Beginner tips regarding weapon types - August 19, 2015

Daily posting, on the topic of beginner tips regarding weapon types.

Given that final testing for Gachduine is 75% done, I feel I'm in a good enough position to share my findings with regards to weapon type recommendations when starting out. With 20 different weapon types (and a number of them having very different functionality from the others) and 4 weapon slots per character for generally a party of 4, there is a lot to consider in the early stages for weapon selections.

First of all, if you do have specific weapons you want your characters to specialize in, those weapons should be included if you are investing Competency Points into them, as they will likely deal out more damage and/or have extra traits and abilities added to them to help flesh out team roles.

As for filling out the rest of a character's inventory, the following are weapons you may want to consider having at least one of among your party's collective 16 weapon slots:

Rifle - Best given to a member with high Attack power, Stealth Damage boosts and/or the ability to deal Fire damage. Rifles have unlimited range, 10 rounds of ammo per dungeon and do more damage further away and with high Attack and/or Stealth Damage, most enemies can be taken out from a distance. With Fire damage, this can apply to hardier fire-weak monsters, such as Indestructibles and Coheres.

Shield - Best given to a high HP or high defense party member. Attacks to the Shield's front reduce damage and, if blocking line of sight to the enemy's target, they can take hits for party members, especially the weaker ones. Good for charging snipers if low in Rifle/Rocket ammo and before having melee characters with a high enough speed to charge snipers easier. Also useful for covering the entire party with the AI disabled for sniper-on-sniper combat (it's cheap and situational, but still effective).

Flamethrower - Useful for characters who don't have Fire Shot when it comes to dealing with fire-weak monsters, especially Indestructibles and Coheres.

Rocket Launcher - Like the Rifle in that it has unlimited range, but deals more damage, hits a large area and makes a noise that draws enemies together from far away to be hit by a second rocket... though you only get 2 rockets as a base. Still, in some cases, 2 rockets is often all you need to clear a dungeon room that is too hard to get through without taking some casualties. Also useful for early level event skirmishes, if you don't mind firing a rocket to wipe out BOTH your allies and your enemies.

Combat Knife - One of two weapon types definitely recommended for early game dungeons. Out of battle, hits from behind with a Combat Knife deal 10x damage and use no ammo. If the enemy survives (and if they aren't fast in Speed Counter gains, the way Spectres or Phantoms are), a second hit on an enemy stunned by the pre-emptive attack from behind will also deal 10x damage. Fire-weak enemies, who take 10x damage from Fire, will take 100x damage from a Fire Shot imbued Combat Knife in this scenario. The ability to deal giant damage to unsuspecting enemies while saving ammo from other weapons makes the Combat Knife great for dungeons.

Barrels - Noise making, Fire elemental, big damage, large area of effect and decent ammo sum up the exploding Barrels. As a trap weapon, it can not only be placed on enemy patrol routes, it can also be placed by a wall corner to hit enemies from behind walls. The fact that Fire Damage and Stealth Damage boosts apply nicely early on make the Barrels a force to be reckoned with, not to mention that several Barrels can be placed and detonated simultaneously in a big fast explosion chain with large area and Fire damage.

C4 - The second of the two weapon types definitely recommended for early game dungeons. Though it is a trap weapon, like the Barrels, its damage is inferior (lower damage modifier, Physical instead of Fire, C4 does not detonate C4 so each detonates one at a time after each explosion).

So why is C4 one of the two definitely recommended weapon types for early level dungeons if Barrels are better for defeating enemies (after all, if all of the enemies are dead, what's there to worry about)? First of all, C4 has double the ammo of Barrels (16 C4 per character), and is best used not for fighting, but for creating noise distractions. With so much C4, your team can draw many an enemy away from their guard position or patrol route.

Do NOT underestimate how useful noise distractions can be in early level dungeons, especially if your team does not have access to Sonic Ball for noise. Powerful normal enemies like Phantoms and Miners will tear most early teams apart, leaving them down members, HP, ammo and Competency uses. In this case, the best way to deal with them early on is to draw them away with C4 so your team can continue on. With practice, C4 chains can be set up so that enemies chase multiple noises down a long pathway without hitting them to trigger a battle.

Glacier - Quick bursts of a Glacier will remove Competencies from most Symbiote Monsters, making Indestructibles, Phantoms, Sanguines and Coheres a little easier to deal with. Though it is rapid-fire, it has a lot of ammo for bursts (30) and low Attack characters can use it to contribute for battle (as the Glacier is low on damage, too). Though Indestructibles and Coheres can be dealt with with Flamethrowers/Barrels a lot of the time, and Phantoms can have their Maniuplator destroyed, the Sanguine's Fire Counter is a bane to melee attacker, ESPECIALLY Chainsaw users and Golems, so if these are on your team, a Glacier is recommened when Sanguines appear.

Sulfur Ball - Generally used for dealing with Miners if you have to deal with them in combat, which are quite possibly the one enemy to be feared in early levels. The Ignore Defense Competency triples Sulfur Ball damage (to a modifier of Attack x 9), meaning good damage will be done without hurting allies while breaking through the Miner's incredible defense.

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