As the PlanetSide Turns…

A few weeks ago, SOE released a new weapon: the pump-action shotgun. New weapons in a F2P game is somewhat expected, with two different SMGs having been released the month before. I am starting to get the impression that a metaphorical corner has been turned with these shotguns though.

The problem? The shotguns offer a one-hit kill (OHK) at ~7 meters and less. A one-bodyhit kill.

It is nothing new that some guns are better at others at various ranges. Bullet damage decreases the farther it travels, and there are wild swings both in terms of Rate of Fire and Bullet Velocity amongst each factions’ arsenals. The difference this time, IMO, is reaction speed. If I see an enemy at the same moment he sees me, the fight comes down to a number of factors. Sometimes pulling the trigger first is the difference, especially when “bullet flinch” (which has thankfully been decreased) can cause your counter-attack to miss its mark. Of course, even if the enemy has a gun advantage over yours, you can still win with either better aim (headshots), luck (headshots), or environmental awareness (ducking behind cover, etc).

With the new pump-action shotguns, this has all changed. The outcome of any encounter is boiled down to a single variable: did the guy with a shotgun miss? If he didn’t, you’re dead. If he did… you’re probably still dead a few moments later. Your gun having a 1.27 second Time-To-Kill is meaningless when the shotgun’s is 0.00 seconds.

If you believe that the short OHK maximum range is a good enough downside, well, I would ask whether you play PlanetSide 2 at all. You see, for however large the “maps” are – and they are extremely huge – all of the infantry action typically takes place within 7 meters anyway. There are medium engagements, sure, but they are either always brief or consist of steady exchanges of fire from cover. The latter is necessary because tanks and jets will murder you in moments if you are spotted on open ground. Ergo, between the need for cover and that all capturable objectives are located in small sheds, a short-ranged weapon is no downside at all; especially not one with such a high payout.

In PlanetSide 2, you are either sniping or in bayonet range.

Honestly, something like this is probably less nefarious than it is inevitable. There are only so many “sidegrades” a design can accommodate before the number of permutations reveal downsides that aren’t downsides at all. Care has to be given to how the game itself plays out most commonly. A 30-second cooldown that increases damage by 10% is not the same as 100% damage cooldown every 5 minutes, no matter what it says on paper. Similarly, a gun with a low rate of fire and a high reload timer is irrelevant in a firefight that ends as soon as it begins.

There undoubtedly would be havoc unleashed should SOE come out and nerf the $7 shotgun, so I am not entirely sure what the solution to this newfound problem can be. Indeed, I have already resolved to purchasing the shotgun myself; not to fight fire with fire, but to eliminate the fire-starter before he can even react to the heat of my flames. The only reason I have hesitated is because, much like the SMG before it, another pump-shotgun variant is slated to be released soon. And it is entirely possible it will be more powerful than the original, which is how it worked out for the Vanu SMG.

Perhaps this new one will hit so hard it kills you again on the respawn. Or shoots explosive shells that damage tanks. Or both. The sky (up to 7 meters) is the limit.

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Posted on March 11, 2013, in PlanetSide 2 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I still prefer my automatic Nighthawk to the TR pump shotty personally. Trying to use the Uppercut with hip-fire felt way worse and I hate relying on ADS when I’m playing run-n-gun on my LA.

    Admittedly, since I only trialed the pump action, I didn’t get to put all the doodads and geegaws on it that I normally use. So that is probably effecting my judgement quite a lot. I’d like to give it a try on my engi with slugs and a decent scope, but I suppose that will have to wait until we get the VR room.

    All in all though, as it stands I feel that the pump action shotguns are just kinda gimmicky compared to the full auto shotguns. They’re ultimate high risk/high reward. If you miss one shot you’ll probably die, and god forbid you run into someone while you’re trying to reload after emptying your clip, both situations that might have been salvageable if you had the spray and pray and faster reload times available to the other shotguns.

    Maybe the 2nd wave will change my mind, but until then I don’t really have an issue with them.

    • You can interrupt the reload time by firing. So, in a way, the pump-action is probably the least affected by a mid-reload surprise.

      I will grant you that I am basing this mostly on Youtube videos and getting one-shot by this gun in-game. But, honestly, I don’t see the real “high risk” part of that equation. If you are missing with the shotgun, you are likely missing the first few rounds of whatever other gun you are using too; between bullet flinch and RoF, you are likely just as dead. It is a fair point to question how much better the pump-action is versus the other shotguns though. Given that I have survived auto-shotgun battles however, I am inclined to give the nod towards the pump-action.

      Thanks for the reminder about the VR room. I’m definitely making a post about that once it opens up – it sort of boggles my mind how awesome and novel it is in a sea of F2P “gotcha!” games.

      • I’m more surprised that it’s taken so bloody long for it to show up. I’ve been wanting to improve on my terrible flying skills since beta, but I really cannot be arsed to do it while I’m being shot down every few minutes just when I think I’m getting the hang of the damn thing.

        Definitely an overdue feature.

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