I like more gun damage while close up or not being able to knife while being shot/ for a short while after being shot (While red)
Perk could be confusing to players and ridding us of the knife is a very large change.
Maybe only allow knife on smaller weapons while larger weapons require a butt smack.
Ridding us of the knife lunge is also a good idea.
The two options I would like to see would either be the knife has to be equipped beforehand or the increase in damage at knife range. If we had more incentive to shoot at knife range I'm sure more people would instead of hitting the button that gives you an instant kill. The "Knife Vest" perk (or killstreak) sounds decent in theory, but I feel like that would be about as useful in situations as Shades from WaW.
My favorite solution, one that I've always advocated being used with the knife is a system kind of like this:
If you're at full health OR behind the enemy, 1hko. If you've taken any damage or in front of them, it deals 75 damage. This allows stealthy players to utilize the knife for a 1hko, as you would expect them to. It also allows to still remain mostly effective as a "last resort" weapon when you've ran out of ammo completely.
Other than that (assuming that kind of modification is out of the question), then my next personal favorite idea would be something along the lines of:
- Switch Melee to another button (R2 works great in BF3)
- Reduce/remove the lunge. If someone can't knife someone, that's because they're not close enough, that's their own problem IMO. The game shouldn't compensate because the person incorrectly timed their attack. It would be like saying "Close enough" when someone fires next to an enemy instead of at them, and dealing damage anyway.
- Potentially make the utilize an animation similar to BF3 which leaves you largely vulnerable if you run around trying to knife everyone out in the open.
- Allow a perfectly timed "counter knife" to block the incoming knife (similar to killing an Attack Dog with a perfectly timed knife to counter it's bite)
I don't know how feasible some of these are, but they've been some of my favorite ideas in terms of better balancing the melee system in these games.
I'm fine with the knife as is since everyone has it and I feel that makes it equal and balanced.
However, based on your choices, I would be fine with something like 3 or similar to Battlefield 3.
Or, as another early post mentioned something similar, maybe 2 hits from the front (or lessen damage so that only a player that's damaged will die from a front melee) and full knife effect if you sneak up behind someone.