rocket launcher

Rocket Launchers

Rocket Launchers in PlanetSide 2 can be used by Heavy Assault class, and count as their tool. They deal high damage to Infantry and MAXes, and moderate damage to vehicles. There is a large variety of launchers; some of them deal increased damage, others can lock on ground vehicles or aircraft, or use laser guided or even TV-guided systems.

However, one thing must be made clear: rocket launchers are generally not effective in direct combat against vehicles. Most vehicles can one-shot an infantry player, but require multiple rocket launcher hits to take down.

Launchers deal mediocre damage to vehicles in most situations. Pairing them with another player or damage type works best. Finding these opportunities or working in teams will greatly enhance your effectiveness with whatever launcher you use.

/u/Renuse-Sol-Ex

Normally, a single Heavy Assault with a Rocket Launcher is only a nuisance. In order for him to represent any real threat, the vehicle must be already damaged, distracted or otherwise vulnerable, and the Heavy Assault himself requires cover and freedom of movement. 

Rocket Launcher Mechanics

Rocket Launchers follow the same Weapon Mechanics as other weapons.

Misleading In-Game Stats

In-game stats often do not represent how rocket launchers actually function.

Listed Direct Damage can be used to predict damage to infantry and MAXes, but when applied to vehicles, it goes through a swirl of unknown modifiers. For example, NC15 Phoenix has 750 Direct Damage, yet it deals roughly the same damage to vehicles as 1335 Direct Damage Decimator

You can check some of the shots-to-kill-vehicles values on PS2 Wiki (w) – click on launcher names. However, treat those numbers with extreme prejudice, as they can be outdated.

Listed Indirect Damage is a bit crazy. Most launchers have a hidden scaling – their Indirect Damage depends on distance the rocket has traveled before detonating. More on that below.

Listed Muzzle Velocity is misleading. It doesn’t tell the whole story for dedicated Dumbfire Launchers, and completely useless for most other launchers. More on both below.


I have performed a lot of datamining and testing to ensure the quality of mechanical information in this guide, but some things still remain unknown: how exactly Gravity works and how lock-on rocket speed is determined. 

Direct and Indirect Damage

Most launchers deal two types of damage: Direct and Indirect (splash or blast damage). You can think of it as “piercing effect” and “explosive effect”.

Direct damage is applied only to the target the rocket hits directly.
Indirect damage is applied on direct hits to infantry and MAXes, as well as to infantry and MAXes near the explosion. 

  • Infantry receives 100% of direct damage and 100% of indirect damage, both reduced by Infantry Flak Armor.
  • MAXes receive 75% of direct damage and 50% of indirect damage, MAX Flak Armor reduces only indirect damage.
  • Headshots with rockets do not deal increased damage, but legs receive only 90% of damage. This affects indirect damage as well.
  • Armored Vehicles receive modified direct damage and no indirect damage.
  • Unarmored Vehicles, like Flash and – possibly – ESFs – take some indirect damage as well.
    • Modifiers to direct damage are unknown and depend on a vehicle and – for some vehicles – the direction it was shot from.

When comparing different rocket launchers by their damage, it is important to realize that you can compare only launchers that share the same Damage Resist Type, and only against the same target. 

Example of “why not”: starting launcher has 1135 direct damage and deals almost enough damage to one shot a full health ESF. Faction specific ground-to-air lock-on launchers deal 1000 direct damage, and require 3 rockets to destroy an ESF.

Indirect Damage Hidden Distance Scaling

Rocket Launcher Indirect Damage scales with distance to the explosion – the closer you are to the explosion, the more damage you take. You can judge this by Indirect Damage values listed in game. 

However, most rocket launchers have an additional, hidden scaling with Rocket Flight Distance – the longer the rocket was flying, the higher its Indirect Damage

Most rocket launchers deal:

  • 50% Indirect Damage within 10m
  • 50% to 100% within 10m to 30m, scaling with distance
  • 100% at 30m+

There are two exceptions:

  • Decimator scales from 10m to 20m
  • NSX Masamune has no distance scaling, it always deals full Indirect Damage.

