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Aphelion VEX-4: Highly Technical Weapon Guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stats

Shared

AMMO 50 / 300
MAGAZINE SIZE UPGRADE +8 rounds
AMMO POOL UPGRADE +600 rounds
RELOAD TIME 3.0 sec
RELOAD TIME UPGRADED 2.4 sec
PROJECTILE VELOCITY 300 m/s
RATE OF FIRE 150 -> 400 RPM over 1.5 sec
FIRE DETECT RANGE 50m
DAMAGE RESIST TYPE 28 – Armor Piercing Chainguns
BLADE PROJECTILE DAMAGE 800 @ 20m – 680 @ 50m

Note that upgrading Magazine Size does not increase Ammo Pool.

Harasser Variant

DAMAGE 200 @ 10m – 125 @ 50m
CONE OF FIRE 0.85 -> 1.5
CONE OF FIRE BLOOM 0.1

Magrider Variant

DAMAGE 200 @ 10m – 143 @ 50m
CONE OF FIRE 0.7 -> 1.0
CONE OF FIRE BLOOM 0.05

Mechanics

Aphelion RPM over time
Click to enlarge

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

INITIAL RATE OF FIRE 150 RPM
INITIAL REFIRE TIME 400 ms
MAXIMUM RATE OF FIRE 400 RPM
MINIMUM REFIRE TIME 150 ms

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

Calculations for Blade Projectile

The blade projectile is triggered specifically by the amount of time you held the “fire” key, not by the number of shots. Since it takes 1.421 seconds to fire 6 shots, it is technically possible to fire 6 shots without triggering the blade projectile.

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

GroundTrooper

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

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

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

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

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

Magazine Size Upgrade

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

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

Reload Speed Upgrade

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

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

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

Calculations for Full Auto

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

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

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

Magazine Size Upgrade

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

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

Reload Speed Upgrade

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

– /u/jackch3

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

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

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

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

Damage to Kill

 

Damage per Reload

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

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

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

And DPM numbers for reference:

 

Damage per Reload

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

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

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

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

NSX Tengu Highly Technical

NSX Tengu: Highly Technical Weapon Guide

NSX Tengu is an SMG, available to all classes. It is an unusual hybrid between a shotgun and an SMG: Tengu fires four pellets with each shot, each pellet dealing minor damage. Pellet spread is significantly reduced while aiming down sights to boost the effective range to reasonable levels. 

Tengu excels at consistently dealing damage to enemies, even against mobile targets, or when the user makes aiming mistakes. This makes Tengu a perfect weapon for newbies and low-aim players. 

Due to large pellet spread from the hip, Tengu has worse hip fire than other SMGs, almost always requiring the user to aim down sights.

Stats

NSX Tengu

Best of Both Worlds

Both SMGs and Shotguns have a number of problems that make them less effective than other CQC primary weapons. 

Shotguns fire multiple pellets with each shot, so they can easily inflict some damage with each shot. However, their Time to Kill is balanced around hitting nearly every pellet, and large Pellet Spread limits their effective range. Unless you’re within a few meters and aim well, any automatic CQC weapon is likely to kill faster. 

They also have relatively low Rate of Fire, so missing a whole shot is extremely punishing.

Shotguns also don’t have Cone of Fire Bloom, so you are expected to fire at maximum rate of fire to make your TTK more competitive. 

To summarize, to be effective with a shotgun in hectic close range combat you are expected to hold your aim pinpoint at enemy’s center mass and click at a very specific rate. Needless to say, this is hard to accomplish even for good players. 

The fact that shotguns easily inflict partial damage doesn’t mean much, because only partial damage will take ages to kill an enemy. 

SMGs have a different set of problems. On average, they have lower DPS than other CQC primary weapons, lower Damage per Magazine, and shorter effective range. The only thing they gain is increased hip fire accuracy, and 75% ADS. And sometimes you can have too much accuracy.

You have to compensate reduced firepower with your own skill, going for headshots and hip fire headshots, and outmaneuver the enemy with your mobility. This creates a significant skill requirement just to make SMGs competitive in CQC.

