First, let me preface this with a statement: I do not claim to be the worlds greatest fighter. I have however had some success in melee and ranged combat. With that being said, here are some of my thoughts on the issue of actually fighting using meters. I decided to write this because it has taken me a long time to learn some of the ins and outs of combat. I was fortunate in having some really great fighters give me some tips. Thank you, to all who have shared their knowledge with me.
Let us assume that you have given a combat challenge to somebody. Are you going to use free form/text style combat or are you going to use meter combat? If you plan to do text style combat, then make sure you IM your opponent first, otherwise, you might find yourself laying on the ground with your meter reading you are dead while you are still typing out that you are drawing your pistol with lightening speed. So, let us assume that you are going to use meter fighting. The way many meters work is on collision. An object, for example, a bullet, makes contact with your meter. The meter detects the collision and registers the result as damage/reduced health, etc. That is a quick and dirty explanation of meters and how they work for combat.
Lets look at melee combat first. Melee combat is using your fists, knife, sword, broken bottle, etc.....You are up close and personal with your opponent. One of the first things you want to do is go into preferences and reduce your graphic quality. This will help reduce lag and make you slightly faster. If it is dark and you are new to melee combat, set your environmental control to midday. This way you will be able to see what you are trying to hit. If you are in a dcs, ccs, etc sim set your avatar to run. In Deadwood, I suggest you do not set to run. Some may disagree with me on this, but, in Deadwood, running really reduces your stamina and you can find yourself suddenly collapsed because your stam went to zero, yet your health is still good.
Now, pull your weapon or activate your fist weapon and go into mouselook. Fighting in mouselook is the best way to fight as you can move more easily and have better control of your avatar. Now lets look at a boxing match in Deadwood. Jack has climbed into the ring and activated his fist weapon. Pressing the left mouse button will raise your fists and allow you to swing when you hit the arrow buttons. The bell rings....what do you do? Some charge for the center of the ring and slug it out head to head. Exciting and fun to watch. This can work really well too. Another thing to try to do though is slip around behind your opponent. If he is facing away from you, he can't hit you, while you can hit him. Keep an eye on your health meter, if you are losing badly back away, move to the side, anything to keep from getting hit.
In DCS2 you have a few more options due to the fact that in most sims you have powers that you can use depending on your race. So lets say Wolfbane is about to fight a vampire. The first thing I do is hit my frenzy power, this gives me a "buff", which means it gives me more health and stamina, meaning I can take more damage. With DCS meters always set your avatar to run. Movement is life in any fight whether it is melee or ranged. So, I have hit my frenzy power, then I hit my regeneration button. Lycans in most sims heal quickly anyways, but this accelerates the process. I have drawn my sword and we attack. Now I hit him with my maul power. this is a ranged power that will do 20 points of damage to a target up to 15 meters away. As soon as I hit that, I hit mouselook and jump. thats right jump. Now, some sims forbid jumping so check before you use this tactic. Jumping is great for getting in behind an opponent and getting in a few quick swipes. The other thing jumping is useful for is, if you lose sight of our opponent you can jump up and look down to spot him. That way you can keep track of him. A couple of other helpful hints. Set your dcs powers up as gestures activated by an F key. this way if you take damage you can hit your regeneration button and gain some health back. You can also use your ranged power as well.
Does all this mean you will win each and every melee fight you are in? Nope. Many things play a part, for instance, lag can hit you and slow you down, the other guy has a better weapon then you do or he is just a better fighter. As I said, I am not the best fighter in SL. There are some really fantastic melee fighters out there. I do ok, I win some, I lose some. Even the best fighters lose. If you do, take it with good grace. Its just a game folks. You were not really hurt and your character is still alive. yeah, yeah, it says your dead on the meter, but guess what? It aint permanent!! So have fun