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> Let's talk about machine guns, And why Catalyst need to hire someone competent to talk to about guns.
Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 07:54 AM
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Before I begin, this post is largely a copy and paste job from a rant I had over on the Something Awful Forums.

The general primer on a machine gun is that it is a fully automatic firearm, usually firing from a belt, made to provide support and suppress. This is a simple concept. They fire small arms rounds, most commonly being intermediate calibers fired from assault rifles, while the larger end fire rounds that are designed to damage or destroy light vehicles. They are generally crew served weapons(this does not mean they need a crew to be used in combat, with the exception of transporting HMGs and autocannons). Most fire from belts but some, older models in particular, may fire from magazines.

An LMG is basically a belt-fed assault rifle(And in some cases literally is a belt fed modification of an assault rifle), and may also be known as a Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW.. They're heavier(in reality this means less recoil for a given round), but still average out at something like 22 pounds loaded versus about 7 pounds for your average assault rifle. They fire the same rounds as an assault rifle. Think 5.56mm(like for a M249 and an M16), or 7.62x39mm (an AK-47 and a RPD). These are pretty light overall, and are used down to the squad level quite often, to the point where a single section or squad may even have two.

An MMG or General Purpose Machine Gun fire full size rifle rounds. They average out at around 30 pounds, loaded, where as a rifle firing the same round weighs about 10 loaded on average. Think an M240, M60, PKM, or the classic MG42 for an MMG/GPMG. M14s, SVDs, and FN FALs are all good examples of rifles firing the same kind of round round. These are generally present at the Platoon level, in moderate numbers, and weapons used as GPMGs may even be used down to the squad level. Most military vehicles mount, or are capable of mounting, an MMG/GPMG as a antipersonnel weapon.

The HMG class are big-fuckoff MGs. They're the biggest thing out there until you get into autocannons and the upper end of anti-material rifles(which are pretty much autocannons that are bolt action or semi-auto). Most of these are .50 caliber and up, the most famous of which is the Browning M2, firing the iconic .50 BMG(BMG stands for Browning Machine Gun, seriously). The M2 weighs in at 82 pounds, plus ammo. HMGs are most commonly vehicle mounted, and have a long history of being a light defense against air, whether that be helicopters or older war planes.

Autocannons are the grandaddy of all machine guns. There's nothing bigger. Firing 20mm or larger rounds, these incredibly powerful weapons are used as main guns on IFVs, and APCs, they're the primary form of AAA(anti-aircraft artillery), serve as secondary weapons on some tanks, and are present on virtually every fighter aircraft since the 1950s. The legendary GAU-8 of the A-10 'Warthog'(technically it's name is the Thunderbolt II) is an autocannon, as are many of the guns used on early WW2 tanks!

Now, let's take a look at some maths. An M240 is about 30 pounds, being fired by someone who's probably 180 pounds or more. One sixth of their bodyweight. This is still readily controllable, even if it's not something that's fun to pack around all day. A troll weighs an average of SIX HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE POUNDS. That's EIGHT TIMES as much as the M2. With a 105 round belt, in a can, the M2 would weigh in at 118 pounds...

Which is about 1/6th the trolls weight, same as the MMG to human ratio! So to a troll, a HMG is a MMG! So the HMG to human ratio is about 2/3rds, right? Well the Troll to a MOTHER FRAGGING AUTOCANNON(in this case, the Bushmaster 25mm from a Bradley IFV) ratio, with ammo, is less than 2 to 1. Yes, that's right, Trolls make autocannons look like oversized MMGs rather than HMGs. A troll-equivilent HMG would be more like 440 pounds with ammo.

Now, after a bit of digging, I found the troll version of an HMG. It's a fucking Bushmaster III, a 40mm autocannon. Like serious fucking big leagues, you don't get any bigger without going into full blow ARTILLERY or the guns on goddamned motherfucking TANKS.


Now, let's look at what it takes to carry machine guns in Shadowrun 5e! Exciting! First, anyone can use an LMG, no problem at all. But then you get to MMGs, and a world class, top 1% human weightlifter cannot manage to use one, despite an average weight of 30 pounds loaded! That's right everybody, Andre the Giant, with his obviously maxed out mundane strength of 7, couldn't manage to fire a 30 pound gun that uses rifle bullets. An ork in the top 10% could by hitting his natural unaugmented limit though! And the average troll could as well! Now, an HMG is pretty heavy. Normal humans can't really pack these big suckers around in combat, they're just too heavy and too unwieldy. But could an ork? Nope. Could a troll? YES! A 661 pound troll, with a strength score of 10, could manage to use an 102 pound HMG! But, they could NEVER manage to carry an autocannon, not even the lightest autocannons, because they're vehicle mounted.

