Breaking down weapon penalty in Red Algorithm
Hey there! In this guide you will learn about the weapon penalty in the game, you will also understand how to manage your weapons in a smart way, when and what weapons to pick, etc.
You probably noticed that some weapons in the game will have “Penalized” written under their name and ammo. It looks something like that:
Obviously, “Penalized” doesn’t sound like a good thing, but what does it mean exactly?
It means that your current hero level is lower than the weapon level at the moment, as simple as that. If Veteran rifle level is 4 and you penalized with it, It means that the hero must be level 1, 2, or 3 right now. When you reach level 4 the penalty will be gone.
Actually, when you pick a new weapon, if you bother to expand its full stats, it will tell you at the end if you can or can’t use this weapon now:
On the screenshot above you can see that Liberte, a mid-tier assault rifle, has level 14, and the player with level 1 can’t use it now without penalties.
Ok, but what those penalties are exactly? Here is what they do to you:
- Damage -25%
- Accuracy -25%
- Range -25%
- 25% slower reload speed
- Higher malfunction rate
- Incoming experience speed -25% (very important!)
As you can see, it’s not a pleasant thing to carry around a weapon that you can’t handle as many of your stats will be severely reduced. It often takes at least 1 perk to get +25% to a stat, so you would need at least 5 perks to compensate for all of those penalties. At the same time, you will gain these 5 levels much slower because of the reduced experience gain speed.
One way to counter this mechanic is to get Handyman perk, which reduces weapon level by 5. Another thing that partially compensates for it is habit mechanic (you get better at using a particular weapon if you use it for many levels), which we will talk about in another guide.
A little bit about the game design. Why this mechanic was added?
Now, someone might ask, why is it allowed in the first place to pick weapons that you can’t properly use? Well, aren’t you tired of games that are designed in a way that you don’t have any choices, where your choices don’t matter at all? In a typical RPG there will be a weak iron sword for an Orc level 5, a nice steal sword for an Orc level 10, and a great mithril (or whatever) sword for an Orc level 15. You won’t be able to even take to your hand the great mithril sword if your level is less than 15, that is how most modern games are designed. The developer of Red Algorithm is a little bit sick of such an approach, so in this game you can attempt to use any weapon as it’s more realistic, but who said that you will be able to use it well?
Also, there is, of course, a purely practical reason for this mechanic, as it would kill the whole fun of random weapon picking if you were limited only to weapons of your level or lover.
It was possible to just remove weapons level at all, like it’s in Crimsonland and other top-down shooters, but then, as you might know, there will be no point in using weak weapons like a pistol or an SMG. In Red Algorithm any weapon has its time and place, even the weakest one.
Can I use a high-level weapon early?
Sure you can! The fact that your level is lower than the weapon level and that you will get a penalty doesn’t mean that you should always avoid high-level weapons. Actually, there are many cases when it’s smart to use a high-level weapon, even if it gives you the penalty.
For example, if you have a low-level assault rifle, Dictator level 3, and you are level 4 right now, and you see Patriot (level 6) in the weapon box, of course you should go ahead and take it now! Yes, you will get the penalty, but it will only be for the next 2 levels.
You will also lose 50% of the habit that you accumulated with Dictator, but it won’t be 100% because you are switching weapons within one class (assault rifle to assault rifle).
So, at the end of the day, you have to answer yourself is it worth it to get a high-level weapon early at this time, or not? It’s a hard question in many cases as it depends on many factors, but that’s the beauty of the game that you need not only to shoot monsters but use your brain a too.
What about REALLY high-level weapons?
Ok, handling the weapon penalty for a few levels is not a disaster, but is there a way to pick a really cool-looking gun of like 20 – 25 level when you like level 5 or so?
Well… Surely, you shouldn’t do that, and most likely if you decide to do such a thing, you won’t survive more than 5 – 7 more minutes.
If you pick Minigun (level 18), or Apocalypse (level 28) when you are like level 3, of course, you won’t be able to do much. You need perks to increase your move speed, you need perks to increase accuracy, you need perks or weapon upgrades to reduce weapons weight, you need a high habit handling machine guns, etc. Generally speaking, you should start a game with a low-level weapon and only after a few hero levels switch to another one.
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule and a few ways to play comfortably with a high-level weapon. -25% damage, accuracy, range and reload is bad, but that’s not the biggest problem of the penalty (because it’s partially compensated by high weapon stats), the biggest problem is -25% experience. And, high-level weapons almost always also have an experience gain penalty of their own, -15, -30, or even -50%, which will bring down your total experience gain speed to like 25%.
An obvious answer to all these problems is Lucy, a premium hero with a native +25% experience bonus, but it’s understandable that not everyone is willing to purchase it. Also, Lucy might seem strong, but what is the benefit of this +25% exp bonus when you reach the maximum level (30)?
If Lucy is not the answer (although, she is great with mid-tier weapons 10 – 15 levels), another option is to try out perks that give you more experience like Geek and even more extreme – Genius (+50% experience, -50 HP and -25% damage). Yeah, it won’t be easy, but it could be a lot of fun trying to pull something like this off.
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