Bocete's Complete Rifleman Primer

Discussion in 'Strategy and Tactics' started by Blaqk, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. Blaqk
    • Development Team
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    Blaqk NOTD Staff: Bugs, Pugs, and Scruggs

    NOTE! I did not create this guide. I only recovered it from my colossal cache on my desktop. The original, named poster deserves all of the credit.

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    1: Intro [ 0100 ]
    2: Role [ 0200 ]
    3: Stats and Starting Skills [ 0300 ]
    4: Talents [ 0400 ]
    4.1: Combat tree [ 0401 ]
    4.2: Survival tree [ 0402 ]
    5: Builds [ 0500 ]
    6: Final Thoughts [ 0600 ]
    7: Jargon [ 0700 ]
    8: Credits [ 0800 ]


    1. Intro [ 0100 ]
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    Also known as Roflman, the Rifleman can be considered the default class of NotD. His basic stats are admirable, his talents versatile. This makes the rifleman a class that can adapt and survive in any situation.

    Even though a Rifleman is such a basic class, mastering it requires finesse, experimentation and experience. This guide is meant for those who wish to improve their Rifleman gameplay or explore new builds with it; this is not a guide for newbies. This class is idiot-proof enough for utter newbies to play it and there's nothing to be said about it.

    One more note: we play Easy Company pretty much exclusively in EU. My crowd hasn't seriously attempted Alpha or Sec Team in months; I haven't played Sec Team since before that invisible Hybrid guy was introduced. Keep that in mind while reading this, this guide written from an Easy Company perspective. I assume most of the advice should apply for other storylines as well, and I welcome any input from US and SEA vets regarding the Roflman in other storylines: it's needed to make this guide complete.


    2. Role [ 0200 ]

    Because of his versatility, a Rifleman can fulfill many roles: dps, scout, crowd control; he can be the team’s runner when need be, or anything in between really. The talents, stats and your play style make the Rifleman do any of these jobs.

    Traditionally, Rifleman is used primarily for crowd control as the infamous Trapper. Recently he has got a buff in the Combat tree that gives him tremendous dps capabilities. And, because of his high movement and extreme energy regeneration, he makes the best choice to do civilians in Apollo if a Recon is busy/unavailable. None of the talents you pick make a Rifleman any worse in any of these jobs: you should be able to suit your build and gameplay according to your team's needs on the fly.


    3. Stats and Starting Skills [ 0300 ]

    Base Health: 200
    Base Shields: 35
    Base Energy: 100
    Energy regen: 1.5 per second (!)
    Base Armor: 1
    Movespeed: 2.48
    Weight Class: Medium
    Inventory Slots: 6
    Modification Slots: 3
    Starting Skill: Focused Fire
    Other: Swaps weapons twice as fast

    Skill: Focused Fire (F)

    Increases damage by 25% and sight range by 3 and reduces attack speed by 20% for 5 seconds.
    Energy cost: 8. Cooldown: 5


    4. Talents [ 0400 ]

    What follows is the list of all the talents a Rifleman has at his disposal. For whatever reason this seems mandatory to all guides; since this is not a guide for newbies this is pretty much filler. If you're new to Rifleman feel free to browse, otherwise just jump to the next section.


    4.1. Combat Tree [ 0401 ]
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    Tier 1: Critical Strike

    Grants a chance to deal double damage on attacks.
    Passive
    Level 1 - 10% chance
    Level 2 - 20% chance
    Level 3 - 30% chance

    Tier 1: Rapid Fire

    Increases the Rifleman's attack speed.
    Passive
    Level 1 - 10% increased attack speed
    Level 2 - 20% increased attack speed
    Level 3 - 30% increased attack speed

    Tier 2: Precision Shot ®

    The Rifleman takes aim and fires a high-powered shot at a single target that slows it on impact for 5 seconds. Deals 67% more to massive targets. 3 second cooldown. 15 energy cost.
    Level 1 - Deals 75 damage and slows the target by 30%
    Level 2 - Deals 150 damage and slows the target by 60%

    Tier 2: Grenade (E)

    The Rifleman fires a grenade from his under barrel launcher at a target that deals instant damage to the target and nearby enemies. Range 11, +20% damage vs Light. 3 radius AOE. 1 second cooldown. 30 energy cost.
    Level 1 - 60 damage
    Level 2 - 120 damage

    Tier 3: Bloodlust (W)

