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The Ballistica: Reworking The Unloved Child


Noble_Cactus
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Ah, the Ballistica. Introduced in U10.4.0, the Ballistica was the first secondary weapon to feature a charge mechanic. Offering both burst and accurate fire modes, it promises versatility over the raw killing power of a regular bow and the accuracy and hitscan fire of the Sicarus or Burston. Seems like an enticing middle ground for players who love Torsion weapons, no?

 

Not exactly. Upon using the Ballistica for the first time, most players are turned off by its general awkwardness in practice and its low damage compared to other, similar weapons. As a result, it's probably one of the least-used secondary weapons in the game. It hasn't gotten any buffs since its release, either, so for the few who actually do enjoy using this weapon, there seems to be little hope for the poor unloved child of the bow family (Cernos at least looks pretty).

 

But we can change that. It wouldn't take very many tweaks to bump the Ballistica up to being an attractive, yet still niche, option for players who like to use funkier weapons.

 

What I feel are necessary changes:

 

Damage and Spread:

 

The Ballistica's damage actually isn't all that terrible. With no Corrosive Projection, it will do around 7k damage on charged headshot crit on standard ~Lv40-50 Grineer troops. I took it out of storage the other day and with only one forma, it was OHKOing Lv60 Grineer Heavy Gunners on Ceres survival... when it decided to crit.

 

It also has a higher base damage than the Aklex and Lex Prime at 80 Puncture and 100 total, and only 5% less crit than those other marksman weapons. Once again, not bad.

 

The burst fire spits out four 25 damage bolts for 100 damage total, yet in practice it feels pathetically weak. This is mostly to do with its very low crit chance (the in-game loadout says it's nonexistant, though I swear I've seen it crit before and the wiki agrees) and the fact that the burst fire bolts are highly innaccurate. They spread from the initial point of fire quickly upon leaving the gun, and unless you are standing 10 feet away from the enemy, at least one of those bolts will probably miss. Not very conducive to taking out crowds or dealing with medium range targets. Both the charged fire and the burst fire suffer from the same issue that all projectile weapons happen in this game, which is where the projectile often fires to the right of the target at certain ranges. This makes the already-innaccurate burst fire very undesirable. The burst fire is also attached to a disorienting horizontal recoil that, while realistic, makes the primary fire a pain to use in successive bursts.

 

So what can be done? I think the Ballistica's overall damage should be upped slightly; for the amount of effort it takes to use this thing, there's not a whole lot of reward when I could be using an Akmagnus or Akvasto for medium-long range crowd suppression. If I wanted to spew out a storm of bolts, I'd pick the Akbolto. And if I really wanted an efficient and powerful mid-range secondary, I'd pick the Marelok. Though maybe it's not fair to compare anything to the Marelok besides the Brakk.

 

The burst fire's spread needs to be tightened up considerably. It doesn't need to be pinpoint accurate, but enough to be useable at longer ranges. This would also involve reducing the recoil on said burst fire.

 

As a bonus, I think the crit chance of the charged fire should be upped slightly. Maybe to 25% or so? It's a versatile sniping/close quarters hybrid weapon, after all, so it doesn't need to encroach on the role of the true snipers themselves. Or we could go all out and bump it straight up to 50%. I'll leave that up to discussion.

 

Charge Delay:

 

The Ballistica has a unique problem. The wiki describes it better than I could, so I'll let the Ballistica page do the talking:

 

Unlike the other magazine based charge weapons (Lanka and Ogris), there is a period between charge shots in which if you click too soon after a charge shot, the Ballistica will neither charge nor fire. This lowers the actual DPS of a charge build. Roughly .5-.8 seconds after firing a charge shot. Increasing the fire rate decreases this delay however.

 

In practice, this makes the Ballistica unwieldy to use. It also probably accounts for a lot of the general awkwardness that many people dislike about this weapon.

 

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how this could be corrected, or even if this could be corrected because of the weapon's two completely different modes of fire. What could help this problem, though, is to rework the Ballistica itself from the ground up.

