Melee vs Ranged Zerg

Tobold wonders whether the group dynamics in unorganized large-scale PvP are a result in players being stupider than the AI.

To answer his question: No, that's just how things work when there is no commander.

Here's what I observed during the Southshore vs Tarren Mill battles:

When it's every man for himself, even in a large group, people tend to attack the closest hostile target. If a melee enemy attacks a group, he's the closest target to everyone in that group. He gets zerged. When it's ranged vs ranged, everyone picks different targets according to their positioning within the group. They do favor targets on low health to finish them off, but attentive healers can prevent that from ever happening.

In both RTS games and in EvE Online, one of the most important tasks of a commander is to designate targets as "primary". You focus your firepower to one target to overwhelm the enemies' damage mitigation and healers. No such thing as a commander exists in unorganized large-scale PvP by definition.

However, Starship Troopers the movie shows something that could be used to make melee more useful in unorganized large-scale PvP: Directed throws. In the Klendathu battle, one of the bugs charges a group of marines, grabs a marine and throws him into the swarm of bugs. Naturally, the marine gets torn into pieces. The charging bug, although it's life expectancy is very low, can use the numbers of his allies to his advantage.

Currently, melee in MMORPGs cannot do that. Unless the whole friendly group charges, he's alone. And the friendly group won't do that unless they are certain of victory. That certainty can be achieved by either superior numbers or morale, and the lack of a commander makes achieving the second more difficult.

However, the Death Grip ability of the Death Knights in WotLK could achieve the same end result as the bug's charge+throw. But as always, the devil is in the details. In this particular case, it boils down to range. Can the Death Knight get close enough to Death Grip someone without getting zerged by the hostile ranged attackers?

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