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Highly Technical Weapon Comparison: 143 @ 698 LMGs

At the moment there are four similar LMGs that share the 143 @ 698 damage model. Namely, those are:

T9 CARV-S – the TR’s “adaptable” LMG, which has a large selection of attachments. Never was popular.

SVA-88 – the faded star of the VS arsenal, which used to offer 75% ADS speed, same as Orion, but with better controllability. The weapon has been rebalanced since then, and fell behind the Pulsar LSW in terms of viability. 

Pulsar LSW – can be treated as a slightly more CQC-oriented version of SVA-88 with a different recoil pattern and attachment selection.

MGR-L1 Promise – a newly released NC LMG with an exquisite and unique model, artfully crafted by /u/d0ku. The general theme of the weapon is ease of use and controllability over time, with some stats and mechanics intended to make sustained fire less punishing.

Let’s take a closer look and figure out if any of these weapons are worth using, and what circumstances would benefit them the most.

Stats

Damage Output

All of these LMGs share the damage model of 143 @ 10m – 112 @ 65m, which puts them in a weird place.

At range, they deal carbine-tier damage, and cannot really compete with weapons that deal more damage per shot, even if they’re not specialized towards ranged combat. It feels that you cannot kill an enemy 50m away without filing a notice two weeks in advance.

On the other hand, strictly average DPS makes them inferior in close quarters combat. 

Historically, weapons like that are shunned by players, and for a good reason. You would think that being average would make them versatile, and give them passable performance in every situation, but in reality it rather makes them mediocre

SPA and HVA are available to some of these LMGs, and they’ll have an impact on their performance:

Click to enlarge
  CARV-S Pulsar LSW SVA-88 Promise
SPA YES NO NO NO
HVA YES NO YES NO

Notes:

  • At best, SPA provides a 2% DPS boost or a 0.086 second TTK reduction at 15m.
  • At best, HVA provides a 7% DPS boost at 65m, or a 0.086 second TTK reduction between 42m and 52m.
  • In terms of damage per bullet, HVA overtakes SPA at 30m.

Bullets-to-Kill and Time-to-Kill

Standard Infantry

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds Target
Stock SPA HVA
4 0 – 41 0 – 44 0 – 52 0.258 Headshots
5 42+ 45+ 53+ 0.344
7 0 – 10 0 – 15 0 – 8 0.516 Standard Infantry
8 11 – 41 16 – 44 9 – 52 0.602
9 42+ 45+  53+ 0.688
9 0 – 17 0 – 21 0 – 17 0.688 Nanoweave
10 18 – 41 22 – 44 18 – 52 0.774
11 42 – 61 45 – 61 53 – 80 0.860
12 62+ 62+ 81+ 0.946

 Heavy Assault

For the sake of brevity, BTK and TTK are listed only for the first threshold.

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds Target
Stock SPA HVA
6 0 – 50 0 – 52 0 – 65 0.430 NMG / Adrenaline + Headshots
6 0 – 34 0 – 37 0 – 42 0.430 Resist Shield + Headshots
11 0 – 15 0 – 19 0 – 15 0.860 Resist Shield
13 0 – 17 0 – 21 0 – 17 1.03 NMG / Adrenaline + Nanoweave

Notes:

  • The only time SPA really makes a difference is the 7 -> 8 BTK Threshold in the 10m -> 15m range bracket. Otherwise, it’s merely a nice little boost.
  • Same as with SPA, the only time when HVA is at a real disadvantage is in the 7 -> 8 BTK Threshold, and even then only when compared to SPA. This disadvantage can be sidestepped by landing at least one headshot.
  • When talking about 100% headshots, there will be no BTK Threshold all the way up to ~40m. This is because 143 damage weapons kill an enemy with headshots with a good amount of overkill, and this is where they will differ from 167 damage weapons. 143 damage will take slightly longer to kill at close range, and slightly shorter beyond that range.
  • Ammo choice doesn’t play a meaningful role against shielded Heavy Assaults, especially if you land some headshots.
  • 6 headshots within maximum damage range deal 1430 damage, and an NMG HA has up to 1438 damage, so the only way it’ll take actually 6 headshots to kill them, is if they activate the overshield right when they’re being shot. Otherwise, NMG energy drain over time will eat those 8 energy, and 5 headshots will be enough. Thanks to /u/madoka_magica for pointing that out.

Both ammo attachments don’t make a big impact, especially for a moderately competent player, who goes for headshots at close ranges most of the time.

When both ammo attachments are available, pick depending on whether you want better performance within 30m or outside of that range. I’ll note that among skilled players CQC performance is generally deemed more important.

If only one attachment is available, you should use it, though it’ll be fairly low priority compared to other attachments.

Effective Range

Hip Fire Accuracy

  HIP CONES OF FIRE Bloom
T9 CARV-S 3.5 4 4 4.5 0.1
Pulsar LSW 3.25 3.75 3.75 4.25
SVA-88 3 3.5 3.5 4
Promise 3.25 3.75 3.75 4.25

All of these have a bad case LMG-tier Hip Fire accuracy, and won’t be able to hip fire effectively outside of few meters.

