B18 Feedback: Melee vs Ranged Balance.

Started by Granitecosmos, December 16, 2017, 08:43:29 PM

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Although I'm 99% sure the current values are placeholders, this issue still has to be highlighted.

Since the introduction of melee attacks for ranged weapons, traditional melee-only weapons have suffered greatly. Melee was already limited, a lot; in order to not get shot you need the personal shield, otherwise you'll almost certainly start your melee brawl wounded. These wounds and their effects can vary; sometimes your colonist gets shot in the brain and never reaches the enemy. Sometimes it's a leg shot, allowing the enemy to put more holes in your colonist before they reach the target. Other times it's the arms; decreasing the ability to hit in melee. And pain is always there; if it's over 80% your colonist goes down (unless they used drugs or are wimps). It's quite rare when your melee unit reaches the enemy ranged unit without damage. So just to ensure you can start a melee brawl without any penalties you need the shield.

But a normal shield costs over 1000 silver and researching it isn't gonna happen until mid-game. Meanwhile a good LMG or assault rifle has a market value of 420 and 510, respectively. So a proper melee loadout costs over twice as much, without the melee weapon!

Now, this was fine in A17. Sure it costs more but playing smart, it was worth it; after all, a gladius had ~6.15 DPS, a spear had ~6.5 DPS and a longsword had ~6.8 DPS. Compared to the damage output of bare fists anyone with a ranged weapon had to use at a pretty low DPS of ~4.38, melee felt rewarding since even a gladius did 41% more DPS, meaning if the melee colonist actually managed to reach the ranged enemy they'll be able to defeat them almost all the time, even if they did get shot once or twice. And this was good; risking those free shots for the enemy in exchange of superior DPS. Classic risk vs reward; after all, any of those shots could leave an eye scar, shoot off a finger or even cause brain damage. Melee was viable, although inherently more risky without a shield. After acquiring the shield, the players traded some direct risk for more colony wealth which, indirectly, still resulted in roughly the same risk since raid strength scales with colony wealth. And after mid-game the enemy numbers were just so numerous, melee wasn't really viable anymore at that stage due to the sheer amount of focused ranged DPS hitting the shielded melee pawns. Still, melee was balanced.

Now enter B18. Suddenly we have melee attacks assigned for the ranged weapons. Unarmed melee DPS is ~4.27, mostly unchanged. Ranged weapons' melee DPS is buffed from this ~4.27 to a base of ~5/~5.18, while gladius/spear/longsword base DPS is changed from ~6.15/~6.5/~6.8 to ~6.26/~6.53/~6.82; barely changed at all. Shield remained the same and can be crafted now.

So, in A17 gladius/spear/longsword had a DPS advantage of ~41%/~49%/~55%. In B18 this is down to ~18%/~24%/~29%. This alone means it's completely unviable to use melee without a shield; you'll get shot without a shield and your melee efficiency will be even worse when you start the fight. And with these numbers the advantage simply isn't there to make that risk worth the reward.

Shivs are worse than any ranged weapon in melee. Clubs and knives beat most ranged weapons' melee DPS by a laughable 5-6%. Maces have 13% better DPS than most guns in melee; guns' melee deals blunt damage and the mace is supposed to be the best blunt weapon. What a joke. The pila beats the knife in melee, what the hell? Where is the trade-off? Where is the balance? How comes a weapon that costs wood and has a ranged attack beats a weapon in melee that requires steel to not outright suck and has no ranged attack whatsoever?

On the sidenote, we have two items that function as makeshift weapons; the beer bottle and the wood log. Sounds nice, right? Just grab a piece of wood or a bottle of beer when nothing better can be found for some slight stat increase... Except wood log and beer bottle as melee weapons are outperformed by fists regarding DPS. Yup. Remember that change back in A17 when fists got buffed from 6 to 7 damage and from a cooldown of 1.85s to 1.6s? Wood log and beer bottle never received their buffs to keep them ahead of fists. They are noobtraps right now; it's possible to use them as weapons but players are better off unarmed. Either remove their weapon-like ability or buff them.

