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Pinky's Alpha Melee Guide

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Laanshor, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. Laanshor Laanshor Well-Known Member

    Guide is now on Steam, please throw it a vote if you find the resource useful :)


    Eternal Crusade Melee Tutorial

    Alpha Patch #12 (updated 18/2)

    These are my assessments of the basics of melee combat and a few more detailed pointers I've learned from better players than myself. I'll add more clips if requested, some of the changes may be confusing. Apologies for the clip quality, my PC is middle-road so I've turned off a lot of shadow/post-processing quality :rolleyes:

    Compulsory Caveats:
    • I've got a lot of gaming experience. I'm not anywhere close to leet. I ask questions and test stuff.
    • Can't help you with basic twitch or accuracy skills. Tons of guides for those elsewhere.
    • Disagreement welcome ! Back it up though. Edge cases and strange inconsistencies aside I'm dealing with the “when everything works” attitude to an Alpha.
    • Don't piss and moan about how the system is too complex.
    • This isn't the place to debate what needs to be fixed or give suggestions. This is all How and When of the system, not the Why.
    • My opinion is "I like it", it's getting better every patch (as of #12).
    • If you want to link to something thread contributors or I discuss in here then go right ahead.
    • This is so subject to change I shouldn't have bothered but it didn't take long and I forgot to get the forum Christmas presents :(

    So then, Eternal Crusade's Thwappy-mode:

    Is it harder than ranged combat ? No. Yes, atm it is in certain matchups.
    Is it more complex than ranged combat ? Certainly.
    Is it viable against ranged combat ? Yes. Even more so played right.
    Is it more than just spam ? If you want to beat good players, yes.​

    The Basics i.e TL;DR:

    Laaaame. I do recommend reading on for more clarity/examples.

    So, EC's melee system has a few core basics that are easy enough to explain.

    The Attacks:
    Fast Attack, RMB (by default) - No cast time, fastest attack, average damage, minimal stagger.
    Charged Attack, Hold RMB - Has a cast time, maximum damage, maximum stagger.
    Defensive Bash, LMB+RMB - Longest cast time, minimal damage, average stagger.
    Evade Attack, SPACE then RMB - Rolling/Boosting Fast Attack, great for slower weapons.
    Sprint Attack, SHIFT then RMB - Strong Lunge attack (melee) or shoulder charge (ranged).

    Attack Rules:
    2 attacks of the same type will counter each other, resulting in no damage or stagger. Repeated "Clangs" will eventually result in a win for the character with the largest weapon.

    2 attacks of different types will interupt or be interrupted by the alternate attack. This is a paper-scissors-rock(ish) where Fast Attack > Charged Attack > Defensive Bash > Fast Attack (etc).

    You can trigger a Fast Attack while Sprinting creating a Shoulder Bash or Lunge (depending on weapons) for extra damage/stagger.

    You can trigger a Fast Attack while Evading for an Evade Attack that closes range more safely and can be used to flank an opponent.

    Using Lock-On:
    With a Smart Pistol or Storm Shield equipped you can hold ALT or CTRL to lock on to an enemy within range ala Dark Souls. Your movement will now be rotational and relative to the target. You cannot Sprint while locked on so it works best at melee range. This is not necessary but will help guide movement, attacks and defensive actions. Note: It does not guarentee a hit, movement of either player affects the direction of the attacks greatly.​

    [UPDATE] State of the Patch (#12):

    What's good:
    Patch 12 is an aggressive step away from the 1-and-done results that have been typical for several patches now. Previously a single attack could be enough to either kill an engaged opponent or leave them stunned for long enough to kill them without any chance of recovery.

    There are still a few attacks, weapons and attack interaction that can still end combat very quickly but they are the acceptable outliers and not the norm.

    What is most common is that a single mistake or incorrect move will rarely result in a guaranteed death. This is an excellent move that maximizes player agency. Although you come out of losing the first round of combat weaker than your opponent it is still largely feasible to make a comeback through smart play and turn the tables.

