Destiny

Why DMT and Seraph Rounds are similar, and why Rangefinder is even better than you think

There's a concept that is very important to gunplay within Destiny 2 that I have not seen discussed almost at all within the community. This post aims to garner some attention to this concept, which hopefully will help guardians out there get a better idea on how to use weapons under specific circumstances, and which weapons and which rolls ultimately to chase.

This concept is the idea of "Bodyshot to Headshot Aim Assist." Credit to this post for being the first I've seen discuss this concept in depth, as it relates to SMGs on Controller. What I aim to do today is to expand on this discussion more as it relates to Mouse and Keyboard and other weapon types, as well as provide some opinions on some more practical applications.

Brief Summary: in the community, we have typically discussed "aim assist" as one general term. However, there are actually two very different ways in which aim assist function that will completely change the feel of your weapon. This is also exactly responsible for people complaining about DMT feeling inconsistent or weird to shoot on PC.

The three "levels" of Aim Assist are as follows:

  1. Within a specific range, all bullets shot that are within a certain distance to the targets head will be "bent" so that it counts as a headshot.
  2. After this range, all bullets that are shot ABOVE the targets head, and also slightly to the SIDE of the targets head, will be "bent" so that it counts as a headshot. However, all bullets that's roughly below the shoulders of the guardian will be aim assisted such that it counts as body shots instead of headshots
  3. Far away enough, no aim assist will happen – your bullet literally has to go into the targets head for it to count as a headshot.

To exemplify why the distinction between levels 1 and 2 is so important (before the "just aim slightly above the head at all times then 4head" comments roll in), I bring your attention to the DMT. Many people within the community on PC has difficulty using DMT, citing the hipfire mode feels inconsistent and takes a while to get used to. Even once a user has gotten used to how DMT fires, you'll still hear high profile players exclaim "wtf how did that shot not hit" on a fairly regular basis. DMT, of course, is still one of, if not the, best primary in the game, but that's in spite of it's sometimes janky feeling hitboxes, because the gun is busted otherwise (high damage/shot, the benefits of hipfire weapons such as increased strafe, permanent radar and wider FoV, the forgiving TTK requirements, ability to punish campers and delete supers, etc. etc.). Despite it's other qualifications, I think very few people will disagree that DMT offers comparatively less consistent shooting experience compared to other guns in this game.

So what has that got to do with the distinction in aim assist levels? Well, as it turns out, DMT literally does NOT have Level 1 Aim Assist; no matter how close you are you the target, if your reticle is on their neck, it will count only as a bodyshot. Compare that to literally every other weapon, where sometimes you can aim as far south as someone's crotch and still get a headshot.

This has lead to the general consensus/protip arising of "you have to aim ABOVE the head to hit headshots." While this is all fine and dandy, this has consequences in consistency. With most weapons, ideally speaking you'd aim a tiny bit below the head. This way, either your hit was good enough to be a headshot, or if it's a little off at the very least it will still be a body shot. On the other hand, if you are aiming above the head, if you are off at all, your entire shot will miss and you will not even get in the body shot damage. Needless to say this result is pretty undesirable.

So how does this affect our choice in weapons? How are Seraph Rounds and Rangefinder implicated in this? Well, as the linked post has found, beyond increasing the zoom by 10%, and thereby also extending the damage falloff point, Rangefinder also increases the distance threshold for level 1 aim assist by an additional ~20%. This effect applies to all weapon types, and also is in effect on mouse and keyboard.

Here are some examples:

  1. A summoner with 57 range and Rangefinder hits damage falloff at 28 meters. A gnawing hunger without Rangefinder and 71 range also hits damage falloff at approximately 28 meters. However, the gnawing hunger will stop converting body shots to headshots at 34m, but the summoner will maintain its bodyshot-to-headshot (level 1) aim assist all the way to 43m! To give you an example of how ridiculous this is, a scathelocke with it's 20 zoom and 72 range, also hits damage falloff at 43m.
  2. A borrowed time with 61 range and Rangefinder hits damage falloff at 20.2 meters. A multimach with Model 8 and 66 range will hit damage falloff at 22 meters. The borrowed time hits level 1 aim assist falloff at 22 meters, and the multimach instead hits aim assist falloff at 20 meters.
  3. A bottom dollar with 73 range and Rangefinder, and an Igeneous Hammer with 100 Range and no Rangefinder, both hit damage falloff at approximately 40 meters. The Igneous Hammer will experience a decrease to it's aim assist level at 45 meters . However, the bottom dollar will still be granting you free headshots all the way up to a whooping 56m!

Now, I am aware that aim assist dropoff isn't the end-all be-all for a weapons performance. Even though your bottom dollar CAN consistently hit headshots at 56m, doesn't mean you should be trying to duel a scout rifle at that range. However, in general gameplay, there are very often times where you need to get in just a little bit of damage at range. This could be due to teamshooting, or if you bodied someone with a sniper or *shudders* lorentz driver/arbalest. At the same time, having a Palindrome that is able to consistently 4tap at 42 meters, is also incredibly valuable in terms of versatility.

Furthermore, Rangefinder is perhaps even more important on weapons that experience much shallower damage falloff curves, such as auto rifles. In the above example, a medium-range summoner with rangefinder is still able to consistently hit headshots up to 43m. At this range, the summoner is doing 20 damage to the head, for an optimal TTK of 0.9s, which is VERY serviceable at that range. On the other hand, good luck getting a non-rangefinder autorifle to consistently land headshots past 35 ish meters.

So what does seraph rounds have to do with this? It is well known that seraph rounds has a hidden +10% zoom modifier on your weapons damage falloff that gives it more "range" than even accurized rounds in most circumstances. However, it does nothing to help with keeping your level 1 aim assist at longer ranges. An ikelos SMG with seraph rounds will hit damage falloff about a meter and a half further, but will start giving you bodyshots at the exact same distance as if it didn't have a perk at all. This means that, to use a max range Ikelos SMG effectively at it's maximum range, you'll funnily enough have to aim it above the head in the same way as a DMT and hope that none of your bullets will miss. Unfortunately, since very few ikelos/seventh seraph weapons are "meta," the discussion here is mainly academic.

TL;DR: Aim assist is isn't just either there or not there. The maximum level of aim assist converts your bodyshots to headshots, whereas the lower level of aim assist only pulls your bullets towards the targets head if the shot is not close to their body. Rangefinder extends the range at which body shots get converted to headshots by a very significant margin. These findings are applicable for both MnK and Controller, and applies to all weapon archetypes tested (HC, SMG, Sidearm, Autorifle, Pulse Rifles), and likely more as well. DMT and Seraph Rounds are similar because in both cases you have to aim above the head.

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