This article intends to compare Major Legendary effect (2nd star) of ranged weaponry. After the comparison, the bonuses will be judged, and the use-case where they shine will be presented. The comparisons are done against three targets: a low level scorched, a Scorchedbeast Gueen, and a Power Armored Player. The weapons used are four combat rifles, configured with same craftable mods (zeroVATS), all of them bloodied, and with following 2nd star bonuses:
|B25||Combat Rifle||Bloodied||Faster Fire Rate|
|B10||Combat Rifle||Bloodied||10% bonus while aiming|
|B50||Combat Rifle||Bloodied||50% more critical hit damage|
|BE||Combat Rifle||Bloodied||Bullets explode for area damage|
The tests were performed in a way that maximised reliability of the results. For PvP tests the distance between players, as well as their initial hp states were recorded (to ensure eating food doesnt impact rads and doesn't impact the damage). For PvE tests, the scorched used was bugged, invincible, unkillable one, with a nearby enemy player to conveniently load VATS crit bar for testing. The queen had all of her limbs broken so she would stay in place and don't impact the damage by inflicting rads or changing the distance. No random chance perks/bonuses were used during tests. No aid items nor team bonuses were applied for the tests.
Table presents damage done via Torso Hits
|TORSO||Scorched||Queen||Power Armor Player|
Table presents damage done via Headshot Hits
|HEAD||Scorched||Queen||Power Armor Player|
This is universally the highest DPS weapon in the game. This variant shines both in PvE, where it jumps to next trash target faster, deals with massive targets quicker, and in PvP, an environment where dodgy-equipped targets weakpoint is high rate of fire. It pays for that with increased ammunition consumption. It is great major legendary effect, easily the most universally powerful, but being universally powerful means its outshined in certain situations by its competitors. For weapons which main selling point is not necessarily the direct damage they do, FFR is often the best possible choice - for example, Tesla Rifles and Gamma Guns benefit from this perk a lot more than they do from any alternatives.50% MORE CRITICAL DAMAGE
Next in comparison will be the increased crit damage, because its direct competitor to FFR in PvE context. Used correctly, the crit-hit damage outperforms FFR in DPS while consumming less ammunition, hence - is better for the use case. I took the numbers I've gathered in the tables above. By the time B50 fires 12 bullets, B25 should fire 15. I calculated the damage dealt via 15 FFR shots against 12 crit-boosted shots with various critical hit frequency assumed for calculation. Frequency 1/3 in this context means that two bullets are used to charge the crit and then third is critical. This table presents the DPS advantage of FFR (and how it becomes disadvantage) the higher your critical frequency goes. I added a special case where every shot sent is critical, because this is something that tends to happen during SBQ fights - when your AP stops being consummed for a while because lag.
When the game was released, this bonus was active at all times, besides while checking the damage in Pip-boy. Basically, as long as gun was out, bonus was applied. This has been reworked, and currently, the bonus kicks-in moment after you start aiming (holding aim button), and is disabled shortly after your stop aiming. This means that if you send a critical hit shortly after quitting manual aiming, the 10% damage bonus is also applied in VATS. I'm mostly PvP focused and B10 weapons are my personal favorite for PvP. We play survival-style, with limited aid, and so plays most the people we compete against (we love big 12+ people prearranged fights). In this context, VATSing someone means they had worse position than you, and you'll only be given short moments to send VATS shots before target breaks line of sight/visibility, usually only after manually hitting your target first. 10% aiming-boosted VATS shots deal similar damage to 50% Critical Damage legendary effect. They also provide highest possible aimed-shot base damage hits. If your prefer precision over raining bullets, this effect easily wins the comparison. For PvE, B50 will dominate B10 because manual aiming in PvE is generally counter-productive as far as its DPS and not personal experiences that we measure.EXPLOSIVE
Once, the pinnacle of the chart. Currently, its either adding super powers to specific items, is serving as recon tool for PvP, is a tag-weapon for low-levels, or is a dead end of evolution, shade of its former glory. By "adding super powers to specific items" I mean items which specific additional fire effects are somehow impacted by explosive effect - like laser rifles becoming suddenly magical, shotguns or heavy guns getting ability to cripple whole horizons at once, railway rifle projectiles increasing speed, or flamers range becoming pseudo-infinite etc. By "recon tool for PvP", I mean you can use their Area-of-Effect combined with number displaying to judge position of hidden opponents by shooting the ground behind them, and to have them already tagged should they expose themselved. By "tag weapon" I mean that pretty much anything that is under level 15 and is explosive is awesome, period. By "dead end of evolution" I mean the fact that pretty much everything else in this comparison is better. Yes, explosive gun will do slightly more base damage against trash opponents - opponents which should anyway be eliminated in a single bullet, without throwing expensive junk around and without alerting every monster you're there. Against anything that is not trash, it gives no relevant damage bonus.
Bonus: Table presents impact of sneak damage, the target is unarmored scorched.
|Weapon||torso||crit torso||sneak torso||sneak crit torso||head||crit head||sneak head||sneak crit head|