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Forgrims Heavy Bolter Feedback

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Forj, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. Forgrim Forj Battle-Skald

    EDIT: 27 Feb; Welcome to all non-Founders! I asked for this to be moved from the Founder's Lounge. Bear in mind that this thread started about Patch 9 or 10, so much of the early stuff could well be out of date. My review of Patch #12 is probably a good place to start if you want to skip things.

    Rather than try out everything in this Alpha, I’ve chosen to dedicate my time to playing and giving feedback on a very narrow aspect of the game: the Heavy Bolter. I will occaisonally include other weapons that I’ve switched to to take care of specific situations, but I’ll try and keep these relevant to my experience as a HB Devastator by using them as supporting evidence and illustrative examples. I’ve made this thread to collect my experiences and feedback, and will add to it as I experience more of the game and learn things. Feel free to add your own thoughts too. I’m hoping that what starts out fairly negative will become more positive as I L2P and the game changes and improves.

    First though, some background info so you know what my biases are.

    40K: I started playing in earnest at the release of 3rd Ed, and only played a few months of 4th Ed. I didn’t get much further into the Lore and fluff than what was in the Codexes. I mainly played Imperial Guard, but also had a Space Marine army, and dabbled with the Tau.

    Shooters: I’m not a huge player of shooters, I’m mostly an MMO player. My main shooters in the last few years have been Space Marine and Payday 2, and dabbled in Global Agenda a long while back. Heavy Bolter is my preferred weapon in Space Marine, and is the feel I’d like to recapture. I play a heavily armoured Enforcer with an LMG in Payday 2, and Global Agenda continued the trend by preferring to play an Assault with a minigun.

    I’m not a fan of Mil-Sim. I personally don’t like that amount of realism in my game, though I can certainly appreciate those games as something other people enjoy. I’m very much a middle-skill level player.

    For single player, I usually play on Medium difficulty, will sometimes play on Easy if I’m more interested in the story. In PVP, I tend to be in the upper middle of the rankings - I contribute to wins and don’t cause losses, but I don’t carry wins and can’t haul up a losing team.

    Hardware: my PC is about 3 years old, i5 3.1Ghz quadcore, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon 6900 4GB. I’m playing from New Zealand, so latency is always an issue. For reference, my latency to Blizzard’s WoW servers in the LA datacentre is 200-300ms most days. A good day will be 170ms, and a bad day will be 400-500ms.

    EDIT: I have pretty much zero experience in handling firearms. I'll do my best not to talk bollocks, but please call me on it if I do.
  2. Forgrim Forj Battle-Skald

    First Match Noob Impressions - Unfiltered

    Open ground = Death. Excellent, but doesn’t make me feel like a tough SOB Space Marine
    Felt like I was wearing paper, not power armour
    Positioning, cover, and team support was critical
    Delay in start of firing, from dropping over a ledge etc, often got me killed
    Bursts of more than 2 seconds drifted off target = not many bullets hitting target, reducing the advantage of heavy weapon with high ROF. It seemed like Bolters and Plasma rifles were able to get more hits on target, and thus do more total damage
    Tried Lascannon briefly for a rampaging tank - found it very difficult to keep on target for shooting moving troops, but it was effective at keeping them pinned for a while
  3. Forgrim Forj Battle-Skald

    After more play time, some sleep, and some thought, I've collected and edited my thoughts in a more coherent form.

    General Feel

    Most of the time it is not fun. In particular circumstances it shines, but the quick and frequent deaths are disheartening. It feels like there is a mismatch between the time it takes to kill someone, and the time it takes to die. I’ve taken to not making any evasive action when I come under fire, see a grenade, or see an incoming Assault, because it achieves little to nothing. I can be running up stairs to a door (ie cover), start getting hit at the bottom and be dead by the time I get to the top. I can be near cover, and die before I can dodge back into it. If this was a full-release F2P game, I would have stopped playing by now, rather than getting frustrated enough to spoil my mood and get short with my wife. Wasn’t a good feeling yesterday. If this was a full release I’d paid for, I’d probably play once a week for the 40K carnage fix, rather than totally waste money, but manage it carefully so I didn’t get too pissed off. For reference, I was playing 40k:Space Marine PVP most days without worry.

    The tactical nature is great. I can feel the greatness here. If I can get set up with a decent field of fire, and remain unmolested, I can support my team very effectively. Until they leave me behind, of course. It does require team support though, which doesn’t happen much as a random, and even in an organised group, having someone hang back to protect me doesn’t sound like fun. Playing as a HB Devastator feels very tactical, and I’m still learning, both what to look for in a set-up and what places are good to set up in.

    Let me be clear: I don’t want the HB to be made “more powerful”. Proper balance must be maintained, and there will always be elements of Paper-Scissors-Rock. What I’m looking for is for the Heavy Bolter to be enjoyable to play, effective enough to always warrant inclusion in any team, and robust enough to not need a full time protection crew.

    I am A Space Marine Feel

    While moving and firing, I feel like a Space Marine. Ponderous, heavy, and badass. Carrying a massive weapon that spits out hot death at high ROF, booming noises, it’s great. While actually shooting at someone, I kind of feel like a Space Marine. I get the feeling of firing, but the effectiveness of it doesn’t stack up. While getting shot at, I don’t feel like a Space Marine. A couple of hits and I’m in danger of going down, a few more and I’m dead. I’ve been 1 shot by grenades - that doesn’t feel like a tough Space Marine. I felt much more like a tough, dangerous SOB as an Enforcer in Payday 2, where I could weather a lot of fire while dishing it back out. Protect the rest of the team by drawing fire and keeping the enemy suppressed. THAT’s the feel I expected, or perhaps the feel from 40k: Space Marine, where I would set myself at a choke point and mow them down until I was flanked or took too much fire and had to duck for cover. Speaking of mowing things down, I’ve noticed that an Assault can wipe out a cluster of 2-3 within seconds. I would expect that a high ROF weapon could punish clustering to a similar degree, but I’ve yet to see it.

