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Ranged vs Melee balance

Muizer
Muizer
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I tend to play melee builds but I've been wondering if for much content I am not gimping myself. There are some inherent advantages to playing ranged which include:

- having more of the battle in your field of view (situational awareness)
- being out of range of enemy melee abilities
- having more reaction time to get out of the way of projectiles, radiating aoe's and the like

AFAIK there is one counter balance, which is that in many cases, ranged magicka builds will be using light armour, vs medium armour for melee.

But is that enough to combensate? I've been dabbling in the endless archive, and because I haven't actually done much group content I decided to watch a youtube vid demonstrating the mechanics of 68 bosses encountered there. In almost all cases it seems necessary or beneficial to stay at range, hardly ever is it a downright disadvantage.

Maybe it's a 'learn to play' thing. I kind of hope it is, actually, but is it? Or are ranged builds at an inherent advantage in much of ESO's PVE endgame content especially solo/duo.

I'd welcome your insights.
Edited by ZOS_Hadeostry on December 2, 2023 4:13AM
Please stop making requests for game features. ZOS have enough bad ideas as it is!
  • IZZEFlameLash
    IZZEFlameLash
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    Some of the strongest EA verses and visions often wants you to be at the melee range. And some of the strong proc sets basically require you to be at melee range. Also, there's no real staying at range in this game. More often than not, many boss mechanics encompass the entire arena. Unless you are capable of nuking the adds and bosses before they get to you, you are always up and close with them without a dedicated tank pulling aggro.
    Edited by IZZEFlameLash on November 28, 2023 11:17AM
    Imperials, the one and true masters of all mortal races of Tamriel
  • FoJul
    FoJul
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    Muizer wrote: »
    I tend to play melee builds but I've been wondering if for much content I am not gimping myself. There are some inherent advantages to playing ranged which include:

    - having more of the battle in your field of view (situational awareness)
    - being out of range of enemy melee abilities
    - having more reaction time to get out of the way of projectiles, radiating aoe's and the like

    AFAIK there is one counter balance, which is that in many cases, ranged magicka builds will be using light armour, vs medium armour for melee.

    But is that enough to combensate? I've been dabbling in the endless archive, and because I haven't actually done much group content I decided to watch a youtube vid demonstrating the mechanics of 68 bosses encountered there. In almost all cases it seems necessary or beneficial to stay at range, hardly ever is it a downright disadvantage.

    Maybe it's a 'learn to play' thing. I kind of hope it is, actually, but is it? Or are ranged builds at an inherent advantage in much of ESO's PVE endgame content especially solo/duo.

    I'd welcome your insights.

    Objectively speaking, ranged does have a downside. You trade more survivability for less damage. Almost in all cases will Melee do more damage than a ranged class. The only exception is possibly sorcs.

    That being said, even ranged builds still have to come in melee range for something. Rarely will you see a 100% ranged build.

    For solo content, melee might have a rough time unless you have a tank as intended. Constantly kiting AOEs and mechanics are still things ranged toons have to do as well in solo content. For example, I main range magicka nightblade in PvE, and in Endless Archive the marauders still give me trouble even though i can kite them endlessly. They still stay right in front of me and I still have to dodge and weave.

    In trials and trifecta content, You usually always have some ranged builds in your platoon.

    The tradeoff can sometimes be unnoticeable when it comes to DPS in actual content. As ranged toons still do less dmg, just more reliable as you can still parse while dodging and weaving mechanics.

    So at the end of the day the skill difference comes from the player itself. I've seen Thisisi a good friend of mine, tank Vet trials and out dps everyone on the team on a tank melee sorc. Anything is possible.
    Edited by FoJul on November 28, 2023 11:21AM
  • Muizer
    Muizer
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    FoJul wrote: »
    Objectively speaking, ranged does have a downside. You trade more survivability for less damage. Almost in all cases will Melee do more damage than a ranged class. The only exception is possibly sorcs.

