The Sling



  • There’s been a lot of scattered discussion in the past about this weapon, especially when it was introduced. However, a lot of these were mere “initial impressions” and no serious discussion about actually fixing the problem really happened. Certainly no centralized discussion. So here’s the thread. As with all my balance threads, this one will be geared towards examining the Sling; where it is, why it is, where it should be, and how we can get it there.

    The Sling was generally considered a weak weapon upon release. Even after acclamation time, the Sling hasn’t seen a great deal of use, and is certainly snubbed in competitive play (to the best of my knowledge).

    Why? Well, it’s fairly obvious. The Sling has a DPS that’s ridiculously below the weakest Archer primary, the Shortbow. The time to throw a bullet is modest; only somewhat faster than the Shortbow. But the time it takes to throw a maximum damage round makes it almost as slow as the Warbow.

    Unfortunately, Martin’s spreadsheet lacks the precise numbers for the Windup and Release times (yes, it even has a Release). However, I’m fairly certain a full charge takes about 2.6s. A Warbow, on the other hand, has a fire time of 2.8s. It deals 105 damage in either Swing or Pierce, while the Sling deals 25/45 or 30/55 for Pebble and Lead respectively. The rounds have a poorer range than the Warbow, but they do fly flatter than the Shortbow.

    For ease of comparison, here are some numbers:

    Damage / Time To Fire
    Shortbow: 55 / 2.0
    Warbow: 105 / 2.8
    Sling, Pebbles: 25 / Around 1.5 (Unknown)
    Sling, Pebbles Charged: 45 / Around 2.6s (Unknown)
    Sling, Lead: 30 / (Unknown, presumably slower than Pebbles)
    Sling, Lead charged: 55

    As a final note, the Shortbow has 35 rounds while Lead Balls only have 20. This is a jarring comparison, especially considering how inefficient the weapon is. It was difficult to use up 40 rounds because the weapon is simply so slow.

    A slightly flatter trajectory doesn’t really justify the troublingly low DPS of the Sling. But what’s the point of this thing, anyway?

    I’d envision the Sling as a fast, high DPS but low HTK dealing Blunt damage at a healthy range. Because of Blunt damage, it’s sub-optimal at dealing with archers, but its rate of fire makes it useful for flinching both melee units and enemy archers.

    So, assuming this is the ideal for the Sling, how do we get it there?

    The first and foremost change would be to increase its DPS. I feel this can best be achieved by removing the Windup mechanic entirely. One button press will begin launching the round; the only animations you see are a very brief windup and the current Release animation. After you fire, you reload as normal.

    This has a few effects: the projectile speed (and thus trajectory) can be normalized, leading to more consistent shooting, and the damage is normalized, making it more predictable and easier to balance.

    But I think we can do better. In addition to this normalization, I feel the Sling would be made more unique with the addition of a Buckler. Instead of buffing the Sling up to be competitive with bows, we can make it slightly more sub-optimal than the Bows when it comes to killing (especially archers) by giving it some protection against projectiles. This will cement it as a skirmishing weapon designed to harry units while remaining relatively safe.

    This leaves a few questions: what do we allow the Slinger to do with his Buckler? It makes sense for him to be able to Block, so he can actually protect himself from arrows. This would give him defense in melee, though. Giving him access to Shove would be another thing to consider. Finally, we could possibly allow him to attack with the Buckler, much like the Javelin and Flail.

    It could be reasonable for the Slinger to incur more severe stamina parries when blocking with the Sling out. I would also expect the Shield Attack to be about as slow as the Flail’s shield attack, so it’s not made into a pseudo melee weapon. It wouldn’t be out of the question to reduce its damage to 30, from 35.

    A third option, probably not in conjunction with the above, is to give the Slinger access to MaA primaries as secondary weapons (particularly the Swords and Axes). These would likely need a reduced or removed Backstab bonus to remain balanced. This is my least favorite option, and would rather see the above two implemented instead.

    Suggested changelog:

    ! Re-worked Sling
    ! Now two kinds of Sling: Light Sling and Heavy Sling
    ! Light Sling uses Pebbles and Heavy Sling uses Lead Balls. Both weapons have a Buckler as a Special.
    !
    ! Light Sling:
    ! 41 Blunt Damage
    ! Windup+Release time of 1.25 (or wherever is slightly faster than the current speed)
    ! Reload time unchanged
    !
    ! Heavy Sling:
    ! 47 Blunt Damage
    ! Windup+Release time of 1.5
    ! Reload time unchanged
    ! Ammo increased to 35 from 20

    This means a Light Sling will 3 hit any class in the Head, while taking 4 Torso shots to kill anything else. Meanwhile, a Heavy Sling can 2 hit Archers and MaA in the head, with 3 Torso Shots for lights and 4 torso shots for heavy classes. Finite ammo, plus a slower attack speed balances out the Heavy Sling (but of course, numbers are fairly arbitrary).