In other words, Rocket Launchers deal less Indirect Damage up close, and more Indirect Damage at range. If you want to splash damage a group of infantry, you want to be 20-30m away from them, depending on the launcher you’re using. 

Indirect Damage is applied on direct hits to MAXes and Infantry, so if you want to deal more damage to a MAX, you also want to be further away. 

Dumbfire Mechanics

Dumbfired rockets start flying at relatively low Starting Velocity, and then rapidly Accelerate to Maximum Velocity, listed in-game as “Muzzle Velocity”.

Starting Velocity and Acceleration are hidden in-game, and can only be accessed via Census API, and without these values you cannot evaluate rocket’s speed. 

Rockets dumbfired from Lock-on Launchers do not accelerate, they always fly at the Starting Velocity.

  • While flying, rockets are affected by Gravity.
  • The slower the rocket is flying, the more time Gravity has to affect its trajectory, so faster rockets with more Gravity can sometimes have less projectile drop than slower rockets with less Gravity
  • If a rocket doesn’t hit anything during its Lifespan, it will self-detonate. 
  • Rocket’s trajectory will be more flat if you’re shooting downwards.

Lock-on Mechanics

PlanetSide 2 Lock-on Time comparison
Click to enlarge

Some of the launchers have scopes, which they can use to lock-on to enemy vehicles. Rockets fired with a lock will automatically track the vehicle. Some of these launchers can dumbfire without a lock, but then the rocket will not accelerate. 

To gain a lock, user must hold the enemy vehicle inside Lock-on Angle of the sights for several seconds – Lock-on Time depends on distance – distant targets take longer to lock.

You can hold “fire” key to fire as soon as the lock is established.

Only targets within Lock Range can be locked-on. Usually, it is 300m for ground vehicles and 450m for aircraft.

If the target goes outside Lock-on Angle for far too long (Lock-on Loss Delay), the lock will be lost.

However, during that time the lock is still fully functional, and you can take advantage of this by angling your rockets to make sure they don’t hit anything on the way to the target. There is a more extreme example here.

Vehicle Stealth defense slot can increase the lock-on time from 0.25 to 2 seconds, depending on vehicle and Vehicle Stealth rank. You can find specific numbers in in-game descriptions of Vehicle Stealth for specific vehicles.

After the target has been successfully locked, the user can fire-and-forget – the rocket will automatically track the vehicle without the need to maintain the lock. Some launchers can fire several rockets without reloading, and you will need to maintain the lock while firing.

The rocket will only pursue the target for Lock-on Lifespan amount of time, so theoretically the rockets can be outrun, but it is usually impossible outside of edge cases, like an ESF at maximum lock range, afterburning away.

The “agility” of a locked on rocket is determined by Lock-on Turn Angle. If the vehicle performs evasive maneuvers, the rocket may not be able to adjust trajectory in time, and can miss the vehicle.

If the angle between rocket’s flight direction and direction to the target becomes greater than Lock-on Lose Angle, the rocket will lose the lock. This means that the mechanic of dodging lock-ons is built into the rockets themselves. 

It is currently unclear if locked on rockets are affected by Gravity.

Velocity of Locked-on Rockets is Unknown

It seems that actual lock-on rocket travel time has no connection with Velocity and Lock-on Acceleration values in the Census API. We can speculate  that higher values are probably better, but that’s about it. For example:

Click to enlarge

These distance and travel time values from Tomcats are from in-game testing. According to Census API, Tomcats have:

  • Starting Velocity: 100 m/s
  • Maximum Velocity: 125 m/s – listed in game as “Muzzle Velocity”
  • Lock-on Acceleration: 6.67 m/s

However, as you can see from the testing, Tomcat rocket covers 470m during ~3.2 seconds, which means average velocity of ~146 m/s, which is already higher than supposedly “Maximum Velocity”. It also seems to travel at a constant velocity, despite the fact there is an “acceleration” statistic.

There is naturally some inaccuracy, but not on the scale of 0.5 seconds. I have ran into similar walls with G2G and G2A lock on launchers. I have spent literal days banging my head against this problem, and at this point we probably will need divine intervention help from developers to figure out how it works.