While the SVA has better Hip CoFs, it also has a nearly mandatory Compensator, which would bump up the Hip CoFs to be the largest of the four.

ADS Accuracy

  ADS CONES OF FIRE Bloom
T9 CARV-S 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.05
Pulsar LSW 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.04
SVA-88 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.04
Promise 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.35 0.05
Promise Max ADS CoF 1 3 1 1  

T9 CARV-S, Pulsar LSW and SVA-88 have standard ADS CoFs for LMGs, which are rather bad, though all four LMGs can get an accuracy advantage for being still for the first several shots.

Promise has slightly better starting ADS CoF, and this is almost as good as it gets for LMGs – TR’s MG-H1 Watchman is the only LMG to have a better ADS Standing Moving CoF. 

As a more unique feature, Promise has reduced Maximum ADS CoFs for most of the stances, meaning that its CoF will not Bloom past a certain point. The CoF of 1 degree more or less guarantees 100% accuracy on the center mass of an infantry-sized target ~25m away. 

This means that Promise is vastly more effective in magdumping at close ranges, or when you start engaging out of a jump or a fall, though you will still have to burst fire when going for headshots, which you’ll definitely need to do if you want to kill enemies in a reasonable amount of time.

ADS Cone of Fire Bloom

   T9 CARV and Promise Pulsar LSW and SVA-88
Bloom per Shot 0.05 0.04
Bloom per Point of Damage Done 3.5 * 10-4 2.8 * 10-4
Bloom per Second 0.582 0.465
Click to enlarge

Pulsar LSW and SVA-88 have reduced ADS CoF Bloom. However, Promise starts firing at lower CoF Bloom, so it’ll have better CoF for the first 5 shots, after which Pulsar LSW and SVA-88 will match and overtake it.

I’d consider this a point in favor of Promise, since at ranges where CoF matters you won’t be firing in overly long bursts anyway, and even with the CoF Bloom advantage, it’ll take 5 more shots for the lower bloom weapons to accumulate a 0.05 degrees of CoF advantage.

Recoil

  CARV-S Pulsar LSW SVA-88 Promise
Vertical Recoil 0.42 0.335 0.4 0.15 / 0.3
FSRM (FSR) 1.75x (0.735) 1.6x (0.536) 1.75x (0.7) 2x (0.3 / 0.6)
Recoil Angle 0 14 / 17 0 -5 / 5
Horizontal Recoil 0.2 / 0.212 0.2 0.2 0.1 / 0.3
Horizontal Recoil Tolerance 0.7 0.8 0.8 5
Recoil Recovery Delay 86 ms 86 ms 86 ms 0
Recoil Recovery Rate 12 13 12 18
Compensator Access YES NO YES NO

Promise has negative recoil scaling, meaning its maximum Vertical and Horizontal Recoil will reduce with each shot, until they become the same as minimum values. This happens at the following rates, per shot:

  • Vertical Recoil Increase: -0.05
  • Vertical Recoil Increase Crouched: -0.1
  • Horizontal Recoil Increase: -0.05

Recoil Analysis

  CARV-S Pulsar LSW SVA-88 Promise
Vertical Recoil per Second 5.25 4.13 5.00 2.18
-> With Compensator 4.45 N/A 4.26 N/A
Recoil Angle Average 0 15.5 0 0
Recoil Angle Variance 0 3 0 10
-> With Forward Grip 0 2.25 0 7.5
Average Horizontal Deviation 0.174 0.193 0.193 0.115
Maximum Horizontal Deviation 0.448 0.6 0.6 1.0
-> With Forward Grip 0.130
0.339
0.157
0.450
0.156
0.450
0.086
0.75
Tap Firing Speed, RPM 250 273 253 502
-> With FG and Comp. 262 276 265 517

Presented values are calculated for 10 round bursts, and account for FSRM and recoil scaling mechanics, assuming Standing stance and average recoil per shot.

Numbers in the table are pretty telling, so I’ll highlight only the biggest outliers.

Vertical Recoil

From the get-go, it’s obvious that Promise has by far the best Vertical Recoil per Second. In fact, it’s one of the lowest values for automatic weapons, and the lowest for all LMGs. The only ones that come even in close are NS-15M2 and T32 Bull, when they’re used with Compensator.

As mentioned, these numbers assume average values and take recoil scaling into account, but Promise will have excellent VRPS even if you get the worst possible values all the time. 

It’s worth noting that Promise requires only 2 shots to fully scale Vertical Recoil, if you fire them while crouching. It’s a neat feature to quickly stabilize the weapon from the get-go, though you shouldn’t go out of your way and crouch in every engagement. It’s mostly useful when you’re engaging a remote and exposed enemy from a safe position.

Horizontal Recoil

Promise Horizontal Recoil Demonstration

In terms of Horizontal Recoil, the classic trio is pretty close to each other, and not particularly good. CARV-S is slightly ahead of the VS LMGs, but Promise, once again, beats all three pretty soundly, and remains nearly twice as good.

