Melee combat is the big selling point of Age of Conan. I find it fun and visceral in some ways, but also rather awkward.
Basically, there is no auto-attack. Combat is more like a console game, where you have three basic attacks (left, middle, right). Your enemy has three shields which they shift around. So basically, you try and hit them where they've left openings in their defenses.
This system is all well and good. Combat is bloody and fluid, and pretty fun with just the three basic attacks.
My problem comes with special abilities, called combos. To start a special attack, you press the hotkey for that attack, and then a specific sequence of basic attacks. That executes the attack.
For some reason, I find this really awkward on a keyboard. My basic attacks are bound to 1, 2, 3. I can use special attacks bound to 4 and 5 fairly easily. However, hitting specials bound to the other number keys causes me trouble. I generally have to take my fingers off the basic attacks in order to reach the specials, and that makes it hard for me to complete the specials, as I have to get my little, ring, and middle fingers back in place. I've been experimenting with using my other hand or the mouse to trigger specials, but then I can't use that hand to control movement. WTB one more hand!
Essentially, the basic attacks take up too much of "key space" accessible to one hand, at least with the default keybindings. I might be able to do something by remapping those keys to the middle of the keyboard. But right now I find that I'm skipping most of the combos and just hitting the basic attack buttons.
A very annoying note is that if you play an archer, your bound specials bar doesn't change when you switch weapons. If switching to a bow automatically swapped the specials available, it would be much easier. It's not so bad on a WoW hunter, as you can put range on one side, and melee on the other. The problem in AoC is that you use 1-3 in both situations. So it's like 1-6 for range, and 1-3 + 7-9 for melee.
It strikes me that this system would work superbly on a console controller or gamepad. You'd use your thumb to hit the basic attack buttons, and you could queue up specials using the right shoulder pad buttons.
Though to be honest, if I had designed this system I would have designed it differently. I would have allowed the player to replace the basic attacks with new attacks, but still keep the whole directional combat with the shields. For example, if you got a Poisoned Strike, you could replace your Middle Basic attack an Middle Poisoned Strike. Then whenever you made an middle attack, you would make a poisoned strike. (You could bind the same Strike to multiple directions.)
If you combined this with abilities that had cooldowns, it would get pretty interesting. If you have a Haymaker with a 10s cooldown on your Right attack, you'd make attacks to draw shields away from the right side, then Haymaker the opponent for a ton of damage. But now you can't use your Right attack for 10s, and a smart opponent can balance shields to protect the Middle and Left sides.
It would keep the twitch and visceral nature of combat. You could still have combos, but now the components of the combo could change. (I'd also remove having to start the combo by hitting a new button.) If Left, Left, Right triggers a Sweep, you could set it up so that Left and Right had abilities of your choice. It would be a little more strategic, and would be a lot easier to hit keys with one hand.