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Bunko hacking away at the zekes with her melee weapon

"Blades don't need reloading." ― Top 10 Lessons For Surviving A Zombie Attack. (Lesson #4 from The Zombie Survival Guide)

Melee weapons are an integral part of close-quarters combat in World War Z.

When fighting against the zekes, there's a high likelihood that they'll manage to get close or even surround you. When this happens, using your melee weapon can sometimes be the best option for quickly killing a few while making some room to breathe at the same time. When up against enemy survivors in close quarters, your melee weapon might be the best option to quickly end them.

Overview

A button is dedicated for a melee attack. When pressed, the survivor will take out their melee weapon to deliver a quick melee strike. This attack swings the weapon in an area in front of them, targeting one enemy at a time by default. Pressing the melee attack button in rapid succession will make you perform multiple swings one after another.

Melee attacks are very safe to perform around others as melee strikes cannot target or hurt teammates. In very close proximity of other survivors with incoming enemies, having both go in with their melee weapon in hand could be less risky than if one were to fire into the crowd with their gun. Using a melee weapon to avoid friendly fire is a valid tactic, but you must assess the situation properly to determine whether using your melee weapon is the most appropriate choice. If a survivor is currently pinned down, a firearm would perform much quicker than a melee weapon even with the risk of friendly fire.

In Multiplayer, three strikes are needed to kill a full health enemy survivor.

Melee Weapon Archetypes

Light


Medium


Heavy


Signature Strike


Push Radius

When performing a melee attack, survivors create a small area around themselves that cause untargeted zekes to be knocked back. When pushed, zekes go into a stumbling animation which leaves them momentarily vulnerable. There is a chance that they may fall to the ground after stumbling, leaving them vulnerable for even longer. A tactic for zeke crowds is to perform a melee strike, causing them to be pushed back, and either shooting or running away from them while they recover.

Some special zombies can bypass the knockback caused by a melee strike. The Bull is naturally immune to the push effect caused by regular melee weapons. The Lurker and Infector both have special attack animations that make them invulnerable to the push effect once they have started.

In Multiplayer, enemy survivors are unaffected by this push radius or the push effect. Only use melee attacks against them with the intent to kill.

Lock-on

If an enemy is close enough to a survivor while performing a melee attack, they will lock-on to their target, tracking their position, and moving quickly towards them to strike. This can be useful as the movement towards one zeke after another can allow you to essentially chain attack across several zekes quickly and efficiently. Lock-on can quickly get you to engage with a zeke that has just come out of its idle state during stealth scenarios to prevent them from possibly escalating the situation. In very few instances, you can take advantage of this to escape zekes that have surrounded you on one side by targeting a zeke opposite to the crowd. After locking in and melee striking the zeke to escape, you can turn around to attack the zekes that were on you moments ago or continue to make a retreat.

In Multiplayer, this mechanic can help close the gap between you and an enemy survivor with their back turned as you will quickly snap to where they are. However, melee hit detection can sometimes be thrown off by it as well, resulting in a missed swing.

Melee Stamina

By default, all survivors can melee attack five times in a row without going into the fatigued state. This is represented by five segmented white bars underneath the crosshair. When all the bars are empty, survivors become fatigued, causing melee attacks to come out slower, creating a noticeable delay in-between attacks, and disabling lock-on targeting. Allow just a few seconds to pass to recharge melee stamina. Melee stamina is entirely separate from sprint stamina.

Melee Finisher

A melee finisher is a unique melee attack animation where survivors strike low to the ground. The specific condition required for survivors to perform this against a zeke is for them to be low to the ground. This means zekes that are laying down on the floor (not standing up on their feet) or that have been knocked down will be hit with this particular melee attack are targets for a melee finisher. A melee finisher deals the same amount of damage as a regular melee attack would.

Against a downed Infector, the melee finisher deals fatal damage that ensures a single strike will guarantee her death. Against a carefully disabled Bomber, the melee finisher is the only attack that can kill him without causing him to explode.

The Slasher Class

The Slasher is one of the seven playable classes for Co-op Campaign. As the class title implies, the Slasher is the main melee class of the game.

With their specialization on melee combat, they benefit a lot from using their melee weapon due to how much more effectively they fight with it. Thanks to their starting core perk, they deal twice as much damage, target twice as many enemies per strike, and are unaffected by fatigue. This means that after the fatigue bar has been drained, they will continue to attack at the same rate and still be able to lock-on targets. The only downside to this is that continuing to fight with the fatigue bar drained will not deal the bonus double damage and being able to target two enemies per strike. Thanks to their other core perks, the Slasher is also the only class that can increase the fatigue bar to allow more melee strikes to be performed in a row before the fatigued state sets in. Since fighting zekes in a survivor's personal space is all too common to occur in any difficulty, the addition of the Slasher to a team can make surviving such close encounters more easier.

