Ranged vs Melee, Pros/Congs

I have never played a melee character, always ranged (firearms), and I don’t know where to start for a melee character.

What are some of the less obvious pros/cons of each? And also, what are some tips for starting and playing a melee character?

Get a point in mechanics, smash the locker, get a pipe and a rock, make a crowbar. It’s a good melee weapon and it can open doors easily.

Personally, I’ve found unnarmed spectacularly effective if you can keep torso encumbrance down, can move quickly, and rack up lots of experience in it.

My question is, what’s the ideal build for ranged and how do you get started? I could never figure it out.

Try a martial artist with karate to get a feel for it. An easy start.

I always try to put a couple points in Perception to get the ranged to hit bonus, and a point in the Firearms skill. With at least one point in firearms you’re a bit better at shooting in general, and it allows you to install any weapon mods from the start.

While you may consider this “obvious” the main pro using melee over ranged is that you don’t need to rely on ammo, a finite resource, to keep fighting. You can just slug away for as long as you want and your weapon will never quit on you (not yet, anyway. I understand that there is some talk about weapon degradation, but it hasn’t been implemented yet). The downside to this is that you have to put yourself in harm’s way more often, as most enemies in the game that you are likely to encounter on a normal basis also use melee attacks, and taking a bad hit can lead to bleeding and/or a potentially lethal infection.

A good strategy is to try to funnel and lead enemies into tight spaces to ensure that you only have to fight one or two at a time, or over obstacles like shrubs and window panes to slow them down and make them easier to deal with. Never fight with more than a few in an open space where you can get surrounded. Stay mobile, run circles around the zombies or lead them into traps if you need to, and don’t be afraid to run away if it means you’ll live to fight another day.

Those are all good tips, but my biggest fear with melee fighting is that it seems like I would take a lot of hits. With my ranged characters, if I HAVE to attack something in melee I always take at least 1 hit. I just feel like I would run through a lot of antibiotics and bandages/first aids even in a small fight. Is that true?

My other question is, when you get yourself trained and more proficient in melee fighting, is it common to kill a zombie before it can get a hit on you?

[quote=“ClaytonRISING, post:8, topic:1613”]Those are all good tips, but my biggest fear with melee fighting is that it seems like I would take a lot of hits. With my ranged characters, if I HAVE to attack something in melee I always take at least 1 hit. I just feel like I would run through a lot of antibiotics and bandages/first aids even in a small fight. Is that true?

My other question is, when you get yourself trained and more proficient in melee fighting, is it common to kill a zombie before it can get a hit on you?[/quote]
4 key pieces of advice for any type of melee fighting:
1)Train on easy things first. Wolves and cougars are a lot more forgiving for starting players then zombies and hulks.
2)Only face one enemy at a time if possible. You take some massive dodge penalties if you get attacked more then once in a round, so avoid it.
3)Use terrain as often as possible. With a fast enough character dancing around a bush can let you get a free hit or two as the zombie climbs over it.
4)DEX is a helpful stat for dodging. Every 2 points you have in dex is basically the same as a level in dodge, and thus can help you a lot.

You may end up having to spend quite a few first aid kits on cleaning wounds and whatnot, yes. Also cauterizing bleeding wounds can cause a lot of pain, which can further effect your performance throughout the rest of the day. Some good traits to take in order to offset this are the tough trait, which will increase the maximum health of all your limbs by 20%, effectively meaning you can go longer without having to heal yourself, and the pain-resistant trait which will just make you a better fighter overall since you won’t feel the same negative effects from getting hit as someone without the trait would.

Common? Not really. Possible? Sure. Once you get your skills to a certain threshold though you should technically not have to worry too much in small fights, especially if you keep the tactics I mentioned above in mind and stay generally wary. Martial Arts styles can help with this as they can give you special attacks that can have other affects on your enemies, such as taekwondo which I believe can give you a stunning blow at unarmed level 4 (****). Also many martial arts give you bonuses to blocking and dodging which can further improve your ability to get out of skirmishes unscathed. I’ve even been able to block bear swipes on more than one occasion - completely negating all damage. Having high melee/dodge skills has saved my life countless times, I tell you.

Also it’s important to wear protective clothing if you can get it. The tailoring skill can help to reduce any skill penalties that more constrictive clothing might impart, and also to repair and reinforce clothing, making it more protective overall. As you get better at fighting, you’ll be able to afford to wear heavier armour as well as you’ll be able to take the penalties and still fight effectively. Leather pants and jackets, army pants, and kevlar vests are all good armour, but all impose penalties that can’t be reduced even with tailoring (with the exception of the army pants, I believe). I always wait until I have at least 4 points in melee/dodge before I try wading into melee combat wearing that level of armour.

