melee

Melee Weapons

Melee weapons in PlanetSide 2 are represented by a large variety of knives. They can be used as a finisher in close quarters, for stealthy assassinations and as a last ditch effort when you exhaust all your ammo.

Knives can be split into two groups:

Standard Knives

Chainblade
Chainblade

Mag-Cutter
Mag-Cutter

Force Blade
force-blade

Cosmetics
knives

Classic combat knives, fast and versatile. There’s a lot of them, but they all have identical stats, and can be treated as cosmetic variants of your starting knife.

Power Knives

Ripper
Ripper

Carver
Carver

Lumine Edge
Lumine_Edge

Power knives have lower swing speed, especially when quick-knifed, but in wielded mode they can be “activated” to do more damage. 

  • To activate the wielded knife, press Switch Fire Group key (default “B”) .
  • Activated knives do 1050 damage, effectively killing any infantry target in just one swing, except for a shielded HA.
  • Activated power knives do 200% damage on headshots (2100 damage), in which case they will OHK even a shielded HA.
  • Activated knives warn the enemy about your presence by emitting sound effects, especially when activated/deactivated. However, it’s possible to activate the knife and swing it right away, killing the enemy before he gets a chance to react to the sound.
  • You can activate and deactivate a power knife while sprinting.
  • All wielded attacks with Power Knives show your minimap signature to enemies within 5m.

Facts and Stats

  Damage  Headshot Multiplier  Time Between Swings, sec
Standard Quick Knife 500 N/A 0.95
Standard Wielded 500 1.5x 0.4
Power Quick Knife 500 N/A 1.125
Power Wielded 500 1.5x 0.675
Power Activated 1050 2x 0.675
  • Knife damage is not mitigated by nanoweave, but affected by Heavy Assault’s overshields. 
  • MAXes have 20 000 effective HP against knives, so usually trying to melee them isn’t a good idea.
  • MANA Turrets, Spawn Beacons and other deployables can be damaged by knives.
  • Base Terminals can be damaged by wielded strikes, but they take very little damage.
  • Vehicles are immune to melee damage, except for MAX Punch.

All knives can be used in two ways: quick-knife and wielded.

Quick-Knife

Quick knife is an almost instant melee attack that hits one target in a wide arc in front of you, but forces you to re-equip your weapon afterwards.

Quick knife attack can be performed only when you have something other than the knife in your hands. To do a quick-knife attack, tap melee attack button (Middle Mouse Button by default). Your character will switch to the knife, swiftly perform the melee attack, and then return to the item you had in hands previously.

Quick knife is best used as a finisher and against mobile enemies. It is perfect when you need only one swing. 

Quick-Knife Mechanics

Quick-Knife deals 500 damage, regardless of which knife you use, and which body part you hit.

The damage is applied almost instantly, but there is a lengthy recovery delay afterwards. 

If you try to perform a quick knife while sprinting, you will slow down and perform the quick knife swing after “Sprint Recovery”amount of time, equal to 0.3 seconds.

Quick knife instantly interrupts weapon reloads and cycling a pump or bolt action weapon.

The only exception is weapons with tube magazines – their reload will be interrupted with a delay.

Melee Combo

It’s a common technique to make a few close range shots and then finish off the enemy with a quick knife swing, resulting in fast kills and ammo conservation. 

Incorporating melee attacks as finishers during close combat skirmishes is extremely important, as it allows to cut away a significant portion of time to kill, and get the kill right then and there, as long as enemy is within striking distance.

It is a great equalizer for low DPS weapons, such as most “accurate” automatics, and Internet Delay will give an advantage to whoever closes the distance and strikes first.  

How much damage before quick knife is lethal

If the enemy survives the knife swing, you’re gonna be at a huge disadvantage, because there will be a delay before you can shoot or take another swing. It is important to make sure the enemy is damaged enough before doing the knife swing. Nanoweave is a fairly popular suit slot, so to guarantee the swing will kill, you have to act like all enemies have full nanoweave.

Quick knife deals 500 damage that bypasses nanoweave. So to make sure the quick knife is lethal, your bullets have to first deal a certain amount of damage:

 DAMAGE BEFORE KNIFE IS LETHAL Base Nanoweave Aux. Shield Aux. Shield and Nanoweave
Heavy Assault (NMG / Adren) 950 1188 1000 1250
Heavy Assault (Resist) 1167 1167 1250 1250
Infiltrator (NAC and cloaked) 667 667 734 734
Infiltrator (Hunter / Stalker) 400 500 450 563
Other infantry and uncloaked NAC infil 500 625 550 688

 

As you can see, the amount of damage before quick knife is lethal varies greatly. 

