AX and Guardian Weapon Changes. Gauss is popular mainly because it's all that works.

Apologies, this might be a long one.

Adv. Multicannons
After a fight in an AX conflict zone to test out four of the new multicannons (2x overcharged, 2x sturdy mount - great against scouts, barely registered against an interceptor), and taking a caustic missile in the process, I did what any combat pilot does on docking: I repaired, refueled, and restocked. This was a mistake.

Just like that, those materials I put into the multicannons were gone. As many a complaint has gone, the root problem here is synthesis.
-Am I genuinely expected to use materials on scouts? I didn't get a chance to test on a Cyclops, but even that doesn't seem worth it. (Payoff is simply not worth the cost.)
-It's far too easy to mistakenly nuke your synthesized ammo. There is an option to individually stock what you want, but I had to actively search for it just so I didn't look like a complete fool if I implied there wasn't a workaround. :) The fact that all that material can be blown away with the slip of a misplaced button click is infuriating to no end.
-The decision to use synthesis (a mechanic meant for temporary boosts) to activate a function that is the only reason these weapons exist makes no sense either, both for these and the missiles we may or may not get at some point (more on this later).

The solution: remove the need for synthesis to switch to AX damage. Simply place an "Ammo Type" button on the right hand "FUNCTIONS" tab to swap between AX and standard damage. Keep the ability to synthesize for damage boosts just in case.

Adv. Dumbfire Missile Launchers
-Add them in the tech broker in a couple weeks. See all the same suggestions as above. No required synthesis, button toggle only.

Guardian Shard Cannon
-It's low armor penetration, velocity, and spread make it useful against scouts (dubiously) and cyclopses. I think the best course of action would be to tighten down the spread to Pacifier levels. It's low heat and power draw make it an attractive weapon, but only seems useful when mounted to fast and maneuverable ships that can stay close to a goid and still tank the damage (alliance ships). It's usefulness is too narrow to be practical. It's effective range must be extended, hence the idea to tighten the spread. Heck, since more shards are hitting, it's effective DPS might even get a little boost. The idea here is to turn it into a close range monster that can nuke a heart within a couple hundred meters, but with medium range utility.

Guardian Plasma Charger
-This poor guy needs a complete rework. In theory, it should have the highest damage when charged, but due to a criminally low falloff range, it's pointless; even less effective than the shard cannon. With high power and distributor draw, this weapon generally seems like a no-go.

The solution? Keep the power and distributor draw, but make changes to the weapon as if it had the long range modification installed. Double it's velocity, double it's range, and match it's damage falloff to that range. This would give it full damage at all distances, and make it far easier to hit a moving target.


I have a picture in mind of where each Guardian weapon would shine, and have tried to suggest changes according to that.
Shards: Close range insanity with possible mid range applications, though not ideal (great for the duelists out there).
Chargers: All range heavy damage dealer. The travel time (even when accelerated) means that pinpoint accuracy will rarely happen (though skill would really help). Great for straining hearts at all ranges, but terrible for destroying them.
Gauss: exactly as they are. High penetration hitscan weapon. Middle of the road damage, but pinpoint accuracy and relativistic travel speeds make these unmatched for sniping hearts.

As for Advanced multicannons, well... they're not worth synthesis. Pure and simple. Set them to a simple toggle button, and they have a place, but right now?
No.
 
Good list. I love the Plasma Chargers, they have the most unique mechanic, but as an useful weapon they are crippled by the falloff range. I'm all in favor of fixing that. Increasing the shot speed is less necessary, I feel. It's already faster than plasma accelerator's. I wouldn't mind matching the multi-cannon shot speed, for example, but I don't think it's needed.

I think the Adv. MC can keep the ridiculous ammo synthesis but also have the option to load AX rounds at the station. With that sorted, I think they should eventually also introduce a large/huge hardpoint advanced weapon with same mechanics. I'd personally prefer cannon for its large armor piercing value, but as long as it fills those bigger hardpoints.
 
Guardian Plasma Charger
-This poor guy needs a complete rework. In theory, it should have the highest damage when charged, but due to a criminally low falloff range, it's pointless; even less effective than the shard cannon. With high power and distributor draw, this weapon generally seems like a no-go.
I have been using this weapon in general PvE and like it as-is on the most part - the charge and hold mechanic is far superior and easier to deal with than the fixed charge times of rail gun type weapons. The shard cannon is ok, but it is a thermal damage weapon and the guardian plasma charger is an absolute damage weapon. Overall, I do rate the GPC higher than standard PAs - when the GPCs are fired fully charged then they deal a reasonable amount of damage for a relatively low heat generation cost.