Listed Muzzle Velocity can not be used to judge locked on rocket speed.

Vehicle Interaction

Vehicle pilots receive a warning when you try to lock-on to their vehicle, and they can see whether the source of that lock is someone on the ground or another air vehicle.

When a rocket is tracking the vehicle, they get continuous warning and they can see flying rockets on the minimap as pulsing red dots. 

Locking and firing a rocket launcher does not put the shooter on the minimap of the vehicle pilot. All shots within standard minimap detection range of 100m (for RLs) will still put the shooter on the minimap, of course.

Decoy Flares and IR Smoke

  

Air vehicles can use Decoy Flares utility to remove the lock and prevent locking for several seconds. Any lock-on rockets already in flight will automatically miss – veer off skywards and self-destruct. 

Ground vehicles can use IR Smoke to the same effect, though it is much less popular. 

Mythbusting

There is a myth that jumping or falling greatly increases hip fire accuracy of dumbfired rockets. Busted.

Misc. Rocket Launcher Mechanics

Sprint Override: after firing a rocket, the player cannot sprint for a certain period of time. Depending on the launcher, this delay ranges from 0.3 to 0.75 seconds. 

Terminal Resupply to Instantly Reload: you can double-tap the “use” key (default [E]) on a terminal to instantly reload all your weapons and restock on ammo. This can be a great way of boosting your combat rate of fire while using a launcher.

However, resupplying at a terminal mid-reload will result in your character doing a non-skippable reload animation after the resupply, so before resupplying make sure to switch to something that doesn’t need reloading. 

Fire Detect Range of 100m: when fired, all launchers put their user on the minimap of enemies within 100m.

Iron Sight Time: all launchers take 0.35 seconds to ADS, and 0.15 seconds to return from ADS to hip firing.

ADS Movement Speed Multiplier: most rocket launchers have 0.5x multiplier, the only exception is NSX Masamune, which has 0.33x.

Reloading continues in a vehicle: if you enter a vehicle while reloading, the reload will continue and complete successfully while you are inside. This works the same for all weapons, but only after they spend all ammo in the mag.


Munitions Pouch Suit Slot
can be used to allow the player to carry extra spare ammunition. One extra rocket / magazine / battery per rank, up to 4 ranks.


Dumbfire Launchers

These launchers do not have any sort of laser guidance or heat seeking, but they deal the most damage per rocket.

The ability to instantly fire a high damaging rocket make them great against MAXes, hovering aircraft and other vehicles at close range. 

According to my Angular Size research and confirmed by /u/Renuse’s experiences, a rocket dumbfired from the hip while standing moving is guaranteed to hit an infantry-sized target within ~6.5m, as long as you aim exactly at its center mass. 

Dumbfire launchers can be used as one-shot “sniper rifle” against camping Infiltrators and Light Assaults, as it’s a guaranteed OHK if the rocket touches the player.

All dumbfire launchers share the same Damage Resist Type, so they can be compared directly. 

Starting Launchers

Despite looking different, these launchers function exactly the same between factions.

ML7

Shrike

S1

Starting rocket launchers are your basic RPGs, they have great velocity and damage, but hitting mobile or distant targets can be challenging. Iron sights can be especially inconvenient when trying to compensate for drop.

The damage difference between dumbfire launchers and lock-on launchers is especially noticeable against aircraft. While dumbfire hits are much more challenging, they deal ~2.5x extra damage, and amount to a solid chunk of health for Liberators and Galaxies. 

One rocket is almost enough to instantly destroy a full health ESF – it will burn down and explode in just a few seconds, if the pilot doesn’t use Fire Suppression. If the ESF survived a rocket hit, there is a tactic to finish it off with another weapon, usually a sidearm, since it’s faster to equip than an LMG.

One rocket deals 47% to 61% of MAX’s health, depending on distance and if he has MAX Flak Armor.

NS Decimator

Can be used by all factions.

 

NS Decimator is a heavy RPG. It deals more damage than starting launchers, but reloads longer, carries one fewer rocket, and the rocket itself has lower velocity, which makes it more susceptible to Gravity and harder to use against vehicles at range and aircraft.

