Recent Pubbing has inspired me to go back to doing some Newbie Tips. In particular I notice that while the tips I've suggested seem to be working (I see people asking where to find Magazines without being told they need to get ammo, etc), proper weapon use and selection still seems to be something that new players fail at. And often weapons are misunderstood in their role. So with no further ado... There are many weapons in NOTD, and all weapons have their strengths and weaknesses. There is no universally good weapon, so don't bother looking for it. The true strength of the UGC Marine comes from knowing all weapons, and when to use them. [align=center]Common Weapons[/align] Gauss Rifle: The Gauss Rifle is to be considered the weapon that all others are compared to. This isn't because it's the strongest weapon. However it's collection of stats makes it midranged in most situations. With a relatively low reload time, decent splash zone, and fairly decent attack speed this should be the measure by which you compare other weapons. The Gauss Rifle loses 1 point of damage per point of armor, but has good bonuses against Massive, Armored, and Structure targets. Lacking a more specialized weapon it is great for situations like Dome C and D, and the Post Erebos Attack Waves. However being rapid fire with relatively low damage, it is one of the worst weapons you can pick against very high armor targets, such as Erebos, Eos the Zombie Queen, Slashers, and Hulks. There is almost never a reason NOT to have a Gauss Rifle with you as it's midlevel performance comes in handy. Mk-3 Flamethrower: This is the king of DPS (Damage Per Second) at the common weapon level. Despite the fact that the weapon says only 8 damage base, it hits with multiple projectiles per attack (Up to 12!). It's bonus against Biological applies to 99% of the enemies in game. The weapon also ignores armor, has a very good linear splash damage, and against Massive Targets gets so many hits on it that it often outperforms "better" weapons despite the penalties against Armored and Massive. It's weakness comes in that it is obviously short ranged and can only attack ground targets. Maximizing it's damage potential requires you to micro yourself as close to the target as safely possible. As well it's reload is fairly long (Equal to the M45), and considering it's short range can leave you on a reload cycle with enemies right on your doorstep. Short Version, the Flamethrower is really one of the best weapons when used properly, even outperforming some higher rarity weapons, and there is almost no reason not to carry and use one when possible. M45 Marksmanship Rifle: This weapon rounds out the "Holy Trinity" of Common Weapons. Combined with the Gauss Rifle and Mk-3 Flamethrower you can eliminate 99% of the enemies on Easy Company with no problem, presuming you switch weapons as needed. The M45 has no splash damage, limiting it's use during the heavy full court presses that occur at times. It has high single shot damage however, making it quite decent for running around during lulls in the game and is one of the most ammo efficient weapons in the game, dropping most common enemies (Zombies, Ghouls, Stalkers) in anywhere from 1-5 shots. Has the longest range of any common weapons, and it's firerate is slow enough that should you have a Surveillance Recon nearby you will never need to reload. The M45 though really shines when attacking air units. Excepting a few bosses and Stranglers, all air units are light (Notice the m45 has a huge bonus vs. Light targets), and has a hidden, unlisted bonus that doubles it's damage against flying enemies. With any sort of damage boost on your attacks, you will one shot a Gargoyle or Wraith, and even without you will leave them near dead. P-45 Gauss Pistol: Considered by most a throwaway weapon. The Gauss Pistol does enough damage to put down the lightest zombies in one shot, but pales in comparison to the Flamethrower or M45 in sheer damage. It's splash is nearly non-existent. It's range is short, and it's firerate is somewhat slow. As such most DPS classes will rightly eschew this weapon in favor of weapons that outclass it either in sheer damage (Flamethrower), Rate of Fire (Most every weapon), or range (Most every weapon). The advantage the pistol has is a very quick reload speed, and a light weight which gives it a niche use with Runner characters (Mobility Recons, Subtlety Marksmen), as they often don't face down massive hordes and the relatively high single shot damage can serve them well, particularly on lower rating games. It also has a high Armor Reduction Value, 1.5, tied with the SMG for the highest. This means that in situations where you melt armor, with Laser Designator, Field Probes, Plasma Satchels, etc, it starts to come into it's own. It has good bonuses against Light and Heroic, but often Heroic targets have too much armor to effectively be pistol whipped. Crowbar: A hard to use weapon that only belongs in the hands of specific classes. It's a melee weapon, and as such, doesn't use ammunition or ever need to reload. It deal very high damage, and like the Gauss Pistol actually deals twice as much damage as listed because it double taps. The splash damage on it is also very good. As a melee weapon it bypasses armor and it's high attack speed can rip enemies apart. It has a hidden bonus where Immortals killed by the Crowbar will not rise again. Very nice. Because it's a melee