All posts by Iridar

Highly Technical: NSX Tanto vs NS-11C

NSX Tanto is a recently released carbine in the Nanite Systems Exports weapon lineup. Its main feature is perfect accuracy of the first shot in any stance, and it also has a superfluous amount of spare ammo, but high Cone of Fire Bloom and strong Vertical Recoil create a high skill requirement, especially when considering its lowest in class damage output.

In some ways, NSX Tanto is similar to another NS carbine, NS-11C, which is more traditional and easier to use.

They both feature 75% ADS movement speed, good accuracy and low damage output. But there are noticeable differences between them as well. Let’s take a closer look at both weapons and figure out which one might suit you better.

Stats

NSX Tanto
NSX Tanto
NSX Tanto stats

NS-11C
NS-11C
NS-11C stats
NS-11C misc stats

Shared Stats
NSX Tanto and NS-11C shared stats

Damage

Damage over range
Click to enlarge

Maximum potential benefit of:

  • HVA: +7% damage at 60m
  • SPA: +3% damage at 15m

Both carbines deal exact same damage, and have access to both SPA and HVA. However, NS-11C fires 8.6% faster, and has more ammo per magazine by default.

NS-11C gets a small edge for potential raw damage output.

Bullets-to-Kill and Time-to-Kill

Headshots

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds
Stock SPA HVA NSX Tanto NS-11C
4 0 – 39 0 – 41 0 – 49 0.3 0.28
5 40+ 42+ 50+ 0.4 0.37

Standard Target

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds
Stock SPA HVA NSX Tanto NS-11C
7 0 – 10 0 – 15 0 – 8 0.6 0.55
8 11 – 39 1641 949 0.7 0.64
9 40+ 42+ 50+ 0.8 0.74

Nanoweave Armor 5

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds
Stock SPA HVA NSX Tanto NS-11C
9 0 – 16 0 – 20 0 – 17 0.8 0.74
10 17 – 39 2141 1849 0.9 0.83
11 40 – 56 42 – 57 50 – 75 1.0 0.92
12 57+ 58+ 76+ 1.1 1.01

 

I don’t list BTK and TTK against Heavy Assaults for the sake of saving space. You can perform that analysis with the Toolbox yourself. 

Numbers above show the general trend: both weapons take a lot of time to kill, but before factoring accuracy and recoil, NS-11C takes slightly less time due to higher Rate of Fire.

Hip Fire Performance

Tanto vs NS-11C hip fire accuracy

NS-11C

NS-11C has the usual carbine-tier starting Hip Fire accuracy, and very low Cone of Fire Bloom, which means it can sustain hip fire without losing much accuracy. This can be especially noticeable while flying or jumping. 

NS-11C’s hip fire isn’t anything special, but still better than for most ARs and LMGs, and more than passable in a pinch, though low RoF and DPS limit your firepower versus hardened targets, especially if you’re not close enough to hip fire for headshots.

NS-11C takes the edge for ease of use when hip firing.

NSX Tanto

NSX Tanto offers perfect starting accuracy in any stance. It has high Hip CoF Bloom, but even then, it takes 7+ shots to exceed Hip CoF of NS-11C with Laser Sight, which isn’t even a standard attachment.

Tanto is potentially the most accurate hip fire weapon in the game. You can even countersnipe with it! But that potential isn’t easy to reach. You still have to contend with recoil and CoF Bloom.

NSX Tanto requires finesse. You can’t point it in general direction of the enemy and hope for RNG hits. You have to engage in bursts of 4-8 rounds, depending on distance and aiming point.

And because of the weapon’s low DPS, that aiming point better be the head, or you might find yourself outgunned.

Unlike with NS-11C, Tanto can realistically go for hip fire headshots at any distance, but naturally it will be challenging at 20m+.

In that regard, NSX Tanto can be interesting for people who played a lot of Counter-Strike, and used to hip firing and short bursting.

Additionally, you can tap hip fire the Tanto, and let Cone of Fire fully reset between shots. It would mean firing at 536 RPM or ~9 rounds per second. 

Tanto’s hip fire is best suited for a high-aim player with low mouse sensitivity, large monitor, excellent PC performance and Vertical Field of View below maximum. All of it would increase the relative size of the target on your screen, and make it easier to get good hip fire hits from greater ranges, at the cost of reduced awareness and twitch aim effectiveness.

NSX Tanto gets the ultimate edge for high potential accuracy of hip fire.

Both

It’s worth noting that both weapons have low DPS and are not suited for CQC domination. Unless you can reliably hit headshots or engage with a complete surprise advantage, it is better to avoid hip firing, and keep your distance, especially with NSX Tanto’s super low DPS.

Ranged Performance

NSX Tanto and NS-11C have different Recoil and Cone of Fire characteristics, and can be easier or harder to use depending on player and situation.

However, both carbines are likely to be inferior at range to 167 and 200 damage carbines, such as Razor, Pulsar C and Cougar, and don’t stand a chance against the magnificent cannon of destruction – AC-X11.

ADS Accuracy

NSX Tanto vs NS-11C ADS accuracy
Click to enlarge

Again, NSX Tanto’s big selling point is that its first shot is perfectly accurate, even on the move. While its ADS CoF Bloom is higher than average (0.06 vs 0.05), it still takes 10 (!) shots before NS-11C becomes more accurate, even when fired from a completely still position.

On that note – it is beneficial to start the engagement with NS-11C while stationary, if you’re engaging an unaware enemy at range from a safe position. But you don’t have to be still throughout whole engagement, you can start moving after you fire 5 shots and receive no accuracy penalty – that’s just how CoF Mechanics work.

In that case, NS-11C will be almost as accurate as NSX Tanto, the worse starting CoF isn’t likely to play any role, unless we’re talking about extreme ranges of 150m+.

NSX Tanto gets the edge for ADS Accuracy.

Recoil

NSX Tanto vs NS-11C recoil pattern - 15 shots fired
Click to enlarge

NS-11C

  Stock With Attachment  
Vertical Recoil, per sec 2.39 2.03 Compensator
First Shot Multiplier (Recoil) 3x (0.66) 0.56
Average Horizontal Deviation 0.165 0.123 Forward Grip
Maximum Horizontal Deviation 0.4 0.3
Average Recoil Angle -18.5 -13.9
Recoil Angle Variance 3 2.25
Recoil Recovery True Delay 0.184
Recoil Recovery Time per shot 0.0165 0.0133 Both
Recoil settle after first shot 0.233 0.224

 

As far as conventional 143 damage carbines go, NS-11C’s accuracy and velocity are above average. The only carbine that has it better is T5 AMC, mostly thanks to access to Advanced Forward Grip.

NS-11C has the lowest vertical recoil among carbines, which makes it very easy to hold on target. High First Shot Recoil is a bit obnoxious when you’re trying to engage a small target in short bursts. 

Overall, NS-11C isn’t something you would want for extreme range shooting or “sniping”, but it’s more than capable at range, and respectable for a carbine.

NS-11C gets a slight edge for ease of use at range.

NSX Tanto

  Stock With Attachment  
Vertical Recoil, per sec 4
First Shot Multiplier (Recoil) 1.4x (0.56)
Average Horizontal Deviation 0.115 0.086 Forward Grip
Maximum Horizontal Deviation 0.28 0.21
Average Recoil Angle 6 4.5
Recoil Angle Variance 2 1.5
Recoil Recovery True Delay 0.180
Recoil Recovery Time per shot 0.0235 0.023 Forward Grip
Recoil settle after first shot 0.213 0.212

 

The first obvious thing is high Vertical Recoil, and lack of Compensator to tone it down. Unlike NS-11C, you will have to consciously compensate for Vertical Recoil every time you engage with Tanto, and getting good hits at range may be challenging. The combination of low RoF and High Vertical Recoil is the opposite of convenient.

Lower FSRM makes short bursting a bit more convenient. Even though actual first shot recoil is the same as for NS-11C with Compensator, at least recoil is more consistent from shot to shot.

NSX Tanto has lower Horizontal Recoil, with 30% lower Average and Maximum Horizontal Deviations. It also has less pronounced Recoil Angle, and with less Variance.

All of this goes a long way of making Tanto’s recoil pattern more consistent and predictable, even if takes more effort to compensate for.

If you tap fire and let the crosshair fully settle between shots, you can take up to ~5 shots in 1 second, and each shot will have perfect accuracy. Potentially, you can kill a stationary player with 5 headshots within 0.85 seconds. Most players will not stand and get shot for that long, but you can potentially “snipe” an oblivious sniper or an engineer behind a turret. 

You can also snipe deployables with it.

