A Study On: Asymmetrical ES Rocket Launchers
This is part of an ongoing “A Study On” series by Kusibu about various facets of PlanetSide 2’s mechanics and balance. This article focuses on the Planetside 2 asymmetrical empire-specific weapons, including their strengths, weaknesses and roles.
I’ve tried to cover all my angles in this little dissertation – I’m firing the weapons within their max damage ranges, ensuring the vehicles I’m testing on are full health, checking resistance values etc.
NOTE: I will NOT be talking in depth about the rocket launchers’ capacity in groups. To summarize: Lancer’s frightening, Phoenix is good around cover, Striker is not really better than a default AA launcher.
The ES rocket launcher of my (typically) chosen faction, the Lancer is basically a rocket sniper rifle. Its forte is precise long range engagement, which it does with great proficiency – the lack of drop and good velocity are clearly what give it a substantial edge.
But enough about the obvious upsides. Now to the stats!
A Lancer emptying its magazine without charge deals 900 base damage, and with full charge deals 1,500 base damage.
“Wait a minute”, I said – “the Nemesis AA launcher does 1,750 damage a magazine! How is this better?” And then I looked at the resistance values table, and that was explained like that.
Unlike the Nemesis or other normal rocket launchers, the Lancer has its own damage class, in kind with the Phoenix but NOT (as far as I’m aware) the Striker.
The Lancer gets a -100% resistance modifier on Flashes, Harassers, Sundies etc. where lock-on launchers only get -50% – and it’s like this across the board. There are little bits of piercing across the entire board, bringing its PRACTICAL damage up to (and likely beyond) the AA lockon launcher into a dumbfire tier damage-per-magazine range.
For practical damage, I’ve tried destroying an ESF at point blank. Two magazines of six uncharged shots (Striker-ish damage) is enough to destroy it outright, where the far more powerful charged shot is enough to set it aflame in one magazine.
Overall, the Lancer is a powerful weapon for precise long range engagement – fitting the Vanu trait of weapon handling.
The Phoenix is a somewhat odd duck. It trades the raw damage output capability of most rocket launchers for the VERY (situationally) useful capability of being able to guide your missiles manually towards a target.
But enough about the obvious. Stats time once again.
A Phoenix rocket deals 750 damage plus 100 from blast – 850 in total. This leads to, obviously, 850 damage per magazine.
This is very, very low as damage per magazine goes, but it’s offset by a substantial resistance bypass: -167% resistance on tanks, -14% (where ALL OTHER GUNS have positive) on Galaxies, and an impressive -295% on ESFs.
In testing, I was able to set a full health ESF on fire (almost no HP remaining at all) with one shot, and fell one rocket short of destroying a Sunderer (similar to most dumbfires).
The problem, of course, is translating this to the real world: Low projectile velocity and being incapable to reload while the rocket is being guided gimp its capability against fast moving vehicles and in raw damage output respectively.
Overall, the Phoenix is a situationally useful and very interesting weapon that could do with a few minor quality-of-life improvements.
And now we come to the runt of the litter. The Striker is a weapon designed to be a powerful air deterrent, with six lock-on “mini rockets” that can automatically heat-seek within a short range. They don’t actually work well.
And now to the stats.
A Striker rocket deals 200 damage plus 50 from blast – 250 in total. This leads to a theoretical damage per magazine of 1,500 – theoretically on par with the Lancer’s charge mode.
HOWEVER, it does not work out that way in practice. The Striker’s resistance values are very similar to the default AA lockon launcher, with less damage per magazine, the end result being that the Striker is essentially an automatic, slower version of the Lancer’s rapid fire mode.
I’ve tested this in practice – Lancer rapid fire is identical to Striker against an ESF. Two magazines to drop it.
And unlike the Lancer, the Striker doesn’t have a charge mode to give it more punch, leaving it with the lock-on capability as its only bonus, and that’s superceded by an ASP-30 easily.
Overall, the Striker is a weapon that really should be awesome, but falls immensely short compared to the other ES weapons.
TR really got the short end of the straw when it comes to ES asymmetrical rocket launchers – the Striker really should be good but the low damage and lack of resistance bypass makes it fall very, very short compared to even the default AA launcher.
If you’re going to try for an ES rocket launcher, I would recommend the Phoenix – out of all these, it performs the best from a single-user perspective. If you want to play with a team, a Lancer would be a good choice – Lancer squads can take down even Galaxies if used correctly.