NSX Tengu is a perfect balance between shotguns and SMGs. Tengu easily inflicts partial damage on targets, but it doesn’t suffer from shotguns’ low RoF and from SMGs’ “too much accuracy”. You can waive Tengu in general direction of the enemy and still kill him in a reasonable amount of time. 

Tengu is inaccurate enough to be effectively used in hectic CQC setting, even by an average player. But it is accurate enough to have about the same effective range as other SMGs. 

Couple that with some very short reloads and decent Damage Per Mag, and you get a contestant for the best SMG overall. 

Mechanics

NSX Tengu blueprint

Mechanically, Tengu is a shotgun. Feel free to familiarize yourself with Weapon Mechanics and Shotgun Mechanics.

Cone of Fire Bloom. Unlike Shotguns, Tengu does have some CoF Bloom, in line with other 200 damage per shot weapons. Similar to other SMGs, Tengu has the same CoF Bloom for both ADS and Hip Firing.

CoF Bloom Per Point of Damage Done: 3.5 * 10-4

In this regard, Tengu shares the first place with Eridani, which is known for sustained hip fire accuracy. Of course, Pellet Spread will interfere with that a lot, but as far as CoF Bloom mechanics are concerned, Tengu is excellent.

The fact that Tengu fires multiple projectiles with each shot is a double edged sword:

Pros: 

  • Makes it easier to consistently inflict some damage, even when target is actively dodging or the user makes aiming mistakes. This gives Tengu affinity for CQC and makes it friendly towards newbies and low-aim players. 
  • As an additional consequence, Tengu user is less affected by flinch from getting shot, and can be competitive in duels even without Battle Hardened implant.

Cons:

Damage

Damage per Pellet: 50 @ 6m - 36 @ 40m
Pellets per Shot: 4
Damage per Shot: 200 @ 6m = 144 @ 40m

Rate of Fire: 500
Damage Per Second: 1666 - 1200
Headshot Damage Multiplier: 2x

Within maximum damage range, Tengu’s DPS is equal to 200 @ 500 weapon, such as Gauss SAW, which is below average for an SMG.  Considering that optimal DPS is harder to reach for Tengu, it has a comparatively low, but consistent damage output. 

Despite that, in the hands of an average user, Tengu is likely to be more effective and kill faster, just because it is so consistent at dealing damage.

Similar to other 200 damage weapons, Tengu gets hard countered by Nanoweave Armor, which can increase Ideal TTK from 0.48 seconds to 0.72 seconds – that’s 50% TTK increase for 20% damage reduction!

However, Tengu can potentially deal 400 damage with a headshot, and kill an enemy with just three headshots, with a good overkill in case a few pellets miss or hit the body.

Tengu takes 4 body shots or 2 head shots before it can reliably melee combo enemies.

Ammunition

Ammo: 20 / 140
Damage Per Magazine: 50 * 4 * 20 = 4000
Extended Mags: +4 rounds per magazine (+800 DPM)
DPM w/ Ext Mags: 4800
Reload Time: 1.875 sec / 2.5 sec

Tengu has very decent Damage Per Magazine, close to Cyclone’s, which holds the first place among first gen SMGs. Extended Mags provide a noticeable boost, pushing magazine size from “adequate” to “comfortable”. 

Tengu also has quick reloads; the long reload penalty is unusually mild for an SMG. 

Hip Fire Accuracy

Hip Cones of Fire:1.75 / 1.75 / 1.75 / 2.0
(crouching still, crouching moving, standing still, standing moving)
Hip CoF Bloom: 0.07
Pellet Spread Hip: 3.0

Due to large hip fire Pellet Spread, and larger initial Hip Fire CoFs, Tengu has notably worse hip fire than other SMGs. 

Laser Sight

Tengu has access to a unique attachment – Hybrid Laser, which reduces Hip Fire CoFs and Hip Pellet Spread by 20%. It enables the user to hip fire with a bit more liberty, but other SMGs will still have much better Hip Fire accuracy.

