(Spoilers) Feedback for balance of high damage single hit vs low damage rapid fire

While playing with a Heavy/Sniper hybrid, I discovered that Rage Burst (the ability that empties the gun into whatever you’re aiming at) is extremely strong to the point of removing the need for anything else in certain situations (especially Citadel missions and any situation involving a single large target like Chirons and Scylla).

I have a solution that I think would increase the viability of other methods of dealing with very strong enemies while completely maintaining the utility of sniper rifles and Rage Burst (which should obviously be strong as it is a 7th level ability).

TLDR: A shield type ability which could be an AOE or personal/single target buff that reduces incoming damage by a percentage before armor is applied. (Ex: a 120 damage sniper shot is reduced by 30% from the shield effect to 84 before being applied to a 40 armor limb, reducing total damage to 44.)

For example: In a Citadel mission, especially early before more than one Scylla is present at a time:

  1. Using a scout, locate the target.
  2. Have a heavy/sniper hybrid (or a heavy of any type with high accuracy that can use a sniper rifle) Rage Burst with the Synedrion sniper rifle (which incidentally has a very high capacity clip) at the Scylla on whatever the lowest armor body part is.
  3. Damage on say a 40 armor leg will be reduced to 80 (120-40 = 80), number of shots that hit is 14 (with high accuracy ~95%) doing 1,120 damage to the Scylla.
  4. Scylla either outright dies, ending the mission with little to no risk, or you need to do a little more damage with explosives/another sniper/etc.

I’ve run into similar situations where (for example) the first time I ran into a Scylla was in a Haven defense mission, and I just sort of did a panic Rage Burst and it died instantly, leading to a rather anti-climactic “Ultimate Enemy” that didn’t feel great after the initial terror of seeing it.

My solution is a second type of damage reduction to compliment armor, where instead of flat reduction (which is very, very effective against rapid fire weapons) it removes a percentage of incoming damage, making rapid fire weapons much more attractive, especially when armor piercing becomes involved.

Normally, piercing is strictly worse than regular increased damage, because a weapon with 20 damage 20 piercing has a MAXIMUM damage of 20 per shot, whereas a weapon with 40 damage has double possible damage, while still ignoring the same amount of armor. In a situation where a target has 20 or more armor on a limb (extremely common even early), both of these weapons are exactly as effective, with the armor piercing weapon actually being worse below 20 armor.

(For the sake of comparison, in the Citadel scenario the AP Jericho sniper rifle does only 900 damage if every shot hits)

A percentage reduction shield effect would make rapid fire/armor piercing a tool that actually has a utility in various situations, while increasing the utility of shred and maintaining the appeal of high single hit weapons in most situations.

With something like the shield scenario, if weapon damage is reduced by half, a target with 20 armor would take (per bullet) 10 damage from the armor piercing weapon, and 0 from the 40 damage weapon. At 10 armor, the target would take equal damage from both weapons, below 10 the regular weapon starts to outperform the armor piercing (which is fine, armor piercing doesn’t need to be the solution to everything).

Looking at the Citadel scenario again, with (for example) a Chiron whose abdomen (or even the Scylla’s abdomen/carapace) projects a psychic “shield bubble” 20 tiles around it that gives all allies 50% incoming damage reduction.

  1. Locate Scylla.

  2. A. Rage Burst Laser Sniper at 40 armor leg. ((120/2) - 40 = 20 per shot damage) * 15 = 300 damage
    B. Rage Burst AP Jericho Sniper (overcomes armor entirely up to 50). ((130/2) - 0 = 65) * 10 = 650 damage

In either of these cases, you still get to do significant damage to a heavily armored target, but the armor piercing has become dramatically more useful, and you are forced to commit twice as many resources (in terms of ammo cost at least) if you want to take the relatively very safe, long range, instant victory.