    The carnage causes adrenaline to flood the Rifleman's senses, granting him increased attack speed and damage for 10 seconds. 10 second cooldown. 12 energy cost.
    Level 1 - 50% increases attack speed, 50% increased damage. Removes base armor.[/quote]


    4.2. Survival Tree [ 0402 ]
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    Tier 1: Saline IV (Q)

    Built into the Rifleman's suit are neuro-injectors that will, on command, inject a drug that heals the Rifleman. At later levels the drug will also cure certain ailments. 15 second cooldown. 20 energy cost.
    Level 1 - Heals 20 health
    Level 2 - Heals 40 health and cures 1 Venom
    Level 3 - Heals 60 health and cures 1 Open Wound and 1 Venom

    Tier 1: Augmented Legs

    The Suit directs more power to the lower extremities, increasing performance by making the Rifleman move faster.
    Passive
    Level 1 - 5% increased movespeed
    Level 2 - 10% increased movespeed
    Level 3 - 15% increased movespeed

    Tier 2: Sonic Trap ©

    The Rifleman lays down a device which detonates when an enemy comes within a radius 3 area. The blast pushes all non-Massive and non-Heroic units back, stuns them for 0.3 seconds, and illuminates the area to all Marines. The trap has 7 charges. 30 second cooldown. 65 energy cost.
    Level 1 - Targets in a 5 radius are pushed back slightly
    Level 2 - Targets in a 10 radius are pushed back greatly

    Tier 2: Weapons Proficiency

    Thanks to the Rifleman's intensive weapon training, he is skilled with anything that has a trigger, wielding his weapons more effectively than usual.
    Passive
    Level 1 - Increases base damage by 7% and decreases reload time by 25%
    Level 2 - Increases base damage by 14% and decreases reload time by 50%

    Tier 3: Repulse

    The Rifleman's suit pushes itself to maximum power, greatly increasing its movement speed and armor. The excess power bursts from the suit, stunning nearby enemies in the area. The power surge lasts 10 seconds.
    Level 1 - Increases movement speed by 40%, armor by 1, and stuns nearby units for 3 seconds. Grants detection.


    5. Builds [ 0500 ]

    Since the Rifleman is so versatile, there are many viable builds for it. So instead of listing all the possible builds, I'll list the roles a Rifleman can fulfill and discuss the build orders, item preference etc in that context. It pretty much falls down to going to either one of the talent trees with personal preferences between more specific builds.


    5.1. The Trapper (Crowd Control) [ 0501 ]

    The most popular role of an Rifleman is providing crowd control. He fulfills this role through Sonic Traps and Repulse, in that order of importance.

    Some history: some time after they were introduced, Sonic Traps were "discovered" as a useful talent and quickly became the rage of NotD. By many the game was considered to be to hard without at least one trapper, and 2-3 were the norm in public games. This rage lasted a long time. Now, those times have passed but the echo can still be felt: this role is popular enough to have become synonymous with picking Rifleman in vet/nm games, and often people still rage when you attempt any other build.

    The Trapper wouldn't have deserved this status if he were a bad choice. The Trapper requires almost no micro, is simple enough to be used by first time players, and helps out in most situations in the game. For his simplicity most newbs consider Trappers OP while most vets consider the them boring.

    Also, there seems to be a belief that the Muta wave is very hard without a Trapper. The truth is that a Mobility Recon is quite enough to cover the team through it, a Tank makes things much easier is positioned properly, and activating Turrets makes Mutas piss easy without either a MobRec or a Trapper. Mutas are not enough to make the Trapper a must have.

    Build order

    Not much creativity here. Here's the best build order, it is the obvious one, nothing more to be said. If you don't understand why, it may become clear as you read through this section of the guide.
    Saline lvl3 / Legs lvl1 or 1/3, your call.
    Sonic Trap lvl2
    Weapon Prof. lvl2
    Repulse
    If you went for Legs and your medic died, max Saline now. Otherwise head to the Combat tree.
    Now for the important stuff.

    Trapping

    The only thing that makes or breaks a trapper is when and how often to trap. Getting this right requires some experience.

    To know how to trap properly, you need to know how traps work. When a zombie reaches within some distance of a trap, after a small delay, the trap fires and bounces all zombies away from it. Simple, no? Still, many people don't see it that simple and can't conclude the first rule of trapping:

    Traps 101: Spread them.

    You see, when you put two traps too close to eachother, a zombie might enter the firing radius of both before either trap fires, resulting in both traps firing to bounce the same zombie. This is outright bad. Mutas, zoombies and ghouls are the most problematic here; even more on nightmare where zoombies and ghouls charge.

