From some comments made by @Chuck80 in a video recently I was motivated to talk about how ARs, Pistols, and SMGs all kinda occupy the same space in the game and how Gearbox can maybe improve on this. I made this video and many of the comments were so good I thought I would continue the topic here.
Here is the video
Now because this is a text based forum here are some bullet points
- While you ADS SMGs, Pistols, and ARs all have near 100% accuracy making them all have similar range
- ARs should have much longer range than Pistols and SMGs
- Many Pistols are too close in design to thier AR or SMG counter part
- Jakobs,Bandit, and Vladof Pistols and ARs have similar stats, range, and use case
- Hyperion Pistols and SMGs are almost the same thing
- Maliwan and Torgue differentiate the best but are not too different.
- Have damage drop off like in BB for weapon types
- Have the accuracy cones spread out exponentially at range with some gun types
- Change up the base stats more to make them more unique
What ideas do you have?
Here are some comments from the video (youtube comments can be good???)
I think it’s hard to balance. I’m not sure how high the movement penalty for aiming down sights is. Maybe give different weapons a different one. You’ll move faster when ads with a SMG and really slow when using a Bandit AR for example. Doesn’t fix the range problem but makes them feel more unique for their class.
the range penalty in place of an accuracy change makes perfect sense.
I think another way to differentiate would be to give weapon types that traditionally have higher calibers armor piercing qualities, in varying degrees, as a bonus.
This would apply to all rifles (ARs and Snipers) and certain red text variants of other weapon types? Either assign it to a new weapon part (magazine type, such that a tediore or bandit/scav would lack it in favor of capacity) or create a class within an existing weapon part that would carry the armor piercing quality.
This particular trait could be non-elemental, and allow for status effects on armored targets sans corrosive, or significantly boosting chances for a corrosive status effect on armored targets.
This armor piercing effect could have a game mechanic like crits where it amounts to a boosted percentage of listed damage, and the resulting damage could then be boosted by critical hit percentages. As a trade off recoil for these weapons needs to be high.
Adding this along with the range bonus/penalty to adjust for the accuracy parity and you might have some real balance and a bonus for using ARs at end game.
The problem isn’t accuracy, it’s the complete lack of attenuation. A bullet fired from a pistol will travel to the horizon, and do full damage to the first thing it intersects with. The same is true of a SMG or AR.
I’m tempted to agree that damage drop-off over range would be a good idea, although with the caveat that this didn’t apply to some weapons - for instance, keeping the damage constant could be part of what sets the Bitch and other unique SMGs apart.
Bullet speed might be a consideration as well, esp. since that is often lacking in several makes of AR and is sometimes exacerbated by a wind-up time - while a Hyperion or Tediore SMG is nearly hitscan.
I feel like pistols are another sack of ferrets, since the manufacturer gimmicks become so much more apparent in them. Tricky subject, but interesting.
I love discussions about game physics. On the topic of bullet drop-off though, I’m not sure I like this idea, as you mentioned in the second half of this video typical FPS games use this mechanic but I don’t like that idea for a game like Borderlands. Honestly I’m fine with multiple weapon types filling the same slot, to me that just means more ammo. I do understand the argument that there are too many similarities though. I’d like it if all ARs functioned more like Jakobs ARs, great accuracy but heavy recoil closer to snipers than SMGs, as opposed to the current SMGs which I feel should have the typical high RoF but shouldn’t be as accurate as they are, with the Hyperion exception. I’d like my SMGs to be more like hip-fire weapons with a wide spread, similar to full-auto shotguns as opposed to highly accurate crit machines, like the Tattler, Slagga, Bone Shredder, Lascaux etc. Though in saying that, my favorite shotguns are Hyperion and they’re functionally unlike all other shotguns in that they’re the highly accurate crit machines that SMGs are.
As for pistols, again I’d like it if they were mostly like Jakobs, high damage but huge recoil, Vladof pistols feel /too/ accurate and their magazine capacity is too high coupled with their RoF while Torgue pistols are way too accurate for what they should be considering the huge damage output. Jakobs pistols recoil all over the damn place, I like that feel.