NSX Tanto gets the edge for potential accuracy at range. You can see where this is going.

Other Traits

Equip Time

Carbines in general have the shortest Equip Time among primary weapons, and NSX Tanto has the shortest Equip Time among carbines. Returning to NSX Tanto from most sidearms or tools is going to take only 0.75 seconds. 

Combine that with perfect hip fire accuracy and you get the best quickdraw primary weapon. This can be especially important for Engineers, when they get caught with a Repair Tool out, or if you’re playing with Med Kit Primary.

That said, NS-11C is only a 0.05 seconds behind.

Ammo Pool

For some reason, NSX Tanto has a huge amount of reserve ammunition. A lot of the time that doesn’t matter, but it can occasionally make a crucial difference for a perching Light Assault, and NSX Tanto certainly benefits a rooftop camping playstyle.

NSX Tanto gets the edge for ammo pool.

Reload Speed

While NSX Tanto has pretty decent reload speed, it’s still 0,45 second slower than for NS-11C, which reloads faster than average.

NS-11C gets a slight edge for reload speed.

0.75x ADS Movement Speed Multiplier

Both carbines allow you to move 50% faster while Aiming Down Sights than with most other primary weapons. It’s a great trait for dancing in and out of cover, slicing corners and dodging enemy fire in a faceoff. 

It can allow you to survive just enough time to get your aim where it needs to be and get those hits.

This trait is especially obnoxious in case of NSX Tanto, which is still pinpoint accurate on the move.

Cross-faction tracers and sound

Both carbines share this quality, and it can add precious milliseconds before enemies identify you as a threat. This is especially important considering how many shots you need just to down one target, and how long it takes to fire them all.

For psychological reasons, this trait is most useful for VS players, as most of their weapons go “pew-pew”.

Which one to use?

As you probably have picked up along this article, NSX Tanto has higher potential than NS-11C, but is harder to use. It can be treated as a more extremely tuned version of NS-11C, the next logical evolutionary step. 

  • If you already enjoy the playstyle of NS-11C, but wish you had more control – you’ll like what NSX Tanto has to offer.
  • If you are just thinking about entering the realm of accurate, mobile carbines that reward good aim – it’s better to start with NS-11C and transition to NSX Tanto once you feel comfortable with the playstyle.
  • If you value versatility and no-nonsense ease of use, and enjoy airborne combat – you’ll have better success with NS-11C.
  • If you prefer a run & gun and in-your-face aggressive playstyle – you won’t like either of these weapons. 

Gameplay Tips

Both carbines specialize at “medium range” of about 20m to 50m. They can engage outside these bounds, but it’s not really their forte. Keep your distance when you can, and don’t try to snipe with them, and you should be fine.

Light Assaults really benefit from their sustained accuracy, which makes them great weapons for perching and general rooftop shenanigans. Just do your best to resist the temptation of jumping down in the midst of enemies.

If you are assaulting a building, either try to stay away the furthest from enemies, engage them in their backs, or stay behind your allies. 

When engaging an enemy in a 1v1 shootout, make full use of 75% ADS speed multiplier, and strafe erratically. If there is a piece of cover around – even better. Try to play the cover and catch the enemy sprinting or distracted. If you get under fire the moment you show your nose – just go back and wait for a more opportune moment. 

Both carbines require a lot of hits to down a target, and sure take their sweet time firing them. This means that after 1-2 engagement attempts, enemies around will likely know your exact position. Try not to stay in one place for too long, and engage from different angles when possible. 

Go for headshots when you can, but for both carbines there is a certain distance where they just can’t get them easily and reliably.

While theoretically NSX Tanto can shortburst or tapfire for headshots at any distance, it’s likely to take a disproportionate amount of time, giving an aware target an opportunity to hide in cover, and for other enemies to shoot you. 

In those cases, it’s perfectly fine to for bodyshots. Both carbines have great sustained ADS accuracy, and you’re very likely to eventually kill the enemy, unless he hides into cover or you get sniped first.

Attachments

NS Carbines' Attachments

Both carbines have access to mostly same attachments.

Barrel

Lack of Compensator for NSX Tanto is hurtful, but high Vertical Recoil seems to be the intended downside. And if Tanto had access to Compensator, it would be considered mandatory, pushing out other Barrel Attachments as viable options, and Compensator’s penalties would affect the intended feature – perfect starting hip fire accuracy.

While NS-11C has access to Compensator, and a lot of successful players enjoy using it with one, it’s far from being mandatory. NS-11C has the lowest Vertical Recoil and Vertical Recoil per Second among all carbines, and its performance at range is mostly limited by Horizontal Recoil and low damage. 

Both weapons can be used with Suppressor. HVA can even compensate for some of its penalties. However, with a Suppressor, you risk turning your pea shooters into even weaker pea shooters that are harder to get hits with. It would also limit your maximum effective range. It’s not really optimal, but passable if you’re going for ultra stealthy black ops setup. 

My personal recommendation is to use Flash Suppressor on both weapons. It will make your position harder to pinpoint, and make even harder for enemies to identify you as a threat while you’re shooting them. 

Rail

Forward Grip is recommended for NS-11C. The random nature of Horizontal Recoil limits your effective range in annoying and unpredictable way. 

While you could go the direction of “compensating weapon’s weaknesses” and equipping a Laser Sight, you wouldn’t get much use of it. When possible, you should simply stay away from close quarters altogether. When not – you still get the benefit of 75% ADS, and still the drawback of low DPS. 

With same reasoning, I recommend Forward Grip for NSX Tanto. It already has predictable and consistent recoil pattern, with one of the lowest Horizontal Recoils out there. 

You could say “if my Horizontal Recoil is already so great, I’ll just use Extended Mags” – and it would be more or less fine for medium range.  But in my experience, usually you cannot afford to stay exposed for so long to fire a whole magazine. 

You already take a long time killing one enemy, you’re likely to get noticed and shot, and you’ll need to go to cover and change position. Might as well reload along the way. 

And if 30 rounds isn’t enough for the user to kill even one target, they should work on their aim or engagement choices, not on attachment picks.

NSX Tanto is already very accurate based on Cone of Fire mechanics. It makes sense to tune the recoil up to par. Unlike NS-11C, NSX Tanto can really reach out. 

Ammo

While both High Velocity Ammo and Soft Point Ammo offer small, barely noticeable bonuses, they always seem to cause the most amount of argument. It comes down to what you value more, performance within 10-27m or after 27m. 

My personal recommendation is to go with HVA for both, as it can potentially offer higher damage increase, and increasing the velocity can’t hurt. 

Optics

As always, optics are up to personal preference. You can use any optic and do good with it.

But since both weapons require good accuracy, going with higher magnification is common and advised. 

For NS-11C, I recommend 2x Reflex. 

3.4x or 4x scopes are viable, but you may find them unnecessary, as less consistent Horizontal Recoil makes your crosshair shake too much.

Weirdly enough, optics choices for NSX Tanto are much more limited, it has access to only one 3.4x Reflex Scope, and no 4x Scopes.

If you are using NSX Tanto with HVA and Forward Grip, I would recommend the 3.4x Reflex. Since Tanto has much lower Horizontal Recoil, your effective range isn’t as limited as for NS-11C. You can also tap fire or “snipe” at greater ranges. And in close quarters, where high magnification would be a burden, you still get the excellent hip fire accuracy. Win-win!

Be prepared to deal with annoying Vertical Recoil, though. If you find it too much, it’s fine to use 2x Reflex or even 1x Reflex.

Additional Material

Auraxium SMGs

Auraxium SMGs: what changed and why

History

Auraxium SMGsShuriken, Tempest and Skorpios – used to be very awkward. They had Extended Mags and a special version of HVA with negligible bonuses to velocity and minimum damage range, and a whopping penalty of +50% Vertical Recoil.

They were supposed to be better at range, but whatever small benefit they gained from HVA, was crushed by the recoil penalty.

They were essentially a worse version of the base SMG with Extended Mags, which isn’t exactly a no-brainer attachment for many players who prefer hip firing and hunting for smart 1v1 engagements.

Present Days

Thankfully, that changed in the 2nd Feb, 2017 patch

Now Auraxium SMGs are provided with Extended Mags, Forward Grip and normal version of HVA. As a penalty for this many attachments, Auraxium SMGs do not get a velocity benefit from HVA, and they have longer reload.

It may be not the best combination of attachments; many players feel like a ranged setup for an SMG – obviously a close quarters weapon – is a silly notion. 

But it’s not that bad.

