I. Basics of Melee
II. Martial Arts (unarmed)
IV. How the Classes Handle Melee
V. Tactical Considerations
I. Basics of Melee
Melee?s big advantage in combat is that it bypasses personal shields. Thus, against a heavily shielded target you will be able to completely avoid their shields, doing damage directly to their health.
Another huge advantage of Melee is that each attack has a 10% chance to Expose your target. This can and does result in more exposes than ranged weapons can manage. Also, the combo moves that are Exploits to capitalize on those exposes have NO cooldown. Using melee you can and will find that you have a lot chances to do exploit damage and so will frequently finish even difficult foes far sooner than you would have with a ranged weapon ? but only if you can manage the combos properly.
Each style has two forms of attack ? a left strike and a right strike. You can only do two left or right strikes in a row, so never spam the same basic attack several times ? after two strikes, you will not be able to do another strike of that type for a few seconds. As you perform strikes, they turn into ?combos?, or combination attacks; a two-hit combo does more damage on the second attack and does a debuff, and the third hit will either debuff or do far increased damage, possibly AoE damage.
Between each strike, you have a very short time frame (about a second) to chain the next strike in the combo. TRY TO AVOID SPAMMING. It takes some practice and patience, but you only want to hit each key once. If you spam the basic attacks you will not end up with the combos you intended to. I can say from experience that the game does buffer the keys you put in properly so just hit each one once ? although if you get knocked over or interrupted you will of course need to start over.
If you are a short distance away from your enemy, initiating a melee attack will cause you to quickly close with the enemy, although it may not do this if the enemy is knocked down. This takes practice to utilize effectively but can really help you.
Base damage across combo ?levels? (i.e., 1 key, two keys or three keys) seems comparable, which each level doing more base damage than the one below it. Thus the first attack is weakest, the second attack is stronger and the third attack is strongest ? possibly devastatingly so if an Exploit.
Remember: ALL non-exploit attacks are expose attacks! Also remember that if you debuff someone they will get resistance to that type of debuff for several seconds so don?t rely on one type of debuff.
The notation I?ll use for the combos is 1 for Left Strike, and 2 for Right Strike, corresponding to where they initially appear on the action bar. If a combo has another sequence of numbers in brackets beside it, this indicates that this sequence of numbers will also work to perform the combo. Spin Kick, for example, can be activated by pressing 122, but also 221, so it would appear as: 122 (221).
II. Martial Arts
Martial Arts strikes are faster than Bat?leth strikes but do considerably less damage. They have more debuff effects however, being able to interrupt and disable your foe as well as rooting and slowing them.
1 ? Jab ? 80% chance to Interrupt, 10% chance to Expose.
2 (12) ? Punch ? -100% run speed for 1 sec, 10% chance to Expose.
11 ? Chin Strike ? Root for 1 sec, 10% chance to Expose.
22 ? Backhand ? Root for 1 sec, 10% chance to Expose.
21 ? Uppercut ? 80% chance to Interrupt.
112 ? Haymaker (EXPLOIT) ? +300% Critical Chance. Choose this to do more burst damage, especially if your crit chance has been boosted.
211 ? Knife Hand Chop (EXPLOIT) ? Basic damage + Stacking DoT. Choose this to do more evenly-distributed damage.
212 ? Snap Kick ? Disables target for 3 secs, 10% chance to Expose. Good against tough foes.
122 (221) Spin Kick (AoE, EXPLOIT) ? Basic damage only, but a lot of it, especially when surrounded.
121 ? Combined Fist (AoE) ? Knocks back targets in forward cone 3 feet, 10% chance to Expose. Good for crowd control.
NOTE: For Federation players to get Bat?leths, please check the Exchange under Personal Weapons (search for Klingon) or, for ranks V and up of Bat?leths, visit DS9.
The Bat?leth is primarily oriented towards damage although it can also root, slow and knock down. It does much higher damage than Martial Arts, especially with finishing moves, but has no means of disabling or interrupting your foe.
1 (2) ? Slash ? Basic damage and 10% chance to Expose.
11 (22) ? Stun (does not actually stun, roots instead) ? Root for 1 second, 10% chance to Expose.
12 (21) ? ?Heavy? Slash ? -100% Run Speed for 1 second, 10% chance to Expose.
122 ? Impale (EXPLOIT) ? Basic damage + Stacking DoT, hits *incredibly* hard on Exploit. Best single-target attack.
121 (212) ? Spin (AoE) ? Basic damage, 10% chance to expose. Useful when surrounded by enemies as it not only affects all enemies in your front arc but also takes effect instantly and thus gets interrupted far less than any other finishing move.
