Dary is the leader of the Armada he sure is a smart guy! He knows a lot of stuff and is a veteran player even before the UWO global servers. He teaches us a lot of stuff and this is one of the lessons we had when we were still noobs. ^^
Melee is better than cannons for:
1. rare item hunting
You can only plunder rare items though melee combat.
2. privateering to plunder
You can steal goods with cannons when you privateer PC, but you can only steal items with plunder.
3. last longer to grind
Because you can steal food/water as you grind, you can keep grinding as long as you do not keep losing your sailors.
4. big advantages for 1on1 in PvP
In 1on1, the opponent has no way to heal their sailors while doing melee. It takes so much time to heal up sailors after retreating.
5. Lower cost on items
The durability of cannons can really go down fast. Whereas, melee goods last quite long. (and generally cheaper as long as you do not go for very expensive melee items)
6. More Ducats per battle
You plunder money as well so you get more money than winning with cannons.
7. More fame per battle
Extra fame is given when you kill all sailors of a ship.
Now, cannons are better than melee for:
1. better for more than 1on1 PvP
Because in this game, you can only do 1on1 to go melee with, automatically cannons have higher chance to kill a ship in a short time. This becomes more predominant as numbers of players involved increase.
2. More exp per battle
As long as you have good cannons, generally (still depends on kind of enemies you are fighting with) you make more exp efficiently than melee.
3. better for PKK
Normally PKers are good at melee. It is risky to fight them in their game. AND, they might not to have good plating. (to catch merchant ships) It is very easy to sink a ship without good plating. When you PKK, you just need to beat him however to win the bounty.
4. Less risk to grind
When you are grinding with melee-style, you occasionally face some accidents and end up losing. You do not have that problem when you are grinding with cannons.
5. Save one active skill slot
Melee-oriented players have almost no choice but to sail on galleys. Galley requires rowing to be switched on while sailing or battling (You actually should switch on and off rowing to turn or accelerate). You can only three active skills switched on. And one of them is occupied by rowing almost always.
If you are cannon-oriented, you wouldn't choose galley with some exceptions. So you save an active skill slot for something good.