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The Gentleman's Weapon, a comprehensive guide to the Laser Rifle

Author
Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#1 Posted: 2014.04.04 13:24  |  Edited by: John Demonsbane
Updated for hotfix Charlie

Foreword:First off, the “proper” spelling is laz0r, so we will be using that terminology from here on out. Second, I am not the best LR user out there, so any additional feedback from the real experts like Viktor, lowratehitman, mortedeamor etc.. are welcome. I also must acknowledge Musta Tornius and his team for their exhaustive work on testing the LR.

The LR is easily one of the most unique weapons in Dust; fun to use, hard to master and skill intensive in many ways. Ever since I saw it called “the gentlemans weapon” by RedBleach LeSangiant, I’ve also always had this image in my mind that it was the preferred weapon of an aristocratic gentleman officer of the Empire. As it’s such a beautiful weapon, It’s hard to argue otherwise. Despite being nerfed several times, It has a fanatical (no pun intended) or cult following in Dust that no other weapon can match.

Why is it so revered? While the challenge and fun of using it are great, what really drives people to master the weapon is its awesome potential. No other light weapon can match the LR’s raw power and ability to quickly kill multiple enemies. To wit:
Musta Tornius wrote:
We do know there is no damage cap on the laser. At least not one that is achievable.

It was the unquestioned king of the battlefield for significant portions of beta. There was a persistent conditioned response in many beta veterans to run like hell the second they heard that unmistakable deep hum and saw the beam flash by. I know I always hear Graham Chapman yelling "Run away! Run away!" in my head when someone is mowing down people with the LR.

Introduction: Why doesn’t everyone use it if it’s so amazing?

What keeps laz0rs in check is the degree of difficulty involved in actually applying the full damage output effectively. This is no scrubs best friend, spray and pray weapon we are using here. If you don’t know how to use the LR you will get killed (or kill yourself!) early and often.
As I mentioned before, Musta Tornius and Team Fairy DUST have done a far better job of testing and outlining the detailed mechanics of the weapon than I ever could. You can read it here. My goal is not to be excessively technical and focus more on the practical aspects of actually using the LR. We will go over how to correctly fire the weapon, proper positioning, and finally touch on suit fittings at the end, where some of the more technical stuff will also be discussed.

There are two things every LR user needs to know/master to be effective: Preheating and Positioning.

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#2 Posted: 2014.04.04 13:24  |  Edited by: John Demonsbane
Preheating part 1: Kill them, not yourself!

**The most important section of this guide**

The key thing to know about the laz0r, and what makes it unique, is that it does more damage the longer you hold the trigger. (as the in-game hint says, “Continuous fire increases damage output.”) That’s it!

Things that do not increase damage output include: 1) The amount of heat on the heat gauge. 2) The amount of time you keep the beam on your target. These are both common misconceptions, and lead to ineffective techniques like burst firing at the upper levels of the overheat meter to keep the laz0r “hot” - That is a sure way to kill nobody but yourself as you keep overheating repeatedly.

**It bears repeating: Nothing besides holding the trigger down as long as possible will increase your damage output. Always start firing with the heat gauge at zero, and don’t let go until you are thisclose to overheating!

What this means in practice is that you actually do not want to hit your target right away (unless your primary goal is suppressive fire). If you do, you will not be putting out enough damage and they will be able to get into cover before you can finish them off. It is certainly counter-intuitive to not want to hit your target right away, but remember that we are not discussing an ordinary weapon here.

How to accomplish this: intentionally miss until you are maybe 1/3 of the way up the heat gauge before you actually hit your target (depending on how many targets you have). This is commonly known as "pre-heating."
Pro tip: Since the damage ramps up as you fire, target the weakest enemy (generally a scout) first, then progress to the heavies. Do it right and you can easily kill them both in one sweep.

