I think Melee should serve more of a purpose in PvP (yes I know 4.0 will be more focused on survival, but I believe PvP will still play a big part in the survival element), right now there’s no point at even trying to fight anyone else because melee combat is just so awkward. Here’s my suggestions to improve it:
First of all, and most important of all, a lock on mechanic. If we don’t have this, fights will remain just as awkward. It’s simple, just press a button while looking at your enemy and that will lock you on to him. Moving around while locked on will make you go in circles around him (except for forward and backward which will act the same). There should also be a button to switch between targets that are close to eachother.
Second, blocking attacks. If you’re not stunned, and you press the block button at the right time (I believe this should be right click, which would act as a heavy attack when you can’t block and as a block when you can), you don’t take any damage and the enemy gets stunned for a little bit, allowing you to hit him back with a light attack.
These two are the most important ones. With these you can already have a more pleasant melee combat experience. The following ones aren’t as necessary so they don’t need to be added, but it would (in my opinion) improve melee even further.
Third, attacks can be influenced by how you’re currently moving. For example, moving forward while attacking will make you lunge forward. Going left/right will attack from the side and target your enemy’s guts. Jumping would make you do an air attack, targeting your enemy’s head and possibly stunning him for a bit if you’re using blunt weapons. (This would require a lot more animations to be made, and although lots of them could probably be reused, I can see why Nelson might not want to add this, as he is basically a one-man army and it’s just way too much effort.)
Fourth, different weapon types cause different effects. Blunt would stun more and have a chance to break bones with heavy attacks, Sharp would cause bleeding for a short time and if the durability is low can make your enemy sick (as in the melee weapon is rusty and hitting your enemy can give him tetanus, would give a small advantage that wouldn’t really outweigh the disadvantages), Spearheaded weapons would do more damage in general. Punching would have no additional effects.
Fifth, Dodging. This would be simple, double tapping one of the movement buttons would cause you to dash in that direction, allowing you to dodge attacks.
Aside from improvements to melee in general, I think guns should be rarer, and if they’re gonna be craftable they have to have some downsides like breaking really easily unless you have a really high crafting skill. This would make melee a lot more useful early game, and would make adding such systems even more worthwhile.
As for Zombies, I think these systems can be reused, but there should be basic, no lock-on attacks that would be good enough to deal with them, so that if there’s a horde of zombies you can still manage and take them down without having to lock on to a single one of them.
I would like to hear what you think about these, and give your own suggestions.