Compared to starting launchers, Decimator deals:

  • ~17% higher damage to vehicles.
    • Usually takes 1 rocket fewer to kill a vehcile.
  • ~8% higher damage to MAXes without Flak Armor.
    • 54% to 66% MAX’s health in 1 rocket, depending on distance and MAX Flak Armor

One rocket will reliably one-shot even a full health ESF, which is a big contributor to love and adoration the Decimator receives from the community. 

Decimator is noticeably harder to use, so often it is better to stick to starting launchers. After all, it’s better to hit with a weaker missile than miss with a stronger one.

The Kraken

The Kraken is a cosmetic variant of the Decimator, granted for completing the auraxium level of rocket launcher directives. It has an auraxium shader, and its rocket explosions have noticeable visual and sound effects.

Lock-on Launchers

All lock-on launchers share the same Damage Resist Type, so they can be compared directly. 

Empire-speicifc Ground-to-Air

Despite looking different, these launchers function exactly the same between factions.

ASP-30 Grounder

Hawk GD-68

Nemesis VSH-9

These launchers can lock-on to enemy aircraft, but they can still be dumbfired against MAXes, infantry and ground vehicles, which makes them incredibly versatile. Even if they don’t deal as much damage as dedicated dumbfire launchers, they still can oneshot most infantry and deal chunking damage to MAXes. Against ground vehicles, they usually require just an extra rocket to kill.

A Heavy Assault armed with one of these launchers will have an option against every target type in the game. 

They are also more convenient to use:

  • Scope doesn’t get in the way like Iron Sights, and it’s great for dumbfiring.
  • The rocket is slower, but it flies at a constant velocity, so it is more consistent and predictable within ~75m.
  • It is less affected by Gravity, and doesn’t require as much compensation for drop within 300m. It will have ~50% longer travel time, though. 

Lower damage output against vehicles makes this type of launcher more of a deterrent than a killer. 

For some reason, these launchers deal the same damage as Decimator to ANTs and Sunderers. 

One lock-on rocket deals about 43% of ESF’s health. 

Empire-speicifc Ground-to-Ground

Despite looking different, these launchers function exactly the same between factions.

M9 SKEP Launcher

AF-22 Crow

Hades VHS-4

These launchers can lock-on to enemy ground vehicles, but they can still be dumbfired. This version is much less popular than G2A launcher. 

At close range, dedicated dumbfire launchers are better, and at long range, G2G lock-ons are somewhat useless, as the target can easily drop the lock or dodge the rocket by moving into cover. It takes a lot of rockets to destroy most vehicles, and the target will have plenty of time to hide or run away before being destroyed. 

They have great accuracy and consistency at 200m+, but without sufficient firepower it just becomes a wasted effort. 

For some reason, these launchers deal the same damage as Decimator to ANTs and Sunderers. 

NS Annihilator

Can be used by all factions.

NS Annihilator cannot dumbfire, but it can lock to both ground and air vehicles. Annihilator can take slightly longer to establish a lock than faction-specific launchers, but it reloads slightly quicker while doing the same damage. It also should have increased agility against ground targets. 

The inability to dumbfire makes Annihilator a strictly medium+ range anti-vehicle launcher, and this can hardly be called “versatile”.

But Annihilator can still be a  good choice for a no-nonsense player. It simplifies decision-making. Vehicles? Pull out the launcher. Infantry or MAXes? Stay with a firearm. Removing the option to dumbfire against MAXes and infantry forces the player to rely on firearms, but it also removes the possibility to die pointlessly while equipping the launcher or miss the rocket.

Annihilator is probably the best launcher you could give to a complete FPS newbie.

NS-R3 Swarm

Can be used by all factions.

NS-R3 Swarm is a sidegrade to Annihilator. It too cannot dumbfire, and can lock on to both ground and air vehicles. Swarm is magazine-fed and carries a ton of ammunition, equal to 11 x Annihilator rockets.

It has fast and consistent lock-on time at all ranges, and a quick reload, though it is well compensated by low rate of fire – only one shot per second.

Swarm still has about ~11% higher raw DPS than Annihilator, but it requires you to maintain the lock for 2 seconds while firing 3 rockets, while the Annihilator is strictly fire-and-forget.

