Okay newblood, I realise you are anxious to get on the web and prove yourself to the Tribe but you have to learn how to use your weapons effectively before you get yourself and others killed. I know you have all done basic training, but lets go over it again. Everyone in the Tribe is relying on you to use the right weapon for the job, at the right time.
Direct and fairly rapid fire energy weapon, each shot is weak but massed fire can make short work of most things surprisingly quickly. Don't underestimate it. It has good range but a slow fire velocity. This means it is ineffective against moving targets generally - fire it if it is all you have but switch to something better where possible. Generally any Myrmidion or Hoplite loadouts should carry this weapon if they are going outside or will be exposed to sniper fire.
Snipers, by their nature, tend to remain static and are often
focused on their target lining up their shot. This allows the
blaster to come into it's own for teaching snipers a little about
return fire. And Peltast armour is not wonderful protection from
this weapon. I wouldn't recommend trying to shoot Gyrfalcon scout
craft, but the APCs are large enough and slow enough to be fair
game. This weapon is most useful outside the base, inside chose
something with more punch. Remember it taps power from your energy
supply and thus diminishes your maneuvering reserve.
Superheated Gas weapon, fairly powerful - four or five shots can destroy an unshielded Myrmidion. On impact the plasma bolt 'bursts' and you have splash damage as well as the direct damage. Finally the bolt persists for around half a second after impact causing further damage while it dissipates. The down side is the slow travelling velocity and medium to slow fire rate.
Next to useless against fast moving targets this weapon comes into it's own against the slower ones. With a slow target the long lead times required for the gun are compensated for and the healthy damage caused is well worth the effort. Primary roles include base defence for removing the incoming Myrmidions before they get within Mortar range, APC interdiction duty - especially if you can aim for the driver of the craft, enemy base running and base defence. A lone Peltast with a plasma gun can destroy any shielded turret but at an extreme ammunition cost. When combined with the ELF gun then most obstacles can be quite quickly removed. (Two shots to destroy a heavy plasma turret after it has been ELFed.)
But in the crowded interior of a base the weapon comes into it's
own. It's slow travel time is immaterial due to the proximity of
the firing and it's fire rate is fast enough to lay down some
fairly withering fire. Combine that with it's splash damage and
anyone let loose inside an enemy base with one of these will be
able to cause considerable damage.
Explosive flechette gun with rapid fire rate. Capable of chewing through a Myrmidion in about four seconds and, without assistance, destroying a Horus pulse sensor. This weapon can be quite deadly. It's primary weaknesses are the short range, the small amount of damage per shot and the half a second spin up time required before firing commences. It requires a steady stream of fire to destroy a target but makes a great finishing weapon for close combat (where splash damage would hurt you as well as the enemy).
The rapid rate of fire makes it strong on air defence as well where Gyrfalcon scouts can be dispatched fairly quickly. But it comes into it's own as a flag runner killer. Because it is rapid fire and because it requires no energy a skilled operator can keep up with the flag runner, firing the whole time while the target is in the air as well as on the ground. Usually a flag runner has been hurt by the base defences anyways and only requires a little more damage to kill them.
This works best at close range as well, so get in close with
this weapon. A cunning trick with APCs, if they have an empty seat
on them, is to hop onto enemy APC and chaingun the driver. If you
are in Peltast armour dismounting and quickly remounting the
vehicle after the driver is dead will allow you to commandeer the
Explosive disc with fairly healthy blast radius. Rare indeed is the loadout that doesn't include this weapon. Excellent range, high damage, medium to fast speed but a moderate fire rate combine to make a quite deadly weapon. But only if used judiciously - wild fire will simply result in your slaughter as the calmer and more collected opponent ensures their shots are more on target. In open combat the high blast radius and speed allow for shorter lead times and only the requirement that the target be close to the ground to damage it. Better yet the blast knocks the target around and can be used to dislodge troublesome Myrmidion armours from their perch.
This is especially useful on Blastside/Broadside where enemy units frequently use the roof to shell your base. By knocking them off, preferably down to the ground, you can temporarily weaken the base defence while that person labouriously works their way back into the base. Better yet once in the open a Myrmidion can usually be made short work of by a competant Tribesman in Peltast armour.
The disc launcher isn't wildly useful against Gyrfalcon scouts
but can, with careful aim, be used against APCs. It is generally
more practical to switch to a weapon with a faster firing rate. But
any vehicle that is landing is fair game and the high damage factor
blast radius of the weapon comes into play. It also makes a good
sniping/suppresion weapon due to it's long range (as far as
you can see, or about 420 meters) and can be used to keep base
defences down without comprimising your sniping position like a
laser shot does. Incoming discs are reasonably hard to see unless
someone happens to be looking in the right direction at the time.