Base SMGs already have close quarters well covered with access to SPA and ALS. But a combination of Forward Grip and Extended Mags and HVA on top? You can’t get that setup any other way, on any other SMG.

And, if for some reason you would want to kit out an SMG to be more potent at range – which is the biggest weakness of all SMGs – this setup is a dream come true.

Normally, you’d be faced with a conundrum of Forward Grip vs Extended Mags.

On one hand, SMGs have terrible damage degradation, and you will need more bullets to kill the enemy. Armistice and Skorpios in particular simply do not have enough magazine capacity to reliably kill a shielded HA beyond certain range. 

On the other hand, SMGs also have terrible horizontal recoil, so you might want to reduce it, so you don’t need that many bullets in the first place.

This one is a mindcracker, and Auraxium SMGs solve both problems elegantly by giving you everything at once and then some.

And you don’t lose much in close quarters either. At most, you’re going to need an extra bullet to kill at certain ranges, but given super high SMG RoF – it’s not that big of a deal.

Reload Speed Penalty

This is the big one. It’s not that big of a deal with Short Reload, but the Long Reload can be especially punishing, as it already was kinda long with base SMGs.

  Armistice Shuriken Eridani Skorpios Cyclone Tempest
Short Reload, sec 2.25 2.7 1.74 2.08 1.855 2.23
Long Reload, sec 2.92 3.5 2.8 3.36 3 3.6

 

Damage Comparison

It wouldn’t be practical to list all the BTK Thresholds in this article, since SMGs degrade so many tiers, and I don’t want to drown you in numbers. The graphs below clearly show you ranges where base SMGs with SPA deal more damage, and where Auraxium SMGs start to overtake.

Click images to enlarge

If we take Tempest vs Cyclone as an example:

  • Best case scenario, Tempest deals 21% more damage at 46m.
  • Worst case scenario, Tempest deals 5% less damage at 11m.  

Gameplay Tips

Do not treat Auraxium SMGs as some sort of ranged powerhouse, because even with all those attachments – they’re not. Most primary weapons will have easier time killing enemies at 20-30m. Instead, treat them like base SMGs that do not immediately suck at range. 

They still can dish out a lot of damage in close quarters, and they have better ADS accuracy. You don’t have to pray to Higby that much when you’re trying to headshot ding an enemy at 20m. 

And you don’t have to close the distance to 10-20m for every engagement just to stand a chance at killing the enemy.

Conclusion

Naturally, Auraxium SMGs will never be as good at range as proper ranged weapons.  At best, they can rival an NS-7 PDW with a CQC setup. 

But they will be noticeable better than base SMGs, which is all they’re trying to do. 

They’re not an amazing super weapons that you should feel obligated to work towards and power through 4 SMG auraxiums, nor should they be. They merely offer an interesting niche and a unique playstyle for fans of this weapon class.

Claymore

Claymore Guide by Bvllish

Originally posted on Reddit by /u/Bvllish

PS2 Claymore

From my testing, the claymore appears to deal damage in the shape of an isosceles triangle. The damage is a constant 1300 throughout the triangle, so the in-game “1300 at 3m 350 at 6.5m” is bullshit; Claymore deals no damage outside 2-3m.

PS2 Claymore positioning

With the newly added 0.32 second detonation delay, the claymore can no longer cover the entirety of a doorway. From in game experience, it appears to cover less than half of a doorway now. This is because if a baddie is close enough to the claymore, he can just run straight through it taking no damage.

Depending on the exact amount of time it takes for a character to run through the detonation zone, it may be beneficial to place the claymore at an angle to enlarge the kill zone.

Toolbox stats page

Weapon Stats

PlanetSide 2 weapons have a lot of statistics that define how they function in-game. But only a portion of those statistics is shown in-game. This is how you can access the rest:

PlanetStats

This should be your go-to resource. Lists all weapons in a convenient, sortable form. You can also select and compare several weapons. This source would be ideal, if not for a few issues:

  • Sometimes weapon stats take too long to load. 
  • Some numbers are rounded too roughly. For example, it will show 0.225 as 0.23.
  • Some stats, like Recoil Recovery Delay, are not shown, and Equip Time is incorrect for some weapons.

Daybreak Census API

This online database is owned and controlled by Daybreak – PlanetSide 2 developers. It contains information about player characters and weapon statistics. This is where PS2 informational sites pull data from.

To pull information from the API, you have to put a query into browser’s address bar. Here is an example of the simplest request:

http://census.daybreakgames.com/get/ps2/item?name.en=TRAC-5&c:lang=en

You will receive a JSON string. I highly recommend you use a JSON format browser plugin to make it more readable, or at least use a JSON formatting site.

Normally, you can view JSON strings right in the browser, but some browsers prompt a download of the .json file instead. In that case, you can open it with any text editor, such as Notepad.

However, that simplest query does not give you any useful information about the weapon. This is because Census database is fairly complex, and weapon data is stored in several different tables, with different key fields. So if you want to pull all available information about a weapon, you have  to pull information from several places at once, and the query becomes much bigger.

Full Query

These versions of the query pull all information about the weapon, including what cannot be accessed in-game, such as Recoil, Equip Time, Projectile Lifespan and exact effects of attachments.

By Item ID 

By weapon name 

These queries pull a lot of info at once, and if you intend to make several queries in a short time frame, you may be required to register a Service ID.

Both queries above pull information in English. If you want to pull all languages, simply remove &c:lang=en from the query.

Or you can specify another language: de, en, es, fr, it, tr

There are other queries you can make to the Census, as explained here and here.

How to find out weapon’s Item ID?

You can make a query, using weapon’s name: 

http://census.daybreakgames.com/get/ps2:v2/item?name.en=Force-Blade

Make sure to type the name exactly as it appears in game, including blank spaces, if there are any.

The Item ID will be listed in one of the first fields, e.g: “item_id“: “19”

Weapon Analysis Toolbox

This Excel Sheet can:

  • download weapon stats from Census API and display them in formatted form, including information about weapon’s projectile
  • make manual query to Census API about a weapon with a simple double click
  • analyze and calculate weapon mechanics, such as Bullets to Kill, Time to Kill, bullet damage at certain range, analyze weapon’s Cone of Fire and Recoil properties.

DasAnfall

An alternative to PlanetStats. It displays more weapon stats, but can potentially be outdated, and you still have to know weapon’s Item ID. DasAnfall may be necessary to find out such weapon stats as:

  • Equip and Unequip Times
  • Projectile Lifespan
  • Projectile Gravity
  • Weapon’s Fire Modes

For example, you can use PlanetStats to find out that TRAC 5 has ID of 43.

Then link to the DasAnfall page of TRAC 5 will look like this: 

http://stats.dasanfall.com/ps2/civ/index.php?id=43

As you may notice, DasAnfall lists weapon stats several times. This is done because PS2 weapons have separate stats for each fire mode.

For example, TRAC 5 has 4 modes: single shot, full auto, single shot while ADS, full auto while ADS.

Most weapon stats are identical in different fire modes, but it’s important to understand that as far as game engine is concerned, those are all completely different weapons. 

It is theoretically possible to make a weapon that will function like a full auto grenade launcher while firing from the hip, and like a sniper rifle while ADSing, and could also switch into a Flak Turret fire mode.

FISU

An alternative to PlanetStats.

Iridar’s Weapon Analysis Toolbox

This video is outdated and doesn’t include many new features, but it explains the general purpose and spirit behind this tool.

This Excel Spreadsheet is a culmination of years of work on theorycrafting PlanetSide 2 weapon mechanics. It uses Visual Basic macros to pull weapon stats from DBG API, to calculate damage and recoil statistics and draw graphs to visualize them.

This toolbox arms you with all necessary tools for comprehensive weapon analysis.

Current version: v4e

Attention! When you first open the toolbox, you will see a yellow bar with a security warning about macros. You have to allow the use of macros, or the Toolbox will not function. 

Structure

The Excel file has 7 pages:

Toolbox pages

They contain cells of different color:

soft-orange  Soft orange cells. When you double click or right click a weapon on the Stats page of the spreadsheet, weapon’s stats will be copied into soft orange cells on other pages. These cells also accept manual input. You can edit them without fear of breaking anything.

light-greyLight grey cells contain calculations and references to other cells, do not edit grey cells, or you will break the tool’s functionality.

pale-yellow Pale yellow cells store values for configuration, and you may need to edit them in specific situations.

Toolbox chosen cell Light green filling indicates that this cell’s value has been selected, likely by double clicking.

Toolbox tooltipSmall red triangles in the corner of a cell indicate a tooltip. Put your mouse over the cell to display the tooltip.