Since Promise has unprecedented Tolerance size of 5 degrees, it can potentially have a huge amount of consecutive kicks in one direction, but this is unlikely to happen. The chance of 3 kicks in one direction is 12.5%, and 4 kicks is ~6%.

You’ll almost never see Promise slide along Horizontal plane for long. What’s more likely, Promise will shake around the middle, but every once in a while that middle will shift by one or two shots, and you will have to adjust your horizontal aim. 

Besides, just after 4 shots, Promise will have the lowest Horizontal Recoil per Shot among all automatic weapons, and you will barely notice Horizontal Recoil at all.

Picture to the left demonstrates a typical horizontal recoil pattern for Promise, though it doesn’t take recoil scaling into account, and values are not up to scale.

On the following two pictures, you can compare the Horizontal Deviation Probability Distributions for MGR-L1 Promise, T9 CARV-S and SVA-88. Pulsar LSW would have an identical pattern to SVA-88, so it’s not listed. All weapons are presented with a Forward Grip, and the results are averaged out between tenths of thousands of simulations.

On this graph you can see that Promise spends ~85% of the time within 0.1 degrees of the original crosshair position, and about 92% within 0.2 degrees, 95% within 0.3 degrees. This is basically showing how likely you are to have 4 kicks in the same direction in a row. Statistically, Promise can go further, but it’s highly unlikely. 

If you take a look at CARV-S and SVA-88 further below, you’ll that their recoil pattern is somewhat less consistent. 

For example, CARV-S spends about 52% of the time within 0.12 degrees, and about 82% within 0.3 degrees, which is already slightly worse than for Promise. 

You’ll notice that SVA-88 has about 10% chance of kicking all the way to 0.42 degrees. 

MGR-L1 Promise
T9 CARV-S and SVA-88

Recoil Angle

Pulsar LSW is the only LMG of the four to have a Recoil Angle. It has medium “strength” to the right, and overall doesn’t affect weapon handling in a meaningful way.

Promise is in a weird place. It has average Recoil Angle of zero, but 10 degrees of variance, so it’ll shake about a lot, but without bias to any particular direction. This will be especially noticeable and annoying during first few shots, while the recoil per shot is still comparatively large. Once recoil scaling fully kicks in, you won’t notice it much. 

Tap Firing Speed

Tap Firing Speed is measured in Rounds Per Minute, same as Rate of Fire, and it depends on weapon’s First Shot Recoil and Recoil Recovery statistics. 

Recoil Recovery Mechanics don’t really matter outside of tap firing or shortbursting, so Tap Firing Speed is the maximum RPM at which you can fire single shots, and still have the crosshair fully recenter between shots.

It’s a fairly useless statistic for normal gameplay, since usually you’ll fire more than 1-3 shots per burst, but it can be useful when dealing with tiny targets such as deployables, or when an exposed enemy is vastly outside of your effective range.

You’ll notice that Promise holds a huge advantage over other LMGs in terms of Tap Firing Speed, which is both due to lack of additional Recoil Recovery Delay, as well as best in class Recoil Recovery Rate.

Velocity

  Stock  SPA  HVA
T9 CARV-S 600 570 630
Pulsar LSW 620 589 N/A
SVA-88 630 N/A 661
Promise 550 N/A 687*

The classic trio is fairly close together, and has good projectile velocity, slightly above average for LMGs. SVA-88 is slightly ahead, especially with HVA, showing the weapon’s inclination towards ranged combat. 

Promise is noticeably behind, and its stock velocity is below average. There is a caveat – its SPRW Ammo attachment will increase velocity by 25%, making it best in class, at the cost of reducing magazine size from 100 rounds to 75.

Conclusion on Effective Range

All of these weapons don’t particularly shine outside of 50m, for various reasons.

  EXCUSES FOR BAD AIM
  Bad CoF Accuracy  Poor Recoil  Low Velocity Inferior Bullet Damage
T9 CARV-S BIG YES SMALL YES* NO SMALL YES*
Pulsar LSW YES NO NO BIG YES
SVA-88 YES NO* NO SMALL YES*
Promise SMALL YES LOL NO NO* BIG YES

* – requires attachment.

Due to just average DPS and LMG-tier hip fire accuracy, none of them particularly shine at closer ranges either. Their sweet spot seems to be the infamous “medium range” somewhere between 20m and 50m. 

The problem is that within that range bracket ANY LMG will serve perfectly fine, including those oriented towards CQC. In fact, this is why weapons like LA1 Anchor are so popular.

Sure, CQC LMGs will be clearly inferior in terms of effectiveness at range, but it’s not a big deal. The nature of ranged engagements is that you often can just walk away into cover from an unfavorable fight, especially thanks to Heavy Assault’s overshield.

And if you’re engaging in favorable conditions, having slightly longer TTK is not a big deal. Thanks to LMGs’ large mags, you can keep sending rounds down range until target is dead. At worst, you’ll miss out on a kill, but you won’t die to your weapon’s inaccuracy. 

