Cody "Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor

Since Dungeons and Dragons hit store shelves decades ago, individuals
have been railing against each other trying to decide which play style
is better: melee or magic? Even now, as href="" target="_blank">Warhammer
Online enters into its href="" target="_blank">open
beta with thousands of players jumping into the world, many
players will still be making that decision.

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Do you enjoy
melee combat? Or magical warfare?

For massively multiplayer online games, the decision between melee and
magic is as wrought with perils and pitfalls as it was the day that
Dungeons and Dragons was first released. As user of magic, players will
be able to control hugely powerful magical energies using them to
either hurl destructive magic at their opponents or bring protection
and healing to their comrades. However, as a sword-and-board sort of
player, gamers will be able to wade into the action without fear of
being turned into a pincushion with the swing of the first sword.

Each of the melee and magic classes – in any game you play
– has its own advantages and disadvantages. Many individuals
who simply enjoying meting out violence to their enemies enjoy playing
a melee combatant where they can see the up close and personal results
of their actions. Damage-based magic users can enjoy the same sort of
violent results, albeit their spells almost always come at a distance,
where little to no harm can come to them.

However, these roles distort even further when you get into the
massively multiplayer online gaming setting. While many of us may enjoy
being in the front lines and beating on our enemies, we also enjoy
seeing their corpses crumple under our feet. The majority of the melee
frontline combatants in MMOGs will never see that happen through the
stroke of their sword, because most MMOGs have made melee combatants
the “meatshields” and given them a duty that allows
them to do little more than stand in front of an enemy and take the
brunt of the blows.

That said, most magic users will never be able to stand on the front
lines either. There will be no “Gandalf-esque”
moments of pulling your greatsword and preparing yourself for the enemy
to come at you. The majority of the fighting for magic users in MMOGs
occurs behind the front lines, where they can fling spells but
won’t run the risk of dying anytime soon.

So which is it? Which kind of classes do players enjoy the most? If you
take some of the more recent games as examples, you’d find
that more and more players seem to enjoy a little dabble of melee along
with their magic, or vice versa. In href="" target="_blank">Warhammer
Online, target="_blank">Age of Conan, and even a bit in href="" target="_blank">World
of Warcraft, a good number of the classes are what you could
consider a mixture of both melee and magic. From the href="" target="_blank">Paladin
in World of Warcraft to the href="" target="_blank">Bear
Shaman in Age of Conan, thousands of gamers desire to have
both the ability to provide melee support while also flinging spells
off into the ether.  

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The Warrior
Priest is a formidable opponent that uses both melee and magic in

One of the prime examples of this melee and magic phenomena is the href="">Warrior Priest
in Warhammer Online. This magically oriented class actually
needs to be in the middle of the fray to be able to heal at all.
Through the build up of their “Righteous Fury”,
Warrior Priests can unleash healing spells on their comrades, but only
after they’ve been slugging it out in melee combat for

In my opinion, this is a wonderful about-face for the MMOG industry.
These “hybrid” classes really allow gamers to
maximize what parts of the game they want to enjoy, while still
allowing the MMOG purists to have their straight-up melee classes and
“melt-your-face” casters. People can still claim to
be “melee” but retain an alternative magic ability
or two to spice things up for the rest of their party members.

So which kind of player are you? Do you crave a good melee encounter?
Or do you fancy yourself a more magically inclined person? Or are you a
dabbler, wanting to mix and match the kind of combatant you are into
something that’s both a melee and a magic wielder?

If you know, give us a post on the forums. We’d love to hear
what kind of combat you favor!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016