Now that our basic discussion is over, I'd like to add one little note. While nothing but a vehicle can fire an autocannon in shadowrun, the weakest human, with a measly 1 strength, could fire an assault cannon, which is very likely firing an autocannon round. A CHILD can handle this enormously powerful gun(for a specific example, thing of the Anzio 20mm rifles, or the Lahti L-39), but only the toughest trolls can handle a heavy machine gun.

In closing: Get your shit together Catalyst. An LMG does the same damage as an assault rifle, a MMG does the same as the average sniper/sporting rifle, and a HMG does the same as the top end of snipers. An autocannon is a valid gun for a big troll. They do not suffer from drastic, virtually uncontrollable recoil. They do not require superhuman strength to use(with the exception of HMGs and autocannons). As it stands now, there are nearly no distinct advantages to having a machine gun, and with the introduction of drum magazines(which I assume will be in Run and Gun), they will have NO advantages.

I'm sure there's someone among you who can manage to rub two brain cells together to figure this out. Y'know, I'm pretty sure as adults you can do basic research. If not, well, I suggest you help Shadowrun fans by finding competent replacements, and then help the gene pool by removing yourselves from it.



TL:DR on this mess: Catalyst need to unfrag themselves. Either go all out with the gun nerding and make an attempt to understand how drek actually works, or don't bother with guns at all besides having a single generic firearm of each class(and some very heavily simplified combat rules).
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RHat
post Mar 7 2014, 08:09 AM
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I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with the premise that realism is the most important aspect about firearms in the game. There are issues with Machine guns in the game, but these don't really seem like the big ones to me.
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Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 08:14 AM
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QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 12:09 AM) *
I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with the premise that realism is the most important aspect about firearms in the game. There are issues with Machine guns in the game, but these don't really seem like the big ones to me.


Check the closing statement.

QUOTE (Zombayz)
Get your shit together Catalyst. An LMG does the same damage as an assault rifle, a MMG does the same as the average sniper/sporting rifle, and a HMG does the same as the top end of snipers. An autocannon is a valid gun for a big troll. They do not suffer from drastic, virtually uncontrollable recoil. They do not require superhuman strength to use(with the exception of HMGs and autocannons). As it stands now, there are nearly no distinct advantages to having a machine gun, and with the introduction of drum magazines(which I assume will be in Run and Gun), they will have NO advantages.


The only advantage to MGs is range. They're sub-par weapons for the costs needed to use them at this time. They're incredible expensive, have very high availability, have the insane strength requirements, suffer from double recoil, and that's all for nothing but a larger ammo capacity(which will soon be nullified) and longer range(which comes into play so rarely for Shadowrunners it's not even funny). You are by far and away better off with an assault rifle, rather than going for the buy-in costs to use a machine gun.
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Smash
post Mar 7 2014, 08:21 AM
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QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 07:09 PM) *
I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with the premise that realism is the most important aspect about firearms in the game. There are issues with Machine guns in the game, but these don't really seem like the big ones to me.


I'm going to concur and add that realism hampers all parts of the game when applied anymore than casually.

I will add that there is maybe a point in upping the damage of them a bit. However complicated encumbrance rules a good game does not make. We are just starting to get away from the Troll editions. Let's not go back there.
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Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 08:32 AM
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QUOTE (Smash @ Mar 7 2014, 12:21 AM) *
I'm going to concur and add that realism hampers all parts of the game when applied anymore than casually.

I will add that there is maybe a point in upping the damage of them a bit. However complicated encumbrance rules a good game does not make. We are just starting to get away from the Troll editions. Let's not go back there.


By all means, I agree. Realism is nice, but game balance is most important. Either bother to make machine guns a valid choice, or don't bother at all.
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RHat
post Mar 7 2014, 08:34 AM
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QUOTE (Zombayz @ Mar 7 2014, 01:14 AM) *
The only advantage to MGs is range. They're sub-par weapons for the costs needed to use them at this time. They're incredible expensive, have very high availability, have the insane strength requirements, suffer from double recoil, and that's all for nothing but a larger ammo capacity(which will soon be nullified) and longer range(which comes into play so rarely for Shadowrunners it's not even funny). You are by far and away better off with an assault rifle, rather than going for the buy-in costs to use a machine gun.


I don't disagree that there are balance problems. My point is that the reality-based argument isn't a good approach to solving balance problems. Certainly the damage needs to be a lot higher.
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Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 08:38 AM
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QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 12:34 AM) *
I don't disagree that there are balance problems. My point is that the reality-based argument isn't a good approach to solving balance problems. Certainly the damage needs to be a lot higher.