    Would this be too powerful? Are my numbers way off? Do you have a better idea, or do you think the Sling is fine as is? Discuss away! :)



  • Wall of text too lazy to read today.

    I think its fine. Its a fast medium damaging weapon. Slow weapon change times mean if you miss trying to hit a guy closing you down means you are punished. But the speed it has and the fact that its blunt damage means its a viable weapon against all classes. And you don’t have to charge it fully you can release it earlier. Its glitched so there is no accuracy loss. Glitched for all ranged weapons not just slings.

    People say its overpowered and underpowered. Its due to skill by the player using it and the experience people have had on the receiving end. Thats what makes people minds up. Same goes for most other weapons.
    Nothing wrong with the weapon.



  • Since the patch I have never died to a sling. So yeah it needs a bump in damage, no idea how much.



  • @gregcau:

    Since the patch I have never died to a sling. So yeah it needs a bump in damage, no idea how much.

    Proves my point above.

    No one uses the sling. Probably a good reason to why you haven’t died.

    I use it so people have died to my sling. And once you get used to it its a Handy weapon. Its fast firing. And is good against vanguards. Probably most effective against them than any other class.



  • @lemonater47:

    No one uses the sling. Probably a good reason to why you haven’t died.

    Oh I have seen it, just when I get hit by it I chuckle at the low damage and kill him.





  • @gregcau:

    Since the patch I have never died to a sling. So yeah it needs a bump in damage, no idea how much.

    I died once; I was dueling a friend and we were both using slings. He had knifed me several times before.

    I didn’t realize how bad the numbers were. Half of the shortbow!? The shortbow is like the standard of awful (sadly).

    I love speed and range of the sling, but the buffs you proposed would be a excellent start.
    On the other hand, I dislike the idea of a heavy and light sling. Just stick with one, choose your ammo, and go with it. In addition, while your immediate-fire idea is nice, I’d also like the option of swinging it around if I want for an easy release.

    As for buckler, well I like your ideas, but the buckler doesn’t shield 75% of the time, so…



  • A damage boost perhaps, but I think it should be kept at short to medium range. I also feel like it is easy to hit people in close range with it.



  • I think the opposite of a lot of people. Most people think it needs to be stronger, I think it should stay weak but needs to be faster. It seems kinda slow for how light and non-cumbersome it is.



  • Usefulness = None
    Fun level = Off the charts

    Question: Would the sling be as much fun to use if it were to be made more powerful?



  • @Slaughtervomit:

    Usefulness = None
    Fun level = Off the charts

    Question: Would the sling be as much fun to use if it were to be made more powerful?

    It would be more fun if it were faster! :D it would be a hail of my…. balls



  • @Steel:

    I think the opposite of a lot of people. Most people think it needs to be stronger, I think it should stay weak but needs to be faster. It seems kinda slow for how light and non-cumbersome it is.

    This is pretty much what I’m suggesting. I feel the Sling should be normalized (somewhere in between the current min and max values) and then have the windup mechanic removed. That way, it’ll be very fast, but still have low damage potential.

    @lemonater47:

    @gregcau:

    Since the patch I have never died to a sling. So yeah it needs a bump in damage, no idea how much.

    Proves my point above.

    No one uses the sling. Probably a good reason to why you haven’t died.

    I use it so people have died to my sling. And once you get used to it its a Handy weapon. Its fast firing. And is good against vanguards. Probably most effective against them than any other class.

    The fact you don’t see it often only proves the point that it’s perceived as underpowered. Any ranged weapon is effective against Vanguards. And, just so you know, I use the Sling quite often myself. Just because a practiced individual can perform well with any given weapon doesn’t mean it’s not underpowered. I might go 13-5 with the Sling, but in any situation I can guarantee I would’ve gone 20-4 with the Shortbow, or even better with a Warbow.

    Anyway, given the accuracy loss applies to all ranged weapons (and thus is irrelevant), how do you justify the Sling having such ridiculously less DPS than the Shortbow? What advantages does it have? If you had to convince a competitive player to take a Sling on his team instead of the Shortbow, or even the Warbow, how would you manage it?

    Not that we want the Sling on the level of the Warbow, mind you, since that’s slated for a nerf. But I think you get my point.



  • Sling should be like a medieval uzi with infinite ammo and low power.

    Pros: Speed and ammo
    Cons: Range and power



  • The problem with the sling is that unlike the 3 other classes of weapons available to the archer, the sling is the only one without the capability to 1 shot other archers. Regular javs, med crossbows and broadheaded warbows all 1 shot archers. Like mentioned in your post, the sling is not only ridiculously slow to charge BUT has a release you have to get used to as well. It has poor firing rate and poor damage, no reason to pick it up at all. You’re also still a huge sitting duck to long range snipers especially since you have to engage mostly in medium/short range to maximize your effectiveness. Not only can the sling not 1 shot archers, but it can’t even 2 shot them. Personally that’s not the biggest of deals though.