    Interesting. I was wondering if that was the case, but I've not actually looked at those figures too closely.
    FoJul wrote: »
    That being said, even ranged builds still have to come in melee range for something. Rarely will you see a 100% ranged build.

    I know, but for melee abilities you either get in range, or you can't do damage at all. Ranged abilities still work at close range, so there's no symmetry there. At least, I don't know of any rules that greatly reduce or disable damage for ranged abilities at short range.
    FoJul wrote: »
    For solo content, melee might have a rough time unless you have a tank as intended.

    I take it you mean unless you are a tank? Can't really have one with you in solo content :smiley:
    FoJul wrote: »
    Constantly kiting AOEs and mechanics are still things ranged toons have to do as well in solo content. For example, I main range magicka nightblade in PvE, and in Endless Archive the marauders still give me trouble even though i can kite them endlessly. They still stay right in front of me and I still have to dodge and weave.

    Of course, and in that case wearing light armour is a liability for defense. But in the opposite case, where you have to stay at range or some one-shot mechanic will kill you, as a pure melee build you're just busy keeping your distance without the possibility of doing any damage.

    FoJul wrote: »
    The tradeoff can sometimes be unnoticeable when it comes to DPS in actual content. As ranged toons still do less dmg, just more reliable as you can still parse while dodging and weaving mechanics.

    And as a melee build your damage output drops to 0 if you can't get close to the target.
    FoJul wrote: »
    So at the end of the day the skill difference comes from the player itself. I've seen Thisisi a good friend of mine, tank Vet trials and out dps everyone on the team on a tank melee sorc. Anything is possible.

    Should I go that way? Is it being a tanky melee build comparable in difficulty to being a ranged melee build?

    My own experience is that if I have a bow and 2H or bow and DW, it is quite a lot easier to get through hard content if I use the bow and kite the bosses. Get in close, and it's much, much harder.
    Edited by Muizer on November 28, 2023 12:36PM
    Please stop making requests for game features. ZOS have enough bad ideas as it is!
  • FoJul
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    Muizer wrote: »
    FoJul wrote: »
    Objectively speaking, ranged does have a downside. You trade more survivability for less damage. Almost in all cases will Melee do more damage than a ranged class. The only exception is possibly sorcs.

    Interesting. I was wondering if that was the case, but I've not actually looked at those figures too closely.
    FoJul wrote: »
    That being said, even ranged builds still have to come in melee range for something. Rarely will you see a 100% ranged build.

    I know, but for melee abilities you either get in range, or you can't do damage at all. Ranged abilities still work at close range, so there's no symmetry there. At least, I don't know of any rules that greatly reduce or disable damage for ranged abilities at short range.
    FoJul wrote: »
    For solo content, melee might have a rough time unless you have a tank as intended.

    I take it you mean unless you are a tank? Can't really have one with you in solo content :smiley:
    FoJul wrote: »
    Constantly kiting AOEs and mechanics are still things ranged toons have to do as well in solo content. For example, I main range magicka nightblade in PvE, and in Endless Archive the marauders still give me trouble even though i can kite them endlessly. They still stay right in front of me and I still have to dodge and weave.

    Of course, and in that case wearing light armour is a liability for defense. But in the opposite case, where you have to stay at range or some one-shot mechanic will kill you, as a pure melee build you're just busy keeping your distance without the possibility of doing any damage.

    FoJul wrote: »
    The tradeoff can sometimes be unnoticeable when it comes to DPS in actual content. As ranged toons still do less dmg, just more reliable as you can still parse while dodging and weaving mechanics.

    And as a melee build your damage output drops to 0 if you can't get close to the target.
    FoJul wrote: »
    So at the end of the day the skill difference comes from the player itself. I've seen Thisisi a good friend of mine, tank Vet trials and out dps everyone on the team on a tank melee sorc. Anything is possible.

    Should I go that way? Is it being a tanky melee build comparable in difficulty to being a ranged melee build?

    My own experience is that if I have a bow and 2H or bow and DW, it is quite a lot easier to get through hard content if I use the bow and kite the bosses. Get in close, and it's much, much harder.