    What's meh:
    The Defensive Bash is still completely broken, or rather the cast window of the Bash is broken. If you use a Fast Attack against the Bash as it's being cast you will lose ALL Stamina. Not good for anyone, but particularly fatal for Mark of Nurgle Traitors and Storm Shield ASMs as they rely on Stamina for offensive and defensive capabilities.

    I have no idea what the kick from the Defensive Bash actually does. The cast period still soaks Fast Attacks well however the Bash itself doesn't stagger at all. It does cue the high pitched SFX and camera wave that can be disorienting but it still allows the victim to attack, including spamming Fast Attacks.

    I get the above 2 paragraphs are strange ... It's this weird dichotomy where the Bash is UP but the Bash's Guard is OP :confused:

    The Mitigation part of the on-hit buffs generated by Assault classes has been removed temporarily. This means that an Assault player who makes it into combat does not have nearly as much ability to progress to the next combat or escape. This buff will return attached to wargear later but for now it is a sizable nerf coming out of patch 11.

    The weapon Force values (talked about further down) are not balanced at all just yet. This continues to make Clanging less favourable to larger weapons than it should be.

    The new Meltagun is over powered presently (typical for new Alpha weapons) but it's horrible against melee opponents given it's ease of use and low TTK.

    Weapon Attack Properties:


    Patch #12 Melee Weapons:
    • Narthecium (Apothecary)
    • Combat Knife (Tactical)
    • Heavy Combat Knife (Tactical)
    • Chainsword (Assault)
    • Force Sword (Aspiring Sorcerer)
    • Power Sword (Assault)
    • Power Axe (Assault)
    • Power Fist (Assault)
    *Apothecary Chain Sword temporarily removed.​
    Weapons have different Force values, damage output, penetration, attack speeds, charge time (for the Charged Attack) and recovery delays after each attack.

    General rule #1 - Weapons Clang: The Clang ! Underline that. Clang! It is the result of an action rather than an action itself, but understanding Clanging is a crucial part of melee.

    Luckily it's very intuitive: Think of it as a timed Block added to your basic attack action. If your melee attack collides with the attack of an enemy who is facing you, then both attacks will fail, no damage will be dealt (providing you have Stamina) and both combatants will be penalized some Stamina. Easy.

    General rule #2 - Size Dictates Approach: the smaller the weapon is, the faster it can be wielded and the least punishing a mistake will be. The larger the weapon is, the slower and more unwieldy it becomes but each strike is considerably more brutal. The simplest rule of thumb is if you're equipping a smaller weapon then more agile movement and more attacks are required where a larger weapon relies more on making every sluggish attack as clean and accurate as possible.

    A larger weapon with a higher Force value will also break through an opponent's Stamina quicker when Clanged and can therefore be spammed more reliably, wearing the opponent down until they fail and their weapons can no longer block.

    That's good because the Charged Attack cast time on the largest weapons is horrifically long and all but implausible in most 1v1 melee situations. This is a fundamental advantage common to slower weapons.

    What isn't great is that the current build's tuning makes this largely redundant. A Combat Knife or Narthecium can presently Clang a long time versus even a Power Weapon (6-8 hits). This is slated for a revamp but in the current build it isn't great.

    General rule #3 - Anti-Vehicle Properties: Weapons with the 'Power' property bypass character armour/toughness much more easily than their mundane counterparts. They can also be used for anti-vehicle duty where a Chainsword or Combat Knife attack will simply rebound harmlessly. The order of damage potency being Power Fist > Power Axe > Power Sword.

    Power Fist Charged Attacks do not automatically trigger while being cast. Instead the player can hold the 'charge' indefinitely until they release the key.

    Power Fists are able to effectively punch tanks and send them flying with their Charged Attack and induces a couple of seconds Suppression on all vehicle weapons. The Power Fist Charged Attack is also unique in that a player can not be run over by a vehicle after executing the attack (after releasing the attack from the cast).

    View: - Sound effects courtesy of @DJPenguin :rolleyes:

    General rule #4 - Melee Friendly Fire:
    There is no melee friendly fire active as far as damage BUT (big but) you will severely Stagger friendly characters by hitting them, making them prone to any enemies they were engaged with. It's better to avoid “helping” people engaged in active melee unless you can get to the enemy's flanks.

