Machine guns and autocannons are among the first weapons that a new player can acquire, the light and medium versions that is, costing 20,000 and 30,000 silver respectively, as well as being standard weapon load-outs on some newly purchased robots. The heavy counterparts however are a bit more pricey, but can still be created using silver via the Workshop.
This blog will cover the following weapons:
These two weapon types both share a few things in common; they both deal kinetic damage, they are fully automatic, and they both can enter an accelerated firing state.
Kinetic damage allows the projectiles to deal 2x damage to built-in or mounted (Ecu) physical shields.
An accelerated firing state is achieved by firing the weapons for 3 consecutive seconds (without stopping), thus increasing the RPS (rounds per second) by 50%, and causing the weapons' barrels to turn an orange color (see images below), however, this firing state will end if firing is stopped for 1 second (or the magazine empties).
Lastly, they both share a reload time of 10 seconds.
The main differences between machine guns and autocannons are; maximum range, accuracy (see images below), damage per round, and magazine (clip) size.
Machine guns have a maximum range of 500 meters compared to the 800 meter range of autocannons. Due to the range difference, autocannons deal less damage and are more accurate (less bullet spread), featuring an effective (90% accuracy) range of 400 meters. Machine guns, however, are far less accurate with a 275 meter effective (90% accuracy) range.
Due to the above, machine guns make up for their lack of range and accuracy (in comparison) with a substantially larger magazine size and a higher firing rate (RPS), but with less damage per round. These differences allow machine guns to deal far more DPS (damage per second) than autocannons.
Note: In the above images, notice how much wider the bullet trails are on the Punisher when compared to the Molot T.
How to Use
These weapons due to their high rate of fire and clip size, and low accuracy are more geared for a brawling play-style, however, due to its 500 meter range can deal minor damage (due to low accuracy) as a mid-range supporter. They are also very useful for depleting energy shields, due to the wide radius of the shield catching all of the machine gun's projectiles.
The key to dealing the most damage possible in a short period of time is to enter the accelerated state, allowing it to deal 50% more DPS than normal. A useful tip would be to try to keep the accelerated state active by tapping the fire button in less than a one second increments, especially if a brawl with an enemy robot is imminent.
The long reload time of 10 seconds can be very costly when in the middle of a close range brawl. In order to combat this potential issue, make sure to empty your magazine to start a reload if the clip is almost (around 33%) empty.
These weapons due to their moderate rate of fire, lower clip size, and moderate accuracy are more built for a mid-range play-style, but because it has a maximum range of 800 meters they can deal minor (due to low accuracy) from long range. They are less useful when trying to deplete enemy energy shields due to less DPS. Also, in a pinch they can work as a close range weapon, however, it is not advised to exclusively use them this way, not only because of less DPS, but also due to the relatively smaller clip size when compared to machine guns.
Autocannons work well at suppressing enemies from a distance, and can deliver decent damage if an enemy is caught out in the open. Just like machine guns, entering the accelerated state allows you to deal more damage before an enemy can run to safety. You can apply the same tip (keeping acceleration active) mentioned earlier, however, due to the smaller magazine size it cannot be maintained as long. Perhaps a useful tip would be to start firing ahead of time (while in cover), so you can enter the accelerated mode before you start firing at an enemy, allowing more damage to be dealt before the enemy realizes he/she is being fired upon. Also, like machine guns, make sure to empty your clip when the ammunition is low.
The long reload is less costly for autocannons if you are a safe distance away from any threat, however, the reload occurs more often because of the shorter unload time, so magazine management is key.
The light and medium versions of these weapons: machine guns; Punisher, Punisher T, Molot, and Molot T, are most commonly seen and used in lower leagues, mainly due to being very inexpensive. However, these weapons can be seen in higher leagues when paired with their heavy counterparts; Avenger and Tempest. This is especially due to the tremendous DPS of the heavy machine gun (Avenger), which has the strength of 2.2 Punisher Ts, and to a lesser degree the heavy autocannon (Tempest), having the DPS of 1.66 Molot Ts.
All in all, machine guns and autocannons will serve you well early on, due to their cheap price and ease of use.
Machine guns of the light and medium slots are the best option early on as brawling weapons, but they often get replaced by Magnums and Tarans, as they deal more burst damage from 350 meters and can bypass energy shields.
Autocannons are the only true option for a mid-to-long range role for the light and medium slots for beginning pilots. Molots often get replaced by Gekkos as they have the advantage of having more range (1,100 meters), being more accurate (no bullet spread), and not requiring a long reload (can reload while firing).