All posts by Iridar

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 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: v3b

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 5 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

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. Example.

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

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

This window contains several checkboxes about what kind of information you want exported, but you will have to close it and click Export again in order for changes to checkbox to apply.

If “Analysis” checkbox is enabled, the Toolbox will also export a picture of weapon’s horizontal recoil probability distribution graph into its folder.

Select a weapon and click “Projectile Information” button. A window with information about weapon’s projectiles will show. It may take a minute for the Toolbox to display these stats.

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 new weapons get released, simply insert their Item IDs to the end of the list, and their stats will be downloaded as well. 

How to get weapon’s Item ID?

add-new-weapons

Keep in mind that “Name”, “Faction” and “Category” columns are not downloaded, and you will have to fill them 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.


Part of the page is protected from editing, so you don’t break something by accident. You can enter the password “123456” to remove this protection.

Damage

Toolbox damage page

This page serves to analyze weapon damage at different ranges. 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 SPA or HVA to weapons using buttons on the right, but if you wish to add Suppressor, you will have to do it manually, since its penalty to minimum damage is unknown and varies depending on a weapon.

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

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.

You can click buttons below to apply attachments to the weapon. The “Compensator” button automatically handles known weapons-exceptions that receive larger benefit from the Compensator

I couldn’t be arsed to make the same for the Forward Grip, which also reduces Vertical Recoil on Semi Auto Sniper Rifles, so if you’re simulating one of those, use the separate button.

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

Toolbox Cone of Fire 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.

Temp

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.

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)

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.

Close Range Sniping Guide by Davregis

This article is based on the guide written by Davregis, originally posted on reddit.

Intro

Using a sniper-style weapon in CQC, like every other gun in the game,  takes a boatload of positioning and aim.

You don’t necessarily have to score headshots all the time, it’s possible to bodyshot your way to an auraxium pretty darn quickly with a CQC SASR, as long as you get a feel for what you can and can’t do with the weapon…

But there are better guns out there if you want to dedicate. So let’s start from hardest to easiest weapons to use.

Choosing your weapon

Close Range Bolt Action

TSAR-42, SAS-RGhost

  • Recommended scope: 4x

  • Difficulty: pls no

CQC bolt is pretty simple in theory, because all you need is 1 headshot per target. You cloak in a reasonably safe spot, WHILE CLOAKED aim at someone you can headshot, decloak, fire, then either recloak and reaim, or chamber another round and try to grab somebody else.

The bolts instagib with a single headshot, making them extremely powerful, but you lose automatically if you miss your first shot and someone is shooting at you. 

That being said, remember your weapon does 700 damage at 10m and falls off pretty slowly. I recommend the Enhanced Targeting implant which displays a healthbar above spotted enemies. If they look like they might have less than 650 health, take the bodyshot and pat yourself on the back.

And you’re close enough though, 1 shot + knife will deal 1200 damage and let you instakill almost anyone in that range.

CQC bolt is the hardest to use because you have an effective 55 rpm and a TTK of three hours. You can get away with double bodyshot kills, but that takes more than a full second to kill, won’t kill shielded heavies, and will never let you survive an encounter less than 50m away if you miss that first shot.

I would not use these weapons unless you’re extremely confident in your skills. However, once you are very good, CQC bolts are probably the best choice, being able to instakill with one shot. This is the stuff montages are made of.

Semi Auto Scout Rifles

Vandal, HSR-1, Shadow, Nyx

  • Recommended scope: 2 or 3.4x

  • Difficulty: headshot god

Scouts are close to CQC SASR, but have faster ROF and maintain accuracy while moving, in exchange for less damage.

You get guaranteed 2 headshot kill at all ranges (3 vs shielded heavies), or a four bodyshot kill after 15m, and sometimes at 15m too. What this means is that to use the weapon better than a CQC SASR, you need to be firing while moving, and maintaining a ludicrous headshot ratio. As soon as you miss a headshot, your TTK increases past a SASR’s.

In this way they’re a middle ground between bolts and SASRs. They have ROF like a SASR, but horrible bodyshot TTK like a BASR. Some people love these things, but I honestly think they’re worse than bolts for people who headshot consistently, and worse than SASRs for people who can’t.

They excel over a BASR when you chain 4+ headshots in a row to kill multiple people in a single clip faster than a bolt could, and excel over a SASR when you can reliably take advantage of the larger clip size, refire rate, and ADS move accuracy by chaining headshots until the clip is empty.

Their lower bullet damage means they’re much harder to do well with than a SASR, but also end up slightly better once you can pull this stuff off.

