In this post I’m going to talk about my thoughts on the current reworked versions of the Plasma Rifle and the Positron Stream. More specifically - why I think they’re not very good, and how they could be improved.
Big thanks to @1galbatorix1 for helping me with this.
When the WBP post on Plasma Rifle came out, I was against making it manual, mainly because I actually really like the weapon from an audiovisual standpoint. The current damage ramping mechanic, however, doesn’t elevate automatic fire to the same level as manual. The main problem is that it further accentuates the already very high damage per hit, which is already very often overkill for basic enemies. On top of that, the DPS increase is actually neglegible when compared with manual fire, as automatic overheats significantly faster, and due to that has a much lower total damage output.
I decided to suggest implementing a change that would help to make automatic fire viable, while also tackling another issue that the Plasma Rifle has. It’s lack of effectiveness against crowds.
The Plasma Rifle has a very low volume of fire - 6.5 hits per second in manual mode. If we give automatic mode some kind of feature that would make it a more effective against crowds, we could still use manual fire for when we’re in need of raw, sustained DPS (for example, against bosses).
I suggest the following changes:
Revert the damage values to the previous version. 2000 on 10, and 2400 on 20. This will give us 15600 DPS with manual fire, and 12000 with automatic.
Remove the damage ramping in automatic mode, and replace it with a new mechanic.
Instead of getting an increase to damage per hit, Plasma could get an AoE that deals 30-50% of the total damage and expands the longer the weapon is locked on, up to a certain threshold (reached after 1.5 seconds of lock-on, just like now). I haven’t exactly nailed down what that threshold should be, but a 400px diameter is the absolute maximum I’d consider going for (350-375px would probably be a better option).
Now, instead of getting a neglegible damage boost, Plasma would get a big increase to its effectiveness against crowds while retaining a decent damage output against single targets with manual fire. I feel like the overheat rate for automatic fire could be lowered to 6 or 7 seconds, but that may not be quite necessary.
As far as the visual aspect is concerned, I think this could be done quite simply. Since IA has figured out additive blending, we now have the opportunity to experiment with more interesting visual effects. I came up with this:
I simply overlaid a sprite that I made with a single click of a brush on top of the impact flare, and turned on additive blend for that sprite’s layer. In this setup, the impact flare itself could be used to show the size of the AoE, with the overlaying sprite to make it look cooler.
And here’s the exact sprite I used for the AoE overlay:
Just like Lightning Fryer, Positron Stream is currently half-finished. It got a new mechanic, and that’s about it. Unfortunately, the splitting mechanic it received is very similar to Lightning Fryer’s chaining mechanic. It’s not identical, but way too close in my opinion.
This is also partially why I suggested giving Plasma Rifle an AoE - it’d work to improve its effectiveness against groups of enemies while differing greatly from Lightning Fryer’s chaining.
I feel like we could do what @Sophodot suggested, and give Positron the ramping mechanic that Plasma has. It’s more suited for it, as Positron actually works as an automatic weapon. Previously, I was of the opinion that it would be better to make Positron a simple beam, without any additional mechanics. But it does make the weapon require a bit more skill to use at its full efficiency, and I managed to figure out a decent power progression for it, albeit with a 1.3x multiplier instead of 1.5x. Fortunately, despite that decrease, it still gives the weapon a very significant boost.
- Plasma Rifle gets a mechanic that makes it perform better against crowds in place of the damage ramping.
- Positron Stream loses the splitting mechanic and gains damage ramping, giving it a very acceptable damage output.
- We end up having two beam-based weapons that both have their own, completely unique ways of dealing with crowds.
And that’s it for this post. If everything goes right, next week I’ll make one about Lightning Fryer, and then hopefully I’ll finally be able to talk about Absolver Beam (brace yourselves, this is gonna be a long one).