A tricky weapon to master this gun propels explosive grenades a respectable distance and at speed. Effectively this is the Mortar of the lighter armour types and provides them with no small amount of firepower. Respect this weapon because in the hands of a competant enemy or an inexperienced operator it can make your life miserable and short. The grenades are fused, just like the normal hand grenades carried by tribesmen, with a two second timer and then explode on contact. While unarmed they are fairly bouncy and can be used to fire around corners inside bases. Care must be taken to control the bounce - grenades can and do bounce back on you and harm the wielder of the weapon.
Outside the weapon should be used in a fashion akin to the Mortar or Disc Launcher. Take advantage of the explosive radius and predict fire to where your target is going to land. It is frequently worth jumping directly up above a target and firing down. If you are up high enough then the grenades will arm in transit and detonate as soon as they contact the ground - this simplifies the prediction process removing the need for predicting where the bounce will go. Remember that this is an indirect fire weapon too, so try and take advantage of the fact that you can lob shots without exposing yourself to direct return fire. Skilled operators can curl grenades over the brow of a hill to attack people on the otherside without ever coming into view.
Lastly it is worth noting that this weapon, akin to the
Mortar, will benefit from the use of a
targetting laser or beacon. Cunning tribers will range-find the
distance to favoured points on the map so that they can snapfire
rounds with some confidence. Even better is if a spotter can
illuminate targets on the fly for you.
Direct fire energy weapon with excellent range. A slow rate of fire, that it can only carried by Peltast armour and the limited damage of this gun make it primarily a harrassment weapon. You can not kill a fully healthy opponent in one shot with this gun and anyone foolish enough to sit still for the second shot definitely deserve what they get. Head shots count for the most damage but be aware that the heavier the armour, the less damage you do. Firing a laser against a Myrmidion is next to useless unless it is part of a combined attack in which case the shot may weaken the tribesman enough to finish them off. Also the damage caused by this weapon is non-linearly proportional to the energy charge put into the shot - never fire the gun with less than a full charge unless in dire straits. You are simply wasting the shot and leaving a large signpost to the enemy about your position without actually having any effect.
Generally the weapon is useful for picking off lone units or ensuring that repair crews are unwilling to leave their base to repair external defences. Especially useful is the removal of remote turrets and inventory stations that have been placed in the field. Target the remote inventory station first - this renders it useless until repaired and prevents resupply or further equipment placement. Your primary aim in an offensive role as sniper should be to clear the path as much as possible for a flag run. This means destroy any remote defences placed, try and knockout power supplies (solar panels in particular) and remove mines from the flag.
Importantly, when a flag run is in progress, draw defenders away from the flag runner. Either by harrassing them into attacking you and then tying them up for the critical period while the flag is snatched. Or by following the flag runner and killing any pursuit. At the very least you should be able to force some of the pursuit to break off and deal with you. It is also a good idea to look for enemy snipers around the base. Fortunately snipers generally stand very still, making them prime targets for being sniped themselves.
Snipers also make a good first line of base defence. They can engage the enemy while they are still a goodly distance away from the base and weaken, if not kill, units before they get a chance to cause any damage. They also serve as useful anti-aircraft units. Against Gyrfalcon scouts two shots will destroy it and on APCs aiming for the pilot means that two shots can render most APCs ineffective. It is worth remembering that the laser shot is highly visible and people intensely dislike snipers - generally the more competant the sniper the more keen people get on killing them. You are advised to take your shot and them move from that position, at the very least over the brow of a hill or similar obstruction to remove you from sight of irritated enemies.
This isn't a bad idea given that laser's five second recharge
time means your weapon isn't useful and exposing yourself to fire
is pointless. It is also worth pointing out that firing the weapon
drains your energy supply completely - limiting your jetpack
maneuvering ability till you recharge. This means do not use
the weapon in close combat as you will not be able to dodge
incoming fire effectively.
Static discharge device that causes electronic disruption in the target, the net result is a loss of power and the removal of shielding. Once the power drain is complete on a vehicle or suit of armour then physical damage will begin. An under appreciated weapon that isn't used perhaps as often as it should. The range is short and it requires energy to fire, but combined with an energy pack then you can keep an energy reserve for maneuvering while firing the gun. Unfortunately while firing you can not recharge your energy supply, so it is a very limited reserve. It's big advantage is the stripping of energy from the target (which cripples their mobility) and the fact that it autoaims.
Why people dislike this weapon in general is because it is a lousy attack weapon in and of itself. Once power is drained it takes close to twenty seconds of continuous attack to kill even a Peltast. Don't even think about it with a Myrmidion. But this weapons power isn't in it's killing ability, it is in the power draining facility. By draining a turret of power, you make it easy for a team member to kill - even the humble blaster can be used. Likewise draining energy from an enemy tribesman forces them onto the ground and makes them easier for teammates to kill.
