An interesting weapon can be more than just a tool for causing destruction. Even if your end goal is to crush enemy pilots, your means for reaching this goal may be very different. And this is what we look to explore next.
You already have some hints on what this means for new robots: Mender and Weyland hit the live server recently and so far they're doing great. But what about weapons?
Remember Ancile and ECU. These two aren't even weapons — one is an energy barrier, another is a physical shield, and both make you safer, not stronger. But taking the same slots as other equipment, they pose a clear question: are you going to sacrifice some of your firepower for a better defence? Do you want to live longer or fight harder?
In this article, we will talk about 2 upcoming weapons that bring a similar strategic dilemma. Their focus is utility, not deadliness, and this is what makes them stand apart.
Shredder is an auto-cannon with a wide spread. It shoots in short bursts, which makes it best for robot “knife fights” at extremely close range. Also, unlike other automatic weapons, Shredder deals energy damage, bypassing all energy barriers.
Pulsar is on the opposite end of the spectrum to Shredder. You might call it “energy Molot”, if you'd like: it has longer range, reliable spread and works great for suppressing enemies from safer distances.
But what actually makes Shredder and Pulsar special?
Every bullet you shoot has a certain chance to immobilize (or Lock-down) a target for a few seconds.
What does it mean?
First, we address the elephant in the room: yes, this is a great way to counter agile enemies! Haechis and Spectres are first coming to the mind — now you have a proper tool to lock them down, making their mobility a much less intimidating factor.
If we talk about specific uses, Shredder is an amazing choice for hit and run tactics. Put three of these on Pursuer, shoot away — and most likely you will disable at least one enemy to get some time to hide, regroup, reload and then return to the fight.
Pulsar, on the other hand, is beastly when controlling the fight from afar. Pick the target, suppress it, and watch your teammates tearing apart. Possibilities these guns open for the teamplay are truly endless.
Why is the effect based on chance?
If we make strong status effects like immobilization work in 100% of cases, we can be sure that EVERY match will start with everybody using it as an engagement tool. In a coordinated team, this will be the most efficient way to open the fight: pick a target, lock it down, dismantle it together from afar, done.
We don't want every fight to start the same way. By making status effects chance-based, we drive force pilots to react instead of duly executing pre-memorized strategies.
War Robots is a game of large numbers, with tons of little things that can happen during one even robot-on-robot fight: many bullet hits, many maneuvers, many engages, disengages, sudden interferences from other pilots and so on. We tune chances to ensure that your gun's special effect will trigger somewhere in between these events in some amazingly satisfying way... but to truly capitalize on it you have to pay attention. That's where teamwork and coordination also enter the ring.
Is there a point in having more than 1 Shredder or Pulsar?
More guns = more bullets, meaning more chances. Adding new Shredders or Pulsar to your build proportionally increases the probability of root going through.
In the ideal situation, three level 8 Shredders or Pulsars should give you a guaranteed effect somewhere before you have to reload.
What makes these guns fair to play against?
First and foremost, we make sure that you won’t get disabled every 5 seconds — root-chains are just not fun to oppose, let’s put it straight. You shouldn't get hit by the same effect too often and always have a chance to retaliate, so every time you get locked down, you become immune to the same effect for about 8-10 seconds. We may retune these numbers later if there’s a need, but this is the core idea.
Also remember, that Shredder and Pulsar are not that strong in the damage department. It is a tradeoff that pilots have to take for the valuable utility it gives.
What will change as you upgrade Shredder/Pulsar?
Upgrading Shredder and Pulsar increases not just their damage, but also your chance of disabling the enemy. Effect’s duration remains the same.
Both Shredder and Pulsar are up for extensive testing on the test server. Feel free to join it this weekend and leave your feedback!