After a hilarious experience yesterday where I elbowed a Recon off the edge of the Towers to his death by falling, I wondered whether we really want or need the kinetic part of melee.
Normally, if an opponent is in cover, the melee punch will push him two or three feet. Out of cover, you can get 5 or 6 feet punches. On higher ground, you can literally punch a person 20 to 30 feet, which is quite unrealistic and oftentimes too funny to take seriously.
So, should melee actually push people around or no?
No. It's annoying with how little damage it does now. I melee'd an assault who was heating on some stairs, and it knocked him to the bottom and therefore killed me. Dumb.
I hit a Specialist for 130 damage recently. Not sure how. The melee hitboxes were changed, but a back strike should kill most Recons in 2 hits max. For Assault, it's suicide unless you're really good at circle strafing. 4 or 5 hits.
The knockback is very disorienting. If you use melee to disorient your opponent (as opposed to killing him), it is very effective. Smack him once with the elbow, then let loose with your volley of hot lead. He'll be hardpressed to fire back.