Ranged or Melee? That is one of the biggest questions that developers have to ponder over when making a new character in an MMO game. After all, a character that focuses on one will have a completely different style from the other. Players have to choose wisely or otherwise end up dissatisfied, finding the game unenjoyable.
While Path of Exile's classes have the flexibility of focusing on either, the choice is still present nonetheless. Builds require PoE currency after all, and the amount depends on what kind it is. It's hard if you end up wasting that, so this is a choice you have to think long and hard about.
With the release of the Legion expansion, however, melee battles have been revamped and greatly improved. Read on to get a closer peek at the Melee Overhaul.
Every melee attack will now hit multiple targets within its range, as long as the attack physically passes through them. While it works similar to an area of effect attack, it is not treated as one. Nor is it ‘area damage' or ‘melee splash'. Any boosts to those three will not affect the damage of the attack.
Following this change, the range of attacks is now more visually-evident. The feedback is also much improved to better signal which enemies are being hit. The cherry on top is that attacks will also be more reliable—meaning they’ll stay on target.
Animations have also been updated to become more fluid. You can now change targets while chaining attacks together, and movements won't look the least bit clunky. Dual-wielding will alternate attacks more naturally as well, emphasizing the choice of an off-hand weapon. Pathing (how the game interprets commands to ‘go here') is also upgraded, making actions buttery smooth.
The expansion also made canceling an attack possible. Interrupting a skill using another skill or a movement will cancel the first one. When done before the former deals damage or fires a projectile, no damage will be inflicted. You may cast another spell or use another attack. If done after the animation incurs damage or releases what can deal damage, you won't be able to use skills for a short time. It's a safeguard against artificially increasing your character's attack speed.
This ability opens up the potential for mitigating damage. You'll have more opportunities to avoid attacks, as well as keep the frequency of misfired skills down.
Enemies are not exempt from the above changes, but they do have some that are unique to them. One is that they will telegraph the wind up to their attacks more, at the cost of a faster swing. It will give more time to formulate a proper response to the attacks. More than that, they will deal damage only on specific areas in front of them. The areas are usually a 120-degree cone in front of them. It makes it easier to sidestep or dodge the attack.
Lastly, enemies that block attacks will no longer be able to block all incoming damage; they'll only deflect a majority of it. An effect will play when they're successful.
Accuracy is no longer capped at 95%. With enough boosts and bonuses, no creature will be able to escape your blade. You'll never have to deal with that one monster that keeps on evading attacks. As an aside, there's no telling in how this will affect PvP as it's not a popular mode for the players or the developers.
At any rate, these are all the changes to the game's melee system. While there are some viable builds for it, a close-range built character has quite a different set of talents and advantages from a ranged built one. This update hopefully brings more balance to the two, in terms of map and boss clears. May you get all the PoE orbs you need in the Legion update.
Keep on enjoying Path of Exile!