 Semi Auto Sniper Rifles

KSR-35, ImpetusPhantom

  • Recommended scope: 3.4x
  • Difficulty: you can pretend it’s a shotgun if you want

CQC SASR is your easiest sniper rifle to use. Featuring a 3 hit bodyshot kill until 6x+ scope ranges and 1 headshot + 1 bodyshot kill at the same ranges, your CQC SASR is extremely tolerant of user error.

Because of its 400 damage and moderate firerate + hipfire CoF, it functions extremely well as a hipfire shotgun whenever the opportunity presents itself. Shoot 3 times, or shoot twice + knife for a quick, disgusting CQC kill. Hip fire range extends to about 8 meters, after that scoping in and slamming the trigger is more accurate.

Although you have to stand still with these things to maintain your accuracy, you can fire an entire clip reasonably quickly(but slower than a scout’s), and you have a lot of room to mess up due to quick reload.

Unlike a scout, you can mix headshots and bodyshots very well, and bodyshot only TTK, while high, is pretty forgiving compared to a bolt’s or scout’s. Honestly, this thing is so much better than a scout or bolt for everyone but the gods of planetside sniping. That being said, it’s also probably the worst gun for someone who’s amazing at clicking heads. Try to transition off this gun once you’re comfortable with it, if possible.

MINDSET

Pick your weapon, they all play reasonably similarly. Ideally, you want to have cover or a flank on an enemy position while still pretty near to your allies. Cloak, target, uncloak, try to kill someone, and gauge response to your shooting.

Above all, never stand still except while shooting, and never kill from the same place twice.

Here’s a general example of how I play these weapons.

  1. Find a spot with okay cover(usually a dirt pile or base wall)
  2. Run to it cloaked or uncloaked depending on enemy line of sight.
  3. Cloak and ADS, seeing if I find a target.
  4. If I find a target, I squeeze off 4-5 shots then recloak and move a few feet around.
  5. If I get an enemy response, I either wait a bit or relocate, depending on strength of response.
  6. If I start getting a continued response, I move a good distance away, because I’m almost definitely being hunted.
  7. Repeat. If I get close enough to someone, I might shotgun them.

Ideal spots for these weapons are areas where you have lots of cover and the enemy is out in the open. Don’t try to run these guys inside of a base; that’s when you want an actual shotgun or SMG.

Knowing when to use a rifle is the difference between 4kpm/5kda and 0.5kpm/0.5kda, and you’ll learn this pretty quickly regardless. Biolab defenses, tower defenses (see a theme?), and HIVE combat tend to work really well for these things. Only take on opponents you know you can with your skill level, or people that look low enough for you to kill with 1-2 bodyshots or a headshot.

Lastly, a point to keep if you keep anything from this guide: KNOW WHEN TO MOVE.

If you stay still, or with no cover, you’re gonna die from some spawnroom hero halfway across the map with a 100 k/d and 0.01 kpm, or some HA who’s been walking to you for half his game session. Eventually you’ll know how many shots you can squeeze off before having to cloak and relocate; getting there is a huge part of the journey.

NSX Naginata

NSX Naginata: Highly Technical Weapon Guide

Wrel’s video review.

NSX Naginata is a new cross-faction LMG, and the first weapon in upcoming Nanite System Exports lineup of weapons, that are intended to be hard, but rewarding to use, and they will all probably have some sort of a unique mechanical quirk.

In case of NSX Naginata, the quirk is the accuracy of sustained fire, as long as you stand still.

It’s worth noting that Naginata doesn’t share the NS weapon trait of 75% ADS speed. Same as most other LMGs, Naginata has 0.5x ADS Movement Speed multiplier.

Stats

naginata-stats

Damage output

Naginata’s maximum bullet damage of 150 and Rate of Fire of 659 are slightly unorthodox, but still very similar to some other LMGs that do 143 damage at 652 RoF.

Naginata deals 1647 DPS within maximum damage range, and 1372 DPS at minimum damage range and further. 

This is slightly below average, but comparable to other weapons that rely on accurate shooting. 

With 90 rounds per magazine and fast reload, Naginata can just keep firing without much downtime.

Bullets to Kill and Time to Kill

As you would expect, an LMG with just one tier of damage degradation and a relatively high RoF will experience a smooth performance decline as range and enemy defenses increase.

Due to the fact that Naginata’s damage degradation starts at 150, and the closest bullet damage threshold is 143, Naginata’s bullet-to-kill values remain more consistent within 0 – 25m bracket. 

Tables below are mostly just for reference.

Description Effective Health Bullets to Kill (Time to Kill, seconds)
7 (0.55) 8 (0.64) 9 (0.73) 10 (0.82) 11 (0.91)
Default 1000 0 – 25 26+      
Aux. Shield 1050 0 – 10 11 – 51 52+    
Full Nano 1250     0 – 34 35+  
Full Nano + Aux.Shield 1300      0 – 19  20 – 51 52+

 

Headshots

Naginata has standard Headshot Damage Multiplier of 2x and requires 4 headshots to kill within 51m.  Aux. Shield adds an extra headshot at 52m+, but at that kind of range it’s irrelevant.

