Two ground vehicle weapons today. These are a funny thing to review well, especially in the multi-crew vehicles, since you, the paying customer, will rarely be using them yourselves. The person who spawns the vehicle is also the person who gets to fit all the modules and weapons on it, including the big ticket unlockable turrets. This basically ends up with you putting down cash in a game for the better enjoyment of other people, which is an odd state of affairs.
Naturally, this will appeal to regular squad-folk more than determined soloists, although perhaps those with an eye on bigger empire-wide picture may see the benefits in acts of cash-shop altruism which give random gunners the tools to perform better. Very hit and miss, literally! I’m lucky enough to have a fairly large squad of regulars for our nights out in there and this opens options for effective coordination in the multi-crew vehicles, which we use a lot; Sunderer, Galaxy, Magrider and Liberator.
With that in mind, I grabbed a few of the vehicle turrets on my recent Station Cash binge:
Saron HRB (Magrider Secondary Weapon) 1000C or 700SC
This beast is a very high powered armour-piercing laser cannon mounted on the top of the hover tank, for use by the seat 2 gunner. As a flat trajectory laser bolt, it functions like a very high-powered artillery-sized sniper gun, capable of astonishing accuracy at very long ranges. Hugely more potent than the default stock twin machine gun, it does have drawbacks. It has a clip of one, meaning frequent reload downtime, and only around 25 shots in storage (without mods), meaning that your driver will need to keep a firm awareness of where the nearest ammo tower or Sunderer is for rearming, and as gunner, you’ll need to keep the driver updates on how many shots you have left – they can’t see your ammo supply. Your driver will also need to know when to keep steady and level too, you only get one shot at a time, so a stable platform is essential – use voice comms to arrange that where possible.
It is gleefully capable of one-hitting infantry at almost any range at which they are visible, but this is probably not the most efficient way of using it, and it packs a huge punch in tank-on-tank duels, taking a stock Lightning in three hits*, although as with any other gun load-out, neglecting the relevant chassis armour modules will still get you killed easily enough. Good at turret clearance, but then so is most stuff! The upper arc limit means it’s not the best at anti-air, but if you do catch distant hovering aircraft napping, it will mess those up quite badly too!
Out of all the options on offer, this gun most replicates the feel of the old Planetside One Magrider – this one feels a little heavier to use, but offers the same long-range bolt of energy death that always impressed me with the original Vanu MBT. Old school, best school!
Useful Addons: As many Zoom Optics as you can afford – it really is that precise. Extra Ammo and Reload Time Reduction are both relevant and useful for this gun too.
8/10: This gun really unlocks the full potential of the Magrider, a tried and tested vehicle-mounted railgun from the dawn of Planetside.
(Non-Vanu Options are tricky here; the other two empires appear to get most of their punch from the Primary Weapon. I guess the nearest equivalents for the Secondary Weapon are the Enforcer ML85 (NC) or the E540 Halberd (Common Pool), similar damage and ammo profiles, but those seem more rocket-launcher based, so lose on precision.)
G40-F Ranger (Sunderer Primary/Secondary Weapon) 1000C or 700SC
Out of all the things you can put on top of a Sunderer, I find this one to be the most useful. The G40-F is an anti-air proximity burst flak cannon, similar in function to the Phalanx Wall Turret, Burster Max arm or Skyguard, offering a significant defence from roving Mosquitoes, Reavers and Scythes, and can drive off Liberators too if you get an early spot on them. Manned by alert occupants in seats 2 and/or 3, it can put out a satisfying large amount of proximity air-burst flak at considerable range, and even take out Air Cavalry that doesn’t immediately hit the afterburners and get away. Given the precious nature of the Sunderer as a mobile spawn point and its wide recognition as a high threat to a base assault or defence, being able to drive off potential rocket spammers from on high is well worth the points.
With two of these on, you sacrifice potency against infantry and tanks – the gun does very little damage against either, and you’ll be forced to improvise by having your own lazy heavy lads leap out and deal with those on foot if you want to survive. The guns remain useful when parked/deployed, keeping enemy air from farming your newly spawned comrades to some extent, and I’ve even had some success with these turrets in a dedicated ‘anti-air Sunderer’ configuration; with enough armour plating, turn speed and smoke launchers, it makes a surprisingly viable alternative to a Skyguard Lightning. Against enemy heavy tanks, I’m not sure anything you can put on the top of the Sunderer will help a lot – dodge and weave!
You can of course mix and match, using one of these and one of the other Sunderer guns, but lose AA power doing so and will have to be content at merely driving planes away, rather than killing them in most cases.
While the main PS 1 ‘Skyguard’ buggy didn’t make it to 2, instead becoming an turret option for the Lightning, using G-40s on the Sunderer actually seems closer to the older vehicle, with a dedicated driver staying on the move while a rear gunner focuses exclusively on the air targets.
Worth noting; if you want two of these on a Sunderer, you will need to buy each separately. I’d have preferred to see one single unlock applied to both, so it loses some admiration there.
Useful Mods: Ammo Capacity and Ammo Magazine Sizes – each gun has its own ammo supply, but your gunners will get through a lot of the stuff rather quickly. Zoom is less important despite its long effective range, as the shells have proximity burst. Extra reload speed is always nice in any gun.
7/10: Very useful for the stated purpose, but they will leave you vulnerable to infantry and tanks. Also, I don’t like having to buy the same thing twice!
(Non-Vanu need not worry; the Sunderer is Common Pool, and so is this gun, so everyone gets access to it.)
In general, the multi-crew vehicles tend to come with all-purpose, not-that-great-at-anything heavy machine guns on the gunner spots by default, but a few certs or SC in the right place can open up some very interesting options for medium and large squad use. The trouble is, you yourself might not get to play with them that often.
I’d like to see post-spawn modification of vehicles, perhaps giving jump-in random gunners the option of automatically replacing existing turrets with ones they’ve unlocked themselves. Nanites can do anything, you see!
As ever, do share your own thoughts and experiences with the cashshop gunnery below!
* Our Lightning Expert was somewhat startled by this impromptu testing session, but did get to then test his Automatic Nanite Repair System, which seems very good itself, so everyone gained something from the experience. For Science!