Other advantages to a second damage reduction type are that you can have enemies with lower armor thresholds still be intimidating, rapid fire weapons and weapons with low damage / armor piercing capabilities viable in certain situations for longer, DOT effects and shred (shred should probably be unaffected by shields) become much more appealing, and if the players acquire a similar type of tech it would give some kind of defense against the initial round of unavoidable grenades/artillery from enemy forces (which is honestly my least favorite part of the game as they are impossible to avoid if you can’t destroy all of the crabby boi arms on turn one, and they can cripple a soldier before they get a chance to do anything).

Aaanyway. That’s my thoughts on this topic, I hope someone on the team finds it useful. If you made it this far, thanks for reading.

Edit: Formatting.

I failed build a link in your post between the OP hole aspect of Rage Burst and using armor system based on percentage reduction.

Firstly about percentage reduction, yes they balance single shot and multiple shot, but such system is simplifying the choices, it’s not about number of shot but about damages amount with one attack. I see only simplification, not improvement.

Secondly about Rage Burst OP holes. I don’t know yet if such OP holes are the only way to find the game fun up to a campaign final, and then is a deliberate design allowing many missions done in 1 or 2 turns. Or if it’s a design error and a pure OP hole that need be fixed.

So I’ll bet on second possibility, it’s an OP hole. Then it needs be limited, yeah read nerfed. There’s so many way to do it so I’ll skip.

Beside various OP holes that seem mainly based on Stealth, or Rage Burst, or AP restore skills, for me the tactical design seems have lack of depth on the range aspect. Longer range is too much favored with too few counter balance, I mean from a global perspective not from a direct comparison between for example Sniper/Heavy and Berzerker/Assault. But yeah that’s another topic.

I was giving feedback about how high damage weapons are far better in a flat reduction situation than multi hit weapons and offering a solution that adds tactical depth with needing a variety of solutions rather than just single target dps.

I don’t think it’s much diversity to have all weapons just qualified by damage amount.

Shred armor and one virus per bullet is what could make useful multi bullets shot. and if it’s not this is because Rage Burst is OP and a bad design idea.

I showed the math above if you bothered to look at it. I’m explicitly talking about damage calculations and math, if you don’t care about the math please go away, because I’m not here to talk about rage burst being overpowered.

First, there’s nothing wrong with rage burst being very strong against one target, it’s a 7th level ability. The problem comes in when it’s the obvious solution to any strong enemy.

Second, I wasn’t talking about rage burst as the problem in my post, I was talking about how due to armor mitigation works with math, high damage single shot weapons are always preferable in the action point model. Rage burst just puts a spotlight on how much stronger those weapons are,so I used it in my example.

Now that those are out of the way.

In a non extreme example, if you are in a fight with multiple targets that have an average of 20 armor, and a siren that has a head that projects a shield on 3 of those enemies including itself.

A laser sniper rifle does (120/2 - 20) 40 damage per hit, which if you use 2 quickshots gives you 80 damage on target.

An ap pdw does (20/2 - 0) 10 damage per hit, with a burst of 6 and 4 attacks it can do 240 damage on a target. Even more with quickshots. This makes the decision of who to shit with what much more tactical, because you have to decide whether it’s better to focus lesser damage accurately on the one limb (head of siren) or use a less accurate weapon for higher dpr.

As a side note, you said that ammo usage isn’t enough of a problem to matter, but more damage mitigation requires more ammo, which means it becomes a very real problem when you can only carry 3 magazines for your sniper rifle to rage burst with and they don’t kill instantly.

I disagree, this change favors AP capable weapons and negatively affects normal multishot weapons. on top of that it doesn’t state any method of removing the % added protection, rendering the current method of using such weapons (using armor breakers to create 0-armor weakspots) significantly less effective.

the majority of the comparison pits a AP capable weapon against a high damage non AP capable weapon. substituting the numbers for any of the non-AP using multishot weapons (ares, AR-L, bulldog, shotguns, MG’s) and they come out well just as bad if not worse then they do now. (substitute any of the above in the pythagoras versus AP PDW example…and all save the MG with its shred will hit 0 damage)

multi-projectile weapons tend to have very high damage potential per AP. (basic AR’s at 80-90, shotguns to up to 200 dmg per AP) and are mitigated by their “vulnerability” against armor. if you create a gap and rage burst an ARL mag in it, the gun hits for 1800 damage (60X30) the current system actually works fine. even though more methods of effective armor shred would be appriciated.