    If your doing strictly solo content i would recommend at least 1 staff. Rather that be back bar or front bar. Having versatility in Solo content is key. A little bit more resistances or heals wouldn't hurt either.
  • katanagirl1
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    Having done both ranged magicka builds and melee stamina builds, I agree that melee gets the short end of the stick.

    There is a reason why most trials groups only allow ranged magicka builds - more survivability.

    EDIT: also, we wear a mixture of both light and medium armor
    Edited by katanagirl1 on November 28, 2023 7:14PM
    Khajiit Stamblade
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  • francesinhalover
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    Most bosses on eso have insta kill aoes attacks near them or dots, that long range users can avoid.


    Edited by francesinhalover on November 29, 2023 12:00PM
    I am @fluffypallascat pc eu if someone wants to play together
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  • Muizer
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    Another thing I've noticed that counts against close quarter combat in ESO PVE is that NPC that are targeting you instantly rotate to face you. No inertia. Solo, against an enemy immune to mobilizations, you can't usually kite them by moving to their side or rear. So it is not just AOE's that are hard avoid at close range, but single target attacks as well.
    Edited by Muizer on November 29, 2023 1:09PM
    Please stop making requests for game features. ZOS have enough bad ideas as it is!
  • SandandStars
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    In pvp “ranged” is largely an illusion. Good players will gap-close you (or stealth/incap) and proceed to CC and button-mash your squishy ass

  • YetAnotherLinuxUser
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    city of ash 2 esp on vet, if you try to be at range distance the final boss will wreck your day. even when using ranged weapons you need to be within melee range in many dungeons or you will be one shot.
  • DrNukenstein
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    Being ranged is being lazy.
  • AlterBlika
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    When solo you're fine as melee actually. No matter (almost I think?) where you go, you can always win as melee. Tanks do survive after all, and you can build even tankier (although it's not needed).
    In EA your life has a price, because you have a limited anount of threads. Plus it gets harder and harder and later you'd better just avoid close mechanics.

    I personally can't stand fighting at range, I like brawler-style playing. Never even tried that
  • ZOS_Hadeostry
    Greetings,

    After further review we have decided to move this thread to a category we think is more appropriate for this topic, as it's about mechanics.

    Thank you for your understanding
    Staff Post
  • Zodiarkslayer
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    I think the decision if you go melee or ranged mostly dependent on your class. Templars need to be melee or a large portion of their class kit doesn't work.
    On the other side Nightblades have a good ranged spammable and execute.
    And MagArc is the best ranged setup, if you drop flail.

    Also, if you are SOLO, your enemies are going to come into your melee range anyways. Kiting only works on a single enemy. You will still need to be able to tank a moderate amount of damage or you'll die.
    There are situations in Dungeons and Trials where melee is impossible. But that by no means makes ranged fighting generally the superior option.

    Being successful in ESO is mainly dependent on if the player understands his class or not. All classes offer solutions to any problem the game throws at you.
    read, think and write.In that order.
  • SandandStars
    SandandStars
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    I don’t know that a true ranged build is viable in battlegrounds, unless you go nb bowblade so you can cloak/escape. Orherwise, youre gonna get hammered by brawlers in 2 seconds with all the gap closers and cc’s available. And it’s pretty hard to build ranged that can do any damage without sacrificing a defensive set, so now your squishy as hell in a tanky brawler meta… here comes the MastersDW/Vatesh/Marselok crew! They found another noob trying to play ranged…
  • fred4
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    There is no clear answer to this. Melee builds, such as Master 2H Brawler builds, can be exceptionally strong in solo play. They are joined by lightning staff heavy attack builds, stamina Arcanists, and magicka templars as strong and easy to play options. All have strengths and weaknesses. It would probably help if you told us what class you like playing.

    My personal preference is for melee, or mixed range + melee in all content. Templars and nightblades are examples of the latter. Sweeps and Sap Essence are melee, but Radiant and Swallow Soul are ranged. I've had no issues in vMA and vVH playing melee, including trifecta runs.