Situations where you have to fight effectively or die, and don’t have an option to run, are much more common in CQC, hence why CQC performance is generally preferable. Additionally, as a HA you’re expected to aggressively push the frontline, and that’ll often mean engaging at close ranges.  If you want to be useful to your faction, you don’t really get an option to play around your effective range, and purposefully stay out of close quarters.

Open field battles usually aren’t required, but even if you get stuck in one, you’d probably want to equip a ranged LMG or a Battle Rifle. Or even switch to Infiltrator.

This is a general philosophical problem with any non-CQC LMGs, what I’d like to refer as “the LMG problem”. 

Utility Stats

Ammo Capacity

  Magazine Size With Ex. Mags Ammo Pool
T9 CARV-S 100 200 400
Pulsar LSW 75 150 300
SVA-88 75 N/A 300
Promise 100 150* 500

* – uses Smart Feeder ammo attachment, which increases Reload Time by 0.325 seconds.

Nothing especially noteworthy. VS LMGs lag behind in terms of capacity, while Promise has the largest Ammo Pool to make sustained fire less punishing, which is the general theme of the weapon.

Note that Promise has two Ammo Attachments that affect Magazine Size, but no effect on damage. 

Reload Speed

  Short Reload Long Reload
T9 CARV-S 4.64 sec 5.58 sec
Pulsar LSW 3.09 sec 3.90 sec
SVA-88 3.38 sec 4.70 sec
Promise 4.75 sec 5.78 sec
-> With Smart Feeder 5.08 sec 6.10 sec

Notes:

  • Pulsar LSW enjoys the fastest reload, which definitely makes it more convenient.
  • SVA-88 is not that far behind, but it has a much bigger Long Reload penalty.
  • Surprisingly, Promise has the longest Reload, especially with Smart Feeder attachment. Running SPRW Ammo and having to reload more often is likely to cause issues.
  • CARV-S has typically LMG-tier slow reload times.

Equip Time

  CARV-S Pulsar LSW SVA-88 Promise
Equip Time 1.1 sec 0.9 sec 0.9 sec 1.25 sec
-> With Forward Grip 1.2 sec 1.05 sec 1.05 sec 1.4 sec
Unequip Time 0.25 sec

CARV-S is about average for an LMG, while Pulsar LSW and SVA-88 are slightly below average. Having a short Equip Time is especially important for Heavy Assaults, who tend to switch to their Rocket Launchers and Med Kits a lot. And this is where Promise drops the ball. Even such a giant as Gauss SAW with a Forward Grip has Equip Time of 1.25 seconds. 

Long Equip Time of the Promise will definitely let you down in close quarters, and whenever you’re switching back and forth, you have to be ready to drop everything and equip your sidearm instead. 

Comparisons to Competition

Overall, none of these weapons look particularly appealing, and this is mostly the fault of their mediocre damage model; it lacks focus. Why would you ever use a 143 @ 698 weapon over 167+ damage LMGs, which are much more effective at the same medium range bracket and beyond? 

143 @ 698 LMGs do hold some advantages. For example, higher RoF makes a weapon more consistent, especially in close quarters. They’ll have slightly better recoil than CQC-oriented LMGs, and higher DPS than range-oriented LMGs, though that weapon class is another can of worms entirely.

None of this is really enough to compensate for inferior damage. Let’s go weapon-by-weapon and see what kind of competition they have to go against.

TR are left with TMG-50 as the only 167 damage option. I personally hate that it has 2 tiers of damage degradation and relatively poor recoil, especially the Tolerance. However, even TMG-50 will fare better than CARV-S at medium range and beyond, though there will be a significant reduction in effectiveness in close quarters, especially when comparing TMG-50 with HVA to CARV-S with SPA.

As another alternative, MSW-R has almost the same recoil as CARV-S. There are some noticeable disadvantages in ranged combat, such as smaller Magazine, lack of HVA and lower velocity. However, MSW-R comes with massively better performance at closer range, and makes a decent competitor overall. 

For VS, there is a similar situation for Pulsar LSW / SVA-88 and Orion VS54, which actually has slightly better Horizontal Recoil, though noticeably stronger Vertical Recoil and no Ammo attachment options, as well as smaller magazine battery.

Flare is generally frowned upon, but even it will be better at medium range than both of the 143 @ 698 LMGs.

For NC, you can take pretty much any 167+ damage LMG and it’ll be more effective at medium range, and depending on choice, better in CQC or at longer range. However, only the Promise has such low and smooth recoil, which is rather uncharacterestic for NC, and some people will certainly enjoy its controllability.

The recoil is non-existent. It’s almost a laser beam. It’s not a very strong laser beam, but a laser beam, which is good if you can aim.

– KosViik

If you’re looking for combat effectiveness, I’d say it’s better to learn to deal with recoil, though. Promise has a couple of other cool perks, such as limited Max ADS CoF and best in class Tap Firing speed, but those aren’t easily leveraged as advantages. 