    To position your traps optimally you need to think in terms of fronts: where are the monsters coming from? Are they coming from all around, or from one or two paths?

    Then, once you've got the fronts identified you need to start thinking on positioning them in layers. The same way castles might have multiple rows of walls around them, you need to have multiple layers of traps around you. If the zombies keep attacking from all fronts, it will take them approx 15-25 seconds to remove a row of traps, depending on the zombies in question. I am not talking about removing a single trap, but the whole layer. No matter how many traps you have per layer, they will go off simultaneously and postone monsters for the same amount of time.

    So a circle of traps holds them off just as long as a single trap.

    There is one more thing to keep in mind when trapping. Trapped zombies/mutas are not dead or taken care of. Instead, you've just postponed their either your or their deaths. Traps are not a solution to any problem, just a temporary patch. This leads to:

    Traps 201: one trap too many may bring a lot of risk to your team.

    You see, if a trap fires while the zombie is further or just at the edge of the team's firing range, you've accomplished nothing by trapping there. If the monster doesn't get any shots before being thrown away then the trap is only help accumulate more monsters. This can be lethal during the muta wave: if the traps fire without the team getting good shots first, the mutas will accumulate and possibly overrun the team that could've handled them quite easily one by one.

    So, when you spread your traps, don't spread them too much. Traps should provide the team a few more seconds of shooting, not to provide lag from flashy blue domes of awesomeness.

    Therefore, while this might seem like good trap spreading:

    [img ]Image placeholder, will upload later[ /img]

    It's actually not that good at all. The outer layer of traps is very wide: most mutas will bounce before getting a single shot. After about 30 seconds, midway through the muta wave, the outer layer of traps will fall disappear leaving one or two traps to defend the team against half of the entire wave of mutas.

    And indeed, here's what ensued (note that we had 2 SMGs, a DPS commando and a DPS engi AND that PsyOps aura that slows them down; in a normal run we'd have been wiped)

    In my experience, more then 3-4 traps may be too much for the muta wave. Those four with a few more thrown down as the four disappear during the wave should be enough.

    If you think you lack the DPS to take care of the mutas easily, here's a useful tip. Divide and conquer: just overtrap but only in one direction. Create a front of traps further from the team that will cover only some of the mutas coming to get you. By doing this you've postponed those mutas while you take care of the others. Divide and conquer.

    There are a few more things to take care of: sometimes you don't want traps to fire. Usually, if you have a assatank or a demotank in the team, you might want to keep them out of the trapped area as they deal most damage in melee range. Instead, use that to your advantage; anticipate that very few, if any, zombies will go past the tank. Plan out your layers of traps accordingly.

    Other usages of traps/situational

    Sometimes, accumulating zombies might not be a bad thing. This is rare, but possible; putting a trap at the edge of a bottleneck (like a bridge, or any narrow passageway) will accumulate zombies to be dealt with by a Stinger or a Nuke.

    Traps might be the best way to avoid a crowd of huggers if you cannot kill them outright. Their hugs will be repeatedly cancelled.

    Traps are an excellent alternative to using flares to reach items/scout for monsters: I love using the Stinger during domes as trapper as the traps give perfect vision of where to shoot and where's the tank. They also make zombies accumulate, giving each Stinger shot more worth.

    Traps are one of the best talents if the team is busy kiting zombies. By trapping as you go, you basically keep your back clear of zombies; and because of the zombie AI, most will be coming from behind. This makes kiting during queen piss easy.

    If you don't have a tank to keep the queen busy, traps will keep the team safe during shrieks.

    Trapping during Erebos 2 is a two-bladed sword. Banes spawned by Erebos 2 normally suicide after two seconds of so; however, if bounced, they will not suicide and will instead stay alive until killed or rammed into one of your allies. It is much better to use Repulse and don't throw a trap down unless your allies are even marginally capable of handling the banes themselves. They are usually easy to run away from. Of course there are exceptions to this: a dps Commando shouldn't move while shooting; if banes are coming, throw down a trap and kill them yourself asap.

    Oh, and you can use traps to bounce monsters in and out of Apollo/Ere cage through gates. Not sure why would you want to do this, but there you go.

    Other talents of the Trapper

    The previous chapter was devoted to Traps only. The other useful skill of the Trapper is Repulse.