Swarm has two firemodes:

  • In default firemode, it fires fast, but not very agile rockets. They are great at quickly reaching a large or slow-moving vehicle, but can miss a more maneuverable target.
  • In secondary firemode, Swarm fires slow, but agile rockets. They are nearly guaranteed to hit, but they can take a long time to reach the target, and can potentially run into terrain or even be outrun by ESFs.

 Empire Specific Rocket Launchers

These rocket launchers embrace the traits of different factions: volume of fire for TR, precise and powerful punch for NC, adaptability and versatility for VS. These launchers are rather unique, and historically have been a hot topic for community, with constant calls for nerfs or buffs, and whole squads being organized to play around their strengths. Things have been calm and stable lately, though. 

All of these launchers are weak on their own, but – just like everything else – become noticeably stronger when used in greater numbers in coordianated squads.

They all have unique Damage Resist Types, so none of them can be directly compared to any other launcher.

T2 Striker

T2 Striker is a sustained-fire, magazine-fed rocket launcher. It dumbfires small, fast rockets both when hip firing and when looking through the scope. If a rocket passes within ~15m of an enemy aircraft, it will automatically snap lock-on to it.

Striker can be a great deterrence to aircraft when terrain and proximity interferes with traditional lock-ons, but it is surprisingly mediocre against armored ground vehicles. 

Striker’s velocity does not seem to follow the parameters in the Census API. Here are some results from in-game testing:

T2 Striker Average Velocity
Click to enlarge
T2 Striker Projectile Travel Time
Click to enlarge

Due to high velocity – more than twice as fast as default dumbfires – individual hits are easy to score, so the Striker can sustain fire on distant targets without any trouble.

Striker is a versatile launcher that can engage both air and ground targets, but noticeably lacks in alpha damage, and exposes the user while firing. Striker also requires skills of managing Cone of Fire and leading targets, so user error can reduce already low damage output. 

When dealing with distant targets, Cone of Fire becomes a real issue, but it can be reduced by crouching and / or staying still. 

Striker is one of the weapons that can do something about Galaxies, hovering at a flight ceiling about a base. It deals only minor damage, of course, but it’s something. 

Striker deals 106% of listed direct damage to MAXes. It takes  ~9 rockets to kill a full health MAX.

NC15 Phoenix

NC15 Phoenix

  • Phoenix fires a slow, but highly damaging TV-guided missile – damage is comparable to Decimator.
  • While the rocket is in flight, the player uses his first person camera to steer to rocket.
  • During that time, the player character is immobile, and vulnerable to enemy fire.
  • The rocket is slow, emits distinctive blue flames and a screeching sound effect, and can be shot down.
  • The reloading process only starts after the user stops steering the rocket.
  • The rocket can fly maximum 295m away from the user. Flying further will force a detonation. While steering the rocket, players can monitor the distance to their body in the upper right corner.
  • Phoenix cannot fire from the hip.

Phoenix users have accumulated a lot of tactical and mechanical quirks to help them:

In prolonged hunkered-down fights, dug-in NC will pull out the Phoenixes. You don’t need to coordinate with them. Pull yours out, and wait for them to fire theirs. Fire yours right away. You should be able to follow where the first NC rocket is going, and most Phoenix users know to do this trick of following the first rocket. It leads to coordinated spikes of damage without actually coordinating.

/u/CloaknDagger505

The Phoenix packs a serious punch and has the incredibly useful trait of not needing line of sight to engage. The best time I’ve found to use this weapon is in support of a friendly armor push: position yourself closely behind, out of enemy line of sight, and fire your Phoenix over cover towards the fight. Focus on an enemy that is being engaged by your allies. This technique is just brutal when you combine it with friendly Vanguards. They cause enemy tanks to seek cover, and you follow the burning tank into cover with your Phoenix and blow it up. You’ll want a vehicle of some sort so you can keep up with the friendly push, and keep the enemy in your range of 295 meters.

Solo Phoenix is amazing against inexperienced and distracted tanks from a flanking position, and can quickly kill even an MBT. Engaging veteran tanks that are not distracted will result in them killing, evading or outrepairing you, so its best to avoid.