Note: Toolbox’s calculations always assume worst case scenario: weapon damage is rounded down and target health is rounded up.

Stats Page

Toolbox stats page

This huge table has stats of all known infantry weapons. 

Normally you don’t work with this table itself, and only use it to export stats into other pages:

Double click or right click on any weapon to copy its stats into soft orange cells on other pages.

Other functions:

Double click on Item ID of the weapon to open a JSON query for that weapon for your default browser.

The Toolbox is not perfect, and may sometimes pull wrong stats, or fail to pull stats at all. There is no substitute for looking at a query with your own eyes. 

Select a weapon and click “Export 1” button. A window with exported weapon’s stats  and attachment list will show.

Pulling stats and adding new weapons

The Pull Stats button will initiate a download of weapon stats from DBG API, using JSON queries for each Item ID in the first column. When a new weapon is released, simply insert its Item ID and Name to the end of the list, and its stats will be downloaded as well. 

If you know weapon’s exact name, you can find out its Item ID this way, or you can simply copy-paste it from Attachments Page.

add-new-weapons

Keep in mind that “Name” column is not downloaded, and you will have to fill it manually for any new weapon releases.

The “Date” field near the “pull stats” button stores the date when stats were last downloaded. Normally, you should re-download stats only after a patch that changed something.

Damage Page

damage toolbox page

This page serves to analyze weapon damage at different ranges and/or with different attachments. You can compare two weapons at the same time.

On “Stats” page, double click on a weapon to export its stats for the first weapon, and right click for the second weapon.

You can add attachments to weapons by clicking corresponding buttons. If the weapon doesn’t have a certain attachment, you will be informed with a Check Box, but you can’t see whether weapon has access to an attachment on this page without clicking the Check Box.

The calculations for Minimum and Maximum damage ranges are self-explanatory.

To calculate weapon’s damage stats at certain range, enter it into soft orange Range cell.

Target Settings

target-health 

Both weapons are simulated against the same target. You can specify target’s parameters on the middle left.

Below the Health block, there are reference tables for Health, Nanoweave Armor and Kinetic Armor. 

Double click on Health or Damage Multiplier value to automatically apply it.

Both weapons have Headshot Damage Multiplier listed. You can double click on its value to apply it to the Damage Multiplier. 

Since both weapons fire at the same target, and damage multiplier is tied to the target, it may be inconvenient to compare headshot properties of two weapons with different headshot multipliers. 


The most common way to analyze a weapon is to look at its performance against the default target with 1000 HP and against a Full Nanoweave target with 1250 Effective HP, so these are the default parameters, and statistics for standard Full Nano target are calculated automatically.

BTK Thresholds

Toolbox BTK Thresholds

The “Calculate Thresholds” button will calculate BTK Thresholds for both weapons.

For example, the results on the picture above read as:

Gauss Rifle kills in 6 shots at 0m to 10m, and in 7 shots at 11m+.

“Draw Graph” button will also recalculate Thresholds and then draw a comparative graph.

Recoil Page

toolbox recoil page

This page serves to analyze weapon’s recoil properties.

Both double click and right click on a weapon on the Stats page will import its stats into soft orange boxes of the Recoil page.

Click Calculate Stability to calculate Average and Maximum horizontal Deviations and to update Probability Distribution Graph.

The Visual Basic macro fires a virtual gun in bursts with listed “Burst Length” for the amount of times, listed in “Simulations” cell, and then averages out the results. 

“Average Deviation” is the average distance of the crosshair from the burst’s starting crosshair position. The lower it is, the better is the weapon’s horizontal recoil.

“Graph Scale H” refers to the maximum Horizontal Recoil value, visible on the graph. The default value of 1 is fine for most cases, but for weapons with lower Horizontal Recoil, you may want to reduce Graph Scale H to 0.5 to increase chart’s accuracy / detail.

Vertical Recoil module is self explanatory, you’re mostly interested in Vertical Recoil per Second. 

For the purposes of vertical recoil, it’s better to have high RoF and low vertical recoil per shot, to ensure nice and soft, consistent pull.

FSRM value is listed mostly for your reference, it doesn’t participate in any calculations.

The Average Deviations listed in Recoil Angle block show how much a weapon is affected by Recoil Angle Variance. They basically show you the size of the yellow area:

Serpent Recoil Pattern
Serpent’s recoil pattern – not included with the Toolbox

Cone of Fire Page

toolbox cof page

This page serves to analyze weapon’s Cone of Fire properties using my Angular Size research.

Both double click and right click on a weapon on the Stats page will import its stats into soft orange boxes of the Recoil page.

Target is set up identically to the Damage page, the only exception is that you also have to choose your Aiming Point, since they have different Angular Sizes. Enter “1” for Center Mass and “0” for Head.

The purpose of this page is to calculate the ideal burst length for a weapon at a certain range based on calculated target size on your screen. Calculations ignore recoil completely.

Double click on weapon’s CoF value to import it into analysis window.

Here you can find an example analysis.

Attachments Page

attachments toolbox page

This page stores a table with known effects of known attachments on all weapons. When you add attachments to weapons on other pages, this is where their effects are taken from.

To update the table, click “Pull Attachments“. A VBA Script will pull Names and Item IDs for all weapons from weapon categories on Categories Page, and then pull attachment data for them.

You can also double click on weapon’s name to open a JSON query for that weapon’s attachment list. This may be necessary if a weapon has access to atypical attachment, since the table is formatted only for known effects of known attachments.

Categories Page

categories toolbox page

This page contains a list of weapon categories. It is used when you Pull Attachments

Temp Page

This is a temporary page for storing calculations results. You don’t need to interact with this page at all.

Changelog and To-Do

v1 – initial release.

v2 – added CoF import functionality and reworked Cone of Fire page. Special thanks to FISU. Weapon names also update when you add attachments.

v2a – added the ability to double click on weapon’s Item ID to open JSON queries. 

v2b – Pull Stats will also pull Falling CoF (for flying / jumping with Carbines). Falling CoF will also be imported into Cone of Fire page. Also fixed a bug that any value of 1 character long was not pulled from the API. 

v3 – The toolbox will now also pull ADS movespeed multiplier and other missing stats. Fixed several issues, minor improvements. 

v3a – Fixed a Reload Time export.

v3b – Added the button to pull  information about weapon’s projectiles.

v4a – Added functionality to download exact effects of weapon attachments and apply them to weapons. 

v4c – Cleaned up unnecessary code in order for the Toolbox to work with 64 bit version of Excel. Also fixed a minor bug with HVA on Damage page.

v4d – Downloaded weapon and attachment stats for latest patch, including NSX Tanto. 

v4c – Cleaned up unnecessary code in order for the Toolbox to work with 64 bit version of Excel. Again.

To Do

Determine if BASR time between shots = chamber time.

Overall weapon rating based on multigon square calculations.

CoF / RoF probability distribution to determine weapon consistency (done in alpha)

Reword the horizontal recoil probability distribution graph to be more accurate

Horizontal Recoil Stability Calculator

The recent fiasco with AF-4 Cyclone guide has reminded me that a mere possibility of a weapon’s recoil being less stable doesn’t necessarily mean it will be less stable on average.

Let me remind you the raw numbers:

Statistic Cyclone
Armistice Eridani
Horizontal Recoil 0.212 / 0.4 0.347 / 0.376 0.3 / 0.392
Horizontal Recoil Tolerance 0.9 (2-3 kicks) 0.9 (2 kicks) 0.9 (2 kicks)

 

Compared to other 1st generation SMGs, the Cyclone has bigger difference between minimum and maximum recoils. It can also potentially have an extra recoil kick, increasing the total width of the recoil pattern.

That led me to conclude that Cyclone has less stable horizontal recoil. 

It is true that potentially Cyclone can kick further from the start than other 1st gen SMGs.

However, statistically, it is very unlikely. The probability of several hits in the same direction and with the recoil magnitude being in specific bounds is simply too low to be worth considering.

Discouraged by my error, I have created a tool that will allow to judge the stability of horizontal recoil pattern in an objective manner.

Horizontal Recoil Stability Calculator

This excel spreadsheet will calculate stability of a weapon’s recoil pattern as average distance from the starting crosshair position.

 Horizontal Recoil Stability Calculator

Important! To be able to open this file, you will need a Microsoft Office with enabled Excel Macros. Supposedly there are security risks for doing this. Responsibility is yours, though I promise there’s nothing malicious in specifically my excel files.

How to use

Enter the weapon’s Horizontal Recoil stats into the three orange boxes at the top (where to get stats?). It’s fine to leave Burst Length and number of Simulations to their default values. 