However, in vast majority of cases, doing 625 premitigated damage to a target will ensure it will die from a knife swing.

Leap Combo

(Credit to CuteBeaver for this idea).

You can’t fire weapons or use quick-knife while sprinting, and even when you stop sprinting, there is a 0.3 second delay before you can do any of that. This means that any melee attempts can be countered by the enemy simply moving away. You can counter this by performing a Leap Combo: sprint at the enemy, jump and perform the melee combo while in the air. 

You will preserve your forward momentum during the jump, and extend the effective range of your combo. Naturally, Leap Combos are most effective with a weapon that requires only one shot before quick knife is lethal.

Against Heavy Assaults

If you’re trying to Melee Combo a Heavy Assault, make sure he’s unaware and his overshields are inactive. If he does activate overshields, you are better off just shooting him until he dies or wielding the knife.

Heavy Assault with overshields has too many unknown variables:

  • current health + shields
  • rank of nanoweave
  • overshield type and its energy level
  • auxiliary shield

And it is impossible to predict the amount of damage you need to do before knife strike is lethal.

What to do if enemy survived Melee Combo

You have several options to finish him off:

  1. wait for primary weapon to return and shoot
  2. equip a sidearm and shoot
  3. wield the knife and stab
  4. with another quick knife swing
  5. do (1) or (2) and then instantly do another quick knife swing

After you do a quick knife swing, there is a delay before you can use the item you had in hands previously. That delay is equal to:

0.1 sec + Unequip Time + Equip Time (link)

  • Unequip Time is equal to 0.25 seconds for all infantry weapons.
  • Most primary weapons have Equip Time ranging from 0.55 to 1.2 seconds.
  • Pistols have Equip Time of 0.25 seconds.
  • Knife Wielding also has Equip Time of 0.25 seconds.

(1) Waiting for a primary weapon to come back is long, but it leaves you the most combat effective and versatile. Depending on the weapon, of course. 

(2) Wielding a sidearm is quick, but how much damage you will be able to do depends on the sidearm itself. Revolvers, for example, are excellent finishers, but require good accuracy.

(3) Wielding a knife is also quick and gives you the most alpha damage, but requires close range and good accuracy.

Interestingly, you can start switching the weapon immediately after the knife swing without any additional delays beyond the 0.1 second it takes to perform a quick melee strike.

(4) Another quick knife swing is the longest. It gives you a lot of damage and easy to hit, but requires melee range. You can perform quick knife swings roughly every 1 second.

(5) Finally, you can use either of your weapons to perform another Melee Combo. It frontloads a ton of damage, but if THAT fails to kill the target, most likely because the enemy is shielded HA, you will be at quadruple disadvantage and may as well /suicide.

In case of most weapons, the delay is less than the time between quick knife swings, meaning that you can wait for primary weapon to come up or equip a sidearm, fire the weapon, and then perform another knife swing at no time penalty.

In that case, option (4) is directly inferior to this.

However, some weapons, like most LMGs, have long Equip Time of 1.2 seconds, making the total delay equal to 1.55 seconds, and then of course simply taking another knife swing would’ve been faster.


Every situation is different. You will have to do a judgement call each time.

Wielding

Any knife can be wielded as a standalone weapon. To wield the knife, hold [melee attack] button, or use Gear Slot 8. 

Tip: equipping and unequipping a knife can be heard by nearby enemies, so when sneaking up on somebody, be careful not to pull out the knife too early.

Wielded knives can perform melee attacks much quicker, and they also can get headshots for 150% damage (200% with an activated power knife). You can also melee out of sprint.

However, they use a different hit detection model: effectively, you’re firing large invisible bullets, and you don’t perform any actual slashing, so in order to hit the enemy, you have to aim at him like you would with a firearm. 

Wielded knives have an appropriate stabbing animation, which explains the required accuracy. 

It’s suitable to wield the knife when you need more than one swing, for example when you intend to kill someone with a knife from full health, or even ambush multiple enemies.

Wielded Knife Mechanics

Different hit detection model from quick-knife:

When you click “fire”, after 0.075 seconds your character will fire an invisible projectile. It has 0.2m collision radius (0.1m for Power Knives) and travels forward at a speed of 13 m/s for 0.12 seconds.

If during that time the projectile will hit the target, it will count as a hit. 

The projectile does not inherit your speed, and it will not fly further if you use the knife while moving.

