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How to actually fight?

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What I do is start my attack, move in during the strike, connect, then immediately start backpedalling.

Or I just hold the sprint button and run right through things and hope for the best. I recommend making a spear and jumping into the nearest body of water.

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For the lower tier enemies, using a shield and just taking the blow is great. Neither surface drifters nor deep drifters nor bronze locusts deal enough damage to overcome a raised shield, so you just watch them flail ineffectually and laugh as you murder them. Even tainted drifters only deal minor damage.

For stronger enemies - sawblade locusts, bears, nightmare drifters - you want to dodge and kite. They have too much HP to kill them quickly, deal a lot of damage even past a shield, and can often shred armor at accelerated rates. In that case, you have to time your strikes just right, so that the moment where the hit happens you are in range and then immediately retreat. You can use a bronze spear in melee to make this easier, because the spear has a longer range, so you have more safety margin; but it also does a lot less damage than a high-tier falx, so it's not ideal either. Ideally you'd bring a good bow, or even a sling with several stacks of stones.

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