The solution? Keep the power and distributor draw, but make changes to the weapon as if it had the long range modification installed. Double it's velocity, double it's range, and match it's damage falloff to that range. This would give it full damage at all distances, and make it far easier to hit a moving target.
I would say no to hard-coded/baseline velocity/range changes - IMO that would be a bridge too far. Adding engineering options to Guardian Weapons though? I could live with some appropriately balanced options.

I have a picture in mind of where each Guardian weapon would shine, and have tried to suggest changes according to that.
Shards: Close range insanity with possible mid range applications, though not ideal (great for the duelists out there).
Chargers: All range heavy damage dealer. The travel time (even when accelerated) means that pinpoint accuracy will rarely happen (though skill would really help). Great for straining hearts at all ranges, but terrible for destroying them.
Gauss: exactly as they are. High penetration hitscan weapon. Middle of the road damage, but pinpoint accuracy and relativistic travel speeds make these unmatched for sniping hearts.
I have little or no objection to this concept but perhaps it is the Thargoids that should be tweaked rather than the weapons?

As for Advanced multicannons, well... they're not worth synthesis. Pure and simple. Set them to a simple toggle button, and they have a place, but right now?
No.
Meh - I rarely engage in ammo synthesis myself and normally it would not matter. However, for this weapon it could be justified if I happen to be outfitting ships with this weapon in an AX operation situation. How about just allowing station reloads to be able to load up on the guardian synthesised ammo? Or increasing the AX damage of the synthesised version perhaps?
 
I figured that an in-cockpit button toggle is the simplest solution to the synthesis problem, aside from doing both kinds of damage at once. That said, letting us choose ammo types from the "advanced maintenance" tab would still work, and reserve synthesis for swapping out in the field.

As far as increasing the range, falloff distance, and speed of plasma chargers, I recommended this under the assumption that guardian modules will never be engineer-able. Frontier seems to have made a statement with the new multicannons. Rather than suddenly allow us to engineer the existing AX multicannons and missiles, we are instead given a new, minimum utility weapon which considers engineer compatibility to be a feature, rather than a long requested necessity. This backs up the notion that there is no plan to give this treatment to existing weapons. I've been holding out hope, but it just continues to look worse and worse.
 
As far as increasing the range, falloff distance, and speed of plasma chargers, I recommended this under the assumption that guardian modules will never be engineer-able. Frontier seems to have made a statement with the new multicannons. Rather than suddenly allow us to engineer the existing AX multicannons and missiles, we are instead given a new, minimum utility weapon which considers engineer compatibility to be a feature, rather than a long requested necessity. This backs up the notion that there is no plan to give this treatment to existing weapons. I've been holding out hope, but it just continues to look worse and worse.
Engineering or not, guardian weapons are generally fine for general PvE IMO/IME.

As for FDs recent ISIs/CGs, I am not a big fan of what they have chosen to do in regards to the advanced weapons - making the community decide between missiles and multi-cannons with no hope of the notionally losing tech not being introduced at all.

The main issue is probably that existing engineering of standard weapons is still OP despite the balance passes to date. Not really an issue for PvE, but I find it refreshing that the Guardian weapons are not able to be engineered. The ONLY change I would like to see is the introduction of a gimballed option for the Guardian weapons (unless that is the turreted variants already behave like gimballed weapons outside of multi-crew - I could live with that).
 
I think not being to able to engineer the Guardian weapons is refreshing too, and it's good if they are fine in general PvE, but it'd be nice if the AX meta wasn't all Gauss monoboating. I, somewhat rebelliously, go with 2 Plasma Chargers and 2 Gauss, but I know it's no way to fight the more dangerous Thargoids types. At the distances of typical flower fight, the overall damage will be severely reduced. The falloff start point should be at least 1.5 km instead of 1 km, and 2 km like regular plasma accelerator would be better.

Here's a random idea, not necessarily good: How about changing the PC charging so that the damage is flat, but charging focuses them instead, increasing the Piercing value and damage falloff distance? You could try to hit fast and weak targets with rapid snap shots at close and try to hit large and dangerous targets from distance with carefully aimed charged shots.
 
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