This is especially useful for stoping flag runners. By tracking down and forcing flag runners to stay on the ground you prevent their quick getaway and give teammates more time to kill them. And, perhaps nicest of all, usually a flag runner has been hurt substantially by base defences which is where the third use of the ELF comes into it's own - it makes a wonderful finishing weapon. The auto aiming allows you to maneuver reasonably wildly while still continuously attacking. On a weakened enemy, especially a Peltast flag runner, this is enough to finish them off quickly and efficiently.
A secondary use of the autoaiming is the use of this weapon as
a 'sweeper', especially for mines. By holding down fire and
rotating on the spot an approximately 40m area can be checked for
hidden mines, enemy beacons, cameras and other deployable items
that are frequently easy to miss. Don't do this when under heavy
fire as you are fairly vulnerable (due to energy consumption) and
be sure that no friendly items or personel are within range as the
autoaiming does not distinugish between friend or foe. This
sweeping will not usually destroy the found items as the ELF's
physical damage rate on equipment is not high. But it will give
away their position allowing for a quicker disposal with another
weapon. (I frequently find the Blaster good for this, conserving
your ammunition for more important targets - deployables tend not
to be too robust and die fairly quickly with blaster fire.)
The most devestating weapon in the game. Fires a high explosive round that has a two second arming fuse out to a moderate range of about 250m. It is an indirect fire weapon and can be used for the bombardment of enemy positions. A Peltast caught in the blast of this weapon will die - no questions asked. Well they might survive if they have a shield pack and a full charge of energy but they will be hurting badly. Unfortunately this firepower comes at a cost of slow reload time (about four seconds), limited ammunition and only a Myrmidion can carry the gun.
That makes correct use of this weapon vital due to the slow deployment and vulnerability of Myrmidion armour once they get out in the open. (A competant Peltast can generally slaughter most Myrmidions in the open due their mobility advantage.) Also it's firing is tricky due to its indirect ballistic nature and it takes a fair bit of practice to blind fire a Mortar with any degree of accuracy. What improves your accuracy is having a teammate fire a targeting laser at a target. This then provides trajectory solutions for the illuminated target. The low solution is the faster travel time but is more susceptible to inaccuracies in your fire causing you to miss while the higher solution is the bombardment angle, a long travel time but it tends to be more accurate. (The targeting laser can be used with the grenade launcher as well.)
All this means the Mortar is a good weapon but one that has to be judiciously used. It's extreme blast radius and damage, as well as tricky firing mean that incorrect use of the weapon can hurt the team fielding the weapon more than the opposing team. Care must be taken not to Mortar teammates or yourself - particularly when inside the enemy base and mobility is restricted. Its blast allows it to penetrate shields and five shots of the mortar can destroy even the toughest turret.
Offensively the weapon should be used in the usual leading fashion. If the target is over ~100m away then fire for where they are going to land. Closer and the two second arming time has to be compensated for as well. This means fire for where they are going to land earlier and have the shell lying on the ground awaiting the enemys arrival - many a Peltast has had that dread futile feeling of seeing a Mortar shell land on the ground near where they are travelling to and knowing that in a scant second they will be dead. It's secondary offensive use is to enable the Myrmidion to travel quickly. Mortar jumping involves actively dropping a shell close to yourself and using the blasts force to fling your armour across the map at speed. Best results are obtained when you are close to the shell, but in the air at the time it explodes - reducing the effect of friction. This is not a tactic for lighter armours to use as the damage incured is significant to fatal. But mastery of this style of jumping will allow Myrmidions access to areas of the map normally considered inaccessible or inadvisable.
Defensively the Mortar can be used not just for killing but for denying access to areas. Shelling the entrance to a base, especially if Mortars take turns at firing to keep a fairly constant stream of fire up, can block enemy units from entering. Additionally by setting up a portable ammo station in selected locations a fairly constant stream of fire can be sustained making life difficult to short for anyone who comes into range. Care must be taken when firing the Mortar inside your own base to not destroy friendly assets and personel. If you are near death it is advisable to switch a slightly less apocalyptic weapon to prevent a dying trigger reflex from firing the mortar near critical facilities. One useful trick in corridors, when faced with Peltast or Hoplite armours, is to deposit the Mortar shell slightly behind the enemy and then block their progress away from the shell with your body. (This is best for close combat) Your amour can withstand a Mortar blast but generally theirs can't and by forcibly locking them into the blast radius you can ensure a kill.
Finally when corridor fighting, both offensively and defensively, exploit the fact that the Mortar can be bounced around corners. This allows you to fire without exposing yourself to easy return fire. Also try to use the blast to push enemies where you want them or dislodge them from tricky positions. Often a Myrmidion can be removed from base defence by knocking them off the base - forcing them into a long trudge back to the base.
My thanks must go to Julian, aka [VnM]|Nemesis and just plain Nemesis, for helping set up these screenshots and being a target in so many of them.