Realistic melee = bad.
It's not what players want. Everyone but a few diehards who don't even play the game want arcade style twitchy melee like in NW. If that weren't true NW wouldn't still be massively successful and you wouldn't see the primary reason for people leaving this community being how slow and broken the melee is.
We've had about 500 people come through the 4th in whats almost a year. The vast majority hated the melee even if they never played NW. Bad melee, and repetitive gameplay is the number one reason we've had for people leaving.
For the ones that did play NW they went in expecting the minimum standard of melee to be a copy of it. Any improvements would be grand, then after giving linebattles a chance they just leave (I've followed up with our websites member profiles and the overwhelming majority have not played Holdfast recently).
But seriously its getting hard to keep people around. We have people who use the musket in GTAV more often than they play Holdfast at this point.
My only suggestion now can be that we would be ok with a clone/exact copy of NW's melee system. Won't even need any improvements.
Can't agree more, we've seen about 400 or so people come in/go through over the last year and the main reason was melee. Ask any even moderately sized regiment and they'll be able to say they've seen the same thing. This wasn't an issue in NW so clearly people liked it then.
Some good work has gone into melee recently and its had a massive positive effect throughout most of the community, the general feedback I hear from dozens of our own members daily is that it still needs to be way faster, have more dynamic damage based on speed and hit location, and introduce mechanics for skilled play. NW had chambering, the "clashes" or "parries" as people are calling them in Holdfast don't come close to producing the same effect, they're useless and generally accidental.
TL;DR most of the community wants fast twitchy combat, anyone who says otherwise is out of touch or unfamiliar with the community. Sorry not sorry.