Pneumatic Assault Rifle nerf?

I love the idea of the pneumatic assault rifle as a “reward” for reaching high levels of… err, fabrication, mechanics? Can’t remember. For the uninitiated, it’s a weapon that crafts from pretty basic materials (smash up a car and you’ve got them basic) and fires “pebbles”: rock + hammer/another rock = 10 pebbles = effectively infinite ammo. And, unless I’m mistaken, it’s silent. It makes logical sense, is awesome, and is great for ranged characters to have a “free to use” hunting/zombie killing weapon.

The only downside to the PAR is that you have to load it shot-by-shot and it only holds 15 shots, but considering I can load 1 burst’s worth in the time it takes a zombie to move one space, that’s pretty much nothing. That and if you’re playing a “ranged only” character and a HARD_TO_SHOOT monster shows up you’re boned, but that’s a downside of the playstyle not the weapon itself.

The trouble is, it’s way too powerful for a “free bullets” weapon. It kills the Thing in a single clip, before it can even get close to me - I’m not sure how tough it’s supposed to be, but I’m reasonably certain it’s not intended to be an equal threat to, say, a squirrel. I’m throwing away Rivtech guns because while they’re theoretically more powerful than the PAR, being able to down a zombie in one or two hits instead of fifteen, the only situations in which carrying just the PAR is contraindicated that I’ve encountered so far have been encounters with enemies that have armor it can’t punch through. That pretty much means chicken walkers and tankbots, which come rarely enough that I can just fire off one of the five or six LAWs I have in my trunk from crash-sites. That, and the aforementioned encounters with HARD_TO_SHOOT monsters, in which case I fire off my flashbang & shockwave CBMs and shoot them anyway, since hey - free ammo. Those don’t happen all that often and would be pretty much equally threatening if I was using any other gun anyway.

On a side note, maybe shotguns should ignore/partially mitigate HARD_TO_SHOOT? That is kinda the idea of a shotgun.

I still very much like that the PAR exists and would like it to continue to do so more-or-less unchanged, so here’s some ideas on how it can be altered:

First and simplest idea is to alter the damage. Right now it does roughly 10 damage per shot; maybe 2 or 3 would be appropriate. It should be less powerful than, say, the Beretta 9mil; right now it does damage on-par except in perfectly silent full auto.

Possibly in addition to that, make it not completely silent. Having an assault rifle that does not summon the horde is one of the main appeals of the weapon, but on the other hand, pneumatics can be very loud. Certainly the action, the escaping air, and especially the (irregular, considering it’s a smashed rock) projectile banging off of the walls of the barrel should make some noise. Or possibly the weapon still makes no meaningful noise when firing, but the projectiles rattle around in the hopper whenever you move with it wielded.

You could also raise the barrier to entry. This is my least favorite idea, actually; I think it’s at an appropriate difficulty to make as it is. However, it does feel awfully cheap for such a powerful and complex weapon. Maybe make it require gunsmithing tools or exotic components. One solution I do kinda like is to have a nerfed free-ammo assault rifle that can be crafted simply and then have the PAR as it exists now or even slightly stronger as an “end-game” weapon; “I’m level 20 in every skill and have access to truck-fulls of the best technology known to man, gooddamn bees should not even be an attrition threat to me.” Lasers fill this niche already though, come to think of it, especially if one has the UPS biomod.

A solution that also introduces neat mechanics and gritty realism would be to emphasize the pneumatic nature of the weapon; you should have to crank it up before firing. Maybe one good pressure-up could take two minutes to do and last for fifty shots or so; the PAR would be great for hunting and still excellent as your default “something popped out at me while I was working” weapon, but as soon as you encounter a horde of zombies or a bunch of blobs you should switch to something else. Maybe even have damage decrease with pressure; the first two bursts do 10 damage a shot, next three do 6, any more than that and you’re basically just throwing them at the target. You could also have craftable/obtainable compressed air canisters that are semi-expensive and big but mitigate the nerfed weapon’s crappiness at crowd control… for a while.

In addition to that, you could also have there be a risk of the tank failing and rendering the weapon temporarily useless every time you crank it up. Now there’s a certain chance of things suddenly getting a little hairy, and that’s fun. You could also have the weapon degrade as it’s firing, though maintaining a weapon in Cata is such a trivial task that the only real effect it would have would be to make it even worse at extreme crowd control, and I think there’s more fun ways.

One more thought would be to fix the ammo, not the weapon. Smashed bits of rock are going to be aerodynamically unstable; the pressurized air is going to bang them against the barrel multiple times before they leave the weapon, the atmosphere is going to deflect them well away from your target past a couple feet or so, and even then they’re not going to go very far. The PAR can also fire the marbles you find on Child Zombies; maybe the free rock ammo is only really suitable for soft targets at near-melee range, while marbles and craftable, semi-expensive saboted and finned metal slugs go further and hit harder.