Maximum effective range of a wielded knife attack can be calculated as: 

0.12 * 13 m/s = 1.56 m

It is ~6% longer than maximum range of quick knife swing (measured by using /loc command).

Curious fact: when you stand on someone’s head, you can reach him with a wielded melee, but you have to crouch to hit with a quick knife.

Wielded knives do not have Sprint Recovery time, and can be swung right from the sprint.

After a wielded knife attack, there is a 0.25 seconds delay before you can sprint and 0.3 seconds delay before you can use abilities such as Cloak. 

Wielded attacks can be performed every 0.4 seconds with Standard Knives, and every 0.675 seconds with Power Knives.

Sprinting

In melee combat, you want to stay as mobile as possible. To ensure you start sprinting as soon as possible after a swing, release the sprint key immediately after a swing, and then press it again and hold. This way you will “buffer” the sprint command, and your character will start sprinting as soon as possible after the “Sprint Override” delay is over.

Known Bugs

Currently, there are two:

1) Tapping the “melee attack” key to perform a quick knife can unintentionally equip the knife, even when you didn’t hold down the key.

2) Sometimes your hands will get stuck after a quick melee, leaving you unable to fire or use melee for a few seconds.

There are two ways to avoid these bugs:

  1. Bind melee attack to mouse wheel scroll.
  2. Use an AutoHotKey script:

Originally posted on reddit by Boomfreeze:

  • Download AutoHotKey (3MB)
  • Create a text file with this content

*MButton::
send {MButton down}
send {MButton up}

  • Replace “MButton” with your assigned melee button according to this AutoHotKey help page. If you melee with your keyboard, replace “MButton” with your key.
  • Save this file as “something.ahk”
  • Double click the file to start the script. You will need to do this every time you launch the game. You can make another AHK script that will launch the game and this script at the same time.

Keybinds

“Quick Melee” should be bound to a key you can conveniently press while moving in any direction. “Wield Knife” should also be rebound from [8] to something more convenient. 

Keybinds are always personal, and you should feel free to use whatever is the most convenient for you. Still, here are my personal recommendations:

1) Bind Quick Melee to Middle Mouse Button, and Scroll Forward and Backward.

This way you can use your middle finger to perform quick melee attacks independently from index finger holding the left mouse button to fire. Quick and convenient shoot + stab combos.

You can be imprecise with your movements; even a rough strike to the mouse wheel is guaranteed to trigger a melee attack. In frantic close quarters combat, wild hand movements are common, and you don’t always have the luxury of being careful with your keypresses. 

It prevents accidentally wielding the knife by holding the button for too long, since it’s physically impossible to hold mouse wheel scroll. For the same reason, it allows to avoid mentioned known bugs.

2) Bind “Wield Knife” (gear slot 8) to TAB, and scoreboard to T.

TAB is a more accessible key than T, and actual combat actions, like pulling out the knife, should be given priority over scoreboard that you have no reason to open outside safety. 

3) Bind “Switch Firemode” to a thumb mouse button, so you can conveniently wield a power knife and activate it at the same time. 

NSX Amaterasu

NSX Amaterasu

Amaterasu is a unique cross faction melee weapon. For the most part, it is identical to standard melee knives, except it only deals 350 damage per strike.

However, when wielded, player can hold “aim down sights” to activate ranged mode, and in that mode swings will create energy projectiles that deal medium damage.

Essentially, Amaterasu is a “ranged melee weapon”, however awkward that sounds.

Ranged mode stats

Damage: 200 @ 1m – 143 @ 50m
Velocity: 30 m/s
Zoom: 1.08x
Cone of Fire: 1.2

This damage is reduced by nanoweave. “Firing” the Amaterasu doesn’t show your position on enemy minimap.

Other stats, like Firing Delay, Refire Rate and Headshot Damage Multiplier are exactly the same as for wielded melee mode.

Amaterasu has infinite ammunition.

In wielded mode and in ranged mode Amaterasu has heavy sway, so aiming at distant targets is problematic. 

The projectile disappears after ~50m. 

Amaterasu is definitely unique, but low damage output makes it hard to use effectively. 

Videos 

My video, Chainsaw Massacre, features LA gameplay exclusively with a power knife (outdated, wielded knife strikes are easier to hit now):

My videos Smoke Ninja 1 and 2, feature LA gameplay and a lot of Hunter Crossbow + Quick Knife combos.

My videos: Pounce 1 and 2, feature Stalker Infiltrator gameplay and a lot of Hunter Crossbow + Quick Knife combos.

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