This shows the state of melee in B18 quite well. The numbers are not the base weapon DPS numbers; pawns have a chance to use their fists or perform a headbutt attack even when they have a weapon, this was fully accounted for here. For all weapons listed, normal quality and steel as material was assumed to be used if possible. The DPS value for ranged weapons is melee DPS only.

Notice how guns like the bolt-action rifle can pretty much keep up with the longsword's value-to-DPS ratio while also offering a ranged attack. Sure, the longsword has 29% better DPS in melee but this means no shield; which means the melee unit will most likely get shot before engaging in melee. A human can move 4.61 tiles per second. Bolt-action rifles have 37 range and take roughly 3.17 seconds for a full firing cycle. This means the ranged unit gets to shoot 3 times; once at 31 range, another at 17 range and one more at 2 range, pretty much point-blank. Bolt-action rifles are the most accurate non-FMR guns; that point-blank shot will very likely connect and will deal 18 points of damage. There goes the longswordsman's advantage; with the DPS values listed above the melee unit will need about 5 seconds just to get even in terms of damage and this only accounts for one of the three shots being a hit! Therefore a shield is pretty much necessary; but at that point the melee unit's budget is over 1300 silver while the ranged unit's gun is only worth about 270. To add salt to injury, longswords deal sharp damage while every ranged weapon deals blunt in melee. Armor protects a lot more against sharp than blunt. So a ranged unit can easily beat a melee one if they are both armored. Yes, the mace exists; offering a laughable 13% better DPS than a bolt-action rifle in melee. What a joke.

"But dude, just make your swords out from plasteel, that will solve your problems!" Except it won't. A steel normal longsword is worth 305 silver. A plasteel normal longsword is worth a staggering 1760 silver. That's more than just a steel longsword and a shield. Such huge investment for roughly 50% DPS increase. Yes, it does push the longsword's DPS advantage from 29% to about 93%, effectively fixing the problem; the problem is that this costs almost 6 times more silver. More wealth means stronger raids. Why would I invest in this when I can just have a bolt-action rifle?

"Just get better quality swords!" Too bad the weapons' market value scales more than the actual damage with higher quality. Besides, I could just get a better quality rifle; the melee damage gets increased by the same percent with quality for both guns and swords. Except for guns you also get better ranged performance.

Although I keep mentioning the bolt-action rifle, pretty much all other guns have the same problem. At this point they outperform the melee weapons in melee without any real kiting whatsoever simply because they get to shoot at the target closing in. Yes, players can play smart; they can either get a shield (at which point their combat equipment costs double that of their ranged counterparts) or approach carefully behind walls or waiting for an ambush. But even then, the longsword, the best craftable melee weapon, has less than 30% advantage over most of the ranged weapons, meaning RNG makes this a risky and unrewarding experience. In A17 this advantage was 55%; rewarding players for using shields/smart approach tactics. It simply isn't worth it anymore in B18.

Another strange thing to notice is elephant tusks having pretty much the same DPS as normal steel spears. Except tusks don't take forever to craft and are a lot easier to acquire in certain biomes. At least they do have a high market value to compensate.

The solution doesn't lie in buffing melee; it lies in nerfing ranged melee attacks. I'm 99% sure the current values are just placeholders but it's still important to highlight problems in the game, whether intentional or not.


There is a reason why guns replaced swords. I don't think the game ever intended for melee weapons to be viable as the go-to weapons of choice unless you were playing as a tribal. And I don't think nerfing ranged weapons is a good idea seeing as how they already feel under-powered with colonists taking multiple rifle rounds to the chest like a champ.

Melee weapons should be either very early game, low tech weapons, or backup weapons. If your colony has enough guns to pass around you should only be using melee if you have the excellent sidearms mod to use them for when bears get in your hunter's face.