If anyone has any more ideas or thinks I’m wrong about how the weapon should be balanced I’d love to hear it. But in my opinion, as it stands there’s no reason to use any other gun once you have the PAR, and that’s no fun.

Missfire sounds logical, haven’t really had any guns fail me so far.
Does cata EVEN have a chance for missfire?

It was discussed to add something like “compressed air” type of ammo for pneumatic weapons and nailguns. The problem at the moment is impossibility to make weapons load two types of ammo simultaneously. I think that necessity to pump pneumatic weapons and therefore to spend time will be good enough nerfing.

There are a bunch of weapons with the same problem - mostly laser rifles and fusion blaster rifle (which is the most OP thing in the game at the moment, surpassing every single OP weapon together twice)

The reflex recurve bow is more lethal than the pneumatic assault rifle in my opinion. No recoil and no reloading means you can keep shooting forever]\\\\\\\

I never use the PAR because it feels too powerful and too easy, same for the power armor. I like OP’s idea, maybe give it a barometer or something to show the pressure level in the air tank. Activate it it to spend a turn pumping the gun with a hand-crank. If the pressure is low, the shots will have short range and hit weakly; if the pressure it high enough, the shots will be fast and deadly… and loud. Pump too much and your rusty hand-crafted gun will explode into pieces.

[quote=“troll from behind, post:2, topic:9092”]Missfire sounds logical, haven’t really had any guns fail me so far.
Does cata EVEN have a chance for missfire?[/quote]

Yeah, Berettas (accurized berrettas) jam all the time in Cata.

It is strong compared to light weapons, but keep in mind that it’s not the smallest and not the lightest thing around.

By the time you can craft pneumatic rifles, you probably can melee hulks barehanded without taking a single hit.
Unless you do a lot of assassinations on shockers and shocker brutes, it’s not worth hauling this heavy crap around.

Yes one is a heavy rifle and the other is a light handgun.
I myself prefer to carry a pistol crossbow with a few explosive bolts for special ocasions. The rest gets murdered in melee.
I say befor we tweak ranged weapons we should totaly fix melee.

How is the PAR supposed to be pneumatically charged?

It sounds like a Girandoni Air Rifle, which should have the terminal ballistics of a 45 ACP, approximately.

The drawbacks were:

[ul][li]30 shots at useful pressure[/li]
[li]power declined as the air reservoir was emptied[/li]
[li]took nearly 1500 strokes of a hand pump to fill those reservoirs[/li][/ul]

It had detachable reservoirs though.

So I can see the PAR existing but it should take a shitton of time to recharge the pneumatic reservoirs.

There i agree. The reloading should take longer. That or the presure needs to be kept in a seperate action.

As I recall, (can’t check cause I’m on my phone) it takes around a minute and a half (1500 moves) per shot to reload right now.

Sounds about right for the Girandoni. We need a better fatigue system for crap like this.

280 moves for pneumatic assault rifle, 500 for pneumatic bolt driver. That’s at 0 skill and 0 strength (both have STR_RELOAD).

I’d think stone pebbles would cause some fairly rough jamming (as opposed to say; paintballs, steel bearings, or glass marbles.)

Pneumatic weapons requiring some sort of reservoir charge regulating the shot power would also be pretty on point as well (as would coil/railguns.) Also important to remember that it isn’t going to be silent like a dart gun… if those shots are going supersonic there will be a sharp whip crack of a noise as the projectile breaks the sound barrier.

I stand corrected.

I probably shouldn’t be trying to talk about overly technical stuff like that while I’m in line at the grocery store.

The pneumatic assault rifle has poor armor piercing. It’s powerful but only is some situations. For instance I wouldn’t recommend using it against turrets. … that’s what happened to my latest character. May he rest in peace.

The trouble is that it’s too powerful in too many situations. And ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many shots it takes to down an enemy, because they’re free and the weapon reloads and fires very quickly.

So I guess we’re all pretty much in agreement that the pressure reservoir is the way to go, we just don’t have the infrastructure set up to implement it yet?

Pretty much.

Though bumping the reload times and adding a flag that would make it harder for skills to reduce reload times would also work.
This flag part would be pretty important, because skills affect reload times heavily.

I’d rather see light firearms gain a buff. PAR damage is on par (pun intended) with 9mm – that is, enough to kill one zed but a horde will tear you apart. I.e. not really any more effective than going melee.

And on top of low damage, PAR is also annoying to reload, heavy, bulky, doesn’t take mods and has a small magazine. I can’t fathom a situation where I’d use it over a proper 5.56 rifle or shotgun. Even if I didn’t have a proper gun, I’d just use melee and throwing.

Bolt driver sounds better, though its damage drops off with range too quickly, and I’m a passionate hater of reload-by-one.