    I think the sling should have an instant throw with very little windup, similar to the javelin now (or no windup at all) but a longer reload time in-between shots, similar to how a jav would be like except a little faster given its poor damage. The buckler is a really good idea, though I would personally like the option to remove it when drawing your secondary since I hate it, but that’s just me.



  • @Mint:

    The problem with the sling is that unlike the 3 other classes of weapons available to the archer, the sling is the only one without the capability to 1 shot other archers. Regular javs, med crossbows and broadheaded warbows all 1 shot archers. Like mentioned in your post, the sling is not only ridiculously slow to charge BUT has a release you have to get used to as well. It has poor firing rate and poor damage, no reason to pick it up at all. You’re also still a huge sitting duck to long range snipers especially since you have to engage mostly in medium/short range to maximize your effectiveness. Not only can the sling not 1 shot archers, but it can’t even 2 shot them. Personally that’s not the biggest of deals though.

    I think the sling should have an instant throw with very little windup, similar to the javelin now (or no windup at all) but a longer reload time in-between shots, similar to how a jav would be like except a little faster given its poor damage. The buckler is a really good idea, though I would personally like the option to remove it when drawing your secondary since I hate it, but that’s just me.

    You can already put away shields by hitting the 3 key. You can do this with the Javelineer’s secondary.

    Anyway, I don’t think all archer primaries need to 1h archers. But tragically, this does seem to be the deciding factor in balance. But that’s a problem we need to address with other weapons. Remember, the Shortbow can’t 1h archers either. (But then, that was the most underpowered archer primary before the Sling came along).

    The thing about the Sling is, even if its DPS is more efficient than any other primary, the fact it takes more HTK means you need to land multiple shots consecutively, despite the enemy’s efforts to evade or kill you. This means the Sling innately takes more skill to use. Therefore, it deserves a little more efficiency.

    So, while having a 1.25 release at a flat 41 Blunt damage might seem a little overpowered, please consider how it may actually play out in-game. It still takes 5+ seconds to get out enough shots to kill an enemy archer (and you need to be landing headshots, too!) while the Warbow can just kill you in 3s.

    But that extra fire rate and ammo is useful, plus a Buckler… hey, the Sling is actually a situational pick, now. Even if it’s not quite as good at killing, it still offers utility.



  • I personally have never used the sling, and I don’t recall ever having died from it. After the update came out I looked at the numbers in the weapon table and the pathetic damage convinced me to steer clear of it. I don’t see anything in the statistics that would make me want to play it.

    I like your proposed changes and I think they would make the sling an interesting choice as a skirmisher type.



  • I watched the Deadliest Warrior and the sling lost to the bow and arrow in a huge way.

    So a crappy sling seems appropriate lol.



  • @gregcau:

    I watched the Deadliest Warrior and the sling lost to the bow and arrow in a huge way.

    So a crappy sling seems appropriate lol.

    You’re right on a realism standpoint… However, Balance > realism

    This has been stated across a lot of balance threads.

    Argument invalid. Sorry man. :(



  • @Slaughtervomit:

    @gregcau:

    I watched the Deadliest Warrior and the sling lost to the bow and arrow in a huge way.

    So a crappy sling seems appropriate lol.

    You’re right on a realism standpoint… However, Balance > realism

    This has been stated across a lot of balance threads.

    Argument invalid. Sorry man. :(

    Think it was more a fun fact than anything else.

    Anyway, I’d like to see the sling do really well vs Knights and Vanguards, while being weak vs Archers. A slightly faster ROF with a damage buff ought to do nicely, with maybe a unique multiplier on the heavy guys. The other day a poor archer hit me with two excellent sling shots and it only got me down to a third health. One shot from my heavy xbow finished him quickly.



  • @Tankcommander:

    Anyway, I’d like to see the sling do really well vs Knights and Vanguards, while being weak vs Archers. A slightly faster ROF with a damage buff ought to do nicely, with maybe a unique multiplier on the heavy guys. The other day a poor archer hit me with two excellent sling shots and it only got me down to a third health. One shot from my heavy xbow finished him quickly.

    The Sling, by virtue of being both a Blunt weapon, as well as a low HTK weapon, will always be weak against Archers, no matter how effective it is. Weapons that kill in one shot are the best thing to use against archers, as it gives them no time to evade or kill you.

    The Warbow and Crossbow will forever be The Best weapons against archers because they can kill them in one shot (particularly a torso shot); anything less will be sub-optimal. Which is fine, but the Sling needs to be buffed so that it fills a niche.

    Low HTK weapons should have strictly better stats than weapons with a higher HTK, because they demand more consistent accuracy. You only need one Warbow hit to kill an archer, but you need many to kill it with the Sling. It’s not much different when it comes to other classes, either.


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