So, as previously discussed, I’m attempting to nudge melee a bit more towards the center line viability wise.
The biggest problem it has had up to this point is it required more investment (in terms of stats: Strength, Vitality, and Agility all being more or less required, with Cunning often riding along too) than most magic/support builds, which were free to focus on as few as a single stat depending on what they had in mind.
At first, I considered addressing this by adjusting how Strength, Agility, and Cunning behave by giving them special bonuses that only applied to physical/melee… but, I instinctively dislike the idea of “unbalancing” something to fix a balance problem. Strength and Magic after all were balanced numerically: both give a 25% damage increase per point per level spent. The problem is that Magic covered a better set of abilities than Strength.
In trying to decide what to do instead, the release of relics was a big help. Once melees had access to more melee-oriented starting packages, things looked much better for them. Even with the stat “problem” still in effect, the new offerings for melee were allowing characters to make good use of those diverse statistic requirements.
That was what helped me settle on the approach I’m taking for the ARRP/Melee Improvement build: rather than try to change the stat problem, make it a non-problem by making sure melee abilities reward the high cost and take advantage of the diverse stat expectations. To that end, I reviewed the existing melee abilities and will be making some tweaks (such as Pounce and Bull Rush no longer using Breath cooldown, but instead using their own Charge cooldown; and “support slash” abilities like Reviving Cut and Guarding Cut being able to heal/buff the user), adding new abilities (such as Bloodthrist, a passive that adds a 25% drain to all physical attacks) , and tweaking the ability sets melee demons in the Tower have both to make them more effective opponents (for example, Ogres will now be getting Oppressor, which boosts defense versus lower HP enemies) and to make sure melee players are getting good access to strong abilities like magic does.
All that said, I expect and want the end result of these changes to be a nudge. I think melee was a fair bit behind before relics, and post relics is only a bit behind. These changes are intended to push it even with the other types of builds and options available.
I’ll post again tomorrow with a list of the new abilities being added, for those who are curious and want a sneak peek. :)