    Ground Slams, an action unique to Jump Pack characters, are the only friendly melee attacks that deal actual HP damage, on top of stunning the hell out of team mates too. Don't do it unless you're sure it will help, even a Heavy can solo a Ground Assault on their own.​
    Attack & Actions: The Good Stuff

    Going to list the Paper-Scissors-Rock triumvirate first: Fast, Charged and Bash. The reason being that they are the foundation of the melee system in a lot of ways. Each has a direct counter and is in turn the counter of one of the others. Any class can use them (including Heavy classes).

    Do remember that each weapon will alter the speed and animation lock of each of these so the name "Fast Attack" can be very subjective depending on weapon. Also, there are additional combat actions and attack moves discussed later (Evade-Attack, Guarding, Sprint Attack etc).

    1. Fast Attack – The basic attack, tap LMB, profit (not really). Good damage, small travel distance. Fast and with the shortest action lock (how long you're committed once activating). The most easily spammed attack and given the frequency of use by everyone it is a reliable opener as it counters other spammers by Clanging. It's smart to open with it and then adjust based on the enemy's response, altering your tactics to suit what you see.

      Interestingly the Fast Attack of larger weapons comes with an inbuilt delay from when the input is received and when the attack damage actually triggers. The Narthecium, Knives and Sword all trigger instantly, but after activating the attack the Axe and Fist can actually rotate. This delay makes them terrible for trying to clip an escaping target, so you need to be in there face, but it does allow you to aim your attack right up until the damage occurs.

      It will interrupt a Charged Attack being cast, as long as you're in range (enemies using the Charged Attack's leap component cleverly cannot be stopped or Clanged) but it is useless against the Defensive Bash and can rob you of Stamina, making you extremely vulnerable. A bug that exists atm will often cause you to lose ALL your Stam when attacking the bash, so be wary of mashing it.​

      The Fast Attack is very easy to chain into fast combos as shown here:


    2. Charged Attack The heaviest attack. While not moving, hold LMB until it activates and enjoy the ride. Great damage (can 1-shot in certain cases) but slow and leaves you vulnerable especially with larger weapons like the Power Axe and Fist.

      Presently the iframes on the attack create a cushion that can help you soak up some ranged damage even without the melee buffs active, but you are vulnerable for a second or two while it charges up. If you miss it can travel a long way past the target (not good) so you have to be accurate with timing and aim. The Lock-On is unreliable against side/circle-strafing opponents.

      It will interrupt a Defensive Bash and can be charged quickly with faster weapons to be performed during the enemy's Defensive Bash cast time, with enough twitch skill. Previously the Charged Attack would bypass the Defensive Bash entirely, but now it seems to Clang and cancel the attack, doing minimal damage but allowing enough time to follow up with 2 Fast Attacks or a 2nd Charged Attack (potentially staggering the enemy indefinitely). It can however be canceled by a Fast Attack and so is the attack most prone to spam.

      Using it's long travel distance and timing it to strike while not yet in melee range is wise, as only the charge period can be countered. Takes practice and you can not be Sprinting when executing the manouver or you will engage a Lunge/Shoulder Bash.


    3. Defensive Bash The slowest attack and the best anti-spam weapon. Executed by hitting LMB & RMB together (causes all sorts of problems). It has a long cast length and can be evaded or countered more easily than most attacks but does allow the character to mitigate a large chunk of Fast Attack damage while being cast.

      The Defensive Bash has received a major revamp as of Patch #12 in that it should no longer stuns an enemy for several seconds but rather open up a brief window for the user to land a Fast Attack, queue up another Defensive Bash or Evade. I say "should" because presently the only affect generated by landing the kick part is a high-pitched sound and some camera drift. It still allows the victim to attack straight after eating a boot with no attack advantage for the user.

      It's natural counter is the Charged Attack, but timed well to exploit the Stamina drain it can allow any class to turn the tables on bigger melee threats (I do feel bad typing that advice). Atm two Defensive Bashs will cancel each other with the person who cast it first winning a brief respite.