Click “Calculate Stability” button, and the sheet will automatically update all results and the recoil distribution graph.

The Probability Distribution graph is your main instrument for assessing weapon’s horizontal recoil stability. 

The horizontal axis of the graph represents the distance from the center of the recoil pattern, and the vertical axis represents the probability of that position being chosen. 

“Graph Scale H” defines the horizontal scale of the graph. It is set to “1 degree” by default, and generally it should be high enough for all PS2 infantry weapons. For weapons with low horizontal recoil and low tolerance values, you can reduce Graph Scale H to 0.5 to make the graph more accurate.

Ideally, you want a weapon whose graph looks like this:

ideal

Basically, a weapon without horizontal recoil whatsoever.

The closer the spikes of the graph to the left side, the higher the probability of the crosshair staying near the center of the recoil pattern – near crosshair’s original position at the beginning of a burst.

“Stability” is simply the average distance of the crosshair from the burst’s starting point. The closer it is to zero, the more accurate the weapon is on average. 

“Maximum Deviation” is the highest value taken by Horizontal Recoil during simulation.


You can copy paste the graph as image in order to compare different weapons:

copy as image

This is a graph for Gauss SAW.


On the next picture, I’m manually holding it with my mouse over the graph for Cyclone, allowing us to easily compare them.

overlay


Returning to Cyclone

Statistic Cyclone
Armistice Eridani
Stability 0.264 0.305 0.294
Maximum Deviation 0.848 0.810 0.840

 

Cyclone vs Armistice vs Eridani

As you can see, both Armistice and Eridani have lower stability, and a higher chance for the crosshair to be kicked further from the start. While Cyclone will generally shake in wider bounds, half of these bounds is still closer to the center due to lower minimum recoil. Cyclone may be less predictable on small scale, but it will be more stable on average.

Why Excel Sheet?

I’d love to eventually add this functionality into Weapon Simulator, along with other few minor updates, but for the time being I’ve lost the ability to make any additions to it. My Visual Studio died, basically 🙁

AF-4 Cyclone

AF-4 Cyclone: Highly Technical Weapon Guide

AF-4 Cyclone is a New Conglomerate SMG, available to all classes. It features highest damage per shot, and lowest rate of fire among SMGs.

It was one of the first three released SMGs, and remained relatively unchanged for a long time. During that time it had enjoyed booming popularity and hype of being the best SMG in the game.

Only recently Cyclone faced an adjustment in recoil statistics, and perhaps now it’s a good time to look into this phenomenon. Was Cyclone really that good, and is it still? What’s the reason for so much hype? Let’s dig in!

Stats

Cyclone stats

Headshot Damage Multiplier: 2
Minimap Detect Range: 40
ADS Movespeed Multiplier: 0.75

Damage output

SPA is a no-brainer attachment for all SMGs, so before talking about damage, let’s adjust for SPA:

Maximum Damage Range: 6m -> 11m
Projectile Velocity: 360 m/s -> 342 m/s

  <11m 23m 31m 42m+
Bullet Damage 167 141 123 100
DPS 1815 1533 1345 1087
Bullets-to-Kill
(nanoweave)
6 (8) 8 (9) 9 (11) 10 (13)
Time-to-Kill 0.47 (0.65) 0.65 (0.74) 0.74 (0.93) 0.83 (1.11)
Damage per Mag
(Ex. Mags)
4175
(5845)
3525
(4935)
3075
(4235)
2500
(3500)

 

Note: in this table, I’ve skipped the 112 damage tier at 36-37m. 

As expected from an SMG, Cyclone can deliver superb performance at close range, and capable of a scary 3 headshot kill, which takes only 0.184 seconds. 

However, due to 4 tiers of damage degradation, Cyclone rapidly loses effectiveness as range increases. Cyclone remains usable at 30-40m, depending on attachments, but cannot compete with traditional automatic weapons further than that. 

Higher damage per shot does give Cyclone an advantage over other SMGs in ranged combat, where high damage per shot is generally desirable

It’s worth noting that Cyclone has largest damage per magazine out of all 1st generation SMGs, and the biggest benefit from Extended Mags, as well as nice Short Reload.

Rate of Fire

Cyclone has lowest rate of fire among SMGs.

That can be a disadvantage in close quarters, reducing the consistency of damage output, as explained in greater detail here.

However, lower RoF has an interesting interaction with Cyclone’s weird horizontal recoil, making it more stable on average. More on that below.

Cone of Fire and Bloom

Cyclone cones of fireHip Accuracy w/ ALS: 0.6 / 0.75 / 0.6 / 0.9

As with all SMGs, Cyclone has average ADS accuracy in all stances, and the same CoF Bloom for both ADSing and Hip Firing.

This goes with the theme of a mobile weapon: you’re given an incentive to move as much as possible and utilize the 75% ADS movement speed or full movement speed while hip firing.

Unlike with most primary weapons, staying stationary or crouching does not provide an accuracy boost, and this limits Cyclone’s effective range.

All SMGs enjoy the best hip fire accuracy among all primary weapons, and access to Advanced Laser Sight allows you to improve it even further. 

It’s worth noting that 125 damage SMGs have the bloom of 143 damage weapons, so they bloom more per point of damage done. Unlike them, Cyclone has the same bloom as other 167 damage weapons, so it can sustain fire more effectively. More details here.

All of this combined makes Cyclone one of the best hip fire weapons in the game, and contributes to Cyclone being better at range than some other SMGs.

Why good hip fire is important?

There is a detailed explanation of this in my Gunplay Guide, but let’s quickly go over it. 

Hip firing is underrated in PlanetSide 2. On paper, it seems simple: ADSing gives more accuracy, and more accuracy is better, right? Well, not always.

In close quarters, ADSing can give you too much accuracy. It provides you with a tight stream of bullets, and an enemy can take just half a sidestep to dodge the entire stream.

ADsing also has a lot of disadvantages: it takes time, slows you down and reduces your field of vision.

Hip firing gives you a spray of bullets, and if at least part of Cone of Fire overlaps with enemy hitbox, you’re likely to deal at least some damage.

It’s easier to avoid a laser pointer than a flashlight. Take a look at this comparison:

hip-vs-ads-hits hip-vs-ads-misses

A slight crosshair movement leads to all shots completely missing in ADS mode, and only slight coverage reduction with hip fire. 

While obviously you want to maximize your damage, sometimes it means giving up a portion of damage output to prevent giving up all of it.

Most players will have much easier time spraying enemies from the hip and doing consistent damage, while being able to move fast and dodge enemy fire. 

The higher the Rate of Fire, the more consistent will be the damage distribution over Cone of Fire area, and this is where Cyclone is a bit lacking compared to other SMGs.

However, an SMG with ALS may face the same issue of being too accurate even when firing from the hip, and that makes SMGs a but hard to use. 

For most weapon, ADSing for headshots provides the fastest theoretical time to kill.

But SMGs with ALS can hip fire for headshots within 10m, shaving off the time it takes to aim down sights, and that is what makes them so powerful in CQC. 

This is also one of Cyclone’s strong points, as it has that mentioned quick 3 headshot kill, though it takes a skilled user to perform that consistently.

Recoil and how it was changed

This is the part of Cyclone’s statistics that was adjusted in recent patch.

Statistic Cyclone
before nerfs
Cyclone
after nerfs
Armistice Eridani
Recoil Angle 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 20 / 20
Vertical Recoil 0.24 0.3 0.15 0.2
Horizontal Recoil 0.212 / 0.304 0.212 / 0.4 0.35 / 0.39 0.3 / 0.39
Horizontal Recoil Tolerance 0.7 (2 kicks) 0.9 (2-3 kicks) 0.9 (2 kicks) 0.9 (2 kicks)
Avg. Horizontal Deviation 0.215 0.260 0.3 0.285
Max. Horizontal Deviation 0.650 0.850 0.770 0.840
First Shot Recoil Multiplier 2.25x 2.5x 2x 2x
Vertical Recoil per Second 2.6 3.26 2.24 2.5
 
Cyclone recoil pattern
25 shots fired

The maximum horizontal recoil and horizontal recoil tolerance were raised. But Cyclone’s minimum horizontal recoil remains low. 

This means that Cyclone will have a bit higher average horizontal recoil per shot, and potentially has a chance to snap out of control with 3 kicks in the same direction, but it is statistically unlikely, especially considering Cyclone’s low RoF.

On average, Cyclone will still remain more stable than Armistice or Eridani. 

The nerfs have considerably raised Cyclone’s vertical recoil per second, but it still remains controllable when compared to bigger guns.

Of course, NS-7 will be more capable at range, but it won’t perform as well in close quarters either.