 

Reworking the Ballistica:

 

After considering the above problem, and taking its design focus of variable burst fire and sniping accuracy into account, I came up with an idea to keep both of these focuses while making the Ballistica much more fun to use. Potentially.

 

Anyway, this is how my new Ballistica would work:

 

The Ballistica could still be charged. However, the length of the charge determines the number of bolts it spits out, as well as their trajectory.

 

Tap fire - Fires one pinpoint accurate bolt directly where the crosshair is aiming.

Hold for a split second -  Fires two very accurate bolts in a burst

Hold for a little longer - Fires three accurate bolts in a burst

Hold all the way - Fires four fairly-accurate bolts in a burst. More accurate than the current burst fire, meaning they'll travel down the line of sight but will still have a bit of a spread.

 

A very rough concept, but my intent is to turn the Ballistica into a weapon that could more easily fulfill a dual crowd control/sniping role on the fly. By reversing the order of the burst and sniping fire, the new Ballistica could hopefully make head hunting on the fly much easier while also providing heavy damage from a charged shot (which, of course, is accelerated through fire rate mods, meaning you could consistently spit out four bolt clusters if you wished). Maybe even give the bolts increased damage and punch through on fully charged shots? Just a thought.

 

If you have any ideas on how the Ballistica should be changed, leave your comments alone. My little brainstorm is nowhere near perfect, but the point is to generate discussion about a weapon that will likely never receive any attention if we don't start talking about it in the first place.

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Personally, I think a bit of a damage upgrade on the burst would do wonders. One fourth of the ammo efficiency for more fire rate is absurd, especially with the aforementioned problems with the burst. If the shots on the burst started at around ~40 damage, this gun would rapidly shoot up in usage. Perhaps a little bit of an upgrade in the charge shot damage as well, but the burst and the bug with the fire-rate are the main issues.

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I loved it's description, but didn't endure through it to level up to 30... i tink i stopped at rank 11 for it, since it was horrible, with the burst fire, the pauses, and the long charge up time...

 

this would make the Ballistica a nice little secondary toy...

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Sadly this incredibly cool (and i think fun) weapon to use came when "power creep" was heavily among discussions and even mentioned on the dev stream.

 

As for the changes, all seem fine but I really really really like the full charge using 1 bolt but does the same damage as the 4 individual bolts. I'd cry if that mechanic was changed.

 

You'd be reloading too much I think with the new full charge. Maybe if the secondary aiming was held it'd change the behavior of the full charge. IDK.

Edited by Quizel
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Just going to say that i think the balistas a great weapon. The innate puncture is good vs shields, and most of its flaws can be evened out with mods.

 

With the charge idea, you want to watch you dont end up with a non-explosive angstrum. It might be good to start with more bolts per shot, and charging reduces the nimber of shots and the spread, while increasing damage and puncture.

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Sadly this incredibly cool (and i think fun) weapon to use came when "power creep" was heavily among discussions and even mentioned on the dev stream.

 

As for the changes, all seem fine but I really really really like the full charge using 1 bolt but does the same damage as the 4 individual bolts. I'd cry if that mechanic was changed.

 

You'd be reloading too much I think with the new full charge. Maybe if the secondary aiming was held it'd change the behavior of the full charge. IDK.

 

Hmm, good point. I'll think on that.

 

Just going to say that i think the balistas a great weapon. The innate puncture is good vs shields, and most of its flaws can be evened out with mods.

 

With the charge idea, you want to watch you dont end up with a non-explosive angstrum. It might be good to start with more bolts per shot, and charging reduces the nimber of shots and the spread, while increasing damage and puncture.

 

Also good feedback. Thanks guys.

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Gimmicky weapons, ew.

I'm fine with gimmicky weapons like the Phage/Drakgoon/Castanas if they actually kill things and aren't a pain to use. The Ballistica, meanwhile, doesn't know what it wants its gimmick to be, so it attempts to do two things and it's not good at either one. Hopefully a rework would make it simpler and easier to use.

The biggest change would need to be for the firing delay. After that, the devs can decide whether to buff the damage, or rebuild the thing from the ground up (unlikely but worth a suggestion).

