Alright, here’s the result of testing 8 fire SMGs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6nCn8idpc8 (EDIT: IGNORE THE FROSTFIRE BIT)
As per Hoyle’s request, I tested it in the first part of Pandora, and I think while it’s short and meaty, it’s not really the best place to test SMGs like these mainly because of just how much these f***ers move around! Therefore, there is a huge variability in how fast I kill these enemies even within the same run because they might cooperate or they might not and move and teleport around like there’s no tomorrow.
While I originally only intended to test the Hellfire, I realized I needed some sort of baseline so I included these 8 fire SMGs in the mix: Hellfire, glitched Maliwan SMG, Meat Grinder, Fast Talker, Cheat Code, glitched Hyperion SMG, Torrent, and Frostfire.
In all of my runs, I kept everything the same except for the guns. Aspis and Smite does introduce variability but you can see how the guns perform before Aspis and Smite kicks in very early on each of the runs.
Torrent was sort of the baseline - it performs very averagely. Let’s first point out the guns that didn’t do well.
Unlike what Hoyle thinks, Hellfire didn’t do badly. Instead, it was one of the “top gear” that performed pretty badly: Cheat Code and hyperion Glitched SMG.
While these should be easy to use, the ease of use goes right out the window when enemies are moving around like this and the stacking and damage output capabilities were quite poor. So in these testing conditions, these guns were not as good as the others (mind you, these 8 SMGs are still better than most others).
Meat Grinder and Fast Talker are universally considered some of the best SMGs out there, and for a good reason, too. Fast Talker imo is the clear winner of this testing, as it is good on stacking (only losing out to Hellfire and glitched Maliwan and meat Grinder) DPS, mag size, reload speed, and ease of use. It tears up small enemies and badasses equally and at any range, whereas the Meat Grinder really has trouble killing these dudes anything outside of whisper range. But still, it stacks and kills very fast when the enemy is very big and is up in your face.
So that leaves us with the three Maliwan SMGs - the SMGs OP doesn’t like, apparently.
Hellfire, as expected, stacks up high and fast and does great body damage since it has 50% splash. The splash helps out the Hellfire in many ways - DoT stacking and extra damage being two of them. Now, in this particular run, the enemies are especially uncooperative, I don’t make use of Aspis and Smite much at all, especially when compared to other runs, but when I can shoot them, holy damn do they melt away very quickly. Reviewing the footage, I also noticed the ease of use - while it doesn’t have reverse recoil like Hyperion SMGs, the DoTs allow you to miss and still do high damage (remember, DoTs actually do good damage in TPS, especially with Hellfire) AND stack. And the hipfire is pretty good too.
Glitched Maliwan SMG was a surprising one - while it is absolutely beat by Hellfire in all ways possible, with the right glitch effects, especially the yellow one, it WRECKS. It even manages to edge out the Hellfire when it has the gltich effect active. One interesting thing of note is that after shooting at testing dummy for a while (same constants, no swapping/smite/aspis/grenade to help stack), Hellfire rapidly reaches and solidly manages 400 stacks, whereas the glitched Maliwan SMG, even with THREE back-to-back yellow glitches, only managed to hold 330 stacks. You should also note that the glitched Maliwan SMG does NOT have any splash damage, so it does less damage and doesn’t stack as fast without the glitch effects. The disparity between what we see here and what I experienced shooting at the dummy probably could be attributed to the fact that I really missed a lot of shots in Hellfire run and the yellow glitch on the Glitched SMG made up for the fact that I was missing. If you want to see me NOT missing as much with the Hellfire and showing its full potential, see this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaPTljgjaFc (Hellfire really IS good)
IGNORE THIS. FROSTFIRE CAN ONLY BE OBTAINED IN NORMAL MODE: And the last but not least, we have the Frostfire. This gun honestly surprised me. Sure, I wasn’t using any cryo on other runs, but even considering that, it performs really well! But what about the self-freezing effect? 1. It doesn’t activate very frequently, 2. unlike in BL2 where being slagged was a death sentence, since you can freeze enemies to make them stop moving, being frozen is not really a big threat at all, 3. you can simply wear a warming shield to negate this.
So we already knew the Meat Grinder and Fast Talker was good. Torrent was too “meh” for me, and the Maliwan SMGs all performed very well, even against many of the Top Gears. So what does this mean for the top gear list? Well, like how Cheat Code by itself really shouldn’t be up there on the Top Gear list but is since it is bundled with Fatale (which definite is deserving of Top gear title), the Maliwan SMGs should have their own place, lumped together.
The current guideline for Top Gear says:
The structure of the guide will be as follows: 3 to 6 slots in each category for the Top Gear: the best bits of gear that benefit Athena in the following categories:
Ease of Use
Synergy with Athena’s Skills
Other Factors (Moxxi, Melee, Glitch, Farmability, etc.)
And these Maliwan SMGs definitely qualify on DPS, Ammo, ease of use, elemental versatility, and HUGE synergy with Athena’s skills.
But there are already 6 slots in SMGs! What do we do? We can organize the guns by FUNCTION: Fridgia and Fatale are for freezing, IVF is for chucking, Meat Grinder is for close-up damage, Torrent is mostly outclassed by Fast Talker which is a great general all-purpose gun with high DPS, RoF, accuracy, range, stacking abilities, and Maliwan SMGs are for the DoTs and elemental synergy with CS tree.