 

Effective Range

Cyclone is deadly within 11m and effective within 23m. And with Advanced Laser Sight, it can effectively hip fire over a large portion of that range bracket.

It’s still usable within 30-40m, depending on attachments, target type and player skill.

Just keep in mind that Cyclone is an SMG, and will suffer obvious disadvantages when going against bigger guns at medium+ range, though 75% ADS movement speed can help reduce the gap.

Attachments

1x Reflex makes for an easy scope choice, since Cyclone is not effective at ranges that would warrant higher magnification. 

SPA is also a no-brainer attachment for all SMGs. 

Rail and Barrel attachments are not so straightforward, and all of them can be viable for certain playstyles. 

The “MLG” players with excellent aiming skill might prefer Forward Grip + Compensator combo, and ADS for headshots at all times.

The main purpose of this setup is to increase headshot accuracy in 10-20m range bracket, and overall effective range will be improved a little.

This combination will seem completely bewildering to most people and for a good reason. Personally, I’d never use this combination as well. But I see this working for select few exceptional infiltrators.

Flash Suppressor makes an okay Barrel slot filler, especially at night. 

Suppressor will tank the effective range, and it probably doesn’t make much sense to use on infiltrators, since cloaking sounds will direct enemies to your position anyway. But it could work on a cocky Light Assault build.

Extended Mags vs. ALS comes down to playstyle.

If you’re careful about your engagements and mind the Long Reload, ALS will give you excellent dueling potential. You’ll have to always engage enemies one by one, though.

Extended Mags will make Cyclone a bit more general-purpose than strict 1v1 CQC fights.

You will have to ADS more often, but have the ability to engage more than  one enemy at a time, won’t go through Long Reload as often, and be able to take out beefier targets outside optimal range.

Playstyle

You can find some guidelines on how to use an SMG here.

Truth Behind the Myth

myth

Cyclone is often called “the best”. Be it “the best SMG for NC infiltrators” or “best SMG overall” and even “best weapon in the game, period”.

Why does it receive such praise and is it deserved? To find the answer, we have to look at the bigger picture.

If you don’t mind reading a wall of text, /u/Quinnocent gives an excellent explanation here

Weak Competition

Compared to other 1st generation SMGs, Cyclone is indeed too good. You may even say “overpowered”.

Cyclone has a great combination of all the important stats:

  • better hip fire than Armistice
  • better DPS than Eridani
  • noticeably longer effective range
  • higher damage per magazine
  • potentially fastest time to kill with headshots

Basically, Cyclone can perform nearly as well in close quarters as other 1st gen SMGs, and it can better engage at range, and it performs even better in skilled hands.

Lack of clear disadvantages

Cyclone’s disadvantages are statistical and not easily perceivable by players.

1) Low Rate of Fire means that statistically Cyclone is less consistent when spraying in close quarters, and loses more TTK as range increases.

An excerpt from the weapon mechanics guide:

…let’s compare two SMGs:
AF-4 Cyclone: 167 @ 6m – 100 @ 46m / 652 RoF
SMG-46 Armistice: 125 @ 6m – 84 @ 42m / 896 RoF

They both have similar DPS and effective engagement ranges. At 6m, they have the same TTK of 0.47. However, when crossing the bullet damage threshold from 6m to 7m, Armistice’s TTK will increase to 0.54, and Cyclone’s TTK will increase to 0.56.

They both will need one additional bullet to kill, but Armistice fires those bullets at a much faster rate, so it’s a less of a problem for that weapon.

This determines how much of a penalty is inflicted by using Suppressor, and generally for engaging the target outside the maximum damage range.

2) Less consistent horizontal recoil. Sometimes Cyclone can get out of hand and kick more than others. But on average it will perform better.

3) Higher vertical recoil per second than for other SMGs, but still very controllable.

While Cyclone has ~35% more vertical recoil per second than other SMGs, this disadvantage can be safely ignored, because Cyclone’s vertical recoil is still very mild when compared to larger primary weapons.

Specifics of TTK Calculations

Cyclone is often praised for the best headshot time to kill. But where does it come from?

Let’s compare 1st gen SMGs:

  DPS Headshot BTK Headshot TTK
Armistice 1867 4 0.201
Cyclone 1815 3 0.184
Eridani 1787 4 0.24

 

As we can see, the difference between their Damage Per Second is minimal. The big disparity in headshot TTK has to do with how Time to Kill is calculated:

TTK = (BTK - 1) / ( RoF / 60)
or
TTK = (BTK - 1) * Refire Rate

The Bullets-to-Kill is reduced by one, because there is always one fewer Refire Times between shots.

Spread fingers of one hand before you. You’ll see five fingers (hopefully), and four gaps between them. Fingers are bullets, and gaps are Refire Times. 

The reason why Cyclone’s TTK is so short is because there are only two gaps between the three shots.

However, the longest Refire Time means Cyclone receives bigger penalty for missing.

Let’s take a look at how number change if the user misses 50% of shots:

  DPS Headshot BTK Headshot TTK
Armistice 1867 8 0.469
Cyclone 1815 6 0.46
Eridani 1787 8 0.48

 

Now they are only 0.01 or 0.02 seconds apart. The difference will continue to diminish as amount of shots increases.

To summarize, Cyclone can offer better performance in ideal circumstances, but will face greater punishment outside them. 

 “Most PlanetSide 2 battles are CQC”

This is another popular statement, which creates the logic of “Cyclone is strong in CQC, so it’s the best weapon overall”. 

The problem with the statement “most PS2 battles are CQC” – it’s not specific enough.

Some PS2 players enjoy playing for the objective, they are competitive, and will try to capture as much territory as possible. Often they’re organized and even use voice comms.

A lot of objectives, such as capture points and generators, are located indoors. 

And from that point of view, majority of their battles is indeed fought in close quarters. Especially if they often use Galaxy drops to bypass enemy defenses and the medium-long range part of battle, and drop straight on point. 

Often these players are most vocal in community. So naturally they will put greater value into a weapon like Cyclone. 

Just keep in mind that’s not the only way to PlanetSide 2, as long as there is no incentive to play for the objective, any playstyle is valid.

Cyclone Heavies

Most other New Conglomerate classes already had powerful automatic weapons for CQC, but this wasn’t the case for Heavy Assaults.

Cyclone became the first automatic CQC weapon, available to NC HA. Suddenly they had a high DPS weapon with excellent hip fire. 

In contrast with slow-firing, average DPS unwieldy LMGs, Cyclone does feel like a godsend. 

“Cyclone Heavies” became a thing. They are able to dominate close quarters fights against LMGs of enemies, and remain competitive at 20-30m, which can’t be said about other factions’ SMGs.

This is the biggest contributor to Cyclone hype.

Crowd mentality

Say something often enough and it becomes the truth. A lot of people praised Cyclone for reasons above, and other people started repeating it. At some point Cyclone’s hype became a self-sustaining effect: people praise it because people praise it.

This issue is only made worse by certain vocal community members that make a point to repeat just how Cyclone’s overpowered whenever it is mentioned.  

Closing thoughts

Cyclone was and still is overpowered when compared to other SMGs.

The recoil nerfs were not enough to tone down its effective range, they merely made it less consistent.

Other SMGs do certain things better: Armistice is better for CQC spraying and NS-7 is better at range. 

But only Cyclone does it all sufficiently well, and gives opportunity for skill to shine, which arguably makes it the best SMG overall.

That said, I would rather see other SMGs buffed to Cyclone’s level than Cyclone nerfed further. SMGs overall are a fairly weak class, and could use some buffs across the board.


The guide is now concluded. Special thanks to /u/HansStahlfaust for suggesting the topic, as well as to /u/Mustarde, /u/EclecticDreck and /u/CryoXVS whose feedback shaped this guide.

The “Discovery” of Recoil Recovery Delay

For someone who considers himself a weapon mechanics guru, I’ve been woefully negligent. For a long time we had access to a peculiar statistic: Recoil Recovery Delay.

It can be pulled from DBG API.

What is Recoil Recovery Delay? 

Recoil Recovery Delay is the delay before your crosshair starts returning to its original position after you have stopped firing, measured in milliseconds.

The speed of the crosshair movement depends on another statistic – Recoil Decrease, also known as Recoil Recovery Rate, measured in degrees per second.

Knowing these two statistics and Vertical Recoil, you can judge weapon’s affinity for tap firing and short bursting.

Using the old weapon stats spreadsheet by /u/cheesecrackers as basis for my original research years ago, I’ve been led to believe that Recoil Recovery Delay is always equal to weapon’s Refire Time – time between shots, based on weapon’s Rate of Fire.