weapon, and it's not like it adds evasion or anything to your character, it is strictly an option only for Tank characters, or possibly a cloaking character such as a Mobility Recon or Subtlety Marksman. [align=center]Uncommon Weapons[/align] M5 Pulse Rifle: Often this weapon is mistaken as being a "Strictly Better Gauss Rifle". This is patently false. The M5 is good, but it's not something that could or should replace your Gauss Rifle. Instead it is a better candidate for replacing the M45 or perhaps Flamethrower. The reasons for this are simple. The M5 Pulse Rifle has severely reduced splash damage compared to the Gauss Rifle, making it much worse against the hordes that the Gauss Rifle can excel against. Also it is lacking the bonuses against Armored and Massive Targets (And Armored is a MUCH more common type than Light by the way). The M5 makes up for this with a higher rate of fire than the Gauss Rifle, and being barely effected by armor (Losing only .3 damage per point of armor). It's bonuses against Light, Psychic, and Heroic targets makes it custom fit for tearing down Erebos and Deimos, and due to the low damage reduction, bosses in general, or Light Targets coming en mass, like Gargoyle Waves or Infested Marines. In short, it's a good weapon, but it doesn't replace the Gauss Rifle as they fit different roles. HK420 Assault Rifle: THIS is the Gauss Rifle Replacement, and really it's hard to call it anything else. It fires a bit slower than the Gauss Rifle, but not enough to be considered crippling in any way. It has the same bonuses against Massive and Armored, but lacks the penalty against Psychic that the Gauss Rifle has. It has more base damage than the Gauss Rifle per round, and as such should go to weapon based characters primarily, such as Operations Commandos, Arms Assaults, Combat Riflemen, etc. It's slightly better than the Gauss Rifle against armor as it loses .67 points per armor on damage, so again, like the Gauss Rifle it fairs poorly against very heavily armored targets. Slashers, Hulks, and Bosses, and will excel in any situation where the Gauss Rifle shines. MP9A2 Sub-Machine Gun: This is a very niche weapon, but highly valuable. It has one of the highest rates of fire, and also one of the best splash damage of all weapons. It reloads very quickly, and is light weight. It has good flat damage, and bonuses against Light and Psychic. The one thing that keeps this from being some master weapon, is that it also has the highest amount of armor reduction. 1.5 per point of armor. But it does mean that classes who master in Armor Reduction, like the Surveillance Recon and Combat Engineer who can tank targets into Negative Armor, can use it to deal insane amounts of damage. It doesn't have any particular weakness to Massive or Armored enemies. It's just the armor those enemies have that prevent it from being useful. If you can't tank an enemy's armor toward Zero, or even Negative (Each Negative armor is +1.5 damage for you), then it doesn't serve too much purpose. Though it's still good for clearing out Gargoyles (Zero Armor, Light) and Infested Marines (Zero Armor, Light and Psychic). AER138 Laser Rifle: This is perhaps one of the most highly overrated weapons in the game. The Lase Rifle deals decent DPS, great in some limited situations. But otherwise it's a huge ammo sink, and often you'll find yourself performing better with almost any other weapon (Especially if ammunition is a concern as it often is in harder modes). Recently the Laser Rifle received a buff to it's damage and range, with a very slight decrease to it's rate of fire and splash. Because of this the mechanics of the Laser Rifle and when to use it have changed. Having a flat 10 damage, a high rate of fire, and -1 Armor reduction. Yes, it deals more damage per point of armor the target has, and conversely loses a point of damage if the enemy has negative armor. The Laser Rifle is custom made for burning down bosses who typically have high amounts of Armor, such as Erebos's 12 armor, or Eos, The Zombie Queen's 20. The recent change in the Laser Rifle's weapon profile means that it is now even MORE useless against hordes. The splash has been reduced to the point where typically you can only hit enemies who are so small and tightly packed that the Laser Rifle itself would gain no bonuses against them, such as Ghouls and Blindlings. It does however make them slightly more useful against Agrons now as they will deal 13 damage a shot at a high rate of fire, dealing 26 damage in the same amount of time that a Gauss Rifle would hit them for 16 damage. The list of targets a Laser Rifle is effective against would include: Hulks, Agrons, Slashers, and Bosses with High Armor or Midranged armor (4-8 or so). It is still highly ineffective though in any situation where the enemy is going to have it's armor melted away by talents such as Burn!, Laser Designator, the Field Probe's Penetrate, and similar skills. 