    Repulse, compared to traps: spends less energy, effects immediately, works on bosses and detects invisible zombies. Traps are better to postpone monsters in the long run: you need to anticipate from where will they come and cast them early enough. For Repulse you need to have quick reflexes, nothing more. These two complete the crowd control role that is the Trapper.

    Learn Repulse and use it. Period. Skipping it to get to the DPS tree earlier should be approved by the team. If there are newbs in the game, you can use it to save their asses. If there are pros in the game, odds are you are playin a serious run and, if so, Repulse might be the line between a successful MoH and a failure.

    The stun of Repulse may be used in offense. For the most part, its range is good enough to cast it while out of danger so don't be afraid to use it. Not only can you stun a running Mentos, but in coordination with a Trapper/Medic you can almost stunlock bosses.

    As for the matter of Saline vs. Augmented legs: both skills are useful to you only, with only marginal possibilities of helping the team. With Saline you save some of the Medic's energy, and with Augmented legs you may serve as a better runner for civs, gens etc. However, in most games, you will not get hit (as you will have traps and Repulse), and the running will get done by someone else or the team together. The truth is, you don't need any of the two talents. I personally prefer legs: being able to run to someone and Repulse might save the guy's life, and they make Silver Star medals easier to achieve.

    Weapon Proficiency is a very out-of-place talent, but a good one. It will increase your damage output by quite a lot, depending on the weapon in question.

    For example, Chainguns have a reload time of 6 seconds, 4.6 if you reload manually. With an attack speed of 0.53, a mag lasts for 15-16 seconds. Coupled with the reload time, a Chaingun deals a mag of damage in ~20 seconds, ~18 on a Trapper. This is a 11% damage output increase only because of reload, not factoring the +14% damage by the talent.

    On the other hand, on an SMG, the manual reload time will drop from 1.15 to ~0.58 seconds, which is negligible; since a mag lasts for 7.5 seconds, with reload time 8.65 normally and 8.08 with Weapon Proficiency, the damage output is increased by 7%. The small reload time is offset by how frequent you reload with an SMG.

    This data changes if you use Focused Fire: as mags are drained more slowly, the reloads become less frequent. The same goes with High Capacity Mags: less reloads means less +% by this talent. This doesn't mean that Focused Fire and HCMs are bad for you! Just that others Chainguneers might need HCMs before you do.

    After Repulse, it is best to switch to the Combat tree talents. Which ones is up to you; if you can afford to use Focused Fire, Rapid Fire will give you more dps at a small cost of additional ammo drainage and slightly more often reloads. if you don't use Focused Fire, Critical will give you the same damage for less ammo and will not make your reloads more frequent.

    Other roles of the Trapper

    The Trapper is a very resilient class, stubborn and tough to kill like a cockroach. The trapper is not a tank, it is just idiot proof. This survivability is pretty much a solo quality only.

    Because Trappers have somewhat increased dps capabilities, increased movement and survivability, you will often see this class on pub heroes and players who like to rambo. These people bring shame to an otherwise very useful class. Just because you might be able to go alone doesn't mean you should. One of your teammates might need Repulse and you need to be close to deliver it. Don't fall to the temptation.

    The trapper should be considered the secondary/tertiary dps in the team. All DPS classes should come as a priority, but all non-DPS classes should give their DPS equipment to the trapper. The Chaingun might be the sole exception: after the Offense Assault, the Trapper will make the best use of the Chaingun. The DpsMando and Engi should not waste that much time reloading (as not-shooting for that many seconds ruins their damage buildup) and weapons with a better attack speed will stack their bonuses faster. Of course, if your allies want a Chaingun, be the good guy and give it. It's not that important.

    Equipment

    The Trapper takes care of the the crowd control role, with some additional mobility and DPS. This is pretty much self explanatory when it comes to equipment.

    Weapons:

    The Trapper is a secondary DPS, so all decent weapons not used by the primary DPS classes should go to him. As said before, the Chaingun may be the sole exception, to which only an Offense Assault should have priority.

    A Flamethrower is also very good on a Trapper. Traps helps horde enemies which makes them easier to burn down, with Repulse you can get out of any trouble close range might cause you, he's fast enough to kite and the reload is not half bad.

    Since a Rifleman swaps weapons twice as fast be free to carry multiple weapons and swap them as frequently as you like.