If you want viable late-game melee, then you should have to invest a ton more than if you want viable late-game ranged. Your pawn needs to be bionic, have power armor, have a shield, and of course have a badass sword. They basically have to be Raiden from Metal Gear: Revengence; a cyborg ninja.

While I would love it if the game would add technology to make your colonists into little Raidens (so advanced biotics, power armor that increases speed and strength, and advanced laser swords) I doubt that is in Tygans vision of a mid-tech town in a sci-fi western.


Quote from: BasileusMaximos on December 17, 2017, 04:40:39 AM
Melee weapons should be either very early game, low tech weapons, or backup weapons.

Please do tell me why are personal shields in the game then? They are pretty much late-game tech and cost a lot of plasteel to craft as well. If anything, we need viable late-game melee weapons because variety makes a good game. Besides, if what you state would be truth then the brawler trait would be worse than pyromaniac. And even for tribals, bows' melee attacks can still pack quite a punch to make anything but a spear or longsword unviable; and the pila has so good melee, it beats the knife.

Quote from: BasileusMaximos on December 17, 2017, 04:40:39 AM
If you want viable late-game melee, then you should have to invest a ton more than if you want viable late-game ranged. Your pawn needs to be bionic, have power armor, have a shield, and of course have a badass sword.

You're saying that like people don't already turn their ranged units into bionic power armor soldiers. And when armor is introduced, melee suffers even more. A normal quality shield and longsword costs over 1300 silver while an assault rifle costs only 425. I'm fine with melee costing more if it had proper rewards for it but it simply doesn't in B18. In A17 the balance was a lot better and noone complained so I don't see why you have a problem with it now.

Quote from: BasileusMaximos on December 17, 2017, 04:40:39 AM
There is a reason why guns replaced swords.

True, the only reason for that is we don't have personal shields IRL. Close-quarters combat would be full-on melee IRL if personal shield technology existed. Kevlar doesn't protect against a mace or warhammer at all and swords would thrust right through it.

The game is better with more variety. Let melee be viable.


I'm saying that, pound for pound, a ranged colonist will always be more cost-efficient compared to a melee one. A bionic ranged colonist will be able to keep from being swarmed and kicked to death while a melee bionic will always risk it. Shields or no, its just always better to have guns. The only way to fix this would be to nerf guns, which are already purposefully under-powered to prevent rage quits.


Quote from: BasileusMaximos on December 17, 2017, 02:27:15 PM
A bionic ranged colonist will be able to keep from being swarmed and kicked to death while a melee bionic will always risk it.

That's fine, it's part of melee. Greater risk for greater reward. Except in B18 devs forgot to include the "reward" part. Guns will always be the safest approach. But in B18 guns pretty much outperform melee weapons in melee combat. Now that's unacceptable.

Shield and sword costs more than a gun in A17 as well, yet melee was balanced because once in range, the melee pawn had about 45% more DPS than the ranged. In B18 this 45% is down to 15%. This is the real problem, not guns being cheaper or guns being a safer approach. The fact that a rifleman can beat a maceman in melee combat at basically a 50-50% chance without firing a single round is the problem.


Ranged combat beats melee combat in almost every situation in real life, so I must admit I don't really see the issue.

A military-issue bolt-action rifle with wooden furniture was only slightly-hyperbolically designed as much for melee combat as it was for shooting. They weighed several pounds, often had solid metal plates on the buttstock, and could crack a skull or stave in a ribcage with a single swing. The only way you could make it more lethal in CQC would be to slap a bayonet onto it.

Generally, outside of combat taking place within 20 or so feet, the shooter will defeat the melee-er most times. Within 20 feet is a different story.

Such as it is in-game. If you don't have personal shields, melee is largely relegated to use in ambush (aka jump out from behind a cliff face when the enemy is only a few squares away), or as an emergency weapon.