Against aircraft, Phoenix can sometimes get good surprise alpha damage, but you won’t be able to reliably hit evading aircraft. Hovering Galaxies and Liberators are fairly easy to hit, if they are in range, however. The Phoenix is quite capable of hitting an unalerted cruising Harrasser, and is a reliable two shot kill. However, you won’t easily hit an evading Harrasser, especially if it is evading you personally.

Pressing the “Change Camera” key (default “T”) after the shot switches the first person rocket view to third person, allowing for a much wider Field of View, which really helps with finding and tracking targets.

Alternatively, you can press the “Hide HUD” key (default Ctrl + F10) after the shot to remove the scope overlay.

Unfortunately, in both cases you lose the distance tracking.

/u/SteveFrench2017

The rocket can be accelerated and decelerated for better control, same as an aircraft.

/u/Daetaur

You cannot fire the Phoenix while crouching, even when using crouch toggle. Firing the rocket will force you into standing once you enter the camera mode.

It’s something to keep in mind if want to avoid exposing yourself as sniper bait.

/u/M0XNIX

You can prematurely end the steering process by pressing the “Exit vehicle” key (default “E”). The rocket will continue flying, but with a heavy drop downwards. It will still deal damage if it hits something. You can use this technique to shave off a few milliseconds between shots by “exiting” the rocket when it is about to hit something. You can also use this to pseudo dumbfire the Phoenix at close range targets. 

If you have a fancy gaming mouse, it can be convenient to have a thumb button that would increase mouse’s sensitivity while steering the rocket, so you can easier make sharper turns. 

You can use the keyboard to steer the rocket. The rocket will respond to Aircraft Controls for Pitching Up and Down, and Rolling Left and Right. Arrow keys by default.

Phoenix one-shots Engineers’ MANA Turrets, and kills the Engineer in the process, unless they bail before impact. This is the main reason I use the Phoenix, because a well placed MANA Turret can pin down a whole squad.

/u/DammitBran

MAXes receive 50% increased direct damage from the Phoenix (one rocket deals 1125 damage – ~57% HP).

Lancer VS22

Lancer is not a traditional rocket launcher, it’s more of a charge up anti-materiel plasma rifle. Lancer’s battery holds 6 plasma cells. By default, Lancer fires weak bolts of plasma that deal minor damage and consume 1 plasma cell. But the user can hold down the trigger to fire more powerful bolts:

  • 1.5 sec charge – 2.5x damage – consumes 2 plasma cells
  • 3 sec charge – 5x damage – consumes 3 plasma cells
    • A fully charged shot deals damage comparable to a dumbfire launcher.
    • Deals ~same damage as the Decimator to ANTs and Sunderers.

Lancer has no projectile drop and pinpoint accurate while aiming down sights. It does have some damage drop off:

Lancer damage drop off
Click to enlarge

Charged shots have the same damage drop off.

Charged shots are more ammo-efficient, so normally Lancer is used in charged mode. Even then, Lancer has low ammo capacity for its damage output, so Munitions Pouch is almost a necessity, unless you are near a terminal.

It is a common tactic to charge the shot from the hip, and fire it in ADS mode. That way, you can move faster while charging.

There are several ways to cancel the charging process, should you need to:

  • switch to a sidearm
  • start reloading the Lancer
  • perform a quick knife attack
  • press “Toggle Weapon Visibility” key (default “Ctrl + F11”)

Due to highest in class projectile velocity, Lancer is very easy to use at range. It can even be used to snipe ESFs. Low scope magnification can be a nuisance at extreme ranges, though. 

More than any other ESRL, Lancer is known for being used en-masse in organized squads:

Lancers are amazing in groups of 2+ squads, you can delete anything in render distance immediately. It’s disgusting. The trick is to have a single person call out targets, have everyone begin charging, then fire on the target at the same time. Charge the first shot, but subsequent shots should be immediate. The goal is to not give the pilot any reaction time. You should have an AA max, AA sundie, or 2 heavies with AA lockons as a deterrent.