Turns out, it’s a little more complicated. 

How it works

The Recoil Recovery Delay values listed in DBG API – could be more correctly called “added” Recoil Recovery Delay. A shift, or an offset.

To calculate the true delay before the crosshair movement starts, you need to add listed Recoil Recovery Delay to weapon’s Refire Time.

True Delay = Recoil Recovery Delay + Refire Time

Example

You fire a burst with T1 Cycler. It has:

Recoil Recovery Delay: 80ms
Refire Time: 80ms

True Delay = 80 + 80 = 160 ms = 0.16 seconds

After final shot in the burst, 0.16 seconds will pass before the crosshair starts moving back.

You’ll notice that Recoil Recovery Delay in this case is equal to Refire Time, and it’s also true for many other weapons. This is probably what led cheesecrackers to believe that True Delay is equal to Refire Time. I guess he never ran a slow-mo tests to confirm it, and neither did I – until recently.

However, there are a lot of weapons which have Recoil Recovery Delay equal to zero, and the recent patch even set negative Recoil Recovery Delay for some weapons. 

And as an even crazier exception, Tomoe has increased Recoil Recovery Delay of 4 times the Refire Rate.

What the November patch changed

Currently, Battle Rifles, Semi Auto Scout Rifles and Semi Auto Sniper Rifles have negative Recoil Recovery Delay.

  Semi Auto Scout Rifles Semi Auto Sniper Rifles Battle Rifles
Refire Time, ms 235 260 180
Recoil Recovery Delay, ms -118 -130 -30
True Delay, ms 117 130 150
Recoil Recovery Rate,
degrees / sec
8 10 15
Vertical Recoil, degrees  1 1.2  0.6
 Recoil Recovery Time per shot 0.125s   0.12s  0.04

 

These Scout and Sniper rifles have True Delay of 0.5x the Refire Time, while most automatic weapons have True Delay of 2x Refire Time. 

Unfortunately, at this time I lack the capacity to create a side by side video. But you can already guess that reduced Recoil Recovery Delay gives them unprecedented tap firing speed, as crosshair starts moving back almost instantly after the shot, without purpose-less-ly hanging in air.

This is less noticeable on Battle Rifles, however they have greater Recoil Recovery Rate, lesser Vertical Recoil and shorter Refire Time. They already excel at tap firing.

Tomoe‘s unique situation is described in another article.

Closing Thoughts

Recoil Recovery Delay is an important statistics for judging weapon’s capability to burst fire, and it should be considered on equal grounds to Recoil Recovery Rate and Vertical Recoil. 

NSX Tomoe

NSX Tomoe: Highly Technical Weapon Guide

NSX Tomoe – named after Tomoe Gozen – is a fully automatic Scout Rifle, available to Infiltrators of all factions.

It focuses on quick kills with headshots at close to medium range, and has a unique combination of traits: no damage degradation and increased headshot damage multiplier, low recoil and high rate of fire.

Limited magazine size means you are likely to have only one engagement per reload.

Tomoe bridges the gap between standard Scout Rifles, that engage enemies with automatic fire at medium range, and close range bolt action rifles, that go all-or-nothing on headshots. 

Stats

NSX Tomoe stats

Damage output

Damage per Second: 1400
Damage per Magazine: 2464

These are rather low values. However, since Tomoe has no damage degradation, it doesn’t lose any performance as range increases. 

Headshot Damage Multiplier: 2.5x

This is one of Tomoe’s main selling points: it does 280 damage on a headshot, which means 4 headshot kill against a generic infantry target. 

Average reload speed and a lot of spare ammunition.

Bullets to Kill and Time to Kill

While Tomoe is clearly built around getting as many headshots as possible, it should be possible to kill any enemy with bodyshots. However, it will take a disproportionately more time, and low Damage per Magazine will give you little margin for error.

You should go for bodyshots only:

Against weakened, distracted or unaware enemies. Being able to cloak should give you plenty of opportunities to pick your engagements.

When you’re massively out of range and can’t hit the tiny head. Tomoe’s low recoil and no damage degradation make it possible to reach out to quite distant targets

When you can’t hit the head, because the enemy is moving in an unpredictable and erratic manner. Though in cases like that it may be better to not engage at all.

Tables below contain the BTK and TTK values. Since Tomoe has no damage degradation, they are true for any distance.

Headshots

Description Effective Health
(headshots)
Bullets to Kill
(Time to Kill, seconds)
Default 1000 (400) 4 (0.24)
Aux. Shield 1050 (420)

Heavy Assaults

NMG 1437 (575) 6 (0.4)
NMG + Aux.Shield 1487 (595)
Resist 1666 (667)
Resist + Aux.Shield 1750 (700) 7 (0.48)

 

Bodyshots

Description Effective Health
Bullets to Kill
(Time to Kill, seconds)
Default 1000 9 (0.64)
Nanoweave Armor 1250 12 (0.88)

Heavy Assaults

NMG 1438 13 (0.96)
Resist 1666 15 (1.12)
NMG + Full Nanoweave 1798 17 (1.28)

 

Cone of Fire and Bloom

tomoe-cofs

Hip Fire CoFs

Tomoe’s starting hip fire CoFs are not that bad, but the huge Bloom of 0.4 means hip fire accuracy is only going to last for a few first shots, and then rapidly spiral out of control. Unless you’re in melee range, forget hip fire even exists for Tomoe.

ADS CoFs

Tomoe’s ADS CoFs are nothing special when compared to other precision weapons, but it sufficiently accurate in general terms.

Notice that you get an accuracy boost for both crouching and staying stationary, and as in Infiltrator, you should take advantage of it. 

ADS Bloom of 0.05 is somewhat high for such small damage per shot, so it’s recommended to not straight up magdump, and instead fire in bursts of 4-6 rounds, unless the target is very close.

That said, it is comparable to many weapons that deal 112 minimum damage per shot.

Advanced CoF Mechanics

Starting Still CoF: 0.1
Starting Moving CoF: 0.3
Bloom per Shot: 0.05

From these statistics, and using Rule 2 of Advanced CoF Mechanics, we can say that you only get an accuracy boost for staying stationary during your first 4 shots.

After 4 shots, you can start moving at no accuracy penalty. 

This knowledge is extremely situational, because at closer ranges you’d want to engage while moving, always. And at longer ranges, you wouldn’t want to fire more than 4-5 round in a burst.

Recoil

As pulled from DBG API by planetstats, here are Tomoe’s recoil stats:

Statistic Stock w/ Attachments  Attachment
Vertical Recoil 0.25 0.21 Compensator (-15%)
Recoil Angle -3.0 / 3.0 -0.225 / 0.225 Forward Grip (-25%)
Horizontal Recoil 0.14 / 0.14 0.105 / 0.105 Forward Grip (-25%)
Horizontal Recoil Tolerance 0.4 0.3 Forward Grip (-25%)
First Shot Recoil Multiplier 2.0x
Refire Time 0.08s
Recoil Decrease 6
Recoil Recovery Delay 0.32s

 

Analysis

Statistic Stock w/ Attachments  Attachment
Vertical Recoil per Second  3.125  2.625 Compensator (-15%)
Recoil Angle Negligible
Average Horizontal Deviation 0.115 0.087 Forward Grip (-25%)
Max. Horizontal Deviation 0.28 0.21 Forward Grip (-25%)
Max. Num. of horizontal kicks 2
Refire Time 0.08s
Recoil Recovery Delay 0.32s
True Recoil Recovery Delay 0.40s
Recoil Recovery Time per Shot 0.041 0.035 Compensator (-15%)

 

Tomoe's Recoil Pattern
Tomoe’s Recoil Pattern

Tomoe has silky smooth and stable recoil pattern. It is not noticeable at close range. At long range, it gives you the ability to easily take out stationary enemies.

Tomoe has a very unusual quality: super long Recoil Recovery Delay.

After your last shot in a burst, whole 0.4 seconds will pass before crosshair starts returning into its original position.

And the low Recoil Decrease ensure it will take its sweet time while doing so.

Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing. Tomoe engages enemies in 2-3 short bursts per magazine, and the long Recoil Recovery Delay gives you time to readjust your aim between bursts without any forced crosshair movement.

Tomoe's Horizontal Recoil Pattern
Stock
Tomoe's Horizontal Recoil Pattern with FG
Forward Grip

Effective Range

Tomoe should be adequately effective up to 30m or so, but after that you are likely to have problems engaging moving targets.

Additionally, ADSing for headshots in close quarters can be very challenging, and with Tomoe’s hip fire being so terrible, you should make all effort to stay outdoors, and away from CQC in general.

