Aphelion VEX-4: Highly Technical Weapon Guide

Aphelion VEX-4 is an empire-specific secondary weapon for Vanu Sovereignty’s Magrider and Harasser. Harasser variant is less accurate and its minimum damage is one tier lower, but otherwise they are identical.

Aphelion has a couple of unique mechanics. For one, it starts firing at low Rate of Fire, which gradually increases over time, similar to TR’s Vulcan. It takes 1.5 seconds for Aphelion to reach full Rate of Fire, and in that time span it fires 6 shots.

If you let the Aphelion reach full Rate of Fire, then when you stop firing it will unleash an additional blade projectile, which has a larger hitbox, pinpoint accurate, and deals roughly 4 times the damage. Firing the blade projectile does not cost any ammo. 

Due to these unique mechanics, there are two main ways to engage with Aphelion: 

  1. Build up the Rate of Fire and keep firing at full auto, like you would with Vulcan.
  2. Interrupt fire every 1.5 seconds (6 shots) to repeatedly strike the enemy with blade projectile.

Let’s try and figure out which way is better in what situations.



AMMO 50 / 300
RATE OF FIRE 150 -> 400 RPM over 1.5 sec
DAMAGE RESIST TYPE 28 – Armor Piercing Chainguns
BLADE PROJECTILE DAMAGE 800 @ 20m – 680 @ 50m

Note that upgrading Magazine Size does not increase Ammo Pool.

Harasser Variant

DAMAGE 200 @ 10m – 125 @ 50m
CONE OF FIRE 0.85 -> 1.5

Magrider Variant

DAMAGE 200 @ 10m – 143 @ 50m
CONE OF FIRE 0.7 -> 1.0


Aphelion RPM over time
Click to enlarge

In PlanetSide 2, Rate of Fire is defined by Refire Time – the amount of time that must pass between shots. The graph above shows how Aphelion’s Refire Time changes over time. Numbers are calculated, and confirmed by in-game tests.


Basically, 400 ms Refire Time is 150 RPM, and 150 ms Refire Time is 400 RPM. Try not to get lost in these numbers 🙂

Calculations for Blade Projectile

The blade projectile is triggered specifically by the amount of time you held the “fire” key, not by the number of shots. This is not affected by RoF vs FPS issue.

Since it takes 1.421 seconds to fire 6 shots, it is possible to fire 6 shots without triggering the blade projectile.

It worth noting that the blade always comes out perfectly horizontal, no matter the orientation of the gun, and the projectile does have a horizontal hitbox.


The Refire Time for sixth shot is 157 ms, so it will be 1.578 seconds before you can fire again. During that time, you will fire: 

  Magrider Harasser
Normal Shots 6 x 200 @ 10m – 143 @ 50m 6 x 200 @ 10m – 125 @ 50m
Blade Projectile 800 @ 20m – 680 @ 50m
Total Damage 2000 – 1538 2000 – 1430

For the purposes of damage-over-time calculations, we can treat one blade projectile cycle as one super shot that consumes 6 ammo and has a 1578 ms Refire Time.

Aphelion has the default Magazine Capacity of 50 rounds and a 3 second Reload. You can choose to upgrade one of them.

  Magazine Size Reload Time
Magazine Size Upgrade 58 3.0 sec
Reload Time Upgrade 50 2.4 sec

Magazine Size Upgrade

Upgrading Magazine Size lets you fire 9 blade projectile cycles, and then have 4 shots left over. Firing those 4 leftover shots the usual way is an overall DPS loss, so the proper way to take advantage of them is to extend the final blade projectile cycle.

  Magrider Harasser
8 BP cycles 8 * 1.578 = 12.624 seconds
9th BP cycle, extended 2.178 seconds
Reload Time 3.0 seconds
Total Time 17.802 seconds
Total Damage 18800 – 14414 18800 – 13370
DPS 1270 – 974 1270 – 903
DPS w/ Reload 1056 – 810 1056 – 751

Reload Speed Upgrade

The default magazine lets you fire 8 blade projectile cycles, and then have 2 shots left over. Once again, you should take advantage of them by extending the last blade projectile cycle.

  Magrider Harasser
7 BP cycles 7 * 1.578 = 11.046 seconds
8th BP cycle, extended 1.878 seconds
Reload Time 2.4 seconds
Total Time 15.324 seconds
Total Damage 16400 – 12590 16400 – 11690
DPS 1269 – 974 1269 – 905
DPS w/ Reload 1070 – 822 1049 – 763

As expected, upgrading Reload Speed leads to slightly higher damage over time. This is usually the case, because upgrading Magazine Capacity’s advantage is in allowing to maintain the same DPS for longer – Total Damage.