Closing Thoughts

On overall spectrum of the effective range and effectiveness within that range, 143 @ 698 LMGs are between CQC LMGs and 167+ damage LMGs with ~matching DPS. The problem is that these waters are so muddy that there’s no reason to settle for this mediocre option.

Something like GD-22S will perform much better at range, and not particularly worse in CQC. And Anchor is basically a meme at this point, being one of the most versatile LMGs in the game. 

143 @ 698 LMGs seem to be in a bad place. They need to have their Minimum Damage Range extended at least to the levels of Assault Rifles, and their advantages over CQC LMGs in terms of recoil and controllability are not big enough. Hell, in some aspects they are even worse! 

Pretty much the only real advantage of 143 damage weapons at medium range is consistent BTK when engaging with headshots, and except for Promise, none of these guns are particularly good at it. 

As far as how 143 @ 698 LMGs relate to each other, I’d rank them as follows:

Promise > Pulsar LSW > SVA-88 > CARV-S

Overall, Promise is a unique case of a weapon. Its recoil pattern is one of a kind. Typically, LMGs have a ton of recoil, and while there are some exceptions, they usually come with below average DPS. I’d say Promise is a good weapon for newbies and casual players, and has even some role-play potential with its sustained fire feature.

There are some noticeable disadvantages, such as long Reload and Equip times. Promise also lacks attachments to boost the damage ranges, though as we’ve established, it’s not a big deal for this damage model. 

Promise also lacks an option to equip a Suppressor, not that it would be a good idea with this damage model.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Promise, and something I haven’t mentioned yet, is the inconsistency of its first few shots. First shots are often the most important, and can easily decide the outcome of a firefight, and between high Recoil Angle Variance and highly variable Recoil, there’s definitely some annoying shake.

It’s not so bad, though. Realistically, even if your get the worst possible Recoil values every time, Promise will still have less recoil than other 143 @ 698 LMGs. It’s just that it can be annoyingly inconsistent, albeit on a small scale, and it still goes against what a competitive player would look for in a weapon.

As a final thought, don’t be discouraged by my negative outlook on these weapons. In the end, they’re perfectly capable killers. It’s just the differences between PlanetSide 2 weapons are so minuscule, that every little detail gets blown out of proportion. Worse is worse, even if it’s just by a few percent. 

MG-H1 Watchman: Highly Technical Weapon Guide

MG-H1 Watchman is a Terran Republic LMG with a beautiful model artfully crafted by /u/d0ku. Embracing the Terran faction trait, Watchman has the highest Rate of Fire among LMGs, and overall it looks and feels like a big brother to the TORQ-9 Assault Rifle.

Players have been asking for an LMG like this for a long time, and now that we have it, let’s take a deeper look to try and figure out how fast should you be throwing money at the monitor.

The following guide will be taking a good close look on the weapon, but if you want just a short summary:

It’s a great weapon for short range up to 20-50 meters. If you mainly go for headshots, it is very easy to kill multiple enemies inside buildings.

/u/flub1337, the first player to earn an auraxium medal with Watchman

Stats

DAMAGE 125 @ 10m – 100 @ 55m
RATE OF FIRE 857 RPM
VELOCITY 550 m/s
AMMO 125 / 375
RELOAD TIME 5.525 sec / 7 sec
UNLOCK COST 1000Certification Pointsor 699 Daybreak Cash

Auto

Damage Output

Watchman’s damage output is above average, equal to 143 @ 750 weapons, like T9 CARV and Orion. This is pretty much as high as LMGs go, and it’s a solid amount of damage. 

Watchman has two tiers of damage degradation, which is typical for LMGs. However, low damage-per-shot weapons lose less absolute damage over range, though higher damage-per-shot weapons have longer Minimum Damage Range. So while they lose more damage over range, that process happens slower. For example:

  • LA1 Anchor: 167 @ 10m – 125 @ 75m -> loses 42 damage (25%) over 65m.
  • T9 CARV: 143 @ 10m – 112 @ 65m -> loses 31 damage (21.6%) over 50m.
  • Watchman: 125 @ 10m – 100 @ 55m -> loses 25 damage (20%) over 45m.

If you imagine a Super Anchor with 641 RoF – that’s what it would take for a 167 damage weapon to match Watchman’s DPS – and compare how their DPS changes over range, you will notice that Watchman starts dealing more DPS at ~61m.

Click to enlarge

Of course, it doesn’t mean Watchman will actually be more effective at range than Anchor. Higher damage-per-shot weapons are naturally more effective at range.

Watchman has access to two Ammo attachments that affect its performance in a meaningful way, and it should be always used with one of them:

  • Soft Point Ammunition (SPA) – increases Maximum Damage Range from 10m to 15m at the cost of reducing Projectile Velocity by 5%.
  • Impact Ammunition (IA) – increases Minimum Damage from 100 to 112 at the cost of reducing Magazine Size from 125 to 100 rounds.
watchman ammo options
Click to enlarge

In terms of raw DPS, SPA is better within 20m, and IA is better outside that range. 