This also runs into a core problem with Shadowrun: shadowrun is full of gun nerding. It WANTS to be realistic. It just screws up horribly and accomplishes neither realism or balance. I'm just using real world data to point out problems with in game balance.
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Sendaz
post Mar 7 2014, 08:41 AM
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Plus if you are going to raise the spectre of realism then you may as well adjust the ROF, which is seriously toned down in game to keep it manageable.

A combat turn is 3 seconds, so 20 CT per minute. Firing Full Auto is a complex action and uses 10 bullets. So you are looking at a ROF of 200 Rounds per minute.

This is ALOT slower than what RL weapons can achieve, when you have cyclic rates between 400 - 900 for many of these sorts and some even reaching a whomping 1200 RPM.

And spirits forbid we even think of miniguns with their 6000 rounds per minute ROF.

Thankfully those the are mounted sort though one could probably argue a troll could hold down a smaller one, like the one using light ammo but cuts through cinderblocks like a saw.

So realism does have to be tempered sometimes...

That said I do agree the damage for the more full auto weapons does need some tweaking, but again one has to find that balance point to make it worthwhile without overwhelming the balance.
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RHat
post Mar 7 2014, 08:50 AM
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And as long as we're talking weapon balance... There's a serious issue when Pistols+Longarms isn't notably stronger than Automatics alone.
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Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 08:59 AM
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QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 12:50 AM) *
And as long as we're talking weapon balance... There's a serious issue when Pistols+Longarms isn't notably stronger than Automatics alone.


We're talking weapon balance, but machine guns in particular. I'll work up something tearing apart the whole Pistols+Longarms+Automatics thing in a few days most likely.
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RHat
post Mar 7 2014, 09:20 AM
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QUOTE (Zombayz @ Mar 7 2014, 01:59 AM) *
We're talking weapon balance, but machine guns in particular. I'll work up something tearing apart the whole Pistols+Longarms+Automatics thing in a few days most likely.


Oh, they've been sufficiently torn apart.

As a starting point, though, let's look at the Valiant. Damage-wise, I'd want to set it at a DV of no less than the strongest AR in the book, so let's bring it up by, say, 3 points to 12; possibly increase the the AP as well. From there, maybe bring the Stoner to 14, and the RPK to 16... And get rid of the double recoil, of course.
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Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 09:37 AM
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QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 01:20 AM) *
Oh, they've been sufficiently torn apart.

As a starting point, though, let's look at the Valiant. Damage-wise, I'd want to set it at a DV of no less than the strongest AR in the book, so let's bring it up by, say, 3 points to 12; possibly increase the the AP as well. From there, maybe bring the Stoner to 14, and the RPK to 16... And get rid of the double recoil, of course.


There's a good man, now we're thinking! My advice is something along similar lines: Match the average LMG with the average assault rifle. That puts us at 10P, -2AP. Our MMGs should be sitting at the average for a sniper rifle: 13P, -4AP. Now HMGs are the trickiest one. Right now they're sitting at 12P, -4 AP. The strongest core sniper is 14P, -5AP. Does this reflect something serious, like .50 BMG or is it more like .300 Magnum? I think it's closer to the smaller answer. So, does 15P, -4AP sound suitable to everyone here? It does to me.

Okay, now we've cut away the the two biggest problems with MGs, and given them much more reasonable damage in return. So as they sit now, they're expensive, hard to get, and EXTREMELY noticeable, but they've got good damage, large ammo capacity, and slightly superior range, and their weapon skill is good for assault cannons, grenade launchers, and missile launchers as well. Is this balanced? Seems like it, but it might need playtesting.

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Surukai
post Mar 7 2014, 09:47 AM
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I find it hilarious that a MAC-10 has good recoil handling while a machine gun (That is big, heavy and have lower ROF to make recoil more manageable) have completely the opposite effect on recoil in SR5

But, guys (and gals). Why look at weak MGs that deal inferior damage and requires massive investment when Motion Sensor Frag grenades autohit everything for autokill damage?

18P, no defence roll is not really manageable. Even if they resist 10 or so boxes they still end up knocked down and easily picked off later and no useless MG would have done better damage to a target that rolls 10+ hits on damage resist anyway.