Finally, ranged attacks do not need to be nerfed. Firearms in Rimworld are already anemic as hell, to the point before I installed Combat Realism/Combat Extended, I shot a raider in the chest 4 times with a bolt-action rifle. They survived long enough to run up to one of my colonists, savage them in melee, have a mental break and wander around for several hours, and die from hypothermia several hours later.

Not cool.


Quote from: Boston on December 17, 2017, 04:30:15 PM
Ranged combat beats melee combat in almost every situation in real life, so I must admit I don't really see the issue.


Finally, ranged attacks do not need to be nerfed.

Please point where in the OP did I mention nerfing ranged weapons' ranged attack?

Quote from: Granitecosmos on December 17, 2017, 02:57:57 PM
The fact that a rifleman can beat a maceman in melee combat at basically a 50-50% chance without firing a single round is the problem.

Forget realism. RimWorld is a game, not a realistic simulator and I'm talking about base game balance here so don't mention mods.

Ranged weapons being pretty much as good for melee as melee-only weapons is not good for game balance.


There are concessions that must be made in order for the game to not be maddening (like being able to bottle beer without bottles) but games like Rimworld benefit generally erring on the side of realism. This isn't Mario.


I think melee is already pretty balanced, but that either a) people aren't doing it optimally, or b) people are too hesitant to let their pawns get hurt. With regards to a), I don't charge my melee units head on at the enemy. I let the enemies start a ranged battle with some of my own ranged units, then I have my melee units charge in from the side of the enemies. Normally the stay focused on my shooters, allowing my colonists to get to them without getting shot.

If you want to be extra safe, just get some rats/squirrels/etc to lead the charge.


I Agree with Songleaves.

Melee is fine. Using the melee focused pawns to attack from annoying enemies to deadly enemies ( Grenadiers and Mercenary Snipers or a single Heavy mercenary with a rocket launcher. ) Since throwing the melee fighters into grenadiers or snipers will make them resorting them into melee with their weapon or with their fists. Against a Pawn with a 10 melee skill and a Plasteel longsword or a Uranium mace and he/she has a brawler trait. There are a good distraction and has good chance putting the sniper down making the sniper get captured or killing the sniper.

I Use them if i have a good pawn with melee skill in early raids. But in raids with sappers, with two or three melee colonists wearing shield belts and using good quality melee weapons. They can help distracting the raiders and helping the ranged shooters with tamed attack animals such as dogs or rats to keep the raiders distracted.

There's a reason why shield belts exist to avoid getting shot by ranged weapons and from friendly fire, and power armor adding defense to them and drugs like go-juice along with tamed attack animals such as grizzly/polar bears and wolves including squirrels & wild boars and to help them.

In sort, it's best to mix up your fighters with melee and ranged.

There's a reason that i'm afraid of melee only pirate raids if there are 12 or 16 or more of them sent by randy since the raiders all have shield belts that can absorb ranged attacks that can trash and destroy a poorly made or defenseless colony. 

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It seems like people have a hard time understanding the main problem so I'm gonna state it again.

Let's say we have a colonist with equal shooting and melee skils. Now let's say we have a normal steel gladius (mid-tier melee weapon) and a normal bolt-action rifle (mid-tier ranged weapon). Which weapon is viable to be used?

In A17 you had two viable choices: either use the gun and play it safe or use the gladius for a more risk vs reward playstyle. This worked because the gladius had 40% better melee DPS than ranged weapons in melee. You might get shot a few times so your melee DPS advantage would be more like 20-25%. But this is fine, this is part of the risk-reward playstyle. You're risking potential long-term injuries but once you've reached the target you'll have superior melee DPS and can take the enemy out.

In B18 this advantage is down to 18%. This means that if you get shot a few times you'll lose every advantage and the ranged unit will beat you in melee.

In A17 shields were still part of the risk-reward playstyle; you traded direct risk for indirect risk since shields are very expensive and therefore will spike your wealth, which in return makes enemy raids stronger. So your melee units won't get shot but they'll have to kill more raiders. In return, they get to enjoy the full 40% DPS superiority to help them achieve this goal.