    Time on Target

    What I mean by Time on Target is the amount of time I spend where bullets are actually hitting an opponent. In my experience, the person who has more time on target will win an engagement, even against a more powerful weapon.

    Time on target is an issue for me, a combination of spin-up delay, tracking speed vs movement speed, recoil, and reticle spread. Spin up delay means if I bump into someone suddenly, they start firing first - which means they get a headstart on damage, and usually win, especially in conjunction with the tracking difficulty. It is difficult to track a close target while firing - they can move faster than I turn. Assaults are especially tricky when they land on you - can barely land a couple of shots when I die in about 3 seconds. Throw in a bad batch of lag and I was once killed by someone before I even got a shot off, even though I clicked the fire button before they came around the corner. Another example was exchanging fire while braced on the top of Point C, shooting into the window of the Point A building. He was ducking back inside, and he won the engagement, with a Bolt Pistol


    A minor factor in Time on Target, but also worth it’s own comment. Watching the reticle grow, and seeing where the bullets hit, it feels like too much spread. Unless I get a headshot, I can nearly overheat before someone goes down - it takes 3-5 seconds. Bracing does reduce this considerably, but I’m still relying on headshots if I want to take someone down before they duck into cover. It feels like about half my braced kills come from headshots. Up close, it’s a little better, but I have to get the drop on someone to get enough Time on Target. If they’re moving, it’s unlikely I’ll get the kill.

    As a comparison, I managed to shoot down an assault in mid air, using the autocannon on a Predator. Have tried this and failed several times with a HB.


    I’ve never been a fan of flinching in my games. I can see the game design and balancing choice to include it, and the realism aspect, but I feel that it can be unbalancing. For me, flinching takes my fire offline too much, which loses the advantage of high ROF due to reducing Time on Target. Of particular note is that Assaults don’t get stopped by getting shot, and yet their swings interrupt firing and cause a flinch. In one case, and Assault landed directly in front of me, and I started firing as he ran directly at me. I got 3 bursts of 2 shots each, separated by the sword swings which killed me. Flinching also caused a couple of deaths with a Stalker Bolter vs Stalker Bolter, where he either started firing first and knocked me offline, or landed enough consecutive hits to cause a flinch, at which point he was able to drop me from full health (or near) to dead before I could get back online again.

    I’ve also noticed that I get the same amount of flinch when braced behind cover. I was providing covering fire for my team against 3 enemies crossing open ground, and I wasn’t able to maintain fire enough to kill more than one of them. This would be my one clear recommendation: make braced against cover provide more protection. Flanking a braced HB is easy, especially for an Assault, so being forced to go winkle them out rather than shoot them directly and head on is not a big deal. In fact, I don’t think shooting back directly should be a viable option, if they’re properly braced in cover. I’m not sure how you’d handle the difference, but I don’t think propped over a window should be as effective in this regard, or it could be too powerful. Mind you, fish in a barrel...

    Anyways, I will post more as I play more.
    Shwups, Sxep, Anthemyos and 8 others like this.
  4. Warren Warren New Member

    It would be nice if there was a single-shot mode for the heavy bolter, like you can with tapping in Space Marine >> but nope, no mode and can't even tap due to the spool up time, or whatever one wants to call it.

    Personally from what little I've been able to play so far (I like many others got major unsolved lag issues still =\), I find the heavy bolters not so much a typical assault spray and pray weapon, as it is either point defense to keep people from getting close, or suppression tool to keep a doorway or something sprayed while your pals move up. Doing either without bracing isn't impossible, but then again you end up a far bigger target and accuracy suffers. If you do in turn brace, far superior accuracy, and basically begging for someone to come up from the side and kill you because your FoV doesn't go that far.
  5. Forgrim Forj Battle-Skald

    Oh, and sorry for the wall-o-text. Thank you for reading!

    Yes, Warren, those two situations are where it all comes together and I start enjoying myself. It's unfortunate that the games I have been playing so far haven't offered that opportunity that often. I would also like to enjoy myself in other situations more often.
    Bargo likes this.
  6. Lord451 Lord451 Recruit

    "I feel like there's a mismatch in the time it takes to kill somebody and the time it takes to die."

    Well, I think that's the problem.
    Bargo likes this.
  7. OneOfMany KorCharon Preacher

    Well always nice when someone puts a lot of effort into detailed feedback, even if I don't agree with everything you stated, you've still done a diligent analysis.
    VoxC, CabalTrainee and NostramoBorn like this.
  8. PRIMARCH.IX Genesis Prefectus

    Great read, and I definitely agree with a lot of your points. Especially that the time to kill feels different than the time to die.

    And I think the HB would be improved if they simply reduced barrel climb, it's just so extreme.
    BayonetDummy and Gib-Stomper like this.
  9. Forgrim Forj Battle-Skald

    Thanks for your kind words.

    KorCharon, I'm interested in hearing what you disagree with, and how has your experience has differed from mine.

    I'm thinking for my next round of play-testing, I'm going to have a good look at suppressive fire from a braced position. Is there anything of particular interest to anyone?

    Also, I'd like to post some video if I can get something decent. I've seen others posted private Youtube videos, is this going to be ok? Any suggestions on how to go about that?
  10. gegc gegc Member

    You can single-fire the HB if you don't move - if you brace with MMB (either in cover or out in the open) it will do the setup animation and you can start/stop firing without the delays.
    Erk likes this.

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