The classic method of pre-heating is to pick an inanimate object like a nearby wall, box, or rock, and fire at it until you reach the desired level of "heat". At this point, you sweep the beam off the object and onto your target (don't let go of the trigger!). Once you reach the upper portions of the heat gauge, you will be putting out enough damage that you can quickly kill multiple targets if your aim is good (especially if they are shield-tanked suits). This is a somewhat vanilla way of using the weapon, but it definitely works: The archetypal "simple but effective" method. This is a nice segue into part 2:

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#3 Posted: 2014.04.04 13:25  |  Edited by: John Demonsbane
Part 2:Laz0r rifle techniques for fun and profit

But who wants that?! Believe it or not, how you miss is where a lot of the fun can come from! (Admittedly the classic method does have the distinct advantage of not tipping off the enemy.) Here are a few of my favorite techniques:

1) "The derp": AKA "oh noes I sure do suck at dust!". When using this method, you fire sorta near your targets but wave the beam haphazardly all over the place like you have terrible aim or have no idea what you are doing. Once you are preheated, suddenly whip the laz0r beam right on target and melt the enemies face before they know what hit them. (Apologies to non-derp True Adamance; Come up with a better short name and I’ll use it!)

2) "The clothesline": Arguably my favorite, but is very situational. Locate an enemy running perpendicular to your line of sight (or close to it) and basically on level ground with you. Fire the laz0r ahead of them, ideally just at or above head level. Time it right, and they will run straight into your beam at maximum heat, "clotheslining" themselves WWE-style on it. Headshot!

3)"The decoy": If a friendly player is engaging the enemy, fire at them instead. (Warning: NOT intended for use in factional warfare or PC!). You can preheat your beam and hopefully lull your target into a false sense of security thinking their teammate is the one firing the laz0r. Once you are heated up, they will realize the truth after they see your name on the "killed by" screen.
- Alternately, if there is a group of targets, fire at the one you would like to scare away (for example, the one who sees you or is shooting at you!) and then finish off the rest once you are heated up.

4)"Death from above": AKA "a bolt from the blue". Shoot into the air well above your target. Once preheated, swing the beam straight down onto their heads and smite them with your purifying light! Can be tough to pull off, but just like the clothesline, very satisfying when you do. Bonus points for the Amarr RP'er who busts out an appropriately haughty one liner about God's wrath at the same time!

(If anyone has any other techniques, please share!)

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#4 Posted: 2014.04.04 13:26  |  Edited by: John Demonsbane
Positioning: Damn you rail rifle!

While the first rule of being highly effective with the laz0r has always been to stay in optimal range, the age of the rail rifle has made it mandatory, as its ease of use and range profile (pre-1.8) rendered the laz0r nearly obsolete.
As of 1.8, the optimal range of the LR extends out to ~105m. Again, since this is such a unique weapon, that does not tell the whole story.

Unlike most other weapons in which the damage stays more or less the same inside the optimal range, and decreases as you go farther, for the LR the damage dropoff is ludicrous (on both ends). Here you can see the original damage/range curve. Notice that you do very little damage at short range, a TON of damage inside the optimal range, and then almost nothing after.

One of the listed changes in 1.8 was to increase the damage inside the optimal range. CCP has been light on details and I have not seen any extensive testing. The few tests I have personally performed show that the range curve has been shifted to the left, more or less, and I came up with these very rough approximations:

- 30m or less: 80% shield, 60% armor (inside 5-10m it drops off a little more)
- 40m: 100% shield, 75% arrmor
- 60-110m: 120% shield, 80% armor

So it's less punishing as you can actually do some decent damage inside 50m and the flat area where you do maximal damage is wider (that's been hard to test). Nonetheless, for most people it’s not going to be a great short range weapon and do your best to keep enemies a minimum of 30m out.

Traditionally, the best way to keep people in this range is to fire from a height, just like with a sniper rifle or forge gun. This makes it more difficult for opponents to get inside the optimal and engage you up close, a fight you will always lose (without switching to a sidearm). Climb up a ladder and start firing. Alternately, in city sockets like the Gallente research facility or Orbital artillery, you can fire from one walkway/platform to another.

On level ground, it’s all a matter of basic situational/tactical awareness. The classic rule of thumb is that if they show up inside your HUD radar, they are probably too close to use the LR. Again, the new range profile makes the rifle more effective at that range than it used to be but this rule still holds because it's to your advantage to engage at ranges where their rifle is outside of its optimal range but yours is. It remains a long range weapon and will be most effective when used like one!

Also do not forget that when you line up a target in your crosshairs, it gives you range and weapon efficiency information, which is arguably more critical for the LR than for any other weapon in the game.

