This is an example of an easy rework to melee to make it a worthy skill.
This example uses two steps that are easy to implement but both necessary because they work on each other.
1. A melee or hand to hand hit would create "shock" effect (like "crippled") that lasts half minute on the player. This is only a marker and the player can still move and function like he did before.
2. "Restraining" - If a player is in "shock" he can be roped (rope use like cattle), causing these effects: can walk only, can't use weapons, restricted perception (so imagine "crippled" both legs broken, both arms broken, blinded) for half minute.
This would be easy to make because:
The "shock" effect would be copy paste of "radiation" with value from 0 to max:
At number from 0 to median: no effect
Number from median to max: cripple all limbs and blinded.
Using rope increases "shock" value from 0 to max
"Shock" value drops fast over time: from max to median in half minute.
Roper vs: Roped: It is a fair battle where both sides have equal chances.
After getting "shock" the player might want to get distance to keep away from getting roped.
Use in teamplay:
Two player team can be slavers, one is holding rope and the other is holding a sledgehammer (a melee weapon). They're dangerous at close range, you might want to keep a distance from both of them.