  • SPA is most powerful at 15m, where it has a 1.6% advantage.
    • DPS: 1785 @ 15m – 1428 @ 55m
  • IA is most powerful at 55m, where it has a 12% advantage.
    • DPS: 1785 @ 10m – 1600 @ 55m

Extended Mags

As a 125 damage weapon, Watchman has very consistent and clean BTK Thresholds. As long as the standard infantry target is within Maximum Damage Range, it will be killed without any overkill whatsoever, both with headshots or bodyshots, with or without Nanoweave. Going even 1cm outside the Maximum Damage Range will increase the BTK by 1 and TTK by 0.07. The main function of SPA is to postpone this effect by extra 5m.

However, Watchman has a super high Rate of Fire, and among other advantages, it means Watchman’s TTK is not as penalized when going to the next BTK Threshold. For example, the 500 RoF Gauss SAW requires extra 120ms to kill an enemy 1m outside of the Maximum Damage Range, while Watchman requires only extra 70ms.

Impact Ammunition

Impact Ammunition provides a noticeable damage boost at range, and makes damage degradation even less of an issue. For example, if we take our previous example with Super Anchor, but add ammo attachments this time, you’ll notice that Watchman starts dealing higher DPS at any range further than 20m.

Or if you compare Watchman with Impact Ammunition to CARV. Both degrade to 112 damage, but one fires at 857 RPM, and the other one at 750. Watchman will overtake CARV’s DPS at 15m already.

Bullets-to-Kill and Time-to-Kill

Standard Infantry

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds Target
SPA IA
4 0 – 15 0 – 10 0.21 Headshots
5 16+ 11+ 0.28
8 0 – 15 0 – 10 0.49 Standard Infantry
9 16 – 35 11+ 0.56
10 35+   0.63
10 0 – 15 0 – 10 0.7 Nanoweave
11 16 – 32 11 – 48 0.77
12 33 – 47 49+ 0.84
13 48+    

 Heavy Assault

For the sake of brevity, BTK and TTK are listed only for the first threshold.

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds Target
SPA IA
6 0 – 23 0 – 27 0.35 NMG / Adrenaline + Headshots
7 0 – 39 0+ 0.42 Resist Shield + Headshots
13 0 – 24 0 – 30 0.84 Resist Shield
15 0 – 23 0 – 27 0.98 NMG / Adrenaline + Nanoweave

Notes

  • Within Maximum Damage Range, Watchman kills in 4 headshots, same as 143 damage weapons. Given Watchman’s higher RoF, it makes for an incredibly fast headshot Time-to-Kill, rivaling the infamous AF-4 Cyclone.
  • Against Heavy Assaults, Ammo Attachment choice has no effect on TTK all the way up to medium range. Depending on enemy health and overshield energy, there could be some situations where SPA still kills faster, but since SPA deals at most 2 extra damage, these situations are highly improbable. 
  • Against full-health targets, Impact Ammunition doesn’t come into play until 35m against standard infantry, and 48m against Nanoweave Infantry. 

Effective Range

Hip Fire Accuracy

HIP CONES OF FIRE 2.25 / 2.75 / 2.75 / 3.5 / 0.1

Watchman has better than average starting Hip Cones of Fire, same as dedicated CQC LMGs like MSW-R and LA1 Anchor. It’s still pretty far from being able to comfortably hip fire at everything that moves, but you can land some decent shots at the center mass of an enemy a few meters away, and high Rate of Fire ensures good consistency. 

Laser Sight

Laser Sight provides a few extra meters of effective Hip Fire range, but it’s nothing breathtaking, and it will not confer any new combat options, like being able to reliably hip fire for headshots, or being able to take on enemy Heavy Assaults without ADSing.

ADS Accuracy

ADS CONES OF FIRE 0.25 / 0.25 / 0.25 / 0.3 / 0.05

On one hand, Watchman has fairly terrible Cones of Fire for stationary positions. Even in situations where you can afford to stand still, you cannot squeeze any more accuracy out of the weapon. It is definitely one of the meaningful downsides of the Watchman.

On the other hand, the 0.3 ADS Standing Moving CoF is hands down the best among all LMGs, period. Most other LMGs have 0.35 or 0.4 CoF.

This is honestly a weird and unexpected quality on a “bullet hose” type of weapon. However, this is somewhat compensated by relatively high Cone of Fire Bloom.

Cone of Fire Bloom

Despite dealing only 125 damage per shot, Watchman has the same Bloom per Shot as 143 damage weapons.

   Watchman T9 CARV
Hip ADS Hip ADS
Bloom per Shot 0.1 0.05 0.1 0.05
Bloom per Point of Damage Done 8 * 10-4 4 * 10-4 7 * 10-4 3.5 * 10-4
Bloom per Second 1.43 0.715 1.25 0.625
Standing Moving CoF 3.5 0.3 4.5 0.4
Click to enlarge

Watchman starts with better Cone of Fire, and it will hold an accuracy advantage for the first 8 shots – up to 2000 damage. After that, CARV and other similar 143 @ 750 will have a more efficient Cone of Fire. However, this doesn’t really matter outside of prolonged magdumping scenarios.