I mean, the basic Assault Rifle does 180 damage if all 6 bullets hit against 0 armor. There are plenty of ways to shred armor to zero, and in that case the Assault Rifle does much more damage than single shot high damage.

Shields sound interesting, I didn’t read your entire post. But I can tell you that Rage Burst is busted in its current state, and the easiest solution would be to address that ability, rather than create a new mechanic.

Shields do sound cool though. xD

I specifically said putting it as a field on a body part, I assumed that people reading would understand that the field could be removed by focusing damage on the part creating the field, just like all effects generated by specific body parts.

As joshy pointed out, reducing armor as normal with shred weapons opens opportunities for non ap weapons.

At the moment there is really only a “rock/paper” relationship between damage and damage reduction, either you have the counter or you don’t. I’m suggesting a “scissors” that rounds out the dynamic.

removing a bodypart does not automatically remove the defenses, depends if it acts like armor…or like an ability, but okay…lets say that I can remove the bodypart that governs this shield.

what benefit does this bring? instead of having to punch a gap in the armor…now I have to do that on top of removing the shield. and if I can do that with the multi-shot weapons it wouldn’t be a large step to assume heavy 1 shot weapons would be able to do the exact same thing. resulting in the exact same scenario as we have in the vanilla game at this moment.
as such…it isn’t much of a scissor…it doesn’t actually change the approach. as you probably are going to use big guns to strip/disable. as you need something with enough ooph to get past the armor while your damage is being cut down by the % dmg reduction effect.

this is why I feel this suggestion doesn’t seem to benefit multi-projectile weapons over large single hitters in any way (% damage reduction is non-discriminatory…so it affects large and small weapons in equal measure). even worse, because of the order it operates in…it hurts high volume of fire weapons more…except for weapons that have “damage” that isn’t affected by the shield (AP, and possibly status effects like poison) this would be okay if small weapons all had these effects…but they don’t (and it wouldn’t be balanced if they did, but that is besides the point)

now the idea of the topic is sound, as to give AR’s, PDW’s and MG’s a better position. But if we are looking into mutation skills on the pandorans, wouldn’t a good anti-large weapon ability be something akin to an ablator? basically an outer layer that has to be hit X amount of times to be chipped off and open the part up for actual damage. where the effect on the ablation material is measured in number of hits rather then damage output.
This does change the approach as rather then going in with something big first to knock the armor-rating/shield off…you would first go rapid fire to chip off the ablator…then use a cannon/sniper to strip armor and then finally go for the damage-per-AP weaponry to chew through HP. you can even have units that have 0 armor and rely completely on the ablator…improving the position of rapid fire weapons considerably.

I was thinking about ablation /fixed number of hits, but it just seemed a little iffy to me, because it designates an absolutely required number of hits, and if say you get hit by an explosive that breaks an arm right away, you can’t use any automatic weapons.

I think ablative could also work if blast/fire/acid/poison/shred worked through it, and it only stopped direct damage like bullets and melee.

What Math, it’s just basic classic math, percentage armor make equals one strong attack with multiple smaller attack. 10 Damages same effect than 2*5 damages, it’s percentages.

With such system, it’s just about total damages of one attack.

A berserkers with a laser pistol can reduce armor on any big part relieably. After that any assault rifle can do a lot of damage. Any skill that give 20-30% damage improve assault rifle a lot when the armor is not reduce enough.

The problem seems to lie in an ability to use what is a single shot weapon as a machine gun. Like many skills in PP it seems to undermine mechanics, rather then enrich them.

I don’t mind the ability to mix mechanics in different ways, multiclassing is something I really appreciate in this type of game, it allows for a variety of unexpected tactics. The problem in this specific case is, like you said, using a sniper like a machine gun. In the backer builds, snipers only had a magazine of like 4 shots, I think something closer to that could balance them atleast with rage burst.

Heavy/Sniper seems power enough? What about sniper/berserker with MG perk equipped with sniper armor. Far more economic : )