Balancing Melee Builds

I love to play melee but feel like we always get the short end of the stick in aRPGs because of how hard it is to balance. Diablo 3 release tried balancing melee by giving monk/barb 30% DR (damage reduction). The problem I have with this is it limits the kind of skills that you can design into those classes. If you try adding range skills to those classes, they need to be neutered. Now, Last Epoch isnt bad but i think it is fair to say that range is consistently stronger. One of the problems is that the extra sources of DR that melee get are things like “10% less damage while near enemies” or “30% less damage for 2 seconds after hitting an enemy”. These do a lot but often melee dies trying to get into range of an enemy. Situations where these sources of DR aren’t taking effect that range characters still get to avoid. So what is a possible solution to this problem?

My thought is to have every character, every class have a default buff. Lets just call it the ‘Defender’ Buff. This buff would give you some set amount of DR, lets say 15%. However, certain skills when used would make you lose your defender buff. Obviously most of the sorcerer skills would make you lose your buff. Use fireball? its gone for 4 seconds. However for spell blade you can keep your defender buff because flamereave doesnt cause it to drop off. Lets say you are playing a melee paladin but like still like the idea of using shield throw on its CD. Your build is still a melee build but for balance it isnt fair to have shield throw drop defender just cause it is used ever 5 seconds. Well make it so that only if you remove the CD does it result in dropping your defender buff. You can do the same thing with avalanche. Default avalanche doesn’t make you lose it, but when you spec into the targeted avalanche node, it has the side effect of losing defender because now you can take advantage of range. It also has the advantage of range classes not just specing into a DR on a melee skill that they put into their rotation and use every 4 seconds just to get DR.

I think this kind of system could do a lot for balance and removes the necessity and frankly boring design of something like vengeance where you feel required to take so many points just to get the DR and any melee skill that doesn’t have DR just feels bad. I’d love to have a talk around melee and its balance in an aRPG and look forward to people poking holes in my idea or proposing their own.


They definitely need something to keep them competitive. Even fore builds that don’t use shields.

Like caster vk can still get access to all the dr and defense benefits as melee version. I think this should be differentiated

Maybe if they justified it by increasing the difficulty of the monolith (empowered monoliths to be specific).

Very subjective, I prefer Rive over Vengeance. Vengeance is just so slooooooooooooooow.

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You can make vengeance as fast as rive :stuck_out_tongue:

But then how much tankiness do you loose from it? I don’t mind Rive being faster as it has no defensive bonuses (other than making the targets 100% more deader-er faster-er).


I have always felt that instead of doing general changes to character defenses, it is better to have monsters with different attacks. I like proximity shields in PoE. They are meaningless to a melee character, but require a ranged character to get into melee range. I also like the idea of melee characters getting charge like attacks (Lunge, Leap, etc.). Those work well at closing distances. I just don’t think the game “punishes” ranged characters equally right now.

To be honest I like the approach of TL3 most. if you hit something with a melee skill you get a short % DR. I would go even further and let people have a 5sec DR buff untill they use a ranged skill excluding proccs. This should solve all problems but then again in LE it’s not that big of an issue if you just use the defenses at hand.
The issue I see is offensive builds don’t do that much more dmg vs tanky builds.

I think the biggest complaint is the amount of damage melee characters take from ranged mobs while trying to “close the gap”. Ranged characters can just kill the mobs from afar so there is zero time needed to “close the gap”.

There have also been talks about melee builds being more vulnerable to telegraphed attacks because they have to work much harder to get out of the way.

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