For example, by the time both weapons would fire 3000 damage, CARV’s CoF advantage would be only 0.05, and a 0.1 advantage by 4000 damage. Basically, as long as you keep your bursts within 15 rounds or so, you will not feel any downside to higher Bloom per Shot, but there will be a meaningful accuracy advantage for the first several shots. 

Recoil

VERTICAL RECOIL 0.28 / 0.3
FIRST SHOT RECOIL MULTIPLIER 2.5x
RECOIL ANGLE 5 / 10
HORIZONTAL RECOIL 0.18 / 0.22
HORIZONTAL RECOIL MAX INCREASE -0.015
HORIZONTAL RECOIL TOLERANCE 0.5

Recoil Analysis

  Watchman T9 CARV MSW-R
VERTICAL RECOIL PER SECOND 4.14 5 4.375
FIRST SHOT RECOIL 0.7 / 0.75 0.8 0.875

Watchman’s Vertical Recoil has a bit of random to it, but it’s not a big deal. The gun fires so fast that recoil will average out, and you won’t notice it. Vertical Recoil per Second is slightly lower than for MSW-R, and generally isn’t very high for an LMG with such a high DPS. 

First Shot Recoil and Multiplier are somewhat high, but still better than for competition.

As a more interesting feature, Watchman has some negative scaling applied to its Horizontal Recoil. 

 

Horizontal Recoil

Stock Forward Grip
Shot # Min Max Min Max
1 0.18 0.22 0.135 0.165
2 0.18 0.205 0.135 0.15
3 0.18 0.19 0.135 0.135
4 0.18 0.18    

After just a few shots, Watchman’s Horizontal Recoil scales down to the level of T32 Bull, which is downright incredible for a weapon with such a high DPS. 

  Stock Forward Grip
AVERAGE HORIZONTAL DEVIATION 0.15 0.113
MAXIMUM HORIZONTAL DEVIATION 0.40 0.270

These numbers are calculated for 10 round bursts and take scaling into account. Without Forward Grip, Watchman’s Average Horizontal Deviation is only 7% higher than for MSW-R and Orion with a Forward Grip.

T9 CARV has noticeably worse Horizontal Recoil Tolerance than all three, and will have ~60% higher Maximum Horizontal Deviation. 

Recoil Angle is average. A slight bias to the right with a bit of Variance to it. Most of the time you won’t even notice it, though statistically it will result in a minor impact to overall accuracy, giving the Watchman a slight nudge towards being a bullet hose.

Recoil Recovery

RECOIL RECOVERY DELAY 0
RECOIL RECOVERY RATE 18

Watchman has better Recoil Recovery than vast majority of other LMGs, and this is good, because it increases the effectiveness of burst fire, making it easier for Watchman to repeatedly take advantage of its better starting Moving CoF. 

Velocity

VELOCITY 550 m/s

Watchman’s velocity is average for a CQC LMG, and it’s about average on the overall velocity spectrum as well. It’s not too low, but you will definitely have to do some conscious leading when engaging enemies beyond medium range. 

Conclusion on Effective Range

Due to bad minimum Cones of Fire and low damage per shot, as well as high-ish FSRM and average velocity, Watchman has a somewhat limited effective range overall. 

However, Watchman gives you a lot of tools to keep itself under control, such as its affinity for burst firing, stable recoil and good Standing Moving ADS CoF.

So within that “limited effective range”, a properly handled Watchman will be more effective than your average CQC bullet hose like T9 CARV.

Another thing is consistency. The effective range of other CQC LMGs is roughly equal to Watchman’s, but their performance becomes noticeably worse as the range grows, while Watchman – especially outfitted with Impact Ammunition – will perform nearly equally well at 20m and 40m.

Just keep in mind that no matter the user skill, there eventually will be a stone wall of range where Watchman is simply not effective, and hitting shots and getting kills relies mostly on luck and enemy Exposure Time

Exposure Time is how long the enemy spends out of cover, susceptible to your shots. Given enough Exposure Time, pretty much any weapon can kill any target at any range, but Exposure Time is the one thing you have the least control of. 

Finding exposed targets is easier for flanking classes, such as Light Assault and Infiltrator, but it comes much less naturally to Heavy Assaults. Often you have to land shots on just a tiny part of enemy hitbox sticking out of cover, and Watchman may well let you down, if the enemy is too far.

And when you do stumble on an exposed enemy, often you’ll have just a few moments before they make it into cover, and you won’t have enough time to pepper the enemy with weak Watchman’s shots.

Utility Stats

Ammo Capacity

  Watchman Stock Watchman IA T9 CARV MSW-R
MAGAZINE SIZE 125 100 100 50
DPM @ MAX DAMAGE 15 625 12 500 14 300 7 150
DPM @ MIN DAMAGE 12 500 11 200 11 200 5 600
AMMO POOL 375 375 400 250
DAMAGE TOTAL 46 875 46 875 57 200 35 750

Watchman has a respectable ammo capacity, overall close to the bountiful T9 CARV, and more or less keeps up even while using Impact Ammo.