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#5 Posted: 2014.04.04 13:27  |  Edited by: John Demonsbane
Suit fittings: Beware, math ahead

Pre-1.8, it was simple: Use a standard level LR on an Amarr assault suit. There was no real point to use higher-tier laz0rs as the benefits were virtually negligible, especially compared to the major drawback of much higher feedback damage if you overheated the weapon.

It’s slightly more complicated now, since both the Amarr assault and Commando suits give bonuses to the LR. The Commando bonus is nice because at level 5 it will apply an extra 10% to damage the entire time you fire, and for an alpha weapon like the scrambler rifle, works great. However, since the laz0r rifle has non-linear damage output, the fact that the Amarr assault lets you fire longer without overheating makes a huge difference.

Example:
Firing the LR without any bonus: Overheat at 60 shots, total damage = 2630
Firing the LR with the commando bonus: Still overheat at 60 shots, damage = 2630 + 10% = 2894
Firing the LR with the assault bonus: Overheat at around 75 shots*, damage = 3800

*Calculated for a STD tier LR and the 75 shots is up for debate, it might be 79.

(Please note that this is all potential damage, firing at a stationary target with every shot hitting. Impressive nonetheless, and now you see why the LR can be so devastating)

As for the weapon itself, there is now a definite advantage to the higher tier laz0rs. You can read Musta Tornius’ thread for a more detailed explanation, but the LR damage per shot is based on the equation:

17 + (x * # of shots fired)

where x, was previously a constant at 0.8 but is now a variable that goes up with each tier of weapon: x= 0.91 at STD, and increases to 1.04 at PRO. Since it’s a multiplier, it can make a big difference at maximum heat – not maximum damage, as there does not appear to be a true “ceiling” on DPS, the damage output is only limited by overheating.

Two other advantages to higher tiers:
1) Thanks to our very own Russian oligarch and mad genius Viktor Hadah Jr, the NEG-1 Officer LR does not overheat when used correctly. So... f*ck you heat gauge! Fire away and watch the heretics burn! (My greatest regret about effectively quitting Dust when I did is that I never got to play around with this absolute masterpiece of weapon design)

2) The Imperial Viziam Specialist LR, which has a significantly reduced fitting cost. Useful when you can’t quite squeeze in that higher tier armor repair module on your commando suit!

Bottom line, to make the LR really devastating, you need an Amarr commando or assault suit. Plenty of people are putting them on scouts (since everyone is a scout now) to get them into flanking positions where nobody expects a laz0r to come from. It’s still a very effective weapon but don’t expect to melt Amarr or Gallente Sentinels into slag with it. I do use them on my Amarr logistics suits, but only because I really enjoy the weapon, as I am obviously also not maximizing it’s potential there. While there are exceptions to every rule, I agree with RedBleach LeSangiant's advice: Do not use the LR on any other logi suit, the lack of a sidearm will be crippling.

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#6 Posted: 2014.04.04 13:28  |  Edited by: John Demonsbane
Assault suit fittings: Updated for Hotfix Charlie

Here are some sample fittings that I use. My typical LR fit is a STD Amarr assault; I don’t always use a higher tier because I have the Templar BPO and only run the assault in specific situations or in ambush game mode. Since I have it skilled up, I still get the same bonus to laz0r weapons as the ADV/PRO suit would, which makes it a cheap but highly effective suit at only 18k ISK.

Also, this being in the rookie section of the forums, it makes more sense to demonstrate STD or ADV suits because once you are rolling proto, you probably don’t need this guide anymore; I rarely use proto myself anyway.

(Note: My engineering and electronics skills are maxed, so you may not be able to fit as much as I can. In that case you could probably exchange the enhanced plate for another basic one and be OK)

‘Templar’ Assault A-1

Complex light damage modifier
‘Templar’ Laser Rifle (If I didn’t have the BPO I might use an ELM-7 and drop the damage mod)
'Toxin' ICD-9 Submachine gun
Locus grenade
Compact nanohive
Basic armor plate
Enhanced armor plate
Complex armor repper

(You could make a good argument to use a sidearm damage mod instead, since they are slightly better with an 8% bonus and buffing the SMG might be more important situationally.)