    The Stinger is very good on a Trapper for several reasons. First, as he requires almost no micro, you can easily make that Stinger shot hit the jackpot and not the tank. Second, Traps provide you sight over obstacles and great vision range without obstructing your micro: set and forget. Third, reload is doesn't hurt that much. The trapper doesn't do as much damage with it as some other classes but with the stinger you pretty much one shot everything already so plain damage is not as important. It's about getting that missile hit home, and the Trapper and a Surv Recon do that better then anyone else.

    Armor:

    This is a matter of personal preference, the same way Saline vs Augmented Legs is. If you are using a Chaingun and don't have Augmented Legs, you're pretty much slow enough not to be able to kite most zombies and an armor would suit you.

    But again, this armor is a failsafe on you; with Repulse you should not in any danger for most of the game. Tanks, medics, KMSing Commandos are all priorities when it comes to armor.

    The XS-4 is pretty good, though. It's basically a free Silver Star. If you don't have a Fortitude Demo around, ask the team for XS-4 permissions for Silver Star sake.

    Ammo mods/other

    Even though he uses energy to do crowd control, the Rifleman energy regen is so great he doesn't need an ARC the slightest. Forget about it.

    Ammo mods are as helpful to you as they would be on anyone else. Take what the DPS classes don't want. Even if you are Chaingunning take that AP they threw away: even though the Chaingun ignores armor the AP buff will help your allies, and the Chaingun splash of 2 will spread that AP quite decently.

    The CMA might be good on a Trapper, again if there are no priorities in the team. Coupled with Augmented Legs and enough energy regen to hold Z all the time while moving, he is moving extremely quickly. It is easy to do civs in Apollo with a Trapper even without this equipment, ridiculously easy with. That CMA might also help you avoid a hit or two, again for the Silver Star medal.

    An HCM is great if you are using a Chaingun but it is not mandatory: don't be a wuss if you don't have it and reload manually.

    Stats

    With 200 hp a Rifleman is tough enough to handle a bane hit. With Saline he doesn't need HP regen at all. His pool of 100 energy is not that great considering traps cost 65: but don't forget he's about energy regen and not accumulation. He is quick to move and quick to reload, and has enough room in his 3 misc item slots for a TS given that he doesn't exactly need any misc items and can always Repulse if attacked by Wraiths. So what now?

    Anything, it is a matter of personal preference. Strength gives him extra hitpoints which a Trapper doesn't really need; but extra HP is never the wrong choice. Endurance might give you an extra life. Extra agility boosts his movement skyhigh and helps with reloads even more. Intelligence increases his energy pool and might give you an extra talent (which he doesn't really need once you have Repulse unless if you can reach Bloodlust). Perception adds some to his damage output.

    Intelligence, Agility and Endurance might be the best choices, in any order. Experiment and see what you like; i almost always take Agility since it makes kiting easier and gets me closer to that Silver Star.

    Synergies with other classes

    Being a crowd control/failsafe class, he clashes with other crowd control classes. A trapper can easily overtrap, and therefore 2 trappers is way over the top. I would say that 0.75 trappers would be the perfect amount if it were possible.

    The other crowd control/failsafe class is a Mobility Recon: Counter Measures keeping the zombies at bay and Escape as an instant protection from ninja trouble/keeping cover over the team during holdouts. I would say that if you have a MobRec or an other Trapper you shouldn't pick trapper yourself. If you don't have either a trapper may help the team immensely.

    Because of his low item requirements and self-sustainability, the Trapper works will all other classes/roles. He's just not useful if you have crowd control covered already, that's all.


    5.2. The Combatrine/Orgasmrine (DPS) [ 0502 ]

    As with the trapper, I'm going to start with a history lesson.

    During the Trapper craze, anyone not going for traps was frowned upon. Couple that with first time players always going for the passives in the Combat tree first and you have a build that has a newbish scent.

    Recently the Combat rifleman has been buffed. His ultimate, Bloodlust, was useless previously and is a to-die-for talent now. He has become a very capable DPS class with some other useful talents, primarily Precision Shot. He is easily the most mobile/survivable DPS class: though SubMM can avoid danger easily, it has a huge problem with energy while a Combatrine can spam his talents pretty much indefinitely.

    So, the Combatrine is a good DPS choice for smaller teams, since he is very low maintenance and can shed DPS for extended periods of time. Also good if you just want to have fun, or to annoy people with the orgasmic sound he makes every 12 seconds with Bloodlust.

    Build order

    The Combatrine has many possible builds. Pretty much any build that reaches Bloodlust as soon as possible is a viable build with a distinct flavor. Listing them all would be a waste of space; instead this guide should provide you with the knowledge to suit your build to the team's demands on the fly.