    In Endless Archive the question is how far you want to go. If you want to grind out the top spot on the leaderboard (for your class), that's a matter of your real-life stamina, building specifically for EA, and getting the right / lucky visions. It's not really a question of ranged vs. melee. If your ambition isn't for a leaderboard spot, then the main concern is how to balance damage and tankiness such that EA isn't a complete grind, while still being able to deal with the marauders and stuff. You more or less see the full extent of what the archive has to offer by the end of arc 4, and you get the Conqueror achievement. That, I am sure, can be done with any class, with ranged or with melee playstyles. In the archive you just need solutions to specific problems. Here is an example for melee magplar:

    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/647099/a-true-endless-archive-build/p1

    Kiting marauders is honestly a PITA, a slow and dangerous grind. Also, kiting really only applies to the fire marauder. The water one doesn't hit as hard and the storm one is best handled up close, because the storms revolve around him. You are safest in the eye of the storm.

    As a duo, one player is best an outright (DK / Magma Shell) tank. When solo, you have a few options, such as:
    • Wear the Esoteric Greaves, play a magicka build, and have half decent stamina sustain. You can now face-tank Gothmau in the early arcs. You're welcome.
    • Wear tanky gear, but possibly Alessia's Bulwark is the best compromise, because weapon / spell damage reduction works in the archive, at least in the early arcs. Light armor isn't really a disadvantage with the build options of today's game. You can reach resistance cap in light armor, if that's what you wanted to build for, and retain the crit, sustain and penetration benefits.
    • Front bar an infused weapon with a Weakening enchant. See above.
    • Have a ranged interrupt or a gap closer. The absolute best interrupt skill belongs to a melee class, templar. Explosive Charge is a gap closer and interrupt skill that automatically handles hard to hit, clustered targets. Other gap closers, followed by a bash can work. Crushing Shock or Venom Arrow can work. Deadland's Demolisher turns your bash into AOE, which may help. DK Breath should work. You need to interrupt or kill Thoat shards and other channeling adds. Only Arcanist can possibly get away without such a skill, because it so easily cleaves through everything, once you point the beam roughly in the right direction.
    • Have a cleanse or have good healing over time (or sit in Magma Shell). By the middle of arc 4 you may start getting dotted up so hard, your healing may fail. Templar has another advantage here, having the best cleanse skill in the game. I'm not saying it's the best class, by the way, because looking at leaderboards it objectively isn't. Just pointing out what useful things that class has.
    • Build towards the Focused Efforts vision. There are various ways of doing this. As an ice warden, the Ice Furnace set may work. Unleashed Terror may help on any build. Dual-wield helps, with Charged weapons, because there are two enchants, poison and fire. In my case, I back bar dual-wield and use Quick Cloak to proc this semi-passively all the time. Different damage types may help. It's why I use Reflective Light on my templar, for example. Incidentally, Blade Cloak is a meta skill even for ostensibly ranged Arcanists, because it passively keeps enchants procced that a beaming Arcanist otherwise has trouble maintaining. So, you see, a pure ranged build can be an illusion. A meta (trial spec) Arcanist may well use Blade Cloak and Barbed Trap, two skills that keep them in melee range.
    PC EU (EP): Magicka NB (main), Stamina NB, Stamina DK, Stamina Sorcerer, Magicka Warden, Magicka Templar, Stamina Templar
    PC NA (EP): Magicka NB
  • fred4
    fred4
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    Muizer wrote: »
    I tend to play melee builds but I've been wondering if for much content I am not gimping myself.
    Nope. Not really. See my previous post.
    - having more of the battle in your field of view (situational awareness)
    Play 3rd person, maximum viewing angle in camera settings, maximum zoom distance. I get your point, but this is good enough.
    - being out of range of enemy melee abilities
    For how long? In EA you want to round up and cleave stuff. It's slower and more of a problem when enemies do not come to you.

