Discovering Pulse Rifles
Discovering Pulse Rifles
Till recently, I've found that pulse rifles just never "fit" my play style, and as a result I've dismantled them as soon as I got them. I've even dismantled a bunch of Red Death pulse rifles. For me, they've always been hard to shoot and not as effective as other choices. All that changed last week.
Since playing more crucible, I've noticed that I get killed by the Red Death or The Messenger more often as time goes by. I also saw that the Time-to-Kill (time-to-die) for pulse rifles was faster than any other primary I encountered in the crucible. I found myself in the respawn screen faster than I thought possible. All this forced me to rethink pulse rifles, but I still didn't put it all together. I tried the Red Death a few times in the crucible, but thought I just wasn't good enough with it to make it effective. Then it all changed....
My son was playing a Dragon Strike about 10 days ago and received a legendary Hopscotch Pilgrim pulse rifle as a drop. He didn't know much about it, but saw that its impact value was much higher than Praedyth's Timepiece (VoG arc pulse rifle), so he hung onto it. He's a reader, and read that the Hopscotch is a great pulse rifle in the crucible. So he worked it up, and now it almost never leaves his primary slot. It is a great pulse rifle.
I got a Spare Change.25 pulse rifle during this past week's Iron Banner, and I saw 3-4 others drop for our team during the week. Since learning more about the Hopscotch Pilgrim, I began looking at the attributes for all the pulse rifles I run across. The stats for Spare Change looked pretty good, and I subsequently learned that the Spare Change is the crucible version -sort of - of the PvE Hopscotch.
For those with a Halo background, Destiny's scout rifle is similar to Halo's DMR, and Halo's BR is similar to Destiny's pulse rifles - each having a 3-shot burst.
High values for impact and stability are what make a great crucible pulse rifle. I didn't know how important stability was - now I do. A high stability value allows you to keep all 3 shots on the head with each pull of the trigger, and a high impact number is needed to produce max damage. The Messenger (ToO drop), Hopscotch Pilgrim (Dragon Strike drop) and Spare Change.25 (crucible drop) are all high impact legendary pulse rifles that can be re-rolled for great stability.
Each of these pulse rifles can produce a kill with just 2 trigger pulls (6 shots). If you do it right, the engagement is over in the blink of an eye. High stability allows you to keep all 6 bullets on target for two quick trigger pulls. Without a high stability value, the bullets tend to spread and the sights won't return to zero between trigger pulls - resulting in fewer critical hits. With a high level of stability, it's possible to get 6 critical hits and an instant kill with the three pulse rifles mentioned above.
The Red Death has pretty awful stability, and there's no way to improve it. It is what it is... Plus, the Spare Change.25 produces a higher critical number per hit than the Red Death. In the crucible, the Spare Change produces criticals of 38. The Red Death produces 36s. So, with a much higher stability value and a slightly higher critical hit value, the Spare Change.25 is more effective in the crucible. I don't have The Messenger or a Hopscotch Pilgrim, so I can only compare them using their stats.
I needed to re-roll my Spare Change 6-8 times to get a max stability version that has Rodeo, Braced Frame and Counterbalance all in one roll. These push the stability bar to about 85%. Both The Messenger and the Hopscotch have higher stability, but not by that much. Each of these have identical rates of fire and impact. The Spare Change has a slightly longer range value than the Messenger and noticeably more than the Hopscotch. In the field, it's hard to see the range difference between the 3 mentioned. I do know that I can shoot the Spare Change all of the way across sniper alley on Pantheon (over B) and get critical hits on snipers.
The Spare Change.25 has the smallest magazine of the bunch with just 18 rounds, when selecting max stability. In the crucible, an 18 round mag is plenty unless you're engaging a whole team. In the days I used it in Iron Banner, I didn't see a need for more ammo. I use gauntlets that increase reload speed with pulse rifles.
Without really saying so, Bungie has nudged all of us toward pulse rifles. Unfortunately, this "nudging" usually involves downgrading the guns we like. Maybe it's a good thing because pulse rifles are so effective in the crucible. Having a legendary primary means I can now equip an exotic in the special or heavy slot. I used the Gjallarhorn for the first time a couple of days ago, and the new exotic Lord of Wolves shotgun is a room clearer for sure. A great legendary primary allows for more options.