 

Click to enlarge.

On these pictures, each weapon fires 2000 damage. This is 10 shots for NSX Tengu, and 16 shots for GD-10 Blitz. Both weapons are fired from the hip while Standing Moving – the most likely hip firing stance. As you can see, Blitz – and by extension other SMGs – has much more accurate Hip Fire. 

As mentioned, Tengu has below average DPS, and due to large pellet spread, it cannot focus its DPS when firing from the hip, and even with Hybrid Laser you can’t hip fire for headshots outside spitting range.

And with normal, partial body shots, Tengu simply takes too long to kill an enemy from the hip. If the enemy is on the beefy side, and slightly at range, you’re likely to run out of ammunition before killing the enemy, assuming you even live that long.

All of this boils down to – Tengu can be effectively hip fired, even without Hybrid Laser, but with much less freedom than other SMGs. Tengu requires more thoughtful approach. It is preferable to almost always Aim Down Sights, and hip fire only against squishy or weakened targets, or at very close ranges. 

ADS Accuracy and Effective Range

ADS Cones of Fire: 0.15 / 0.17 / 0.15 / 0.32
(crouching still, crouching moving, standing still, standing moving)
ADS CoF Bloom: 0.07
Pellet Spread ADS: 0.75
Velocity: 380 m/s
Projectile Lifespan / Gravity: 1.5 / 11.25

Overall, you can expect Tengu to have about the same effective range as other SMGs, around 20-30m. 

Remember two things:

  • Tengu gets an accuracy boost for staying still or crouching.
  • Tengu fires multiple projectiles, so it benefits from firing at completely exposed targets.

Given right conditions, Tengu can reach out to enemies at longer ranges, especially if they’re not Heavy Assaults. 

However, the reverse is also true. When the target has partial cover, you will need to be closer before you can do any meaningful damage.

Due to relatively large initial Pellet Spread, burst firing is not as important with Tengu as with other weapons, so you can afford to fire in longer bursts. Extremely high First Shot Recoil Multiplier makes shortbursting even less desirable. 

Tengu has slightly less Damage Degradation than other SMGs, losing 28% of damage over 29m. For comparison, 125 damage SMGs lose 33% of damage over 31m (assuming SPA on both).

Overall, Tengu has surprisingly decent effective range for an “automatic shotgun”. 

Recoil

NSX Tengu recoil pattern
NSX Tengu recoil pattern

Vertical Recoil: 0.4
Vertical Recoil Per Second: 3.33

First Shot Recoil Multiplier: 3.5x
Recoil Angle: -5 / 5
Horizontal Recoil: 0.25 / 0.25
Horizontal Recoil Tolerance: 0.6
Average Horizontal Deviation: 0.205
Maximum Horizontal Deviation: 0.5
Recoil Recovery Delay: 120
Recoil Recovery Rate: 18

Tengu has high vertical recoil for an SMG, but it’s fairly average overall. However, Tengu has extremely high First Shot Recoil Multiplier, and this is something that you will need to adjust to when firing at enemies beyond ~25m. 

Tengu has more stable horizontal recoil than most SMGs.

All that said, you will run into damage degradation and Pellet Spread issues long before recoil becomes a problem. So aside from the mentioned FSRM, recoil is not something you should overly concern yourself with when using Tengu.

NSX Tengu Horizontal Recoil

Misc Stats

ADS Time To / From: 0.15 sec / 0.15 sec
ADS Movespeed Multiplier: 0.75x
Minimap Detect Range: 40m
Equip / Unequip Time: 0.65 sec / 0.25 sec

All of these are standard for an SMG.

Attachments

Optics

Tengu has access to a variety of 1x and 2x scopes, including HS/NV scope. As always, the choice will depend only on your personal preference, but generally speaking, there’s no reason to use anything other than 1x CCLR scope. 