In a coordinated VS squad, there is absolutely no reason to ever pull a vehicle to fight enemy vehicles, it wastes nanites and takes more time. 

/u/xxkid123

With Lancer, VS heavies can engage any vehicle on the battlefield at basically any range. The charge feature lets you choose how to distribute the damage. Instead of always charging (which does yield the highest percentage of damage), use the appropriate charge for the situation:

  • Two fully charged shots take 3 * 2 = 6 seconds to empty a battery and will deal 10x damage. The enemy pilot will have 3 seconds between shots to react to incoming damage.
  • Alternatively, you can start with one fully charged shot, then follow up with a lvl 2 charged shot, and then finish with an uncharged shot. It will take 3 + 1.5 + 0.3 = 4.8 seconds, giving the enemy only 1.8 seconds to react and dealing 8.5x damage.
  • Or you could just magdump uncharged shots, dealing 6x damage over 1.5 seconds.

The key to the Lancer is to focus fire on targets that are already being engaged. Since you can choose how to distribute the damage, you often can easily steal the kill. For this, I like to use Flashes to get in flanking positions of big tank battles.

Don’t try to solo a veteran tank crew, unless they are already engaged or otherwise distracted. If they can’t kill you, they will just disengage or outrepair your damage.

The Lancer shines against light vehicles. Once you get enough practice, hitting a cruising harasser is pretty easy. Hitting an evading harasser is harder, but still doable. A single skilled lancer user can be a serious threat to any harasser crew. Two fully charged hits will only set a Harasser on fire, but usually they will have already sustained some damage, and will die to two charged shots.

Lancer is great for sniping MAXes – they take 9x damage to kill, and MAX Flak Armor doesn’t help against Lancer. However, Lancer is horrible against infantry and MAXes at close range. Its lack of burst damage makes it useless on the front lines.

/u/SteveFrench2017

MAXes receive 50% increased direct damage from the Lancer (one fully charged shot deals up to 1125 damage – ~57% HP).

Other Launchers

NSX Masamune

NSX Masamune is a quad-barrel rocket launcher, and a part of the unique Nanite Systems Exports weapons lineup. It has some interesting mechanics. 

In hip fire mode, it fires all barrels at the same time like a shotgun. Crouching and staying still will increase hip fire accuracy. 

In ADS mode, it fires all rockets one by one over 0.75 seconds. The player can use the scope to steer the rockets, similarly to Engineer’s AV Mana Turret

Rockets do not follow the crosshair exactly. They start flying noticeably below the crosshair, so usually you have to aim above the target for rockets to hit. 

When leading a moving target, it is batter to overlead and then drag  rockets backwards, rather than trying to drag rockets forwards. Overleading fast moving targets may require an extreme body turn, though.

Rockets accelerate much slower in ADS mode.

After a shot in either mode, there is a 0.75 second delay before you can start sprinting or reloading the Masamune, which can make it punishing in close range scenarios. 

Masamune always fires and reloads all 4 barrels, so it can be treated as a pseudo single shot launcher.

Keep in mind that you are exposed and vulnerable while steering the rockets, and you are not reloading while doing so. 

Masamune also has reduced ADS Movement Speed Multiplier – you can only move at 1/3rd of your normal movement speed while ADSing.

Masamune can be hard to use properly, but it’s a powerful and versatile launcher, capable of close range MAX takedowns, accurate long-range hits on ground vehicles, and effective air deterrence out to medium range.

It is especially great against Galaxies – one full salvo deals about ~31% of its health.

Masamune is also arguably the best launcher for anti-infantry purposes, both at close range and in general:

  • Only 2 out of 4 rockets need to hit to kill a standard infantry target.
  • Always deals full splash damage, regardless of rocket flight distance.
  • Huge and easy to hit alpha damage.
  • Beyond hip fire range, still works great by guiding rockets into infantry.

The biggest argument against Masamune as “rocket primary” is super long sprint override after firing. It doesn’t get much better at range, where a combination of low ADS movespeed modifier and user exposure during guiding can be too much.

Masamune can do a lot more than most launchers, but it can’t do everything. For example, it is not so great against ESFs – one salvo deals about 75% of its health, but they are much harder to hit.  

