MWO: The Suboptimal Small Pulse Laser

Stipulation: I disagree with pure alpha as a metric (with the exception of pop-tarts and pure peak-a-boo tactics - neither of which really enter into a conversation about SPL- more engagements are in the 5-10sec range than the <1sec range).The SPL has the potential if it either:1. Does more damage in a 5-10 second engagement than a ML (trading range for damage), or2. Does similar damage in a 5-10 second for less heat (trading alpha and range for easier to apply damage and lower heat). At the moment, since it does neither, it is worthless.To fix it I think you've offered a good solution; but you haven't really emphasised that fact SPLs need more DPS to compete with an SL: ATM, over 10 seconds, it does the same damage as a SL whilst generating 33% more heat. Without a damage buff (either a Damage increase or a ROF increase) it will remain a worse heavier version of an SL.I would suggest either:1. Implementing a slightly modified version of your suggestion (slight buff to damage to 3.5, slight decrease to heat to 2.25), or2. Simply increasing the damage by 1 (to 4).The first option results in a SPL that competes in damage with a ML but doesn't overshadow a SL. It should be ideal for applying sustained damage to lights at close range / as a decent CR secondary weapon on hot builds. In comparison to your mixed SL/ML JR7-F, it gives :* slightly better heat/damage (1.45 vs an average of 1.33)* slightly better damage over 7 secs (63 vs 57)** higher damage / 0.1sec tick (0.7 vs 0.4/0.5)* slightly lower heat (40.5 vs 42)**For the cost of:* lower Alpha to your SL/ML builds (21 vs 24 for a JR7-F 31.5)* more weight (6 vs 4.5)* less rangeThe second option results in a higher damage, higher heat weapon system that should be ideal for burning lights at close range (or alternatively, for use by lights at close range): but with downsides that mean it is comparable to but not strictly better than either SLs or MLS. Again, in comparison to your mixed SL/ML JR7-F, it gives :* a same Alpha (24)* similar heat/damage (1.33 vs an average of 1.33)* significantly higher damage over 7secs (72 vs 57 for the JR7-F)** higher damage/tick (0.8 vs 0.4/0.5) But at the cost of:* significantly higher heat (54 vs 42)*** more weight (6 vs 4.5)* less rangeNeither option replaces either the ML (>range,>Alpha) or the SL (heat and weight advantage). The choice essentially comes down to whether you prefer a high-damage/high-heat close-range option or a more sustainable choice.Personally, I'd prefer the second option: as I would probably use these on builds where Alpha wasn't the number 1 priority (preferring ML in that case) but rather sustained damage against manouevring lights with a lower cost for missing.* Damage over 7secs / Heat over 7secs are based on 3xSPL volleys, 3xSL volleys and 2xML volleys.** For context, Mechromancer gives a 12 DHS JR7-F a heat capacity of 52.8 and a 2.28 heat/sec dissipation.
Well that's an interesting idea, but I don't think the SPL needs to do more damage than a SL. If the beam duration is short enough and it's heat generation perhaps lower than the SL we'd have another unique balanced weapon.
The SPL needs to do more damage than a SL because it needs to be balanced against the ML. However, both options I presented do more Alpha than an SL; I agree that this isn't strictly necessary.As I see it the core balancing points for a SPL are: less Alpha than an ML, approximately 1.25 damage/heat (DPH), approximately 1.25 DPS and an advantage that balances against the 200% range advantage a ML has.I ran the numbers on a third option:Keep the damage at 3, drop the heat to 2.25, drop the beam duration to 0.4secs and drop the Cooldown to 1.6s. It results in a weapon that does slightly more DPS (1.33) and DPH (1.33) than a ML but trades alpha (3/5 of a ML) and range (1/3 of a ML) for damage precision (0.8 vs 0.5 damage/tick) and ROF (double).It'll do 12 damage in 7 secs vs a ML's 10 (generating 9 heat vs 8) and offers an interesting and unique choice: but I think it doesn't go far enough and it'll still be outclassed in general use in the current Alpha focused meta, and would instead be reserved for edge case light-mech hunting builds.Which is why I presented the two options I did: both offer a similar improvement against hard manoeuvring targets within 90ms but are more versatile than an option that doesn't increase Alpha over a SL.