Barrel

Flash Suppressor

This is the standard recommended attachment for most weapons, as it provides a bit of concealment at nearly no cost. Increased minimap detection range can mess with you, giving away your position to enemies outside your effective range, so if you do a lot of solo flanking, you may prefer to run Suppressor or no barrel attachment instead. 

Suppressor

Tengu Stock vs Suppressor
Damage comparison – click to enlarge

Same as other SMGs, Tengu has small penalties for using Suppressor:

  • -20% Velocity
  • -5m Maximum Damage Range
  • -10m Minimum Damage Range

Suppressor will reduce your ranged damage, reducing your Damage Per Second by up to 13%. 

Tengu sounds loud when you shoot it, but it sounds much quieter to other players around you. And the Suppressor makes Tengu nearly inaudible

Suppressor is a great attachment for flanking SMG Infiltrators and Light Assaults, who usually have more thoughtful and deliberate engagements, against unaware or weakened enemies. Having more time to ADS and aim properly will further reduce the effects of damage penalty.

However, it doesn’t make much sense to use Suppressor for aggressive pushing and hectic CQC skirmishes, as you’re likely to be spotted or lit up by a Motion Spotter anyway.

Rail

Tengu has access to Extended Mags (+4 rounds per mag), Darklight Flashlight and Hybrid Laser attachment.

Hybrid Laser reduces hip Pellet Spread and Hip CoFs by 20%. 

On paper, both Hybrid Laser and Extended Mags are viable. I’ve used both, and have been satisfied with their performance. 

The problem with Hybrid Laser build, is that Tengu has worse hip fire performance than other SMGs, and Hybrid Laser is inferior to Advanced Laser Sight.

 You would think that 20% reduction to Pellet Spread and 20% reduction to Hip Fire CoFs come together and equate to 40% reduction to Hip Fire CoFs of ALS, but it doesn’t actually work like that. Effectively, you still get a 20% reduction versus 40% reduction.

And given the fact that Tengu has worse hip fire capabilities than other SMGs even before the attachments, it doesn’t make much sense to go with Hybrid Laser.

It’s certainly a viable attachment, you can make it work, but objectively Extended Mags is better, especially when used by flanking classes – Light Assault and SMG Infiltrator.

Ammo

Tengu has access only to Soft Point Ammunition, and should always be used with it.

Recommended Attachments

This is a cookie cutter build if you don’t know which attachments to pick for your playstyle.

  • 1x CCLR
  • Flash Suppressor
  • Soft Point Ammunition
  • Extended Mags

Gameplay Tips

First and foremost, you must realize that Tengu’s hip fire is much worse than for other SMGs. You almost never want to hip fire, unless the enemy is just a few meters away. So in almost any engagement you want to be aiming down sights.

Other than that, Tengu plays a lot like other SMGs, so feel free to check out the corresponding sections of the SMG Guide and SMG Infiltrator Guide.

Remember to close the distance before engaging, when possible.

Take advantage of Tengu’s short reload. After killing one enemy, you almost always want to take a step back and reload, unless you’re flanking several enemies from a really good position, and can kill all of them at once.

Get a good sidearm, and get good with it. You’re gonna be relying on it a lot, similarly to other SMGs. 

Be careful about engaging enemies in partial cover. You won’t be dealing much damage to them.

When engaging enemies at range, you can boost your accuracy by being still or crouching. Just be careful about being sniper bait.

Conclusion

Tengu is the most competitive weapon in the whole NSX lineup. It is very effective, and will serve most players much better than Cyclone ever will – and that weapon is universally regarded as the best SMG. Unlike other SMGs, Tengu is friendly to newbies and low-aim players. It has the best qualities of shotguns and SMGs, while doing away with their worst qualities. 

Tengu is much easier to use than other 200+ damage weapons, while still letting you enjoy the feeling of impactful, high damage shots.

Worth buying?

Tengu is a must buy if you have any intention of using SMGs. 

However, at the end of the day, all SMGs have limited firepower and effective range. Most classes will have a more versatile CQC primary weapon option. If you don’t have a reason to use an SMG, you don’t have a reason to use Tengu.