How it is right now:
Fire rate B
Fire rate C to A depending on brands
Fire rate A
How it should be:
Fire rate B
Fire rate D
With a special something to make them stand out that is not stats related
Fire rate A
The distinction between revolvers and machine pistols is an interesting one, but the one between machine pistols and SMGs is irrelevant as they really do the same thing (bullet hose at short range) So I would merge them and have pistols/revolvers be very different. Torgue, Mailwan, Jakobs and Dahl pistols were different…and interesting, Bandit Hyperion, Tediore and Vladof pistols are just SMGs with different looks and they bring very little to the table.
Pistols need their unique thing, and based on what the game is already doing anyway, the most relevant thing would be a type B crit bonus accross the board: Pistols have already the biggest of all Jakobs type B (25% while all other Jakobs guns have 15%), and they are the only weapon type that can get one on any brand (through the Hyperion barrel) Also, think of the lady fist, the crit fibber, the Unforgiven, Gwen’s head… BL2 is full of pistols with an emphasis on crits
It also fits with pistol builds the franchise is known for (Modercai and Zero) as a great place to be for crit-based characters, so there would be an incentive to use them with the gunslinger characters. It also encourages a different playstyle since you would need to get those crits to deal damage…but you would also need to be close to get them, making that playstyle very different from a Sniper one.
Pistols need to be different rather than unnecessarily powerful, otherwise they will step on the toes of one of the similar weapon types: If they’re too powerful or accurate, they step on ARs and if they’re too fast, they step on SMGs
It could be anything though, a Crit bonus is just the most natural thing that comes to mind.
An emphasis on speed would also make sense since pistols are pretty easy to tote: A VERY fast swap speed, reload speed and Aim speed, Ultra-fast recoil recovery, no penalty to movement speed for ADS with pistols.
Or a focus on the fact that they’re the only gun type that only needs one hand to use, leaving a free hand to do something else. The ability to wield 2 at a time or to do melee attacks with a weapon (since all other gun types require 2 hands, that would be a great way to make Pistols interesting and open up a new way to think about hybrid builds) Or again, lightning fast reloads (since you have a free hand for that.)
Range bands, and accuracy.
Pistol Extreme (Not Mashers) is roughly the same as assault rifle point blank ranges.
Shotgun Extreme is roughly 60 to 80% of Pistol Extreme, but in a narrow cone, range and cone size is determined by any choke.
SMG’s should be double pistol ranges, excluding any scope effects, and Assault Rifles should be roughly 2 to 3 times as long.
Battle Rifles (Jakobs) could be upto double Assault Rifle lower ranges.
Accuracy should be range limited, personally overriding any Manufacturer modifiers.
Pistols should be the guns with the lowest DPS but greatest ammo pool and lowest cost for ammo. I think Revolvers and Repeaters should be separated again so that Revolvers are way more powerful but have a lower ammo pool and higher ammo costs.
And like you said lower range. More distance to target = less damage after a certain distance so you don’t want to snipe with pistols (same with SMG’s) AR’s shouldn’t have this issues so they are a like a SMG/Sniper Rifle Hybrid like they should be.
Same with Shotguns. Hyperion shotties are stupid in my mind though I absolutely love my CC, Interfacer and Butcher. But it is not good that you can use them in middle to high range without drawbacks that is not what shotty’s should do.
To say it all in once they should give all weapon types strenghts and weaknesses in damage and range.
For low to middle range pistols, shotty’s and SMG’s and for middle to low range AR’s and of course Snipers but give this weapons lower ammo pools and higher prices for ammo.
And also stop this ■■■■■■■■ with ammo drop rates: The lower your ammo for weapon types the more you get out of chests for them. That is not a good idea im my mind, because it makes ammo a ■■■■■■■ common and pointless thing. Same with ammo charing in MP, that is ■■■■■■■■.