    In PvP it's a double-edged sword. Line-of-sight is a powerful tool. Yes you may gank people from range, yes you may keep players at range on a streaking sorc. On the other hand, the counter to line-of-sight is to be a melee player, staying on top of your target.
    - having more reaction time to get out of the way of projectiles, radiating aoe's and the like
    Maybe. Not if the radiating AOE was targeted on you.
    AFAIK there is one counter balance, which is that in many cases, ranged magicka builds will be using light armour, vs medium armour for melee.
    In PvP medium IMO has an advantage. In trials, if you're a DD and you don't know mechanics, you're dead one way or the other. In solo / duo PvE you build towards the content you're doing one way or the other.
    But is that enough to combensate? I've been dabbling in the endless archive, and because I haven't actually done much group content I decided to watch a youtube vid demonstrating the mechanics of 68 bosses encountered there. In almost all cases it seems necessary or beneficial to stay at range, hardly ever is it a downright disadvantage.
    Xynode's videos are typically ambitious. They may give the impression that they cover everything, but they don't. Can't rely on him fully covering every mechanic nor would I say his footage / his preferred builds are necessarily meta.
    Maybe it's a 'learn to play' thing. I kind of hope it is, actually, but is it? Or are ranged builds at an inherent advantage in much of ESO's PVE endgame content especially solo/duo.
    It's build knowledge, mechanics knowledge / experience, and muscle memory.
    PC EU (EP): Magicka NB (main), Stamina NB, Stamina DK, Stamina Sorcerer, Magicka Warden, Magicka Templar, Stamina Templar
    PC NA (EP): Magicka NB
  • IZZEFlameLash
    IZZEFlameLash
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    fred4 wrote: »
    Muizer wrote: »
    I tend to play melee builds but I've been wondering if for much content I am not gimping myself.
    Nope. Not really. See my previous post.
    - having more of the battle in your field of view (situational awareness)
    Play 3rd person, maximum viewing angle in camera settings, maximum zoom distance. I get your point, but this is good enough.
    - being out of range of enemy melee abilities
    For how long? In EA you want to round up and cleave stuff. It's slower and more of a problem when enemies do not come to you.

    In PvP it's a double-edged sword. Line-of-sight is a powerful tool. Yes you may gank people from range, yes you may keep players at range on a streaking sorc. On the other hand, the counter to line-of-sight is to be a melee player, staying on top of your target.
    - having more reaction time to get out of the way of projectiles, radiating aoe's and the like
    Maybe. Not if the radiating AOE was targeted on you.
    AFAIK there is one counter balance, which is that in many cases, ranged magicka builds will be using light armour, vs medium armour for melee.
    In PvP medium IMO has an advantage. In trials, if you're a DD and you don't know mechanics, you're dead one way or the other. In solo / duo PvE you build towards the content you're doing one way or the other.
    But is that enough to combensate? I've been dabbling in the endless archive, and because I haven't actually done much group content I decided to watch a youtube vid demonstrating the mechanics of 68 bosses encountered there. In almost all cases it seems necessary or beneficial to stay at range, hardly ever is it a downright disadvantage.
    Xynode's videos are typically ambitious. They may give the impression that they cover everything, but they don't. Can't rely on him fully covering every mechanic nor would I say his footage / his preferred builds are necessarily meta.
    Maybe it's a 'learn to play' thing. I kind of hope it is, actually, but is it? Or are ranged builds at an inherent advantage in much of ESO's PVE endgame content especially solo/duo.
    It's build knowledge, mechanics knowledge / experience, and muscle memory.

    Exactly. I've played both specs and never felt much difference other than general DPS being higher with melee because DW is still better choice than anything else when looking to min/max. As a ranged dps, you still cannot skip mechanics by the virtue of being ranged. You still have to know when to block, dodge or do other mechanics. How do I know? I learned that from Craglorn trials back in the days when they were the only trials and I played ranged for a while.
    Imperials, the one and true masters of all mortal races of Tamriel
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