Having a melee only character is dangerous, as is having a firearms only one. Especially robots and turrets can be quite destructive to a melee only character. Additional, firearms related, you got close to infinite resources for the nailgun which is suitable enough for a lot of enemies. For anything else: 9mm +P+ is fine.

You should not rely on melee only, it’s possible, sure, but it’s also quite ineffective.

Eh, the nailgun is a little OP for my fancy.

As far as pros/cons go, I usually do melee and ranged fighting so not much specifics.

One tip I’ve found really useful for a melee character is to avoid using first aid/bandages on restoring health if above roughly half health, because you can restore health by sleeping. Note that I usually have Tough and/or Fast Healer.

I always leave an escape route when I’m exploring or fighting zombies so if I feel it’s risky to keep fighting I just leave, weaving around bookshelves and tables, pit traps and bear traps, the only real dangers are ranged enemies and zombie hulks, and hulks can easily be burned to death with some two by fours and a bear trap.

When it comes to ranged characters, I start out by training my throwing skill until I find/make a shovel or some traps, then I train traps by messing with nail boards a lot. Once I have some decent skill I loot some bear traps and head deeper into town, digging the occasional pit trap diamond pattern up against a building as an escape route, I also move bookshelves and tables around when looting houses in a similar manner so I can fight from a window and then run away from packs of zombie dogs/hulks without taking any drugs.

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In brief:

Melee pros - no reliance on ammo and subsequently requires you to carry less weight and volume, generally quiet, no penalty versus enemies flagged HARDTOSHOOT, benefits from certain special attacks/defenses depending on your weapon; benefits greatly from hydraulic muscles.

Cons - renders you very vulnerable to damage/pain/special attacks/clothing attrition, attacking is typically much slower than with firearms, cutting and piercing weapons suffer further speed penalties when they get stuck in an enemy, typically gets you surrounded unless you use choke points, puts you at the mercy of the encumbrance system and makes it harder to remain combat effective with a high volume capacity, guarantees you’ll take heavy damage from any enemy that explodes or has a ranged attack.

Ranged combat is more powerful, but dependent on ammo. There are situations where you’re better off using melee however, especially if you’re in an area where things spawn dynamically and don’t want to have to fight off a large horde to progress, or are fighting things that are HARDTOSHOOT (skeletons, smokers, vinebeasts, etc). No one is forcing you to choose between one or the other, so don’t.

I imagined a CS:GO counter terrorist and DonkeyKong going at it when I saw the title.

Firstly, remember that both melee and ranged can be used - keep shooting till the enemy is close, then switch to a melee weapon once the horde is near you (and you’re in a good position)

Ultimately, firearms are superior for combat. Hence the military using them.

Melee is the more economical choice, because of the variety and ease of getting weapons, and the lack of ammo needed.

Firearms require very little skill to be effective, where as melee is very dependent on skill, which also includes the -s for torso encumb. I’ve found it doesn’t really require any particular build to be effective with guns. If your perc is good, should hit most of the time at close range, especially once you’ve got 2-3 skill points. A .22 rifle/pistol is great for training, esp because ammo drops 100 at a time. Shooting rabbits with .22 rat shot can get you decently skilled. Just don’t expect headshots while riding a motorbike at 100kph.

About what someone said regarding ‘killing a zombie before they get a single hit in’,
that’s actually possible right from the start of the game with zero skill investment.

Smash the locker in the starting shelter. Grab the pipe. If you have mechanics you can craft it into a crowbar, but you don’t need to.

Lure a zombie over a 400-movement-penalty tile. This includes the darker bushes.
As long as there are no other zombies attacking you, you can get about 4 or 5 hits in, and that is ALWAYS sufficient to kill a regular zombie (or a shrieker)

Granted, you’ll want to actually be skilled when going up against brutes and shockers and the like, but as long as you kite effectively, you can take out an entire group of greens without getting hit once, as long as you use your pipe.

Melee is economical, quiet and deathly effective. Mind you, it was more effective when you could learn some of the other martial arts, like some of the animal styles. If you’re going with weapons, I actually like steel chains because it has a chance to knock over whoever you’re fighting, giving you a chance to hit them multiple times even when they’re not climbing over something. One of the main things about them is that they’re fun to experiment with and see which fits best for you. If you’re competent enough, you can take out a hulk or even a bear in melee combat without taking any significant amount of damage.

The major con with melee is turrets and exploding robots, either of which will kill you.

get 4 dodge in character creation and you will be able to take down zombie brutes using only a pipe , like i always do.

Wearing lots of good coverage reinforced armor/clothes helps train dodge very effectively, actually. The simple act of soaking up damage actually technically trains it more than evading attacks.