This article is written by Ol' Pappy, a frequent WarRobots.Net contributor and also a pilot with years of combat experience behind. Enjoy!
On May 15, 1718, a pudgy British inventor entered the patent office in London, England, with plans for a revolutionary device: a musket that could fire multiple lead balls without the need for reloading after each shot.
James Puckle’s gun, known both as the “Puckle Gun” and as the “machine gun,” was largely meant to be a defensive weapon. At the time, the British Navy ruled the seas, and was always looking for a technological advantage over its foes.
The Puckle Gun was designed to stop enemies from boarding navy ships. Standing on a tripod, the weapon could in quick succession fire up to eleven shots from its three-foot-long barrel — more than enough firepower to take down several invaders trying to clamber aboard your vessel.
Patent in hand, Puckle eagerly set about trying to promote his machine gun. He pitched its deadly effectiveness to investor after investor — but to no avail. In 1722, he even held a public display, during which he was able to shoot his gun sixty-three times in seven minutes — roughly nine shots per minute, an amazing rate of fire compared to a typical musket, which could be fired only about two to four times in 60 seconds, depending on the skill of the user.
Alas, for poor Puckle, the military men of his day were set in their ways. They scoffed at Puckle’s “machine gun” and, in the end, he only managed to make two working prototypes. One newspaper snickered that the only people the guns ever wounded were the investors who were foolish enough to invest in Puckle’s scheme.
Fast forward to the late 1890s. At the time, an inventor named Hiram Maxim was on a European tour, showing off his latest invention — a machine gun that used smokeless powder, and that could fire 666 bullets per minute. At an exhibition in Switzerland, Maxim’s weapon shocked observers with its deadly killing power.
“No gun has ever been made in the world that could kill so many men and horses in so short a time,” one officer said in horror. “It is the most dreadful instrument that I have ever seen or imagined!”
Within two decades, machine guns — along with other killing technologies like heavy artillery, poison gas, tanks, and even rockets — would slaughter millions of men during the First World War (a conflict that ended one hundred years ago this year). Advancements in weaponry have occurred exponentially since the world wars. The same can be said for War Robots.
Machine guns in War Robots
In the game’s early days, machine guns, like the Molot/Molot-T and the Punisher/Punisher-T were quite simply the deadliest weapons on option. The Molot’s 800-metre range allowed users to lay down supressing fire from far distances, while the Punisher, at close range, was a buzz saw that chewed up the opposition.
This was prior to the invention and introduction of the Taran — the game’s first plasma-based weapon. The coming of plasma weapons opened the floodgates for a host of energy-based weapons, including Shocktrains and Zeus and Scourge, with incredible damage potential — so much so that they seemed to have made ballistics weapons obsolete — both at long and mid-range, as well as up close, where machine guns struggle to compete with Tarans and Orkans.
However, for machine-gun fans, not all is lost. The introduction of Avenger — the new heavy machine gun — has added a new spark to the game. Here’s the best options now for fans of old-school ballistic weapons:
Inquisitor with Avenger and Punisher-Ts
Great for knocking down energy shields from distance, and deadly up close, the Inquisitor with Avenger and Punisher-Ts lays down a storm of bullets starting at 500 metres. Inquisitor’s stealth jump is a crucial necessity for its effectiveness. Without it, you would be basically a sitting duck for devastating counterfire from a host of weapons. But with it, you can knock down an energy shield and then safely leap in for the kill.
Strider with Avenger and Punishers
Strider’s ability to store multiple dashes pairs nicely with the Avenger/Punisher’s usefulness as a support weapon. Used smartly, a ballistics Strider can work effectively with teammates more common weapons such as Orkans or Tarans. The Strider can stand back around 400 to 500 metres and lay down a continuous hail of bullets, drawing enemy fire as its teammates dash-in to finish the job. The constant fire of bullets helps deplete energy shields, and keeps most Shocktrain users hiding behind cover, allowing your teammates to advance across the battlefield. When cornered, Strider’s multiple dashes allow it either to escape to safety, or dash in to point blank range, where the Avenger and Punishers truly shine.
Lancelot with Avengers and Punishers
With Dash bots and Spectres ruling the battlefield these days, it’s easy to believe that Lancelots have become obsolete. While the days of Lance ruling the roost are long gone, the build can still be effective with Avengers and Punisher-Ts. Thanks to the Lance’s shield, it can absorb plenty of punishment as you rumble ever closer to your enemies. The key is to stay around the 360 to 400 metre distance, out of range of Orkans and Tarans. As played smartly as part of a coordinated team push, the ballistics Lancelot can be the battering ram that breaks the enemy’s defenses, allowing teammates to push through to victory.
Now, it must be said that ballistics weapons aren’t for everyone — at least, not as they are currently designed in the game. Running them effectively is extremely challenging due to the lengthy firing times and reload rates.
In fact, if I could snap my finger, Thanos-like, and make changes to the weapons, I would immediately:
• reduce the reload for machine guns to five seconds;
• speed up the firing rate;
• improve the accuracy at max distance by at least 15 to 20 percent.
Still, the new Avenger offers a great new option for lovers of old-school weapons. So, pilots, if you aren’t a fan of the easy road… if you still believe skill matters… if you aren’t a fan of insta-kill weapons… then Avenger/Punishers, are for you. Avenger is certainly a fun addition to any War Robots fan’s arsenal. As they say: “When shooting in the dark, it is best to use a machine gun.”