Assault A/1
Enhanced light damage mod
Complex sidearm damage mod
ELM-7 Laser rifle
M512-A SMG
M1 locus grenade
K17/D nanohive
Enhanced armor plate x 2
Basic armor plate
Complex armor repairer

(Here you could try swapping out one of the plates for another rep but I favor more tank here since I have the repair hives to fall back on)

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#7 Posted: 2014.04.04 13:29  |  Edited by: John Demonsbane
On the Commando suit, you obviously have a much greater range of options with the second light weapon slot. There are two primary schools of thought when fitting a laz0r rifle on the Amarr commando:

1) Use a ScR as your second weapon.

- Advantages: Maximize the commando bonus to laz0r weapons (2 “free” complex damage mods at PRO). Racial purity for the members of PCLAS and other FW zealots. Shield based suits will die just from you looking at them.
- Disadvantages: Weaker against armor tanked suits

2) Compensate for the weaknesses of the LR by picking a second weapon that is good against armor and at short range. Examples: ACR (my choice), standard CR, AR, mass driver.

- Advantages: Strong against both shields and armor. Greatly reduces the threat of faster suits dashing inside your optimal rage.
- Disadvantages: Duct tape poisoning, being called a heretic in Amarr FW. Obviously does not take full advantage of the suit bonus.

Here are two sample fittings:

1) All laz0r, all the time:

Amarr commando A/1

Basic light damage mod
ELM-7 Laser rifle
CRD-9 Assault Scrambler rifle
Compact nanohive
Enhanced armor repair module

2) Come at me bro, I’m ready for anything:

Amarr commando A/1

Basic shield energizer
ELM-7 Laser rifle
BK-42 Assault combat rifle
Compact nanohive (could use a needle instead, that’s how the ARC commando experts roll)
Complex armor repair module





….and we are done! If any new information comes out or any future changes are made, I’ll update as needed. If you have any questions, suggestions, or most importantly, new techniques for me to add, let me know.

o7
Now go out there and burn some heretics!

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

The Unholy Legion Of DarkStar
DARKSTAR ARMY
#8 Posted: 2014.04.04 17:27
Used to love the LR in the earlier versions of the game and have returned and ploughed all my SP Into other weapons now..........

Wasn't missing it until I read this!

Regards

Molon Labe.
The Irukandji 3.0
#9 Posted: 2014.04.05 13:22
That's a pretty comprehensive guide for a single weapon, well done OP, have some likes!
Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#10 Posted: 2014.04.05 15:15
Musta Tornius wrote:
That's a pretty comprehensive guide for a single weapon, well done OP, have some likes!


Kinda like the pot calling the kettle black in the best way possible, Musta! You made my job immeasurably easier! o7

(Don't worry, I'll fix the links to your thread later today. Got sidetracked, kinda forgot that one crucial part, lol.)

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

WarRavens
Imperium Eden
#11 Posted: 2014.04.05 15:34
I don't think that a gentleman will use that "7331-speak".

I remember using a laser on my logi-fit in chromo (no not the viziam) for open maps (might try that again)...it's doable if your teammates know what they are doing. It won't be as easy as the other rifles but to not use a LR on any other logi suit is a bit exagerated.
Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#12 Posted: 2014.04.05 17:14
RKKR wrote:


I remember using a laser on my logi-fit in chromo (no not the viziam) for open maps (might try that again)...it's doable if your teammates know what they are doing. It won't be as easy as the other rifles but to not use a LR on any other logi suit is a bit exagerated.


Fair enough, though I wouldn't exactly call you the "target audience" of the thread, lol.

John Demonsbane wrote:
While there are exceptions to every rule, I agree with RedBleach LeSangiant's advice: Do not use the LR on any other logi suit, the lack of a sidearm will be crippling.

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

WarRavens
Imperium Eden
#13 Posted: 2014.04.05 19:04
John Demonsbane wrote:
RKKR wrote:


I remember using a laser on my logi-fit in chromo (no not the viziam) for open maps (might try that again)...it's doable if your teammates know what they are doing. It won't be as easy as the other rifles but to not use a LR on any other logi suit is a bit exagerated.


Fair enough, though I wouldn't exactly call you the "target audience" of the thread, lol.