    So, since there are a lot of choices to be made, which are the right ones? Which ones give most DPS, which ones can sustain their DPS for longest etc? To invest talents on Nades, Precision Shot or both?

    The most basic thing you should decide is if you will go for Nades, Precision shot, both, or neither (as in, learn only as requirement for Bloodlust). This is mostly a matter of energy allowance.

    Energy costs

    A Rifleman has energy regen of 1.5 per second. Focused Fire costs 8 mana and lasts for 5 seconds with the same cooldown, reaching a drain of 1.6 per second. This means that you can be under permanent Focused Fire for an hour and 16 minutes if you have 100 energy, an hour and 54 minutes with 145 energy. No reason not to use Focused fire at all times.

    Bloodlust costs 12 energy, lasts 10 seconds with a cooldown of 10. This drains 1.2 energy from him per second which is less then his regen. He can bloodlust indefinitely.

    Using both Bloodlust and Focus Fire drains 2.8 energy per second. This gives him about ~76 seconds of non-stop usage on 100 energy, ~111 on 145 energy. When out of energy the Combatrine can maintain full Bloodlust and cast Focus Fire every 40 seconds.

    Bloodlust is more energy efficient and gives much more DPS then Focus Fire: so no matter the build, Bloodlust should be on at all times. It is a matter of build whether the excess energy will be spent on Focus Fire or Precision Shot/Nades. Also that into consideration that both Precision shot and Nades are situational talents: you will not be spamming them at every moment, and almost never both at once.

    So, the more you invest into Prec Shot/Nades, the more ready you should be to conserve mana on the cost plain DPS. Should you choose to learn both Nades and Prec Shot your DPS will suffer even more because not both Crit and Rapid Fire will be maxed until late game.

    Still, what will you learn and in which order is entirely up to you and the needs of your team. Here are some tips on the Nades vs. Prec shot issue:

    Critical Strike vs. Rapid Fire

    At tier 1 you have the choice between these two. You can go 1/3, 2/2, 3/1, or 3/3 if you don't mind waiting for the tier 2 talents.
    Critical 3 / Rapid 1
    This option is the most ammo efficient: however it might not be the best choice. You can almost throw any ammo efficiency out of your plan because you will drain ammo like crazy once you get Bloodlust: and still, with Rapid Fire and Bloodlust, +75% damage per round makes the Combatrine among the classes with best ammo efficiency in the game.
    This choice will give you +46% damage output while using Focused Fire.
    Critical 2 / Rapid 2
    This one gives you more DPS then the above choice, +50% during Focus Fires.
    Critical 1 / Rapid 3
    This one is the least ammo efficient. How often you reload decreases your overall DPS output a bit, but while firing this choice gives you +65% damage.

    The calculations change a bit once you get Bloodlust. Here are the above options with Bloodlust on permanently, with and without Focus Fire.
    Critical 3 / Rapid 1
    +212% without, +216% with Focus Fire. Notice the change is not that dramatic: the small damage increase is offset by the attack speed decrease. This is the best choice if you're going for both Prec Shot and Nades: you might as well not use Focus Fire at all.
    Critical 2 / Rapid 2
    +206% without, +215% with Focus Fire. Notice that this is inferior to the above option in DPS with and without using Focus Fire.
    Critical 1 / Rapid 3
    +197% without, +208% with Focus Fire. Again, even more inferior.

    See how the numbers changed once we took Bloodlust into account. The thing is, the effect of Critical is fully multiplied with all the other factors while Rapid Fire stacks with Bloodlust, suppressing it's effectiveness. Coupled with the less often reloads, going 3 on Critical Strike and 1 on Rapid is by far the best choice if you're not looking to max tier 1!

    So, if you want to invest only 4 talents into Tier 1, do that in this order:
    Rapid 1
    Crit 1
    Crit 2
    Crit 3
    Use Focus Fire all the time. You can afford the energy that early in the game.

    If you want to max Tier 1 then the above calculations don't apply. If you want to max Tier 1, the most optimal order is this one:
    Rapid 1
    Rapid 2
    Crit 1
    Rapid 3
    Crit 2
    Crit 3

    Regardless of whether you will interrupt the above order with Tier 2 talents or not. Again, spam Focus Fire as much as possible.

    Grenades vs. Precision Shot vs. Both

    Grenades

    Even if you don't get raged at for picking Combatrine, odds are you will for going nades. It is disturbing how much people don't like them.