Edited by Noble_Cactus
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Been forever since I used this thing so I built a new one and took it out for a spin.

 

Meh.

 

Basically the Ballistica has two catastrophic flaws:

1.) The burst mode is wildly inefficient due to its weird horizontal spray causing a lot of misses, plus the fact that you only get 4 shots per 2 second reload. Does not even come remotely close to competing with faster, more accurate automatic pistols.

2.) The charged mode is ammo efficient but doesn't compete with "sniper pistols" like the Lex (much less the Marelok) because it is both slower between shots, and harder to score those vital decapitations due to being an arrow instead of a hitscan bullet.

 

My recommendations to remedy these are:

1.) Burst fire mode consumes only 1 round of ammo to shoot 4 darts. This solves the magazine:reload problem completely. The high on-paper ammo efficiency is still offset by the weird recoil and terrible precision of the burst mode.

2.) Charged mode becomes hitscan and has a limited amount of innate punchthrough like bows do (but to a lesser degree).

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Reached rank 30. Don't say I didn't give it a fair shake.

 

Still meh.

 

The burst fire mode is completely useless, it burns your magazine too fast. It's like the Sicarus except worse. I didn't think such a thing was possible.

 

The charged mode is..."usable", with both Lethal Torrent and Gunslinger on the weapon but awkward and underpowered.  My config does about 1900 damage which will one-shot your way through the solar system, but doesn't hold a candle to the performance of a even fairly ordinary pistols like the Bolto (half the damage per shot but fires as fast as you can click) much less a headhunter like the Lex Prime (crits to the face, man).  It's like using a bow without the punchthrough or the x4.4/x5.6 crits i.e. like using a bow without the redeeming features.

 

My recommendation on burst fire mode remains unchanged.  It needs to cost 1 round of ammo so that we can spam it.  The charged shot realistically needs a higher crit chance to make going for faces worthwhile at higher levels.

Edited by Momaw
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  • 4 weeks later...

if there's anything that i can wish for Ballistica, it's for it's scale to not be so large it clips with everything, and that it is always a Ballistic Weapon.

 

i don't like Hit Scan. so i can never vouch for a Weapon to turn into that.

 

 

frankly, as a supposed Crossbow, why does it need to Charge to fire a single shot? if the loading mechanism only operates when you pull the trigger, that is a combatively impractical design. having a device for auto draw would logically reset the Crossbow after every shot, so it was ready to fire.

 

so for mechanics, i'd propose switching them around. able to fire a single moderate Power shot like a slower Semi-Auto Weapon, and short Charge to fire 4 bolts in a tightish spread shot.

 

My only complaint with this weapon is that the charge and shoot doesn't feel as fluid as the bows. You find yourself often canceling your shots by accident. 

that's a pretty big part of the problem, indeed.

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What shall be done to it though? Should it be comparable to the Lex Prime when using the charge attack or slightly below? (As in equivalent to LP's current state-which most agree needs a slight buff as well)

 

Build modeled: http://warframe-builder.com/Secondary_Weapons/Builder/Ballistica/t_30_22222003_193-2-5-195-7-5-200-3-5-204-0-10-206-1-5-209-6-5-211-5-5-222-4-5_204-7-206-6-193-6-200-5-222-5-211-9-209-11-195-6/en/3-0-2 

Note: My clacs added a 0.5sec delay between charged shots which doesn't seem to be included in the WF Builder model-could be wrong. For non-charged attacks a base RoF of 5 was used-> approximated WF builders estimates on my spreadsheet.

 

 

Suggestion:

Perhaps increase crit chance and cut reload time in half. This would boost both types of firing mechanics.

Specifically, reduce reload down to 1sec and boost crit by 10%. This would increase charged chest shot dps by 33% (from 5.4k to 7.1k)

and charged head shot dps by 51% (from 16.5k to 25.1k). 

