Zenits and Noricums are useless. So runs the conventional wisdom in War Robots circles and communities. Hands down, these two have undoubtedly gained the most infamy among all the weapons available to players-and maybe not surprisingly, the least effectively used.
Well, to be fair, it is rather difficult to utilise the full range of these two weapons because the targets get seldom hit with their volleys. Other weapons with similar ranges like Gekko or Trebuchet require much less hassle. However, they don’t have the most singular characteristic Zenit and Noricum has, the parabolic flight path.
In other words, death from above.
What Zenit and Noricum do well
Zenit and Noricums can play a multitude of roles when used effectively. But, while using them, it has to be kept in mind that like sniper weapon, these are support weapons, not assault ones.
Bombardment: Zenit and Noricum do not need line of sight to operate. Their parabolic flight path ignores any horizontal cover- making them the perfect weapon to damage and flush out reds from behind cover. Often in heat of battle, multiple enemies congregate behind the same cover. You know what it says on the tooltip for Zenit and Noricums, right? “Ideal from groups of..enemies”. I tend to agree wholeheartedly.
Remote Beacon Defence: This, personally is my favourite function of artillery. From quite a distance, you can make the approach and capturing of a beacon very, very costly. A well executed series of strikes from a Artillery bot will cripple, if not outright kill lights and most heavies. Interestingly enough, the splash of these weapons make it impossible for a bot to liberate or capture beacons without incurring damage (unless with an ancile).
Anti-Ancile: A shower of artillery will chew through most anciles, and especially those pesky Fujins. A group of red sharing an ancile and shooting your allies down? Hit them with judgement from your artillery, and see them melt.
Area Denial: Volley after volley of Zenits and Noricums will actively discourage reds from going into places you don’t want them to. A well placed artillery strike will shut down bottlenecks and entire lanes.
Psychological Pressure: One of the more quaint effects of artillery is the fear factor. The SFX for artillery is quite eye-catching and getting caught in one makes you feel more damage than you actually incur- not to mention most players find it unnerving to get hit by volley after volley of artillery.
Often, a red assaulted with a sequential hit of these will eject and choose to avoid the area entirely.
So how to use it all?
These were all the good parts. But like they say, you can’t mess with a bull and not get it horns- similarly, using Zenits and Noricums are... rather difficult. The parabolic flight path that makes them so enticing? They are also its bane. Travelling in an arc means taking more time to get to the target, often missing the target entirely(if it’s too fast), or getting only a partial hit.
The key to douse into your enemies in fire and brimstone is timing and anticipation. Predict where your enemy will be headed, and shoot there. Like rockets can be “lead” to where enemies will be, so can artillery. It sounds complicated, but a little practise goes a long way.
There are two main motivations in battle in WR. Beacons, and killing reds. So, see which the red you are targeting might be heading towards and you’ll get your direction. As for timing? Remember, the closer the enemy is to you, the quicker your strike will reach and hence, the lesser you need to lead your shots.
Firing your weapons sequentially can also increase your chances of scoring hits. I like to do what I call a ‘path of fire’, firing all the four Noricums on my Patton one after another leading in a straight line along the route the red is taking- Often making the target walk through a hail of uninterrupted fire. The splash makes it much harder to avoid. One can adapt this technique to any Artillery setup.
Here, a small video showing some of the techniques mentioned and also some of the mistakes one can easily make. As the video shows, one can even kill a fast Gareth with artillery strikes.
While using these set-ups, you need to be extremely aware of your surroundings. Artillery has a blind spot of 300m around you where it can’t reach. So, stay clear by 300m from your enemies. Also, eject when necessary, clinging to your artillery robot throughout the match might cost you the win.
So, see you battle — as you rain death from above.