John Demonsbane wrote:
While there are exceptions to every rule, I agree with RedBleach LeSangiant's advice: Do not use the LR on any other logi suit, the lack of a sidearm will be crippling.


Just did a field-test, it's quite nice to protect an area where the enemy has to run into the open. I even did OK in some CQC situations by preheating or grill some scouts. Not even a squad to back me up, I think the 1.8 changes make this a valuable asset for logis, maybe not to start out with, but a valuable option. The exception to the rule? Maybe if it was pre-1.8.
Seituoda Taskforce Command
#14 Posted: 2014.04.05 20:53
It's weird, the Laser Rifle has this style of popping out of cover and back in while fighting at a long range that works extremely well with Caldari suits, but only has a bonus on Amarr suits which would rather favor a stare-down-your-face approach to a fight.

Personally I think the LR's damage amplification should work off it's heat level. Until then I will continue to use it on Caldari suits. At 80-100 meters nothing can hurt you enough to strip off the shields and by the time the LR has cooled down you're already regenerating health. I'll just cover my eyes in the fitting screen. The baby-blue and holy-gold on the same suit just doesn't make any sense at all.
Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#15 Posted: 2014.04.05 22:43
Stefan Stahl wrote:
It's weird, the Laser Rifle has this style of popping out of cover and back in while fighting at a long range that works extremely well with Caldari suits, but only has a bonus on Amarr suits which would rather favor a stare-down-your-face approach to a fight.

Personally I think the LR's damage amplification should work off it's heat level. Until then I will continue to use it on Caldari suits. At 80-100 meters nothing can hurt you enough to strip off the shields and by the time the LR has cooled down you're already regenerating health. I'll just cover my eyes in the fitting screen. The baby-blue and holy-gold on the same suit just doesn't make any sense at all.



We Amarr are all about holy light and constant application of unrelenting force.

Personally, I love the mechanic, it makes it unique. Burst firing at maximum heat is kinda dull. This way you have to work for it.

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

Seituoda Taskforce Command
#16 Posted: 2014.04.05 22:52
John Demonsbane wrote:
We Amarr are all about holy light and constant application of unrelenting force.

Personally, I love the mechanic, it makes it unique. Burst firing at maximum heat is kinda dull. This way you have to work for it.
The problem is that the holy light of justice seems to be low on battery. Every couple of seconds you have to get back into cover and wait for the almighty power of the divine to catch its breath. I think it'd be more appropriate to see our zealous templars charge the enemy in the open field with bright fervour glowing from their eyes and (the cooling partition of) their weapons.
Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#17 Posted: 2014.04.05 23:30
Stefan Stahl wrote:
John Demonsbane wrote:
We Amarr are all about holy light and constant application of unrelenting force.

Personally, I love the mechanic, it makes it unique. Burst firing at maximum heat is kinda dull. This way you have to work for it.
The problem is that the holy light of justice seems to be low on battery. Every couple of seconds you have to get back into cover and wait for the almighty power of the divine to catch its breath. I think it'd be more appropriate to see our zealous templars charge the enemy in the open field with bright fervour glowing from their eyes and (the cooling partition of) their weapons.


Perhaps I can interest you in a scrambler rifle? Turning a corner and OHK a medium frame with a charged shot sounds like what you are looking for.

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

Seituoda Taskforce Command
#18 Posted: 2014.04.05 23:39
John Demonsbane wrote:
Perhaps I can interest you in a scrambler rifle? Turning a corner and OHK a medium frame with a charged shot sounds like what you are looking for.
An Amarr Assault A/1 with a CRW-04 was my go-to fitting for the heavy lifting ever since it the combo was available, but thanks for the offer anyways. Smile
Royal Uhlans
Amarr Empire
#19 Posted: 2014.04.06 09:33  |  Edited by: Sourdough Muffins
This guide was very very helpful. You have my thanks. Going to slap the LR on my Amarr Commando suit with ScR now. Cheers!

EDIT: Loving the laz0r rifle on my new Commando! Melting faces is satisfying, though I do suck at aiming right now. I think this is going to train my aim up for other weapons :)

Amarr Templars
Amarr Empire
#20 Posted: 2014.04.19 20:51
Still having trouble with the Amarr assault bonus. I should not be overheating so easily...

(The godfather of tactical logistics™)

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