      The cast time for Defensive Bashes and the effects it generates are not presently affected by weapon choice. All classes and loadouts execute the attack in the same way:


      Note: Presently the "cast" window of Defensive Bash is completely bugged. Quite frequently it will not only absorb the damage of a Fast Attack but will completely drain the enemy's Stamina as well. This leaves the enemy unable to perform Charged Attacks, Evades (unless they have a Jump Pack) and unable to Clang nearly as well.

      View: - Also I hate Predators :D

    A Common Myth: Paper-Scissors-Rock:

    There is a frequently repeated falsity I read on the forums, usually as the predicate for lambasting the system. It's as much a miscommunication of the core melee system as much as it is player misunderstanding, because the Devs themselves use the terms very often, HOWEVER:

    The Melee system is not really a game of Paper-Scissors-Rock

    Why is it totally similar ?: Because there are 3 attacks, each one counters one and is in turn countered by the other. "Sounds like Paper-Scissors-Rock to me, dumb arse" you might say. Well ...

    Why is it totally different ?:
    Easy. Paper-Scissors-Rock is an apt starting point because of the above factors ^ but it's not accurate, especially now.
    • Smaller weapons lose when 2 players Clang and you can tear through enemy stamina with a larger weapon. Therefore an Axe throwing a Fast Attack (let's say Scissors) against a Chainsword's Fast Attack helps the Axe, rather than draws. The Axe wins on both Rock AND Scissors to a lesser degree. This isn't fully balanced yet so the pay off are not as obvious as they should be, but in the upcoming melee/weapon revamp it will be crucial.
    • Rock-Paper-Scissors relies on a "blind" throw with both players revealing their cast at the same time. EC attacks on the other hand has different attack speeds and cast length, effectively it would be like having to reveal Paper a split second before you throw Scissors and Rock just after that. It's not easy to see the cast but it does favour twitch skills vs guess/spam.
    mikk34, Warsmith0602, Unyko and 46 others like this.
  2. Laanshor Laanshor Well-Known Member


    Other Combat Actions:

    – Standard Evade skill common to a lot of MMO and action RPGs. Hit the SPACE key to move forward or combine it with WASD inputs to modify the direction of the Evade.

    Most classes roll away up to 3 times using Stamina, Heavies (Havocs/Devastators) can perform a small hop twice and Jump Pack Assaults use their packs to boost. Holding the Space bar with the Jump Pack will boost you vertically.

    Using Evade triggers a small window of invulnerability frames, making you immune to damage, although it can be hard to time reliably.

    Be wary Evading near climbable/vault-able cover as Evade shares a single key with those actions, resulting in the odd annoying death as you scramble up a box rather than roll into cover behind it.

    Guarding – In early Alpha all classes could Guard but it was largely redundant and under-used. Currently the only class that can Guard is the Storm Shield Assault Marine, soaking up damage to their shields at the cost of Stamina rather than HP.

    Sprint Attack – From Sprint (SHIFT) you can trigger either of these by hitting LMB. They can make a very effective opener, with extra damage and stagger, but be wary that they can be countered by using the Defensive Bash as it is basically a travelling Fast Attack (and counters Charged Attacks).

    The "Lunge" version is only usable by characters with Sword, Axe or Fist weapons equipped and creates a wide damage field that does excellent damage (can 1-shot from behind).

    The "Shoulder Bash" used by ranged characters deals extra damage and can Stagger very effectively.


    Evade Attack – Pretty simple: After Evading the player can attack in any direction and effectively lunge forward. Again it is basically a Fast Attack combined with the Evade motion, so all typical Fast Attack counters apply.

    This attack is possible with both Ground and Jump Pack Assault classes. Obviously the Jump Pack gets the most benefit due to it's longer Evade distances. With iframes the character can effectively close distances, move to an enemy's flank and deal strong damage.

    It can be used with or without the Lock-On: Unlocked you'll move linear and strike where you aim, Locked you'll move relative to the target (rotationally) and will strike where the enemy was at the time you activated the attack.


    It can be used to mitigate a lot of the slow attack speed that comes with the Power Axe and Fist.