Heavy Assaults

Description Effective Health Bullets to Kill (Time to Kill, seconds)
10 (0.82) 11 (0.91) 12 (1.00) 13 (1.09) 14 (1.18) 15 (1.27)
NMG 1437 0 – 23 24 – 52 53+      
NMG + Aux.Shield 1487 0 – 12 13 – 42 43+      
Resist 1666     0 – 34 35 – 58 59+  
Resist + Aux.Shield 1750     0 – 19 20 – 43 44+  
NMG + Full Nano 1796     0 – 10 11 – 36 37 – 57 58+
NMG + Nano + Aux.Shield 1858       0 – 25 26 – 48 49+

 

Headshots

Naginata requires 5 – 7 headshots to kill a Heavy Assault, depending on distance and shield type. 

Given the limited-CoF-bloom-while-stationary feature, Naginata can have an interesting application against other Heavy Assaults, as you can tank their fire with your Overshield, and use superior accuracy and reduced enemy movement speed to score multiple headshots. 

Cone of Fire and Bloom

naginata-stats

Hip Fire CoFs

Naginata has unremarkable hip fire accuracy. Relatively high RoF adds a bit of consistency, and Naginata will not perform absolutely horribly in a pinch, but you still should try to stay away from hip firing distances, and be careful when storming buildings in first lines.

ADS CoFs

Naginata’s starting ADS CoFs leave a lot to be desired. 

Standing moving accuracy of 0.4 is more or less normal for LMGs, especially on those that rely on volume of fire. 

But 0.15 stationary starting CoF is comparably bad.

Just a 0.05 degree difference from the common standard of 0.1 is not a big deal, but overall it means Naginata will have trouble reliably hitting far away or small targets even with the first few shots of the burst.

Advanced CoF Mechanics

This is where it gets interesting.

When standing still and aiming down sights, Naginata’s maximum CoF will be much smaller than usual.

Normally, maximum CoF is 3 degrees for ADS and 7 degrees for hip firing.

But Naginata is different:

Maximum ADS CoF while standing still: 0.6
Maximum ADS CoF while crouching still: 0.4
Maximum Hip Fire CoF while standing still: 4.25

(source: Wrel and in-game testing)

In other words, Naginata will only bloom for the first 5 shots while staying still.

As a result, Naginata can provide relatively accurate sustained fire. 

But there is another effect.

As you may know from Rule 1 of Advanced CoF Mechanics, if you change stances and your Current CoF is larger than Maximum CoF for your new stance, your Current CoF will reduce to match the Maximum CoF.

So if you fire on the move and bloom your CoF too much, instead of stopping your burst you can stop moving for a moment to “reset” your CoF.

So with Naginata you could use stutter stepping instead of burst firing to boost accuracy on the move.  Or even crouch. 

Recoil

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

Vertical Recoil: 0.8
Recoil Angle: -1.5 / 1.5
Horizontal Recoil: 0.16 / 0.16
Horizontal Recoil Tolerance: 0.4 (max 2 bounces in one direction)
First Shot Recoil Multiplier: 1.8x
Recoil Decrease: 13

Naginata has very high vertical recoil, even larger than notorious Gauss SAW, which has Vertical Recoil of 0.55 and fires much slower. 

Recoil angle is largely irrelevant and horizontal recoil pattern is very tight. 

Recoil Decrease is slightly above average for LMGs, but coupled with very high Vertical Recoil Per Second, burst-firing Naginata can prove challenging. 

Battling the vertical recoil is pretty much the main thing you will be doing while using this weapon.

Effective range

Naginata has a carbine-tier Projectile Velocity. 490 m/s is very low for an LMG.

Coupled with below average ADS accuracy, relatively low bullet damage and very high vertical recoil, Naginata will have limited effective range, despite very tight horizontal recoil, and even if you stand still. 

Going outside effective range

As long as you can stand still and fire from safe cover, Naginata will remain relatively effective in engaging exposed enemies, even if they are too far for comfort. 

Since Naginata can unleash and sustain a large volume of fire, you are bound to kill the enemy, eventually. You will have to compensate for bullet drop and bullet travel time, though.

Attachments

Scope

Due to high vertical recoil and limited effective range, it is better to stick to 1x scopes.

2x should be usable, but unnecessary. If the target is too far away to be comfortably engaged with 1x scope, it is probably outside your effective range anyway.

Rail

The default choice here should be the Forward Grip. While Naginata already has great horizontal recoil by default, it is the only thing limiting your accuracy.

In theory, you can compensate for 100% of the vertical recoil, you have “locked” CoF while standing still, and there is no recoil angle variance. 

