Weapons, Damage, and Precision (Part 1)
Posted by Pepin the Short - 21st November 2013
To start things off here, we're going to cover the fundamentals of Battlefield, the things that make the gameplay what it is. If you frequent this site, then a lot of this might be familiar territory for you, but never fear: we'll dig deeper in time. For now, let's make sure that everybody is on the same page.
So we'll start with what is likely the very first thing that you encounter when you get into a game of Battlefield: weapon behavior. There are a lot of things that set weapons in Battlefield apart from one another, but there are two that you are most likely to use as a metric for whether or not a gun is worth using: damage and precision.
Before we kick this off, though, know that the values that Battlelog gives to the various qualities of a weapon are a largely arbitrary scale that, while useful for comparison, compresses a great deal of information into a single number. In the above example provided by the FAMAS, an 'accuracy' of 45 is meaningless save in the fact that it is better than 40 and worse than 50.
The damage of a weapon is an easy thing to wrap your head around. In core gamemodes, characters have 100 health, and, in hardcore, they have 60 health. So a weapon, such as the AK-12, that deals 25 maximum damage and 18 minimum damage will, in core, take four shots to kill at close range and six to kill at long range.
The maximum and minimum damage that a gun deals is, of course, defined by the range from the target. The AK-12 described above, will, up to 8 meters, do 25 damage. Past 55 meters, it will only do 18 damage. Between 8 and 55 meters, the damage will fall off linearly as a function of distance. The weapon pages on this site contain pretty little graphs describing this for every weapon in the game, like so:
Additional complications are added by damage multipliers, which we'll discuss more in-depth later, but suffice it to say that, absent cover or a med kit, you know that your AK-12 will land the kill in six shots or less.
The curve of a weapon's damage as a function of the distance to the target can be termed the weapon's 'damage model.' To simplify the decision-making process for you, most weapons within their class share a damage model, which is typically based off the caliber of the weapon. For example, almost every Assault Rifle has the same damage model as the AK-12, with the exception of the SCAR-H, which is the only .30-caliber rifle of the lot. The same is true of the Carbines and the Light Machine Guns, and, to a lesser extent, the Sniper Rifles and the DMRs. The SMGs are an entirely different animal, and I encourage you to take a look at the Weapon Multi-Comparison to compare and contrast all the different weapons and see which damage model suits you best.
For Battlefield 3 veterans, it is worth noting that the suppressor and the heavy barrel no longer affect the damage model. The suppressor will reduce bullet velocity to a subsonic level, but you can expect the same performance as far as the damage model is concerned.
There is yet more to talk about regarding weapons; while damage may be a major factor in the effectiveness of a weapon, what really counts is whether or not you can control it. Our next blog will address the mechanics of weapon recoil and spread, to help you further understand those mechanics.
Pepin the Short