Melee Specialization Guide - Dungeon Siege 2
Melee builds are the tankier builds of Dungeon Siege 2 and can use a sword and board, Dual Wield or 2h weapons. 1h and a Shield is made for tanking and you should always have at least 1 character on your team who is capable of using Provoke (AoE Taunt) and taking a lot of damage. Dual Wield is probably the highest DPS you can get with a Melee character especially if you combine it with Fists of Stone for lots of Tremor procs.
Two Handed builds deal good damage and have fantastic CC abilities. If you're using a 2h weapon you'll be able to Stun enemies with regular attacks as well as with your Powers, like Staggering Blow. Out of all 3 Melee builds I like to use Dual Wield and Tanks the most.
Below I have included a little bit of succinct info on each of the 3 Melee Builds and important things you should know about them.
Tanks: The whole top of the skill tree is made for you. Usually there will be a lot of Skill Points left over so you have two choices, you can go into the Fist of Stone tree for more damage or into the Nature Magic tree for a pet and Embrace or Wrath talents.
Dual Wield: Really the only unique skill for DW is Dual Wield. You'll have a lot of extra Skill Points to decide what to do with, Fist of Stone tree isn't a bad idea neither is dumping some into Nature Magic for a Pet or for Embrace/Wrath talents.
2h Weapon: Overbear and Smite are the two skills that are made for 2h weapons. I'd recommend Nature Magic for a Pet or Embrace/Wrath talents to go along with this build. You'll attack too slow to gain a large benefit out of Fist of Stone as a dual wielder. Some points into Fist of Stone for Offensive or Defensive Enhancements wouldn't be a bad idea though.
When it comes to spells there isn't much you'll be using on your melee characters. Putting Resurrect, Transmute or Summon Teleporter as an Active Spell are really the only viable options. You don't want to use any other Active Spells unless you're leveling up Combat or Nature Magic.
I strongly recommend you use Defender on your Tanks and Earth Blast on any characters who are primarily damage dealers. You'll get so much EXP in your main specialization that you'll cap it out while you're leveling up anyway. For that reason don't worry about the EXP split these spells do.
Those of you who plan to use a Summoned Pet will want to put that into Autocast too, same goes for any Wrath or Embrace buffs you plan to use. One unique thing I like to do is put Nourish as an Autocast on my tank to make him a pseudo tank/healer; the only downside to this that I have found is you automatically heal pets as well as players.
As always, you'll want to determine which Powers you plan to use the most on your character and get them ASAP first. Tanks will usually want to get Provoke as well as Brutal Attack; on the few fights where Provoke isn't useful you'll use Brutal Attack instead. 2h Weapon builds typically use Staggering Blow and Brutal Attack.
Dual Wield you can use Whirling Strike for packs of enemies and either Brutal Attack or Elemental Rage for single target bosses. Elemental Rage is nice too for large packs of enemies but it's much better for bosses. It also requires you to invest a lot of points into Fierce Renewal which is a meh Skill.
Typically Dual Wield and 2h builds will have an abundance of Skill Points left over after they buy all of the useful skills for their build in the Melee tree. My featured pictures above are of a Dual Wield character and you'll be able to see what I mean from them. Tanks have to invest into both defensive and offensive skills which makes them much more of a Skill Point dump than other builds.
For this reason, I recommend you use Wrath of the Bear on your 2h or Dual Wield character if you have one. This is one of the best Wrath buffs in the game and it will drastically boost your crit damage. Since you'll have left over Skill Points anyway you can dump some into Feral Wrath which will boost the damage of Wrath of the Bear.
Summoned Pets are hit or miss for melee builds. I like to use a Summoned Pet on my tank for the Summon Bond ability that transfers some of the damage you take to a pet. This will make your tank more tanky overall for an investment of 3 Skill Points at minimum.
Below is a list of every other skill that you'll want to take a look at and maybe invest some Skill Points into. You'll need to figure out what your character needs most, more survivability or more damage.
General Purpose Skills:
Fortitude (Melee Skill): Increases your total health. This is a must have for basically all characters, it also leads to an important skill too.
Toughness (Melee Skill): Decreases Physical Damage taken. Equally important for casters and tanks as it'll make everyone in your group less squishy.
Reinforced Armor (Melee Skill): The more armor you have the more you'll benefit, definitely a useful skill for everyone though. Getting this skill requires you to get Barricade which will allow every character in your group to use a shield if you'd like to. Some 2h weapons grant a lot of damage boosts to casters but using a shield and a 1h for defensive purposes will allow you to spend more points on DPS Skills, if you want that trade off.
Dodge (Ranged Skill): Gives you a flat chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks. I usually put about 5 points into this skill on each character by the end of Mercenary difficulty; I am someone who really likes tanky characters and this ability is a great boost to survivability.
Survival (Ranged Skill): Increases your Fire, Ice and Lightning Resistances as well as gives you the ability to harvest Health Potions. Much like with Dodge I find the survivability this grants to be very important and put at least 5 points into it by the end of Mercenary.
Brilliance (Combat Magic Skill): Flat % increase to your mana pool. Both DPS casters and healers will want to invest points into this
Natural Bond (Nature Magic Skill): Decreases the mana cost of spells by a flat % as well as letting you harvest Mana Potions from bushes. Again, both DPS and healers are going to want to invest into this since it works for all spells.
Chant of Stone (Fist of Stone Skill): This ability will give you a boost to Armor and Health depending on how much Intelligence you have. You'll find this skill most useful for casters because they stack Intelligence. I have more Armor on Finala (my Combat Mage) than on my tank because of this ability as well as Corpse Transmutation and Repulsion.
If you decide to use a pet:
Summon Fortitude (Nature Magic Skill): Increases the health of your Summoned Pets. Usually I put 3 - 5 points into this skill and that's it. Diminishing returns start to kick in the higher you go.
Summon Might (Nature Magic Skill): Increases the damage of your Summoned Pets. This skill is very important for increasing your pet's damage I put about 10 points into it (to give 100% bonus damage).
Summon Bond (Nature Magic Skill): Shares incoming damage with your Summoned Pets. As a caster I typically put 5 - 10 points into this ability to boost my survivability. Melee, Fist of Stone or a Tank I often put 1 or 2 points into it and that's it.
Summon Alacrity (Combat Magic Skill): Will increase the attack speed of Summoned Pets, giving you a minor DPS boost.
If this character is using a Wrath/Embrace buff:
Enveloping Embrace (Nature Magic Skill): Will increase the power of any Embrace buffs that this character is using. You can use 1 Embrace and 1 Wrath spell on your group; only get these skills on the characters who are using the buff. They're a complete waste on any of your other characters.
Feral Wrath (Nature Magic Skill): Will increase the power of any Wrath buffs that this character is using. You can use 1 Embrace and 1 Wrath spell on your group; only get these skills on the characters who are using the buff. They're a complete waste on any of your other characters.