Content of the article: "Strike First, Strike Hard, the Merciless needs a buff"
Disclaimer: I'm nowhere near as good as some of the theorycrafters in this sub, and better numbers may be available elsewhere but I think this is worth a read, if at all as a case study
I just clocked in full 7 days of playing this game with a build made specifically for the Merciless Exotic Rifle, and while it's widely agreed on that it needs a buff, I would like to explore the shortcomings of this gun and my love-hate relationship with it.
Let's start with the basics. What does the Merciless actually do?
This weapon fires on trigger pull and release.
If both bullets hit the same enemy, gain a stack.
At 7 stacks, shooting an enemy deals 500% amplified damage and creates a 7m explosion dealing 500% weapon damage, consuming the stacks.
Reading the talent, it sounds easy, right? A rifle with a 30 bullets mag, I need to hit one dude 14 consecutive times and he will get a nasty explosion and tons of damage.
But, the Merciless' drawback or the thing that you need to build to overcome and take advantage of, is that it's perhaps the worst weapon in the game to handle. As soon as you take a shot and see the recoil, you'd be sending it to the stash, never to see the light again.
That is unless you build with the attribute "Weapon Handling". There are two ways you can approach this:
1- Get your chest talent "Braced". Braced will give you a whooping 45% Weapon Handling while you're in cover.
2- Invest in Weapon Handling attributes.
In my experience, the sweet spot to properly control the Merciless' recoil is somewhere between 30 and 40% Handling.
That means if you're going for option 1 you are well above that ideal stat and you are deleting the chance for a damage talent in your chest piece, which neuters your build by blocking you from using popular talents like Glass Cannon, Spotter or the soon to be buffed Obliterate.
Option 2 will cost you 36% CHD, as you will need at least 3 Weapon Handling rolls to reach 30% Handling (Merciless has 10), assuming max rolls.
Whatever you decide to do, you will end up with a setup that will, more often than not, land consecutive shots and rack up those stacks. You will be seeing lots of Explosions go off…
…and it's underwhelming.
In Heroic 4-man, an Explosion is unable to finish off an unarmored purple. This is, for me, inexcusable.
I'm assuming the devs want you to make a tactical use of your maxed shot. But hitting a fully armored enemy with it barely tickles them, and you cannot one shot a red, let alone finish off an unarmored purple or yellow I'm not using Glass Cannon, so I could be losing on damage, but if I need Glass Cannon for the damage to be up to other guns in the game, why would I go with the Merciless to begin with?. So what do I get from the stacks I had to build up on the build I had to make around one attribute to make this gun actually work?
Proposed Solutions and changes
Now, not everything is complaining. I do have ideas that aren't mutually exclusive:
1- A named item with superior Weapon Handling. Like Fox or Contractor's, a named say Ceska or Grupo Sombra that rolls with 14% Handling.
2- An obviously needed buff. These 500% values are just not enough. PTS had 1200% or 900% if I'm not mistaken and it was deemed far too strong, so maybe settle in a middle ground at 700/800?
3- A base damage increase. This is probably the laziest to do and the safest.
If you made it all the way through here, congrats. You must be interested in the subject, and if you just got here looking for a Tl;dr, I'm sorry I have none. This shit is just too much to put in a sentence.
- Fix Sawyer’s Knees for Raid encounters w/ possible buffs!
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- Rebalancing weapon attributes
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