Actually, this title is a bit inaccurate. I should say that the game is progressing too quickly for close combat classes to keep up. This means 2H melee and 1H melee. Though they suffer less than melee, a few mage builds are falling behind as well...such as flamethrower and peculiar edge cases of mage builds (like G's). I just put 2H in the title because I feel it is the class that's falling behind the most, and I'll be giving it special attention in this post. I'm writing this post right now because I'm legitimately concerned about how the game has progressed -- particularly from Tai Ming to The Desert. Not too long ago, someone posted on the Steam Forums about enemies kind of getting insane because there's a "bullet-hell-ish" atmosphere that's created where there's a lot of chaos and very little reward for the mechanics the game teaches you early on...and he said that such an atmosphere makes the game unenjoyable. I got defensive and basically said he was wrong in a typical rant. But after playing a bit more, I think he might be somewhat correct -- specifically for the last two sections of enemies (more so The Desert than Tai Ming). I'm afraid of the game continuing down the path that it appears to be on right now. If enemies continue to get more chaotic than they currently are, I think that will legitimately reduce enjoyment for many players. So for the general structure... I think I'll address things in this order: 1) The problem with enemies, 2) The reason mages can thrive, and 3) The reason melee desperately needs buffs. And sadly...I'll have to split this into 3 comments. Concerns with the Current Enemies So how exactly is the game "progressing too quickly for other classes to keep up"? I'll try to layout the general progression of the game. The game starts out simple. All early enemies (bees, rabbys, slimes) are stunnable. And any form of chain attacking can be stopped by shielding. As the game progresses, some unstunnable enemies appear. However, you're generally significantly rewarded for pguarding: You can reflect projectiles; you can interrupt boars and elite bots; you can pause enemies' attacks. The shield remains a major aspect of the game. However, as the game progresses, this goes away...and a lot of things change that leave melee without a lot of options. First, the terrain which the player is given to traverse decreases. Bombs block the way; projectiles become hectic; empowered season mages get very dodgy and release special attacks that block your movement; hazards such as blizzards and bats deal heavy damage damage, slow you down, and stunlock you if you're shielding; things like poison and fire do major damage and block off your motion. All of these are enormous problems for melee, but they're hardly any problem at all for mages. Mages can attack anything from afar, with some attacks being auto-aiming...and all their attacks are incredibly powerful. Melee players, however, have to close the distance to do damage...this means careful positioning/moving. Late game, this is incredibly difficult. The desert is a major culprit of this. Thorns are being launched everywhere, making it hard to move. Solems are also shooting beams at you. And then you have small slimes coming after you that are hard to see because they often blend in with the background or suddenly appear from behind a solem. There's also the ravens that can cause mini bats to appear. There are so many threats that melee has to pay attention to and rush after, but it's so hard to move around safely. Meanwhile, mages can 1-3 shot any enemy present from afar. Before the recent update, melee was almost entirely unviable. I legitimately did not enjoy the desert at all before the update (except for Marino S). With the recent update, melee became somewhat more survivable, but it's still unviable. Second, the ability to stun enemies loses significance over time. Most Tai Ming enemies cannot be stunned. This makes all the gimmicks with 2H melee (interrupts, smash, etc.) completely meaningless. It also decreases the openings melee has to attack and consequently decreases the dps that melee can do. Stunning also lacks significance in the desert. Solems can't be stunned with attacks. And although slimes and cacuctes can be stunned, they're rather difficult to reach while maneuvering through the chaos that is the desert. Honestly, the terrain control that enemies have (especially beams and thorns), makes the ability to stun enemies fairly unnoticeable. Third, shielding and even pguarding starts to lose meaning over time. This is particularly the case in places like Tai Ming and The Desert. In Tai Ming, the shield is hardly useful. You don't stun anything. And you hardly stop any attacks. You can slow statues or cause worms to come up by pguarding. But it's not that meaningful and is often difficult to do with all the chaos going on in the room (bombs, jank echoes, etc.). Oftentimes you can just dodge the statue and whack/cast, especially if you use ice magic. As for the worm, you can just dodge it. There's hardly a difference between dodging and pguarding. If you're shielding, you're likely doing it only to avoid damage, and not as anything truly offensive. Moreover, enemies break your shield rather quickly. The same pretty much goes for The Desert. Orange slimes cannot be stopped by regular shielding. They can only be stopped by pguarding, which is hard to do in all the chaos. This makes it incredibly easy for them to break your shield. Solems break your shield if they hit you with a beam. Pguarding a thorn is hard to do in all the chaos; and if it hits a cactus, it only causes even more thorns to appear more quickly. Although ravens can be stunned by shielding, they generally don't stay on the ground long enough for melee to kill easily. Enemies easily break your shield in Tai Ming and The Desert, and yet melee is rendered completely helpless once their shield is broken in these environments. Mages are fine with or without a shield. Fourth, melee pales in comparison to mages in damage. This is a matter of fact once gold and arguably even when silver is unlocked. Things like meteor and ice-magic+static can do insane damage with just a single pguard. This has less to do with issues in the game's mechanics...it has more to do with how the skills are now. Those are the major problems with enemies right now. And all of these problems make the fourth issue -- melee's lack of damage -- even more noticeable. Before I move onto some of the buffs melee can get, let me talk about mages briefly, and how they're so powerful in the game. This is going to be some copy-paste from my "Insect Swarm" post. So if you've already seen my comments on why mages are so strong, you can skip the first two (2) paragraphs.