Reload Speed

  Watchman T9 CARV MSW-R
RELOAD SHORT 5.525 sec 5.4 3.045
RELOAD LONG 7 sec 6.2 3.305

Watchman takes a lot of time to reload, which makes it somewhat annoying to use, especially for those who suffer from reloaditus – an obsessive-compulsive disorder that forces the player to reload their weapon after every engagement.

If we wanted to assess how efficient is the Watchman, we could calculate how much “damage” it reloads per second, and compare it other LMGs:

Reload Damage per Second = Average Damage * Magazine Size / Reload Speed
Where Average Damage = (Maximum Damage + Minimum Damage) / 2

  Watchman T9 CARV MSW-R AVERAGE LMG
SHORT RELOAD DAMAGE PER SEC 2539 2361 2093 2786
LONG RELOAD DAMAGE PER SEC 1904 2056 1929 2260

We can see that Watchman has good efficiency, though it’s still ~10% below average.

However, the issue is not time efficiency, but the fact that reload takes so darn long. Every second added to the Reload Time has an exponentially increasing negative impact, increasing chances of being engaged on, or missing a kill opportunity.

All that said, in terms of Short Reload, Watchman is very comparable to CARV, and as long as you avoid the unusually punishing Long Reload, you’ll be fine most of the time. Seriously, d0ku, what the hell were you thinking, putting the charging handle so far to the right and front?

Equip Time

  Watchman T9 CARV MSW-R
EQUIP TIME 1125 ms 1200 800
UNEQUIP TIME 250 ms 250 250
FORWARD GRIP PENALTY 150 ms 50 150

Watchman’s Equip Time is about as expected for a full-sized LMG, and roughly equal to CARV overall.

Pros and Cons

PROS

  • Short headshot TTK, access to SPA.
  • High DPS.
  • Low damage degradation with Impact Ammo.
  • Controllable recoil for an LMG.
  • Best in class ADS moving accuracy.
  • Effective at bursting.
  • Good and consistent Hip Fire for an LMG.

CONS

  • Bad ADS still accuracy.
  • Limited effective range.
  • Average Projectile Velocity.
  • Takes a lot of time to reload. Long Reload is especially punishing.
  • High Bloom per Shot makes long bursts undesirable, especially from the hip.
  • Low damage per shot.
  • Smaller Ammo Pool compared to other “big” LMGs.
  • No access to Suppressor.

Recommended Attachments

Flash Suppressor is the only barrel attachment available to Watchman, and despite having unique looks, it functions exactly the same as for other weapons, and generally there’s no reason not to use it.

Technically, both Forward Grip and Laser Sight are viable, but I recommend the Forward Grip to further improve on Watchman’s strong point – easy handling. Forward Grip will reduce the number of shots required to fully scale down Horizontal Recoil, and reduce Recoil Angle and its Variance, somewhat increasing the overall effective range of the weapon, which is Watchman’s weak point. Laser Sight will make hip fire slightly better, but that’s about it. 

Impact Ammunition

Soft Point Ammunition is taken for competitive close quarters fighting, especially indoors, while Impact Ammunition is taken to boost your performance at medium range. Generally, unless you KNOW you will be soon fighting a lot of enemy infantry at close range, Impact Ammo should be your go-to attachment. 

Optics, as always, are up to personal preference, but I would highly recommend staying away from scopes with magnification higher than 2x. Watchman just doesn’t have the effective range and accuracy to warrant it.

Tips and Conclusion

On the surface, Watchman looks like a typical bullet hose, but it’s actually a bit more nuanced, and to take advantage of everything it has to offer, it needs to be properly handled. You have to fire in bursts, which is made easier by excellent Recoil Recovery statistics. At the same time, high FSRM may make Watchman feel less controllable than it is. 

At the end of the day, Watchman’s most defining feature is short headshot TTK within Maximum Damage Range. Otherwise, it is effectively a sidegrade to the default T9 CARV. 

Apart from the First Shot Recoil, Watchman requires noticeably less recoil management, but more Cone of Fire management – burst firing, in other words. 

You have to be mindful of Watchman’s reload. Unlike MSW-R, you can’t just reload on the go, and you have to be ready to switch to a sidearm in case you get caught while reloading. At the same time, Watchman’s reload disadvantage is somewhat overblown – as long as you avoid being hit by a Long Reload, it won’t be much different from other “big” LMGs.

Overall, Watchman is a welcome addition to the Terran Republic arsenal. It provides veterans with a stylish answer to Anchor’s headshot TTK, and this time without the TR Recoil™.

Easy recoil makes Watchman a suitable option for less skilled players as well, and it’s not like Watchman is too difficult to handle. Just remember to cut your bursts at about 10 shots at the most, and you’re good to go.

Watchman’s biggest downside is its inability to reach out to distant targets. Even when you can afford to stand still, there won’t be any accuracy boost. Couple that with low damage per shot and you can pretty much forget about even trying, unless the enemy will be exposed for a long time. That’s the price you have to pay for the combination of high DPS and easy recoil.