Thowing is the skill to use, You don't even need to get very much in it (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)
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RHat
post Mar 7 2014, 09:50 AM
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See, to my analysis, if the LMG simply matches an assault rifle, it's just a touch too weak for their disadvantages; from there, I'm working in the space of MG's relative to each other.
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Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 10:10 AM
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QUOTE (Surukai @ Mar 7 2014, 01:47 AM) *
I find it hilarious that a MAC-10 has good recoil handling while a machine gun (That is big, heavy and have lower ROF to make recoil more manageable) have completely the opposite effect on recoil in SR5

But, guys (and gals). Why look at weak MGs that deal inferior damage and requires massive investment when Motion Sensor Frag grenades autohit everything for autokill damage?

18P, no defence roll is not really manageable. Even if they resist 10 or so boxes they still end up knocked down and easily picked off later and no useless MG would have done better damage to a target that rolls 10+ hits on damage resist anyway.

Thowing is the skill to use, You don't even need to get very much in it (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)


Because we're tearing MGs apart first. Focus the hate, unfrag Catalyst's mistakes. If they're not competent enough to make things work in shadowrun, then damn it, we'll fix it bit by bit. MGs just happen to be a point of exceptional bile and hate for me, so why not do that first? As we go, I'll make threads for basically everything, compile it into a PDF, and then release it. Free Shadowrun fix for all! pretty much.


QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 01:50 AM) *
See, to my analysis, if the LMG simply matches an assault rifle, it's just a touch too weak for their disadvantages; from there, I'm working in the space of MG's relative to each other.


Well the disadvantages for an LMG with our fixes are: Cost, availability, and the fact that the Automatics skill is godlike. The advantages are the large ammo capacity, and slightly increased range. The Ingram compared to the AK-97 would have the same damage, same AP, around triple the magazine size, one less firing mode, and 3 points of recoil compensation for 8 more availability(3x as hard to get as an AK!), and right around six times the price.

Still not very fair, you're right. So, should we increase the damage, or drop the availability and price? Or is there a third option I'm not seeing?


Also, for anyone who's interested, I threw a post into the Gun Heaven 3 thread a few hours ago, showing just how incredibly lazy Catalyst were.
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RHat
post Mar 7 2014, 10:19 AM
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QUOTE (Zombayz @ Mar 7 2014, 03:10 AM) *
Well the disadvantages for an LMG with our fixes are: Cost, availability, and the fact that the Automatics skill is godlike. The advantages are the large ammo capacity, and slightly increased range. The Ingram compared to the AK-97 would have the same damage, same AP, around triple the magazine size, one less firing mode, and 3 points of recoil compensation for 8 more availability(3x as hard to get as an AK!), and right around six times the price.

Still not very fair, you're right. So, should we increase the damage, or drop the availability and price? Or is there a third option I'm not seeing?


Also, for anyone who's interested, I threw a post into the Gun Heaven 3 thread a few hours ago, showing just how incredibly lazy Catalyst were.


Part of my issue is actually about future proofing - come Run and Gun, that ammo capacity benefit isn't gonna be much of a thing.
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Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 10:29 AM
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QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 02:19 AM) *
Part of my issue is actually about future proofing - come Run and Gun, that ammo capacity benefit isn't gonna be much of a thing.


That depends on whether or not they add in ammo boxes for belts again. I'm willing to assume they will, so everyone can rock 250 round mixes of tracer and APDS.

So in the meantime, what would you say to Avail 8 and dropping the price down to 4000 nuyen for the Ingram?
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FuelDrop
post Mar 7 2014, 10:45 AM
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hmmm... possible troll detected.
...
...
Commencing analysis subroutine...
...
...
Analysis result: Uncertain.
Solution: kill team dispatched, incendiaries loaded. Search and destroy.

(Okay, comical overkill maybe but seriously dude, 8 availability on an MG? Also, with the new LMG in gun heaven three I'm fairly confident that Catalyst and related writers have realized they made a mistake by lowballing MG damage. With luck Run and Gun and the next Errata will prove me right.)
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RHat
post Mar 7 2014, 10:51 AM
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QUOTE (Zombayz @ Mar 7 2014, 03:29 AM) *
That depends on whether or not they add in ammo boxes for belts again. I'm willing to assume they will, so everyone can rock 250 round mixes of tracer and APDS.

So in the meantime, what would you say to Avail 8 and dropping the price down to 4000 nuyen for the Ingram?


Something about easily available machine guns seems very off to me.
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Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 10:57 AM
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QUOTE (FuelDrop @ Mar 7 2014, 02:45 AM) *
hmmm... possible troll detected.
...
...
Commencing analysis subroutine...
...
...
Analysis result: Uncertain.
Solution: kill team dispatched, incendiaries loaded. Search and destroy.