We all love pulse lasers, and there are so many reasons to love them: their sound, the feeling of raw damage being inflicted upon your enemy, and their waste heat keeping us warm during those cold, hard matches on Frozen City. But the Small Pulse Laser (SPL) is a bad guy, a hidden backstabber created by an evil genius.

Today I'm going to rant about the Small Pulse Laser. I'm going to call it out for being bad and suboptimal. Some (bad) players will certainly come out of their basements and try to argue that the low beam duration is worth all its bad attributes. I'm not convinced. Nevertheless, I will review all values and angles on this weapon. Even a suboptimal weapon deserves to be looked at after all.

Math Warrioring: Beam Duration, Heat, and Damage

The Small Pulse Laser has the shortest beam duration of all lasers, which makes it easier to place the full damage on a single component or section. The sad fact is that a Medium Laser (ML) is just a hair behind the Small Pulse Laser in that regard. A Medium Laser needs 0.6 seconds to deal the same 3 points of damage that the Small Pulse Laser delivers in 0.5 seconds. This is a rather negligible difference. To add insult to injury, the Medium Laser will fire for another half second after the the Small Pulse Laser has stopped firing, outputting additional damage.

One could argue that the reduced heat generated by the Small Pulse Laser compared with the Medium Laser is a good thing, but apart from the ER PPC (and ER Large Laser), the Small Pulse Laser has the worst heat-to-damage ratio. Coupled with the fast rate of fire, the Small Pulse Laser will build up heat faster than a Medium Laser.

SL: The Little Brother

At half the weight, the Small Laser (SL) is the little brother of the Small Pulse Laser. They are quite easy to compare since they both operate at the same range, deal the same amount of damage, and most importantly share the same beam color. What differentiates them is the beam duration and heat cost: a Small Pulse Laser's 0.25 second reduced beam duration comes with a 50% higher heat cost. Please note that both the Medium Pulse and the Large Pulse Laser deal more damage than their smaller brothers.

ML: The Big Brother

Admittedly, the Medium Laser weighs the same as the Small Pulse Laser, albeit with three times the effective range. Similarities are only to be found in the weight and the space required to fit them. A Small Pulse Laser's only advantage lies in the slightly lower heat cost, but the price for the gain in heat efficiency is high. ML, the big brother, will easily deal more damage than the Small Pulse Laser, even though the SPL deals slightly more damage per 0.1 second of its beam duration. This helps concentrate the fire on a single section. Sadly (for the SPL), the Medium Laser fires for twice as long as the Small Pulse Laser, totally dwarfing the Small Pulse Laser's ability to actually destroy an opponent.

Fitting Choices: Why the SPL Truly Sucks

Most of the time, your mech loadout will be limited by critical slots, tonnage, heat management, or hardpoints. If your tonnage is limited, the Small Laser (SL) is a superior choice to the Small Pulse Laser since it offers the same damage and range for half the weight. If critical slots are the issue, one would either remove Double Heat Sinks (DHS) or mount fewer and more powerful weapons (Medium or Large Lasers). When hardpoints are the limiting factor on your mech, you’ll want to use Medium Lasers to make the utmost of your offensive capabilities. They offer more damage and 3x the range even though the actual difference is only 180 meters. That is enough to have serious implications on how and where you can fight your opponents.

The more complex limit of heat management is best solved by mixing MLs and SLs on a build as the examples with the Jenner-F and the Hunchback-4P show:

Summary: You should combine Medium and Small Lasers on a Jenner-F. This lets you do more damage while having the same heat to deal with. On top of that, you will be able to devote 1.5 tons to other equipment; an anti-missile system would be a sensible option, for example.

I'm an elistist ass that prefers his table to be sorted alphabetically. When I'm not shooting Gundams with my fiancee, I'm actually putting my horrible opinion into barely legible articles (Don't read my stuff, thanks)