In B18 the DPS superiority with shields is lower than the average DPS superiority in A17 without shields.

So in B18 you can either choose a weapon that deals melee damage only or choose a weapon that does good melee and ranged as well. No real trade-off whatsoever. Why choose a gladius when the bolt-action rifle is pretty much as good in melee anyway?

If people find the melee shield raids too powerful, that's easy to fix. Raids generate via a point system; simply increase the point requirements for the shielded raiders. Simple fix and doesn't destroy player-side melee balance. But the current melee capabilities of ranged weapons are simply overpowered.

Another thing to note is while brawlers were an asset in A17, they are strictly liabilities in B18 exactly because guns perform almost the same melee DPS as proper melee weapons. Why stab only when you can shoot and stab at the same time just as good? This is the problem.

Ranged weapons' ranged attack powers are fine. Their new melee capabilities are not.


I got it from the beginning and I have to admit, I did not notice the change ..
( Mainly because I use simple sidearms and due to randy being nice to me, my fighters were equipped with thrumbo horns )

I think you still put to many details into your description.

I would like to reiterate it very very bluntly.

It is no balance problem that Melee Fighter get shot when attacking Gun Wielders.
Not even that the Melee Fighter gets killed when charging a Gun Wielder.
( see famous Indiana Jones Scene for reference. )

What needs balancing is that a Rifle used as a club is nearly as powerful in MELEE as a Sword.
Which is just plain stupid.
And if you keep arguing with reality, using a rifle as a melee weapon should greatly reduce their condition. The targeting mechanism can be quite fragile and after parrying a hit with a sword the aiming point of the rifle is ruined.

That a  throwing spear is more powerful in melee than a butter knife is another matter .. )
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I said this before elsewhere and cant remember where it was exactly:

We need ammunition. If you look at Mortars, we must craft Shells to fire sieges. Then, I would allow two weapon slots so that when ammo runs out, pawns can go melee. Only that anyone with 2 melee weapons at once should outperform a 1 ranged with 1 melee fighter.

Then, Shield Belts are so late game that I launch the ship before I ever smith one myself, without forgetting that one can always get Personal Shields as loot drops from raids. Why was the name changed? When talking about Shields, I don't understand why Neolithics can NOT craft wooden shields for themselves...Anyone? This all would also make Charge Rifles to require power recover in order to become functional again.

I love Survival games a lot, just as much as Survival TV series like The Walking Dead, no matter how "advanced" the timeline is...in a Survival scenario, we should NOT be counting with "unlimited" ammo and love every time the main characters start wielding melee weapons. Hello Lucille.


@ spacedorf

No. Military firearms (so, the bolt action rifle and the assault rifle) aredesigned to be used in melee combat. They are reinforced specifically so they can be used in close-combat, with bayonet and other buttstroke strikes. The israelis have an entire martial art based around using the curved magazine of their assault rifles to hook and parry and control their enemies weapon.


Quote from: Boston on December 18, 2017, 09:22:17 AM
No. Military firearms (so, the bolt action rifle and the assault rifle) aredesigned to be used in melee combat.

Because a gun researched (a.k.a. designed) and crafted by a bunch of ragged survivors on a backwater rimworld is gonna be that professional, right? Yeah, sure.  ::)

Let's not forget that RimWorld's gameplay takes place on a post-apocalyptic planet. Want proof? Look at all the ruins. The game's lore specifically states no aliens or any signs of them have been discovered. This is also why tribals and outlanders can coexist, even though there are mechanoids on the planet as well. "Ancient" asphalt roadways and such are yet another clue. Weapons have a 0.2 sell price value multiplier because they are either hundreds of years old looted crap or cheaply manufactured trash by outlanders/raiders with subpar tech.

Now tell me more about every gun in the game being a high-grade military equipment.