211 ? Rake (AoE) ? Knocks back targets in a cone before you 3 feet, 10% chance to Expose. Fairly quick and useful for crowd control.
112 (221) ? Chop (EXPLOIT) ? Basic damage + Stacking DoT, hits *incredibly* hard on Exploit. Activates slower than Impale and is thus easier to interrupt; is thus inferior to Impale.
IV. How the Classes Handle Melee
Another interesting aspect of STO is the fact that any class can melee, and all do it reasonably effectively. Tactical officers are best at it but Science Officers and Engineering Officers can manage fairly well.
1. Tactical Officers gain several skills that focus solely on melee, such as Leg Sweep and Lunge, as well as skill bonuses that grant them increased melee damage. They by far hit the hardest in melee and with Leg Sweep do good AoE knockdowns; if you?re serious about melee, be a Tactical Officer.
2. Engineering Officers don?t get the Tactical Officer?s combat abilities and as such don?t hit anywhere near as hard. They can, however, use things such as Chroniton Mines and Transphasic Bombs, which can mesh quite well with melee combat, doing fair damage and slowing or knocking down their enemies.
NOTE: Make SURE you have a Science BO around to use Dylozene on you, which buffs melee damage and resistance by an immense amount (up to 60% each for the second rank of this skill)! Every time you start a mission, right click on the icon to turn it red ? this stops your BO from automatically using it, ensuring it will be available for you when you need it. They need to be in range of you to use it, though.
3. Science Officers can use Dylozene on themselves and have abilities such as Tricorder Scan that expose enemies; this is a good setup for a finishing move.
V. Tactical Considerations
As a Martial Arts user, you will normally be going for ?112? interrupt/root/Haymaker combos against single targets although you?ll want to use ?212? Snap Kicks against foes using dangerous attacks (not repeatedly, they get resistance). Against groups of enemies, ?122? Spin Kicks will do good damage quickly ? especially if your BO?s are doing Exposes on them ? but if you need to focus on crowd control you can use ?121? Combined Fist instead.
As a Bat?leth user, you will want to use ?122? Impale combos as your mainstay attack. If you are facing multiple enemies you should consider ?121? Bat?leth Spin instead as it will hit multiple opponents and is not easily interrupted. ?211? Bat?leth Rake is useful against boss enemies to keep them off balance.
Tactical officers WILL use martial arts and Bat?leths but do not follow up on combos properly, frequently only doing one strike at a time. As such it is not recommended that you use melee BO?s at this time.
Science Officers and Engineering Officers do not use melee attacks at all other than rifle butts and palm strikes; you should thus keep them equipped with ranged weapons.
Don?t forget about Palm Strike/Bat?leth cross! Not only does this knock down (provided the enemy doesn?t have resistance active) but it also has a 50% chance to stun, and your melee combat skills DO improve the damage of these attacks! This is a good opening strategy, and can be done while running, which works well in PvP. This is also a good idea to use a lot when your enemies are clustered closely together as it will knock down many at once.
Regarding the Close Combat Specialist kit: Try to save Lunge for when your opponent is Exposed or when you can flank them. Leg Sweep is also useful for clearing out enemies who are crowding you or for when you need some extra instant damage. Stun Grenade is a good thing to use on enemies as you?re initially rushing in. Motion Accelerator is best used once you?re already stunned (note: does not remove rifle butt stuns).
It?s generally a good idea to take on a well-shielded ?boss? character yourself and take them down while your bridge officers deal with the minions; your melee attacks will ignore the target?s shields and you can keep them knocked down or disabled; if your BO?s are shooting at your target, their attacks will hit its shields, thus doing wasted attacks.
Your major problem will be having your combos interrupted; getting knocked down or stunned will do this, but frequently so will simply getting hit. You need to be focused and ready to start over a combo at any time. Furthermore, your target will frequently move back away from you if using a gun; you will need to chase them as you attack so keep your run key ready to use. If you knock down an enemy remember to close towards them else your attacks may miss due to being out of range; knocking foes down is a good way to stop them from backing away from you.
In PvP, your main problem will be enemies who repeatedly rifle-butt you to knock you down. The solution is to do it to them first, using palm strike or Bat?leth cross. The first hit will probably knock them over ? close in and do it again until you stun them. Then let them have it with your most powerful single-target combo strike (or with snap kick to disable them, if using martial arts) and follow up accordingly.
[PBKB] shields can knock down all enemies near you when you are hit. This works especially well against melee enemies, or when you are using melee on them, so use such shields when you can. Certain other shields will do damage to all enemies near you when you?re hit, and that?s also very helpful.