Honestly, people compare apples to oranges when they are trying to make a inherently bias judgement.To take a big Ogre/Boss fight example: If a boss is reeling back for a big swing, chances are, you can most likely move out of his path/swing and not take damage. That is true with every rpg/mmo/arpg thats been made. Now if he does a mass pull that pulls all players to him and does a quick cleave, you'll end up taking the hit yes because that was intended and for you realistic fans out there, his arm length will be longer than you can run away within that second.(Truthfully you can duck in real life...but yeah, game world and no ducking feature)
Bash's statement is this: If there is a line of zombie or other type of mobs but there is a small hole in that line, say enough to "physically" fit your body through it, and close enough that you could feel/smell its breath(for you visual people) and you run through it, you will get hit obviously. The hit already register because you dedicated to move through that hole and came in contact with it. If you choose to get into melee or if you were forced by getting pinchered/overwhelm/pulled then you deserved to get hit and have to scrambled to get out. You can't expect to roll out in that situation can you?
Also, melee range isn't clearly defined in real life or in game worlds. There is no way to define the reach of an attack. You can jump/hop back from an armless man and avoid damage, but what about if he has arms, has a dagger, or a bastard sword. What about if its a spear, a lance, pike or a halberd/Glaive. Can you do a simple hop back and avoid getting skewered by a thrusting pike, what about if its its a full swing? These are all typical melee attacks and weapons but they all have different length and thus different reach correct? From a couple of centimeter/inches from the armless man to 20 or so feet(roughly 5 meters) of pikes and such. Whose to say that these "hellish" creature who are three, four times or even more your size can't hit you.
Personally, I've never been hit unless I'm in or was in melee range of packs of mobs. Even so, as I was running away, I would take and notice the damage as soon as I was roughly 1-2 character steps away which is roughly realistic. I've never seen hits register if I'm half a screen away and didnt touch the group and as I stated, when I do enter melee that split second, the hits would have already register as soon as I'm 1-2 steps away.