So using a Forward Grip will increase your maximum potential accuracy. 

Extended Mags only increase magazine size by 45 rounds (+50%), while most other LMGs get +100% bonus. 

With a very fast reload and risks associated with sustained fire, you are unlikely to need more than 90 rounds at a time, making Ex. Mags not valuable.

Naginata’s LMG-tier hip fire accuracy and increased hip fire bloom make Laser Sight and hip firing in general not very viable.

Barrel

Naginata has access to Flash Suppressor and Compensator.

Both are viable, but in this case Compensator is much more useful

While one could make an argument that removing muzzle flash would conceal your position and let you stand still and go full auto with more safety, it’s still dangerous and bound to attract attention of enemy snipers.

To avoid being killed too fast, you would want to activate overshield in advance, turning yourself into a big glowing target, and then removing the muzzle flash doesn’t do much.

Compensator will reduce the harsh vertical recoil, which is probably the most valuable effect you could get from an attachment for Naginata.

Ammo

Naginata has access to both SPA and HVA

Naginata Ammo Attachments
image is clickable

Due to unusual maximum damage of 150, Naginata doesn’t suffer an immediate penalty to bullets-to-kill when going outside maximum damage range.

As opposed to some other weapons, where increasing maximum damage range from 10m to 15m is a big deal, it is not for Naginata. 

As you can see on the graph, SPA will improve performance in 10m – 30m bracket, while HVA will improve performance in 30m – 85m bracket.

Both offer very small bonuses of up to 1.5% (SPA) and 5.2% (HVA) damage increase in best case scenario. Both are viable, but with Naginata being a relatively close range weapon, SPA will probably be more useful

Optimal engagement

The ideal engagement for NSX Naginata is somewhat reminiscent of MCG Mini-Chaingun, where you would want to spin it up, and then abuse the static ADS CoF to take out multiple enemies. 

The main difference is that NSX Naginata has to be stationary, but actually has accuracy to feasibly kill people at range. 

So with NSX Naginata you would want to find a position with good cover and minimal exposure, open only in a small arc in front of you, so you can sit still and fire with relative safety, and mow down exposed enemies as they come by.

Naginata makes a great defensive LMG, or when moving from cover to cover. But you absolutely don’t want to stand still and fire out in the open. Even with overshields, it’s just suicide. 

Don’t get stuck on “optimal”!

Don’t get dragged into line of thinking that you need to be always stationary while using Naginata. It is slightly not as good on the move as other LMGs, that’s it. And you can compensate for it with burst firing or stutter stepping.

Most of the time, especially when you’re under fire, you will still want to move while firing.

Only stand still to engage when you have full health and overshield energy, and only behind cover, and preferably when you engage first. 

Recommended Heavy Assault Loadout

In order to live up to Naginata’s high uptime, you will need a loadout that leaves you with the least downtime, and makes you tanky at the same time.

The cheapest, easiest to use and the most reliable combination would be Advanced Shield Capacitor with Resist Shield and Med Kits

With a combo like that, you spend the minimal amount of time recovering in cover, and the most effectively engaging enemy from cover, which is where both the Naginata and Resist Shield thrive the most.

Battle Hardened seems like a good implant to combine with all of that, to give you more potential to outshoot the enemy while tanking their fire. 

The rest of the loadout is up to situation and preference.

A minute of sad realism

Naginata is pretty much a heavily nerfed LMG with a ton of vertical recoil and a gimmick that you won’t be able to use in the majority of normal engagements. 

Like Phaseshift, it’s a cute little weapon, but alternatives are more reliable and much simpler to use. 

If you’re looking for effective, simple, tried and true, you should stay away from Naginata.

If you’re looking for high skill cap / high reward weapon, a weapon that could take months to master, but if mastered would slay legions before you…

… you should still stay away from Naginata.

If you’re a tired and bored veteran and a weapon mechanics nut, if just “killing” enemies heats your blood no longer, and now it’s more about “how” you kill enemies – then Naginata can add color to a few evenings. 

Nonetheless, it is a good attempt, and it is very inspiring to see developers bend the borders of conventional weapon mechanics like that, and I look forward to using the Naginata and other upcoming NSX weapons.

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

Adding Naginata into Weapon Simulator

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

804249,NSX Naginata,NS,LMG,150,10,125,65,1,91,1,0.55s / 0.64s / 0.64s,,-,90,450,4000,2800,0.5,0.12,0.06,3,2.25,4.5,5,4,0.15,0.15,0.4,0.35,-1.5,1.5,0.8,0.16,0.16,0.4,1.8,13,Auto,0

Keep in mind that it won’t properly simulate Naginata’s CoF mechanics, but you can still use it to check out TTK at various ranges or compare attachments.