    At a steep price of 30 energy and 1 sec cooldown, Nades deal instantaneous 60/120 (+20 vs light) damage to a wide area of effect, no friendly fire. Some say that that's not enough to one-shot all monsters on -nm so it sucks: so what. It deals damage just as it would on easier difficulties. Dropping the high HP zombies at airlock to half HP is very useful as they will get mowed down much, much more easily. It doesn't steal XP, since when is that a bad thing?

    Nades also target air, though it is rare that you will see enough mutas clustered to make full effect of that. Still, if a tank taunts and is in trouble, they are all yours. You can also killsteal most blindtranes (but you shouldn't), or save allies from Ninja larvae.

    All in all, Nades deal nice AOE splash. An SMG might deal with the same monsters almost as quickly, especially if you have Bloodlust, but not instantly and without reloads. Spamming Nades may cost you some of your plain DPS output if you're not careful. Still, it's a good thing to have when you need it.

    Precision Shot

    Precision shot costs 15 mana with a 3 sec cooldown. While not sustainable forever, it is much more energy efficient then Nades: because of this Precision Shot is not as nearly as intrusive to your plain DPS.

    For one cast, Precision Shot deals 75/150 (+67% vs. Massive) damage and slows down the target by 30/60%. Just as Nades it is cast instantly and has no Friendly Fire risk.

    Just as a MobRec is about team support and not about killing stuff while safely cloaked, Precision Shot is a debuff and not a nuke spell. The reduced movement speed of the enemy at hand might save you or your teammate from getting hit. Since Prec Shot is spammable it is a great addition to the failsafe roles of a Trapper or a Mobility Recon.

    For a nuke spell, Precision Shot doesn't deal too much damage. Most monsters that need to be nuked will survive a hit. Just as with Nades, this doesn't make matters worse. Damage dealt is damage dealt, the targeted enemy will go down more quickly. You can use it to killsteal, but that's not what it's about. For killstealing go pick Marksman.

    In conclusion, I think Precision Shot might be a better choice of the two if you're learning only one as it's less energy consuming and doesn't clash with the massive DPS you'll be dealing anyway.

    When maxing Tier 1 in Speedruns, I suggest maxing Precision Shot as soon as possible to have it ready for Tart. In longer games you can pull off maxing Tier 1 completely before going for Precision Shot and have it ready for Tart. It's your call.

    Learning both

    Learning both Precision Shot and Nades is the most energy intrusive choice. You pretty much have to skip using Focused Fire during prolonged encounters, and without maxed Crit and Rapid Fire your plain DPS suffers greatly. Still, this is a fun choice. I like to refer to it as Casterrine.

    Bloodlust

    Okay, now we've finally reached the holy grail of all DPS talents. The same cooldown as duration, low energy cost, a whooping +50% damage AND attack speed at a non-important price of -1 armor.

    Here's what makes the Combatrine a capable DPS choice:
    4 talents in Tier 1 + Bloodlust + Focus Fire: +218% damage output.
    6 talents in Tier 1 + Bloodlust + Focus Fire: +264% damage output.

    If you manage to reach Weapon Proficiency then the numbers become even better. The increased attack speed makes your reloads more frequent, increasing the benefit of quicker reloading. After crunching the numbers, the total is:

    6 talents in Tier 1 + Bloodlust + Focus Fire + Weapon Proficiency 2 on a Chaingun: +370% damage output
    6 talents in Tier 1 + Bloodlust + Focus Fire + Weapon Proficiency 2 on a SMG: +336% damage output

    All this on a very tough and mobile class. And this DPS can be sustained for pretty much forever.

    Problem? U jelly?

    After Bloodlust

    What you do after getting Bloodlust is your choice. Tier 1 in the Survival tree will bring you nothing too useful, just utilities you don't really need. However, both Weapons Proficiency and Traps might prove useful if you reach them. With the massive DPS you will have dealt you'll probably be over-leveled and be able to learn at least one of the two.

    Only if you have gone for the Casterrine build is maxing Tier 1 a good idea. If you've maxed Tier 1 and only one of the Prec Shot/Nade talents you might be better off heading to the Survival tree anyway. As good as Nades might be, Weapon Proficiency is better even considering the time you'll need to reach it.

    As for Weapon Proficiency vs Traps: Traps might not be needed at this point since you'll probably get them just before or during BO. They might be good if the team gets into trouble and starts kiting the queen and the zombies; other then that, if your team made it that far, traps are not necessary. Weapon Proficiency will give you more damage and will streamline reloading which you will be doing very often.

