I never like to write my thoughts on changes to the game until I’ve had a few days to let things settle and adjust. This update is no exception, as my thoughts on day 1 would have been drastically different from now.
Overall: I think this is one of SOE’s best updates to the game. The new Esamir is mostly a success and I love playing there (I’ll say more about that later). The new weapons feel balanced and fit the “sidegrade” philosophy of the game. Infiltrators got a little love, but also took a hit with regards to cloaking. I think I gained a few frames-per-second too, always a welcome improvement. I think that SOE should be proud of this update, and I hope they continue to make smart changes to the game without disrupting core gameplay.
I’m going to go through the patch notes and pull out a few details that I found interesting or relevant to infiltrators.
New Weapons: I’m not going to be able to give you the definitive guide on the new weapons. I did buy both the NS-7 PDW and TS2 Inquisitor however, and I do have some thoughts on them.
NS-7 PDW: I hated this thing at first. I looked at the stats, I knew that it had less DPS close range than the Armistice/Hailstorm, and that I would need to be at longer ranges. But even with the numbers knowledge, it took me a few days to really dial in on how to get the most out of this weapon. As of last night, I’m finally mowing people down and getting comfortable with the feel of it. It’s a great option to extend the engagement range of a CQC/Base prep infiltrator build.
The key to this SMG is remembering it’s strengths. The max damage lasts out to 15m, and the best-in-class recenter speed allow for accurate bursts. I started having more success by flanking enemies but staying at a bit of a distance, ADS-ing with forward grip. With the NS-7, I say aim for the head, you will get a lot of head shots with it and that will make up for the lackluster damage output. The same principles of infiltrator SMG combat still apply – don’t be Rambo, don’t try to engage 3-4 targets at once. Use darts, flank targets and try to pick them off one at a time. Always use cover and terrain to control the engagement.
The hardest thing about the NS-7 is that by staying further out, you enter the domain of optimal range for carbines, LMG’s, AR’s, etc. This was my initial struggle with the weapon, and when faced against someone returning fire, you will find that hipfire accuracy of the SMG will come into play. Instead of ADS-ing and losing to a superior weapon, stay at the hip, lay down fire while moving to cover. Often times you will get the kill, or at least stay mobile while the enemy misses you.
As far as attachments go, I’m still experimenting. I bought almost everything for it, and have tried forward grip/compensator, flash suppressors, and the regular suppressor. Extended mags, advance laser sight, soft point… so many choices! Right now, due to my play style and the fact that reloading mid-fight often means death, I have settled on extended mags. I really wanted to not use a suppressor (in theory this weapon shines in mid range, which the suppressor heavily penalizes) yet as soon as I started using it, I found myself able to rack up impressive killstreaks, presumably from staying off the minimap. Soft point ammo makes a smaller impact, so I don’t know how I feel about it yet. So right now, it’s 1x reflex, suppressor, extended mag, no soft point. It’s working for me, and that’s all I can say about attachments now.
TS2 Inquisitor: Default extended magazine, high rate of fire? Yes please! I thought I would absolutely love this sidearm – however it has the unfortunate circumstance of having to live up to my favorite sidearm, the TX2 Emperor. A side by side comparison shows that the TS2 has less damage, but higher rate of fire, and larger magazine. I definitely need more time to use this weapon, but my impression of it remains lukewarm at best. Some of my outfit mates love the new pistol, but I see a few huge flaws.
First, you really need to spam your LMB to actually achieve the maximum rate of fire. And if you want to make up for the decreased damage per round compared to the emperor – you really need to be firing it fast. The problem with spamming your pistol so quickly is that, at least for me, it makes it harder to aim and move with agility when your index finger is clicking that much. Even when you use the weapon properly, I find that it takes far too long to kill a target – giving them ample time to respond and kill you. You need 4-5 rounds on target before knifing them, as opposed to 3-4 with the TX2.
The upside of the TS2 is the 30 round magazine. While nice, I find that reloading a sidearm is not very difficult, and using that many rounds engaging targets means you took too long and exposed yourself too much. When my sidearm comes out, the target needs to go down fast, or else you will get eaten up by the many flavors of automatic or shotgun weapons out there. “Sustained engagement” and “Pistols” should not go together, and this is my fundamental critique of the TS2. I still dream of getting access to a lower ROF, higher damage sidearm, like the NC’s Rebel. The revolvers don’t have enough rounds and reload too slow. I want 8-10 rounds, the ability to use a suppressor, and relatively high damage per round. That’s a niche that the current TR arsenal doesn’t meet.
So overall, I will keep playing with the TS2 until I auraxium it. Then back to my trusty Emperor.
Wow, this got pretty long already. To keep it readable, I’m going to stop here and make a part 2 later in the week to discuss the rest of GU13 🙂 Until then, stay frosty!