    View: - (yes, @NoahWard will be gone for 3 weeks :()

    Ground Slams and Vertical Evade Attacks - Okay, so technically these are 2 variants of the Evade Attack but very unique to the Jump Pack. Both are activated by holding the boost key [Space] long enough to get airborne and then attacking.

    Ground Slams deals explosive damage and stagger to any enemy inside the HUD indicator radius. Typically the enemy can be finished off with a single Fast Attack, making it an amazing assassin's tool.

    Vertical Evade Attack are very similar to the ground version, basically propelling you at the target for a similar amount of damage. In future it will receive it's own indicator (and a way to track which attack will fire), for now the trick is to either use Lock-On or aim the attack straight in front of the enemy. Landing it behind them does no damage.

    Which attack you get is decided by your vertical height at the time. Being close to the ceiling will initiate a Ground Slam where being closer to the ground will result in an Evade Attack. The only reason to categorize these two together is that they both take place while in the air and are triggered identically.

    Both attacks alert the target the second you attack through a flashing HUD icon so the trick is to predict their movement and wait until the last second to telegraph the attacks.


    Dealing With Stamina:

    Stamina is a regenerating resource used to punish poor attack tactics and keep melee classes from completely dominating smart opponents.

    When you engage in an activity that uses it you will see the small orange bar pop to the right off the cross-hairs. Once your character hits empty the bar will turn red and fade considerably. If this happens your Fast Attacks will become sluggish, cannot Evade or use Charged Attacks and will lose Clang matches quickly.

    While the current system is much more forgiving there are a few glitches and imbalances that exist (mandatory “ALPHA” tag).

    The bugs and the need to track the small Stam bar during combat (fixes planned) means that Stamina can be a touchy subject. In reality it is fairly simple and only a few actions consume it.

    1. Evading – Hitting SPACE to roll away. For Tacticals/Supports/Ground Assaults it costs 33% of your base Stamina, a whopping 50% for Heavy classes. Jump Assaults use their fuel instead.
    2. Clanging – Attacks that rebound off another enemy's attacks drain amounts based on the size of the weapon. A Power Axe will drain a lot more Stamina when Clanged against a Narthecium, reflecting the weapon's superiority in a straight up contest of strength.
    3. Having an Attack Countered - Being beaten in the Paper-Scissors-Rock and interrupted costs you Stamina.
    4. Taking Damage (Ground Assaults only) – Damage dealt to MoNs and the Shield ASM's Storm Shield will drain Stamina from them. Being melee-focused this is costly and it can stop an offensive rush dead.

    If you want to master melee you need to monitor your Stamina and take a break between combats if it gets low. There are a number of excellent players who fall into the trap of destroying their opponent/s perfectly but fail to manage a relatively simple resource.

    Melee Class Buffs

    All Assault attacks return a set amount of health (15%) presently regardless of the weapon or attack they use. Both Jump Pack Assaults (JPASM/Raptor) and Ground Assaults (SSASM/MoN) have a passive class-based. Other classes, including the melee-based Support classes do not generate either of these effects.

    This means that the best option for maximum heals are the Power/Chainswords > Axe > Fist. Hitting an enemy enough times can refill your health so downtime between combats can be kept to a minimum. As of Patch #11 health is no longer returned for striking enemy vehicles with an AV weapon.

    Only successful melee attacks on active enemy characters will trigger the effects, striking a target in the Downed state, Executing or dealing successful damage with a side arm (Bolt Pistol) will not. Jump Pack Slams do however trigger it.

    Where Did The Mitigation Buff Go ?!: Okay, so prior to patch 12 landing a successful attack increased the player's mitigation, applying a stack up to a set cap. This was removed temporarily as it was deemed far too effective and let to some really horrifying chain kills (it did, you know it did ;) 10 KD was easy) and made the MoN in-particular almost unbearable.

    The mitigation buff WILL be returning in a future patch but as wargear in the loadout system with a balanced cost and player effects. Hang in there.​

    Melee Movement & Aiming Attacks:

    Eternal Crusade's Alpha uses a Lock-On feature to compliment the default free aim. This is far more controversial than it should be. It's the system we have and there is a lot of control and enjoyment to be found.

