight

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Bill Gardner:
"No matter how over-the-top the ranged attack, it simply can't hold a candle to being inches from your enemy's face as he expires. Letting enemies into the player's personal space gets a reaction like no machine gun can."

I have to disagree with this here. A well-realized Gatling gun or a flamethrower can be just as visceral as smashing your enemy's face in - if not more so. It's too bad they rarely pop up in multiplayer because of "OMG balance".

And yeah, i'd say that melee weapons have gotten slightly out of hand: "insta-kill" is simply way too much for an emergency weapon, especially considering how cramped maps are in MW2.

I also disagree. I find shooting people up close is much more satisfying then stabbing them. Besides meleeing feeling like a cheap alternative to me in MW2, shooting a guy face to face is intense. A lot of people panic in CQC situations, and I take advantage of that. Same goes for BC2, which is even more satisfying.

The way I see it, with how up close everything is in MW2, the melee is actually less needed. If it wasn't an instant kill, it would be different. Take the knife and the instant kill away and make it fists. Let us beat the crap out of each other. Even Halo took away the melee instant kill. If you do assassinate someone, you are vulnerable for a time, which makes sense. Knife never beats gun, unless that knife is teleporting through buck shot and .45s in MW2.


Melee weapons how they are used in the modern FPS (high damage, low skill) are bad game design. Period. As stated, it's used as a reset.

That's terrible game design. It's used as an excuse to say "LOOK, WE HAVE MELEE COMBAT IN THE GAME!"

No. You have an instant kill button. You do not have close quarters combat. You're using it as a scapegoat because you don't have an answer for an interesting melee combat mechanic. You don't want to make these encounters interesting despite knowing that they exist.

No. Melee weapons don't make FPS better. It's how they are implemented that can make an FPS better.

So far, they have not been implemented to make an FPS better.

The realism is obviously ludicrous, but the gameplay aspect is undeniable.

Kind of screws the shotgun fans though.

My opinion is simply that games need to evolve. The idea of someone with his fists or a knife beating a guy with a gun in close combat is not nessicarly like scissors beating rock (to use the analogy).

These games don't really worry about melee choreography and so on, but if someone gets into close combat range with a guy using a long arm and reacts first, pushing the barrel out of the way and then stabbing them or whatever that's perfectly reasonable. Of course the games don't show this kind of action. One can also wonder why rifles can't be used as clubs in such situations as well, but the bottom line is that typically the guy in melee is acting faster in cases like this.

I'll also be honest in saying that in most games nowadays the characters are supposed to be using body armor, either a lot of kevlar/ballistic fabric, or some kind of future armor. Interestingly such armor doesn't protect all that well against bladed weapons or melee combat, hence the reason why some people will add anti-knife inserts to their body armor for such situations, however a lot of people also do not use them because it lowers mobility by adding those rigid/hard armor pieces and weight.

Dealing with the future guys, knives and the like have doubtlessly improved as well. To use a science fiction staple, a blade with a monomolecular blade is going to slice through the steel of someone's powered armor relatively easily. When it comes to fists in such settings, even allowing for electromagnetic rails and such in weapons the force output of someone with say 3 tons worth of steel and hydraulics behind his fist is quite possibly going to deliver more punch than a bullet. This is not to say that mowing people down with enough projectiles is not a better option, but it's understandable why a clear shot with a fist or melee weapon is going to be a fight ender.

In a practical sense I do not see the question of melee being effective as an all or nothing question here. It's coming up more and more in games, which means that I think developers need to think beyond the guns and spend some time focusing on close combat and the like.

Given that some games currently let you carry battle gear, one thing that might be brought up is say letting someone reinforce their armor against melee at the expense of speed and mobility. Thus it will take 2 or 3 melee strikes to drop someone with that protection, but the person doing it will have to decide whether it's worth giving up the handling and reaction abillity. If your a sniper for example you'll be happy if someone sneaks up behind you with a knife, but the same guy is probably going to curse it if they don't face melee in a game and spend their time grappling with a much harder time changing positions.

Your tagline with the "That Guy" class made me laugh. :)

Melee can be a great weapon, when used appropriately as you speak of, in conjuncture with the shooting aspects. It's the only way to kill the dodge-rolling dogs in CoD:MW2!!!

This made me think that they should make a multiplayer shooter using shields similar to those in Dune. Anyone who has nipped in and out of a bubble shield in Halo will know how I'm seeing this. Melee becomes a drawn out affair and whilst a specialist will still likely win the fight. Somebody who knows how to use their shield will be able to stall them long enough for an ally to help.

Yes the slow blade (or dart) penetrates the shield, but hit it with an energy weapon and you just set off a 1 kiloton bomb.
That would rock in a game. Makes me think of the deathnuke mod for Unreal Tournament. Soon as a player dies, their body explodes as if hit by a redeemer. Made for quite the chain reaction when others were close enough, and even moreso with friendly fire on.
That would definitely encourage melee weapons if it had Holtzman shields.

SNIPitty-mon, I choose YOU!!

I loved your post because it reminded me of the impracticality of most melee systems in most games.

I got a good laugh at picking apart the elements to see that no matter how impractical, players will exploit the system, for better or worse.

Personally, I feel that knives should not be a regular one-hit kill attack.

I believe a better system lies in a Two-Type attack system, one of which can act as a weak knife attack that does minor damage, such as a very quick slash that takes off one/sixth (Or if possible, even less) of an enemy's health. Using the attack in quick succession, it can stop an enemy dead in it's tracks when cornered or otherwise ambushed, yet it would prove ineffective in rush strategies because the damage is minimal.

Likewise, the secondary attack would be a Finisher-move, or a long sequenced (Possibly a three second long swing, to emphasize the strength and accuracy of a One-Hit kill.) attack that limits movement at the time of the swing. This would be considered the go-to attack for sneaking, and would be limited to sneaking by slowing movement speed.

In comparison, introducing a large variety of weapons rather than just focusing on THE KNIFE (Although a quality weapons system should never be overlooked when this is the case.) creates a relative weapon-based exposition for armed melee based combat, therefore it becomes a class of a range of weapons that allow for unique back-up setups.

ITT: People who haven't had a clan with a CoD 4 knives only server.

That shit was fun, and taught you to abuse the mechanics for outside of knifing tactics.

In the Modern Warfare 2 or CoD in general I have always thought that the easy fix for melee overpoweredness is as simple as making knife hits from the front less likely to instantly kill the other player.

Those who use the "Witch Blade" set up as its dubbed here could still use same tactics, theres nothing wrong with doing so, no rules have been broken, no glitches exploited. But it would be slightly more tactical than just pressing the "Kill" button when in range. They would have to make sure they are mostly behind the person or risk being blasted in the face.

First off:

Now that, that's out of the way, I've always liked having a knife for a back-up weapon, but Call of Duty's knife is just annoying as hell.

They dumbed down the sword in Reach, because now you can block it, and the lunge is a bit smaller, also, they got ride of the double-tap melee as it was a glitch.

Nerfed maybe, but dumbed down? Sounds more like you actually have to put a bit more skill behind utilizing the sword this time around.

i think tf2 got it right because bullets are bullets and knives are shit (but spys with knives are able to backstab for 420 damage) also swords are good but lower your heath.

Melee is cool as long as it isn't overpowered. In Modern Warefare 2, I get charged head-on all the time by Commandos, and my shotgun blast to their face does nothing to stop them because Knifing has a higher priority. And usually they come out of it unharmed because technically they knifed me before I shot them. Pretty damn frustrating, really.

Hey, if shooting someone actually stunned them, that would solve that problem.

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