(Okay, comical overkill maybe but seriously dude, 8 availability on an MG? Also, with the new LMG in gun heaven three I'm fairly confident that Catalyst and related writers have realized they made a mistake by lowballing MG damage. With luck Run and Gun and the next Errata will prove me right.)


Why would I be trolling? Catalyst isn't willing to put any work into Shadowrun, so why don't we? And Krime Wave in Run and Gun is not a good example of anything. It's sitting at average assault rifle damage, but... It also costs more than THREE THOUSAND NUYEN less than the only other current LMG. Also it's art is straight up a photoshopped MG42/MG3/MG4/whatever. In terms of stats, it's the AK of LMGs, utterly bare bones. For more than double the price, and almost three times the availability, it gets... 62 more rounds and a bipod. It's a terrible example of balance.

QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 02:51 AM) *
Something about easily available machine guns seems very off to me.


Availability 8 is the same as the FN HAR, which seems to be the middle of the road assault rifle. Does the MG really have enough going for it to be worth the higher availability? I'm talking sheer game balance here, nothing for realism at all.
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RHat
post Mar 7 2014, 11:09 AM
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QUOTE (Zombayz @ Mar 7 2014, 03:57 AM) *
Availability 8 is the same as the FN HAR, which seems to be the middle of the road assault rifle. Does the MG really have enough going for it to be worth the higher availability? I'm talking sheer game balance here, nothing for realism at all.


Frankly I'd rather use stuff like the Raiden and the Alpha as points of comparison in the design; in terms of player choices, that's the real competition.
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Surukai
post Mar 7 2014, 11:14 AM
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In my group I knocked 1 DMG off from AK and added 1 to MGs (All categories), part of the problem is AKs being very powerful.

The added armor values does not cover the much higher damage on guns in general. Maybe not compared to the narrow-burst automatics in SR4 (but those were grenade-level-broken so not a meaningful comparison). The only things that deal way too little damage is the MGs and big melee weapons.

How come a gun wound is far far far more dangerous than an axe chop from a moderately strong human? One provides a small hole that maybe hits vital organs but more often than not is survivable while the other digs a 1kg+ head to the hilt inside your body causing massive trauma?

Tuning down guns a little bit (and of course going bananas on grenades, ffs) might fix a bit of the problem with high defence being superior to armor (again, ignoring grenades).

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Zombayz
post Mar 7 2014, 11:16 AM
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QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 03:09 AM) *
Frankly I'd rather use stuff like the Raiden and the Alpha as points of comparison in the design; in terms of player choices, that's the real competition.


Well, let's compare then!

Ares Alpha Advantages:
-Automatics skill is extremely flexible
-built in grenade launcher with 6 round capacity
-1P more than the fixed Ingram
-can fire semi-auto
-built in smartgun
-2 points of fancy recoil absorption
-costs 1350 nuyen less

The Ingram has:
-48 more ammo
-3 points less availability.
-longer range

If anything, that's still leaning in favour of the Alpha.

QUOTE (Surukai @ Mar 7 2014, 03:14 AM) *
How come a gun wound is far far far more dangerous than an axe chop from a moderately strong human? One provides a small hole that maybe hits vital organs but more often than not is survivable while the other digs a 1kg+ head to the hilt inside your body causing massive trauma?


Because while that axe is moving maybe 100 meters per second on the upper end, the bullet is moving a thousand meters a second, deforms, and rends flesh like you wouldn't believe. Ever seen an exit wound? They're all kinds of nasty, far worse in terms of actual damage done than the swing of your average axe. An axe. Go do some research on terminal ballistics, and you'll see.
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RHat
post Mar 7 2014, 11:30 AM
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QUOTE (Zombayz @ Mar 7 2014, 04:16 AM) *
Well, let's compare then!

Ares Alpha Advantages:
-Automatics skill is extremely flexible
-built in grenade launcher with 6 round capacity
-1P more than the fixed Ingram
-can fire semi-auto
-built in smartgun
-2 points of fancy recoil absorption
-costs 1350 nuyen less

The Ingram has:
-48 more ammo
-3 points less availability.
-longer range

If anything, that's still leaning in favour of the Alpha.


And what I think should be done is for that imbalance to be corrected - hence why, rather than reducing availability, I'd increase damage and AP to above that of the higher-end assault rifles.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Mar 7 2014, 03:22 PM
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QUOTE (RHat @ Mar 7 2014, 03:51 AM) *
Something about easily available machine guns seems very off to me.


Yeah, Me too... Military hardware should be HARD to get your hands on, and it should not be cheap. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/eek.gif)
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