However, extremely skilled players can find great success in taking Tomoe in aggressive close quarters, and enjoy quick headshot kills without using a bolt action rifle. 

Going outside Effective Range

Super small magazine size and average projectile velocity of 520 m/s will make engaging moving and aware targets challenging, even when you can afford to sit still and fire in short bursts for a prolonged amount of time. 

However, very low recoil and lack of damage degradation give you the ability to kill stationary enemies with a few short bursts even at very long ranges. 

In theory, Tomoe’s maximum range is limited only by user skill, since there is no damage degradation, and crouching CoFs are nearly equal to zero.

Attachments

Scope

Tomoe’s optimal range is within 10 to 30m bracket, and headshots are your primary goal. 

With that in mind, I recommend to use a 1x or 2x reflex scope.

Stronger magnification can make it inconvenient to aim at targets within 10-20m, and limit your field of vision too much.

Rail

You are faced with a choice between Forward Grip (-25% horizontal recoil) and Extended Mags (+2 rounds per mag).

Arguments can be made for both.

Damage per mag is one of Tomoe’s biggest issues, and horizontal recoil is pretty great by default. Having a couple of extra rounds makes going into Long Reload less likely, which can be important in aggressive CQC setting.

However, Ex. Mags’ benefit is very small, which makes Forward Grip a better choice for most players. Ideally, you want to engage enemies outdoors, at medium range, and you need all the accuracy you can get to hit those headshots more reliably.

Barrel

Tomoe has access to Flash Suppressor, Suppressor and Compensator.

All three are viable, as long as you keep their upsides and downsides in mind. 

Suppressor may be of special interest, as it will not affect Tomoe’s damage in any way, only the velocity. 

But, personally, I recommend the Compensator.

Tomoe’s hip fire is already beyond terrible.

As an infiltrator, you don’t care that much about increasing minimap detection range from 40m to 75m. While it can give away your position to enemies outside your effective range, you can use cloak to prevent them from engaging on you without closing in first.

Tomoe’s performance depends on accuracy very much, and you really want smoother recoil for more convenience.

Recommended Infiltrator Loadout

Cloak Type

Tomoe has limited effective range, but you will still be mainly participating in open field combat. So you will often need to move into position before engaging, and you will need the increased cloak time of Hunter cloaking.

This will work well with reserved, engage-in-ideal-conditions playstyle, but if you do have the skill to consistently hit ADS headshots at close range, you will find better success with Nano Armor Cloaking and more aggressive playstyle.

Suit Slot

Nanoweave is recommended. 

In case you mess up and fail to kill the enemy within one magazine – and it’s easy to mess up with Tomoe – you will need some defenses, to survive long enough to reload or whip out your sidearm.

You will not always have the opportunity to just hide into cover and vanish – too close for that.

Using the Tomoe may often leave you exposed for a prolonged amount of time, while you’re burst firing at an enemy. It’s not like a bolt action rifle, where you make one shot and immediately recloak. So Nanoweave will help you survive if someone’s shooting your way.

Grenade

EMP is the recommended choice. The sheer versatility of this grenade cannot be overstated, even if there is no particular synergy with the Tomoe. You’ll be using it mainly to delete enemy Motion Spotters. 

Tool and Utility

Motion Spotter and Anti-Personnel Mines make a great combination with Tomoe. You can deploy a Motion Spotter and throw a couple of mines around. The Motion Spotter will show up on enemy minimap, and attract them to destroy it, giving you opportunities to ambush them. Mines can ensure you won’t be flanked, and that Motion Spotter is going to last a while.

This is perfect for outdoors skirmishing.


The rest of the loadout is up to preference. 

Optimal engagement

As you may have constructed by now, you want to engage enemies with Tomoe within 10 to 30m, from a cloaked stationary position, and fire in 4-6 round bursts at enemy’s head, making your best effort to keep the crosshair on target.

Tip: when engaging from behind, be aware that enemy will play a “being hit in the head from the back” animation, forcing enemy to bend forward, and actually hiding the head from you for a moment.

When engaging an enemy in the back, you already have an advantage, so it may be better to go for bodyshots.

“Optimal” is not everything

Tomoe is weak in head to head fights, unless you massively outskill the enemy. Stay away from closed spaces and always keep the enemy at an arm’s length.  

If you do need to close in, whipping out a sidearm may be a good idea, as at least it can hip fire accurately. 

It’s usually not a good idea to engage enemies at long range, unless you can do so safely, or the enemy is staying stationary, in which case Tomoe can be used almost like a sniper rifle. 

Closing thoughts

Tomoe’s competition are other full auto scout rifles and NS-7, which can be used in the same capacity. 

All of them already require very good accuracy and proper engagements, and they already kill one enemy per reload at most.

Tomoe just acknowledges and embraces these traits, and pushes them to the extreme. It kills in the same 4 headshots as other full auto scout rifles, but has better accuracy and recoil, and higher Rate of Fire.

Tomoe challenges you to go for headshots and rewards them immensely. However, as soon as you try to go for something suboptimal, like bodyshots against HA or – god forbid – hip firing, you’re gonna regret it instantly.

When paired up with sufficient skill, Tomoe can be very strong and versatile.

However, if you’re already good at clicking heads, you may as well use a CQC BASR and have 0 TTK and more kills per reload.

Tomoe very much requires both aiming and positioning skills, as well as awareness and judgement – when and how to engage. 

Overall, it’s an interesting weapon, but a very steep skill requirements makes it something that 90% of infiltrator players would not enjoy using.

Mustarde’s thoughts

(no link to source because it’s a PM)

I auraxiumed Tomoe on all 3 factions. It’s a CQC monster, and has the DPM to be useful in mid range. You don’t need the highest skill level to use it, however it still requires headshots to be competitive, otherwise you will lose out in CQC.

Due to its no damage falloff and accurate high ROF, at mid-long range it probably is comparable or better than most LMG/AR/carbines out there, but automatics aren’t really supposed to be competitive beyond 70m or so.

I’d say it’s slightly better than SOAS / Stalker / Artemis at this point, but depends on the user having good aim and headshot accuracy. I burst it in 4-5 round taps beyond 15m.

Mustarde’s  Loadout: Nano Armor Cloaking, Nanoweave Armor, Recon Darts, EMP grenades, Med Kits. 

And on the cloak choice:

Because it is such a CQC reliant weapon, I have found greater success with the nano-armor cloak, which gives me 100 shield back plus lets me escape and survive dicey encounters. That plus nanoweave let’s me get in people’s faces and splooge the Tomoe mag and escape for reloading.

The hunter cloak works too, obviously, with a different and more conservative style. But I still think the NAC is a powerful option. If you expect to be taking any fire, it’s really worth considering. It makes you on-par with other classes which is huge in 1v1’s, especially with a gun that often forces you to face off against others.

With a bolt action, you usually don’t get shot much for that single headshot, so I don’t rely on NAC at all, even when using a 4x BASR. But for scouts and now SMG’s, I’m fully on the NAC train, after years of using Hunter cloaking. I’ve seen a very noticeable improvement in performance with it.

Adding Tomoe into Weapon Simulator

If you want to add NSX Tomoe into my Weapon Simulator, add this string to the end of the Stats.csv file, which you can open with Windows Notepad:

804252,NSX Tomoe,NS,Scout Rifle,112,10,112,20,1.5,80,1,0.55s / 0.64s / 0.64s,,-,22,286,2900,2100,0.5,0.4,0.05,3.25,2.75,3.75,5,2.75,0.1,0.03,0.3,0.06,-3,3,0.25,0.14,0.14,0.4,2,6,Auto,0

The guide is now concluded, feel free to comment or ask questions below.

overwatch sombra

Stealthy character coming to Overwatch: Part 2

As predicted, Blizzard will be soon releasing a stealthy character: Sombra, a Mexican female hacker. She’s classified as offence character, but most her kit is focused on movement, misdirection and disabling. 

Called it!

Six months ago I called that a stealthy character will be coming to Overwatch. The small amount of feedback that I’ve gathered boiled down to “Blizzard will not be releasing any stealthy assassins, because noobs will rage too hard”.

My only regret is that I don’t have an audience to rub it in their faces.

Not an assassin

You can check Sombra’s abilities and story on her official Overwatch page.

Not gonna go into detailed analysis, since I’ve lost all faith in Overwatch and it’s not a game that I can enjoy playing for long. 

Suffice it to say, despite being classified as “offence” character, Sombra isn’t your typical assassin, and she’s closer to a disabler support, though she does have complete invisibility as one of her abilities.