I was using a Lyuda in the Peak and I got NEVER Out of ammo, because everytime my ammo is low as ■■■■ the game puked the ammo all over me. Often more then I ■■■■■■■ needed
I feel like they need to better define the stat spreads between each class as a start. At least so that each class feels different. ARs should have high damage, but middling fire rate, reload speeds, and mag sizes. SMGs should have low damage, but high fire rates, middling reload speeds, and massive mags.There should be notable ranges with little overlap. A Vladof AR should be able to approach and even surpass lower end SMG fire rates, but shouldn’t be able to top their best for example.
Then Gearbox could go on to make it so that SMGs don’t gain as much accuracy by being ADSd, but have next to no accuracy lose while shot from the hip so they’re good for mid/close range hipfiring, ARs should have more accuracy loss while hipfired but be very easy to handle and accurate while ADSd.
I like that Pistols already tend to be small mag/fast reload, but I’m unsure what else could be done with them. Maybe if they had SMG damage, but fire rates between them and ARs along with good Hip-fire and ADS potential so they could be a middle ground option, jack of all trades style, if you’ve already filled your loadout of weapons and can’t take both an SMG and an AR. Add in their faster swap speed and the most plentiful ammo pool and it might make the cut for them.
Since elements were an accessory in B1, Maliwan never made any mashers. Now that Maliwan Pistols come with a splash effect I think that being able to have Maliwan Mashers would be the coolest thing ever. Or the thunderball fist as a masher.
IMO the accuracy of pistols and SMGs should be significantly less at range, and ARs more useful at midrange. In Borderlands 2, I can’t think of a time in which I want any AR over a solid Hyerion SMG or even a Vladof Sniper rifle.
It’s easier to control the recoil on a Droog than a Vladof AR, and the damage potential, especially with my main zer0, is a lot higher. Even on characters that don’t specialize in crits or sniper rifles, I genuinely believe that Vladof sniper rifle outperforms most assault rifles, at least for my playstyle.
For ARs to be viable, I think one needs to nerf Vladof snipers.
Another idea would be for inaccuracy of pistols and SMGs to scale on a curve, rather than linearly. I’m not sure if I can describe this adequately, but the idea is that instead of the bullets being confined to just a regular cone of accuracy, the cone gets wider disproportionately at range: http://i.stack.imgur.com/evsbF.png
Then give assualt rifles a linear cone at close range, making them excel at medium range where SMGs cant.
I would also argue that Hyperion SMGs are too accurate and too easy to handle. While many assualt rifles have a theoretically higher DPS, what matters is the DPS that I, the imperfect user, can actually deliver to the target. Given variables like recoil, I find I can often achieve higher DPS in practice with a Hyperion SMG than any Assualt Rifle manufacturer (except for Dahl), simply due to the ease of staying on target and constantly hitting crits.
Another idea would be to give Assault Rifles a spray pattern, similar to CounterStrike. It could vary slightly by manufacturer, and another depth of technical skill for a player to attain in an, as you say, arcadey game. If you’re not familiar with CS spray patterns: http://twowordbird.com/articles/csgo-recoil-mechanics/Comparatively, were such a mechanic implemented into Borderlands, I’d like to see it be easier than in CS: slower progression of the pattern, changes direction less violent, simpler shapes. A good example would be the first half of the SG-553’s spray pattern
Pistols I can’t really comment about, because the only ones I use are the grog nozzle and the lady fist.
Well, it’s sort of weird that SMG exists at all. It’s a relic from WW1 to essentially create better automatic pistol. SMGs use pistol cartridges with the exception of a few new ones. Since the 80s most SMG are replaced by AR, they simply have better range, penetration and even pretty good mobility. So the “role” of SMG is pretty much gone in modern combat. Well, actually it can replace pistols to serve as an alternative sidearm.
However, in videogames they kept it for some reason, gun variety maybe, but who knows. This might be a really unpopular opinion but I think dropping SMG and replacing that with Laser is far more intriguing concept in this Sci-Fi game.
Anyway we can have a detailed discussion on a thread as I don’t usually do long comments on youtube.
There were lots more but I don’t want to go on forever. Anyways I would love to hear what everyone here has to say on this.