Calculations for Full Auto

We already know it takes 1.578 seconds to fire first 6 shots and reach full Rate of Fire. After that, Aphelion will continue firing with the Refire Time of 150 ms. One blade projectile will be fired when you have to stop for a reload.

Overall, you can think of this as of firing one BP cycle, and then firing off the rest of the magazine at 400 RPM.

First batch of numbers will be exact same as for Blade Projectile Calculations. The rest will depend on whether you upgrade Reload Time or Magazine Size.

Magazine Size Upgrade

With upgraded magazine, Aphelion will be able to fire 52 shots at maximum RoF.

  Magrider Harasser
1 BP cycle 1.578 seconds
Full Auto Time 7.8 seconds
Reload Time 3.0 seconds
Total Time 12.378 seconds
Total Damage 12400 – 8974 12400 – 7930
DPS 1322 – 957 1322 – 846
DPS w/ Reload 1002 – 725 1002 – 641

Reload Speed Upgrade

The default magazine lets you fire 44 shots at maximum RoF.

  Magrider Harasser
1 BP cycle 1.578 seconds
Full Auto Time 6.6 seconds
Reload Time 2.4 seconds
Total Time 10.578 seconds
Total Damage 10800 – 7830 10800 – 6930
DPS 1321 – 957 1321 – 847
DPS w/ Reload 1021 – 740 1021 – 655

Same as before, upgrading Reload Speed instead of Magazine Size allows to reach slightly higher total DPS. 


Until you have to reload, magdumping allows to reach marginally higher DPS, but at the cost of worse accuracy and spending more ammo. Practically, you should go for Blade Shots in nearly every situation. 

You can keep firing if you briefly lose line of sight or if you need to weaken the target just a few hits more so the wave secures the kill, otherwise there really is no reason to ever magdump. DPS gain is negligible, and you spend more ammo, and lose range and accuracy.

– /u/jackch3

Blade Shots are harder to perform mechanically – if you let go of the trigger too early, you will not fire the blade projectile, lowering your DPS.

Also, missing even a few blade projectiles will significantly reduce the effectiveness of that method. However, given that blade projectiles are easier to hit than normal shots, this shouldn’t be an issue. At least, not until you have to deal with blade projectile hitting cover around the target.

The mathematically ideal way to engage with Aphelion is to fire Blade Shots until you can finish off the target in Full Auto mode without reloading, securing the kill with one final blade projectile.

However, in actual gameplay this mathematical perfection is impossible to reach, and your brain power is better spent on something more useful than trying to figure out if it’s the time to switch to Full Auto just so you can deal ~4% higher DPS for a few seconds. 

Damage to Kill

As a bonus, here are some values of how much damage Aphelion needs to deal in order to kill certain targets:

Target Health Resistance Damage
Harasser 2500 60 6 250
Harasser Composite Armor 3000 7 500
Sunderer 5000 75 20 000
Sunderer Blockade Armor 6000 24 000
Deployment Shield +10 000 Effective Health
ANT 4000 75 16 000
ANT Reinforced Armor 4400 17 600
Lightning* 4000 75 16 000
Prowler* 5000 75 20 000
Vanguard* 6000 75 24 000
ESF 3000 65 8 572
ESF Composite Armor 3300 9 429
Valkyrie** 3000 75 12 000
Liberator*** 5 000 75 20 000
Galaxy 7 000 67 21 213

And DPM numbers for reference:


Damage per Reload

  Magrider Harasser
Blade Shots / Capacity 18800 – 14414 18800 – 13370
Blade Shots / Reload Speed 16400 – 12590 16400 – 11690
Full Auto / Capacity 12400 – 8974 12400 – 7930
Full Auto / Reload Speed 10800 – 7830 10800 – 6930

* – Tanks take double damage from the rear, so you would need to deal only half as much damage in order to destroy them.

** – Valkyries take only half damage from the bottom, so you would need to deal the double amount of damage in order to destroy them.

*** – Liberators take 80% damage from the bottom, so you would need to deal 25% more damage in order to destroy them.

These calculations should help you decide whether you want to focus on Magazine Size or Reload Speed, and which firemode to choose in which situation.

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