    If you're familiar with Dark Souls, DS2 or Bloodborne you already understand the lock. Holding Left Control will apply the lock until it is released or you can use the Middle Mouse Button for a more Tab-Target-like toggle. Both can be rebound from the [Instructions] -> [Controls] menu in game

    Who Can Use Lock-On ?: Currently the only characters able to use the Lock-On system are those with "Smart" wargear equipped:
    • Tactical, Assault and Support classes with Smart Pistols. Only when Pistol is drawn.
    • Assault Marines with Storm Shields.
    • Aspiring Sorcerers with Warp Instability or Stream of Corruption.
    Other classes and their "Dumb" weapons cannot use the Lock-On for either melee or ranged combat. This may change in the future, at which point I'll cover it more:
    You cannot Sprint while using Lock-On as it will focus on the enemy with the Pistol/Shield and slow movement (aiming with any pistol still cancels Sprint). Be aware that Sprinting will remove the lock so deciding whether to chase or shoot a fleeing enemy is important. This is also subject to change:
    So Do I Use Lock-On or Not ?: Yes. But it is ultimately up to you.

    Until it is redesigned it is better to use both for very specific reasons and temper them:

    When Yes - Evading, Sprint and Bash currently favour defensive moves, so it's vital that you stay as mobile as possible when on offense. If you're not keeping up with an enemy you're meat.

    When No - Some attacks lock their direction during their cast. Simply strafing around a player milking the Lock and using Charged Attack or Bash will cause them to miss because even fast weapons lock early. I'd always recommend using free-aim when using the Charged Attack and even the Fast Attacks of the Power Axe/Fist as they don't attack instantly.
    Watching this you can see where the Lock-On serves me well and where it's just better to go free-aim. This is why I prefer to HOLD rather than Toggle, because I frequently want it on and off.

    Conclusion (until next patch):

    Thanks for reading. Hope it was worthwhile and helped you bridge the less obvious Alpha gaps.

    You can catch me on the Eternal Crusade forum, @Laanshor if you have any suggestions or questions about the guide.

    I also spend a lot of time on Twitch playing and chatting alongside @DJPenguin, @Cliffjord, @Grigdusher, @GodKingWashington, @Philos, @kernel_xanders, @Andraina
    , some of the reigning champions from Praetorian Guard and a host of other excellent and good humored players on GloriousDJPenguin's Twitch show. Some really expert play alongside some theorycrafting and chuckles.

    The Guild I'm playing with is a 100% EC original just getting off the ground. We're a Chaos guild open to all Sub-Faction and Chaos God fans so if you're looking for a home you can help shape from the ground up check us out Heralds of the 13th and talk to our brutal GM @Cliffjord the Blood Iron.

    Small plug for Philos' Youtube channel Bonzi Kitty Gaming. Great vids, plenty of holy melee violence.

    Eldar are coming ! Kill me something pretty ...
    Zoixy, Warsmith0602, Unyko and 45 others like this.
  3. Pharanooks pharanooks Drill Abbott

    Thanks for writing this, I was very lost when I first started playing in regards to melee and this is a great introduction to how things work.
    It'll be interesting to see where they go with the auto-targeting.
    cTravisty and Laanshor like this.
  4. I prefer my version:
    1. Don't die
    2. Click RMB until everything is dead
  5. Cliffjord Cliffjord Prefectus

    1. Turn on your targeting computer.
    2. Grab the axe
    3. Insert axe into enemy face
    4. Repeat step 3
    5. Die because D.Bash is broke
    6. Respawn, see item 3.
  6. Laanshor Laanshor Well-Known Member

    Hey it works when you're not fighting PG :D

    Or me muhahaha.
  7. Grant Grant Curator

    Stop killing me when I'm wiping out your squad :(
  8. PG requires plasma cannon cheese. But that is beyond the scope of this thread. ;)
    Abenobashi, Trenchwar, Philos and 4 others like this.
  9. Something to add: One thing I found out today is that throwing up your own defensive bash usually cancels out your enemies. It's totally broken, but it works.
  10. sooo i read it... i don't see anything about how to survive meltabombs....

    Laanshor likes this.

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