    Other roles of the Combatrine

    The Combatrine is not that useful at non-DPS jobs. Precision shot provides a failsafe in some situations. That's pretty much all he is good for.

    What differentiates the Combatrine from other all-DPS classes is his low maintainability. He doesn't need babysitting as much as some other DPS classes. He is easily the best DPS class when it comes to kiting because of his mobility and little fear of running out of energy.

    Hybrid DPS builds

    The DPS hybrid Rifleman is a known build that usually rushes Weapon Proficiency then switches to the Combat tree and maxes Tier 1. Months ago this build provided most DPS to the Combatrine because Bloodlust sucked compared to Weapon Proficiency. Now the opposite applies: once the Combat Tier 1 is maxed, you need 3 talents to get to Bloodlust for massive damage increase, or 6 for Weapon Proficiency 2 for a minor boost. The math is simple: since Bloodlust was buffed, the Hybrid DPS has become a part of history.

    Equipment

    Almost all rules that apply to other DPS classes apply to the Combatrine.

    Weapons

    The Combatrine is pretty weapon independent since he doesn't need to stack up on-attack buffs or anything similar. Any good weapon is good on him. Chaingun, HK420, SMG, even the Barrett if you get FMJs. Note that an Engineer does less damage from shooting then a Combatrine: an Engi has situational +140% damage from his weapons, and deals most damage from buffs being applied to OD.

    Because of his +75% damage and Crit a Combatrine has very high basic damage when attacking. This is very important for an SMG: with an AP, a heartbeat sensor and god-forbid Laser Designate, because of the high basic damage even Agrons will take significant damage from an SMG. You really need to try it to believe it, mowing down Agrons with an SMG.

    Armor

    No amount of armor will keep you alive if you play recklessly. Just as with the Trapper, no armor is needed but wearing some is not really a mistake. Others take precedence, and a free XS-4 should be yours if the team allows it.

    With a basic armor of 0 during Bloodlusts the benefits of wearing C2-C4-C6 will be marginal. Armors like RA, KA and XS-4 may be more useful to you. If you find one of those and there are no others that need it, a Combatrine may want to have one. However I suggest giving these special armors to the noobiest player.

    Ammo mods/other

    The same as with other DPS classes. HCMs are great, HPs, APs and FMJs, little more.

    Stats

    The Combatrine is not as tough as a Trapper so extra HP might be useful if you don't trust yourself to stay out of trouble. The same goes with extra lifes given by Endurance: you don't need regen that much since you will have access to Saline even mid-game. Agility is great because they help with frequent reloading and keeps you more mobile. Intelligence is as useful as ever, as a bigger energy pool will keep your DPS sustained longer and might give you Weapon Proficiency faster through free talents. Perception gives you more crits, never a bad thing.

    Again, this is a matter of personal preference. I prefer maxing Agility and Intelligence, but you might like other choices.

    Synergies with other classes

    As a low maintenance DPS class, the Combatrine is never a bad choice if the team has all the grounds covered. The Combatrine may clash with the other DPS classes over weapons and ammo mods, but in reality can live without any ammo mods and with a Flamethrower and a Gauss Rifle. Don't be spoiled.


    6. Final Thoughts

    This completes the guide for the Rifleman.

    Whatever you do, keep this in mind:
    You are versatile. Adapt to the needs of the team.
    You are self-sustainable. Don't request items because you don't need any.
    Stay with the team. Just because you can, don't leave them. They need you more then you need them.
    You are mobile. Never get hit.


    7. Jargon [ 0700 ]
    Crit = Critical strike/hit
    DPS = Damage per Second
    IAS = Increased Attack Speed
    Mentos = Menoetes
    MoH = Medal of Honor
    Nade = Grenade
    Traps = Sonic Traps (none other traps exist)


    8. Credits [ 0800 ]

    Khorne for his support in pursuing the Combatrine path against all opposition.
    Frank for ninjaing my Screenshots.
    The Euro Wolfpack for providing me with the best, most elite games imaginable.
    Nojuel for making me lol.




    TODO:
    Screenshots:
    - Optimal traping at the fort
    - Traps during domes piling up monsters and giving vision to Stinger
    - Repulse stun range
    Find out all the talent cooldowns.
    More keywords in Jargon
    Non-ec storyline specifics
    Spellchecking

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