Weapons

Unlike most other weapons, all melee weapons are eponymously called "Melee Weapon," while the melee weapon's real name changes depending on which one you choose to equip.

Light

Dual Knives

Dual Knives icon

The Dual Knives are a pair of seal knives.

This melee weapon was added in the Aftermath Update.

Dual Sickles

Dual Sickles icon

The Dual Sickles are a pair of sickles.

This melee weapon was added in the Aftermath Update.

Dual Cleavers

The Dual Cleavers are a pair of large knives.

This melee weapon is part of the DLC in the Aftermath Update.

Medium

Machete

Machete icon

The Machete is a broad silver blade with a black handle.

It is the default melee weapon that all survivors start off with. It is also the only melee weapon to lack a signature strike or perks.

In Multiplayer, all survivors are equipped with the Machete and are unable to change it.

Wakizashi

Wakizashi icon

The Wakizashi (meaning side inserted sword) is a traditional Japanese short sword.

It is the only melee weapon that can be unlocked through gameplay. To unlock it, players must complete any single chapter in the game on the highest difficulty possible.

Lobo

Lobo icon

The Lobo (short for Lobotomizer) is a modified folding shovel based on the military entrenching tool with a serrated edge on one side of the blade and a sharp concave curve on the other. Its black handle has a green handle grip and the shaft has been replaced with a pry bar nail puller with a small spike.

This melee weapon is part of the DLC Lobo Weapon Pack. As with the rest of the weapons in this pack, the Lobo was also a bonus for those who pre-ordered the game.

Tomahawk

Tomahawk icon

The Tomahawk is a tactical single-headed tomahawk with a custom green and red finish.

This melee weapon is part of the DLC Biohazard Weapon Pack.

Hammer

Hammer icon

The Hammer is a tactical breaching hammer with an ergonomic grip and two claws at the bottom of the handle.

This melee weapon is part of the DLC Special Operations Forces Pack.

Fire Axe

Fire Axe icon

The Fire Axe is a pick head axe with a custom white and red finish.

This melee weapon is part of the DLC Last Aid Pack.

Heavy

Heavy Fire Axe

Heavy Fire Axe icon

The Heavy Fire Axe is a heavy variant of the pick head axe.

This melee weapon was added in the Aftermath Update.

Baseball Bat

Baseball Bat icon

The Baseball Bat is a smooth wooden club with a custom blue finish.

This melee weapon was added in the Aftermath Update.

Sledgehammer

The Sledgehammer is a tool with a large, flat, often metal head, attached to a long handle.

This melee weapon is part of the DLC in the Aftermath Update.

Chainsaw

Chainsaw icon

The Chainsaw is a mechanical, fuel-powered saw.

The Chainsaw bears special mention in this section due to its unique status among heavy weapons and melee weapons in general. While it can be "aimed" like a firearm, the Chainsaw is a melee weapon in execution and function and is the only one that can be picked up during a game by any of the survivors.

It cannot accidentally light up gasoline barrels, rupture gas cylinders into exploding, or damage cars to trigger their alarm and potentially make them explode. The Chainsaw also deals a lot more damage due to its RPM (rotations per minute). However, it has limited use as it will eventually break/run out of fuel, unlike regular melee weapons. Additionally, the Chainsaw does come with the risk of causing friendly fire as it could hurt teammates or make them stagger if they are in the way of its attack.

The Chainsaw is the only melee weapon capable of pushing back the Bull normally. The lack of a fatigue bar means that the Chainsaw can be swung around for as long as it ammo allows. The Chainsaw can also be used to deliver a melee finisher against the Infector. However, it cannot for the Bomber.

Trivia

  • The Lobo weapon is based and designed off the same weapon from the novel. In it, the weapon was described as "a fusion of shovel and double-bladed battle-axe."

Gallery

Light Melee Weapon

Medium Melee Weapon

Heavy Melee Weapon

Weapons
Tier I
Scout Rifle • Compact SMG • Shotgun • Pistol • Machine Pistol • Flaregun
Tier II
Assault Rifle • Sporting CarbineClassic Battle RifleClassic Bullpup Rifle • Light Automatic WeaponSMG • Combat Shotgun • Sniper Rifle • PDWCompact ShotgunDouble-Barreled Shotgun • Revolver
Tier III
Assault Carbine • Battle Rifle • Bullpup RifleAdvanced Combat Weapon • Advanced SMGSpecial SMG • Assault Shotgun • CrossbowGrenade Launcher
Melee Weapons

Melee Weapons

Heavy Weapons

Payload RifleRPG LauncherMachinegunMGLHeavy Assault ShotgunChainsawFlamethrower

Equipment

Frag GrenadeMasking Gas GrenadeMolotov CocktailC4Claymore MineSupply BagStun GunStim PistolQuadrocopterMobile Shield

Defense Systems

AutoturretBarbed WireFenceHigh Voltage GridMortarSound TrapStationary Machinegun

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