 

If a larger buff is needed I'd also remove the forced delay of 0.5-0.8 sec between charged shots.  Doing that alone would be a 46% dps increase and lead to smoother more user friendly gameplay. Removing this delay, reducing the reload time, and buffing crit chance all at the same time to suggested values might be a bit too much (131% charged head shot  dps increase - 38k effective dps) but the numbers could be tweaked. I'd say this would be over buffing it, but don't forget it does have travel time.

 

Personally I think the non-charge attack mechanic is brilliant but needs more than a faster reload for a buff.  With a 1 sec reload the build proposed would only net about 4k effective paper dps (like 33% increase) and the burst would be around 7k (no increase-obviously).  At a minimum I'd say those numbers should be nearly doubled.  Allowing the non-charge attack to crit the same as the charged attack would solve this issue providing another 77% dps boost (7.5k effective paper dps-and 13k burst).  This is still low'ish given what secondary weapons are capable of, but it is merely to complement the beastly charged attack.

 

Theory crafting the numbers is one thing but how well should this weapon perform? Lets get specific ppl, what is our target effective paper dps or better yet, what weapons should the charge attack and non-charged attack be comparable to?

 

Clearly, I personally would over buff it cause I want it to do well >.>.

 

Recap of my suggestions:
Remove the delay between shots when doing charged attacks- This would over buff it along side other buffs but I kinda hate it, a lot >.>.

Increase crit chance on charged attacks by 10%

Reduce reload time to 1 second

Allow non-charged attack to crit just like charged attacks.

 

What weapons should the charge attack and non-charged attack be comparable to?

Below LexP- For charged attack

Slightly below ?Hikou? - non-charged attack

 

Edit: I realize with a 1.5 crit multiplier the trade off for modding for crit is low, but still worth it if you want to go for hs's and the two standard crit mods are better for chest shots than two 60/60 ele/status mods as long as the boost in status means nothing to you. Buffing crit chance and not the multiplier was the only way to make hs's more appealing w/o needing to nerf base dmg.

Edited by Quizel
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Tap fire - Fires one pinpoint accurate bolt directly where the crosshair is aiming.

Hold for a split second -  Fires two very accurate bolts in a burst

Hold for a little longer - Fires three accurate bolts in a burst

Hold all the way - Fires four fairly-accurate bolts in a burst. More accurate than the current burst fire, meaning they'll travel down the line of sight but will still have a bit of a spread.

 

 

Hmm, reverse the burst-fire, a simple yet substantial change to the way the weapon works (and probably a familiar mechanic for Angstrum users). I support this change, although to be honest any buff or change or the Ballistica would be a good one. I really did want to love this weapon, but the inaccuracy of the burst fire and the underwhelming damage just didn't click with me. I don't want it to be a carbon copy of the Sicarus, but tighter burst-fire (combined with your Sicarus/Angstrum hybrid idea) would definitely make it worlds better.

 

 

By the way, you forgot to mention one more excrutiating disadvantage that the Ballistica has: it has the dreaded D POLARITY!!! (Dun Dun DUUUNNN!!!)

Edited by Paradoxbomb
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Hmm, reverse the burst-fire, a simple yet substantial change to the way the weapon works (and probably a familiar mechanic for Angstrum users). I support this change, although to be honest any buff or change or the Ballistica would be a good one. I really did want to love this weapons, but the inaccuracy of the burst fire and the underwhelming damage just didn't click with me. I don't want it to be a carbon copy of the Sicarus, but tighter burst-fire (combined with your Sicarus/Angstrum hybrid idea) would definitely make it worlds better.

 

 

By the way, you forgot to mention one more excrutiating disadvantage that the Ballistica has: it has the dreaded D POLARITY!!! (Dun Dun DUUUNNN!!!)

 

The dreaded D polarity, also known as the the D: polarity

 

Why we keep getting D polarities, and apparently have been since around this time last year as the Ballistica proves, is a mystery. 

 

I agree with you, though I also like taiiat's suggestion to simply switch the charge and burst shots while also making the burst more accurate (maybe give it a damage buff, too). Quizel's calcs are also very interesting, and it always did make me scratch my head as to why the burst shot has a 0% crit chance.

 

Thanks for the good replies, guys.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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