Just like guns, melee weapons are randomly assembled from a wide range of parts with unique properties, resulting in tons of different ways to hack, slash, and pulverize. Whatever you wield, it's good to familiarize yourself with the four melee weapon manufacturers:
Slash your way through any situation with a Swifft one-handed sword. They may not do the most damage per hit, but their high attack speed lets you do more stabbing in less time. Swifft makes Long Swords (high chance to deal elemental damage types), Scimitars (highest attack speed), and Sabres (high critical hit chance).
You'll only need to cut once when swinging around a two-handed Valora sword. These hefty blades take a bit longer to swing, but their devastatingly high damage output is worth the wait. Valora forges Greatswords (high critical hit chance and damage), Claymores (massive base damage), and Falchions (high chance to deal elemental damage).
Chop your opposition down to size with a finely crafted Kleave axe. If you love to dish out critical hits—or just want to shout "TIMBERRRR!"—Kleave's got what you need. Kleave produces Great Axes (high critical hit damage), Hatchets (high critical hit chance), and Kamas (high critical hit chance and damage).
Stomp loudly and carry a big stick with the blunt weapons banged out by the folks at Bonk. Bash your enemies into a daze with these high-damage cudgels. Bonk builds Morning Stars (high chance to deal elemental damage), Hammers (high critical hit damage), and Clubs (ridonkulous damage).