It also takes a lot of skill to use at range, and can often deliver lower than optimal performance.

Tips and Tactics

Quickscoping

When engaging enemy vehicles at “medium range” of 50-100m, it’s a common tactic to “quickscope” a rocket launcher. You use your hip fire crosshair to aim, then start Aiming Down Sights and fire the rocket during Aiming Down Sights animation, before you actually see Iron Sights align.

For rocket launchers, it takes 0.35 seconds to transition to Iron Sights, but only ~0.15 seconds for Cone of Fire to shrink to ADS state. 

So as long as you fire ~0.15 seconds after you pressed the ADS key, your shot will have the same accuracy.

The point of this tactic is to be more efficient with your time, and spend less time being exposed while aiming. Staying still at the moment of the shot will increase accuracy as well.

Ballistic Crosshair Overlay

Hitting distant targets requires compensating for projectile drop, which can be tricky to do, since iron sights will be obscuring the target. While massive amounts of practice can help, there are a couple of completely legal tricks you can employ.

Ballistic Crosshair Screenshot

If you use RTST Crosshair Overlay, you can use these ballistic crosshairs:

Starting Launchers NS Decimator G2A Lockon G2G Lockon
Link Link Link Link
Demo (350m) Demo (330m)    
Download link to a .zip archive with all 4 crosshairs

 

Enable “Centered image” option.

There are 4 red bars, each serves as a crosshair for 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m. These crosshairs are scaled based on 1920 x 1080 resolution and 74 degree Vertical FoV. If you play at a different resolution or FoV, you will have to scale the crosshairs accordingly. 

At 100m+, rockets have so much drop that your target will be obscured by iron sights. You can avoid this by hiding your weapon model, default Ctrl + F11. Obviously, it helps to rebind it to something more convenient. You cannot shoot while the model is hidden, so you will need some quick finger work. 

You can bind Toggle Weapon Visibility in-game and Toggle Crosshair Overlay in RTST to the same keybind, and then you will be able to toggle between aiming and firing with one button. You will need a secondary keybind for Toggle Weapon Visibility so you can synchronize these things when you first log in. 

If you have a gaming mouse, you could create a macro for a thumb mouse button that would hide the weapon while you’re holding the button, and show it when you release the button. Effectively, you would have a “hold to hide weapon for aiming” key. You could also rig that macro to fire as soon as the weapon is shown. 

Rocket Jousting

It is  a common tactic for a Heavy Assault to turn the corner with a Rocket Launcher ready and surprise the enemy with a point blank rocket shot. This tactic is especially effective due to Internet Delay advantage.

There are a couple of ways you can improve this trick:

  1. Firing the rocket while jumping will allow you to preserve sprint-level speed.
  2. If you activate overshield after your feet leave the ground, you can also gain overshield’s protection from enemy fire and your own splash damage without receiving movement speed penalty until you land.
  3. If you deactivate overshield before your feet touch the ground, you will not suffer overshield’s penalty at all. 
  4. Immediately after the rocket shot, you can switch to something else, like a sidearm, med kit or even C4, depending on what you want to do next. Switching to LMG is usually a bad idea, as it will take much longer. 

Video demonstration.

Naturally, these improvements require some quick finger work, and require a lot of skill to pull off in combat scenarios. But it is deadly effective against infantry and MAXes, and allows to do a ton of damage while still being very mobile.

C4 Combo

C4 makes a great combination with dumbfire-capable Rocket Launchers when it’s possible to sneak up on an enemy vehicle. It is a common tactic to deploy C4 on the enemy tank, and then detonate it with rocket’s splash damage to save time. Make sure to not hit the C4 directly, or the rocket will not deal damage to the vehicle. 

Lock-on Bushwacking

Vehicles have lost Thermal Optics and can no longer easily detect infantry, so it can be a great tactic to hide in a bush and fire lock-ons from a concealed position, especially against damaged vehicles that have already spent their counter-measures.

Credits

This guide wouldn’t be possible without generous contributions of other community members that have answered my call for help with this guide. Every response in this thread is appreciated. Especially helpful people: 

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