590A5 Combat Shotgun: A highly valued weapon that often replaces either the Flamethrower or the Crowbar in people's inventories. the Shotgun has high single shot damage, burning two shells at once to deal an AoE frontal arc of short ranged damage. Hits by it also have a chance to stun non-massive enemies it hits, and it has a nice bonus against Light and Massive targets. It has a slow fire rate however, short range, and longer than average reload can hurt you, particularly if caught unprepared against fast movers. Also be aware if you are tanking with the Shotgun that the mini-stuns will break an enemy aggro, and they may target something nearby and squishier over you. [align=center]Rare Weapons[/align] XM814 Heavy Machine Gun: Conditionally seen as a replacement for the Gauss Rifle, often avoided due to its one drawback. The HMG has a huge splash radius, a slightly slower than average fire rate, high damage and bonuses against Armored and Massive. The HMG cuts clean through enemy armor, with a flat 0 Armor Reduction, making it equally effect against everything from a Ghoul to the Zombie Queen. It's one Achilles heel is it's reload, 6 seconds, tied for the highest in the game! Hitting the Manual Reloads is KEY on this weapon, and often it is reserved only for classes that have a way to mitigate this reload problem, Arms Assaults with Ammo Feed, Operations Commandos with the Combo Reload Bonus, and Survival Rifleman with Weapon Proficiency. Honestly though the XM814 Heavy Machine Gun is as close to an "Ultimate Weapon" as you might find. It has good range, high damage, high splash, decent rate of fire, completely ignores armor, and it's one drawback can be dealt with by playing the above classes. If you are one, the HMG is likely the only weapon you will ever need. Barrett M112: The high powered, Anti-Material Rifle. The Barrett completely ignores armor. It has a slow fire rate, no splash, takes up 3 rounds of ammunition per shot, and applies a temporary slow debuff on the character when fired. However it's single target damage is insanely high. And, like the HMG, it takes a solid 6 seconds to reload. There isn't really anything to compare it to in game. Unlike the M45 it gets it's bonuses against armored targets, instead of Light targets, and it's slower rate of fire makes it unsuited to picking off groups of light enemies. It will rip through targets such as Hulks, Slashers, Stalkers, Devourers, and Agrons. Despite being a sniper rifle it's often best in the hands of high damage classes, like a Modifications Technician or Combat Rifleman. Depending on who you ask, the Barrett is a weapon for all seasons, or incredibly narrow in its use. It does pack a punch however and is always a decent choice for using against bosses, if not general hordes. Stinger Mk-3: Once known as the TK 9000, the Stinger is a rocket launcher which deals massive area damage. It has a fairly long reload, and takes 10 ammo per shot (Cannot be fired with less than 10 in the current magazine), and unlike other weapons in the game cannot Autoattack, but must manually attack a target. Note that in order to do this, you can't just right click on your target, no, you will just move at them instead. You must click attack or press A, then click on the specific target you wish to fire at. (Note: This recently was fixed and Right Clicking on a target will now launch an attack on an enemy) It will deal some fairly heavy friendly fire (Though not the listed damage), so be careful about targeting closer enemies. The Stinger's Rocket can be shot down mid-flight by Infested Marines, so if many are on the field make sure to abuse areas they don't have vision of in order to prevent dud firings. In addition the blast will always trigger the Recon's Backstab ability, making him a better than average user of the Stinger. Often the Stinger is used to XP hog hordes or fixed targets like the Airlock's Eggs, either for a class that is underleveled (Like most tanks), or a class which has a key ability they need for an upcoming part (Like the Psi Ops Inception in Apollo). Just remember the blast is quite wide and shoot at targets who are behind the leading edge of the mobs, rather than clicking on the closest enemies. L3 Grenade Launcher: Sometimes consider the poor man's Stinger. The L3 only uses 3 rounds per shot. But unlike the Stinger cannot attack air targets, and it's area of effect is far smaller. It does however fire and reload faster. Like the Stinger you cannot auto Attack with it, but must manually attack. The plus side is that you don't have to attack a specific target, but can target a location on the ground instead. Shots from the L3 will bounce off the target location (Or blow up if they hit a target), stopping a good distance further along from the originally targeted spot. If a L3 Grenade fails to hit anything, it will instead turn into a "mine", which will detonate if an enemy comes near, or after a period of time. Like the Stinger, the L3 can, and will, damage teammates if they are too close to a blast. So use with caution. Often the L3 is used to "mine" a particular approach that the enemy will use. Due to it's ground targeting, it can be fired blind and you can chuck a series of grenades into the fog of war without needing sight. [align=center]One Chance Weapons[/align] Shiva: From our master of disaster, Marloe: The Shiva is a weapon of devastating power. 40,000 damage can be increased by marine skills to upwards of 120,000 - enough to oneshot many bosses. However the weapon has a range of 45, and a radius of 30. For reference, a Surveillance recon's level two heartbeat sensor has a radius of 40. A Shiva will wipe out a good 1/8 of the map - including any teammates foolish enough to enter the blast radius (even after the shiva goes off the ground will be irradiated and kill you). Exercise this nuclear option with extreme care and communication, or you will destroy yourselves along with your enemies.