A Complete Analysis of PPCs
Posted: 16 Jan 2003 06:07 AM
Created by Shadow Panther

I've seen too many people complaining about PPCs without actually understanding the truth behind their strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully, this information will open everyone's eyes to the hard facts concerning the power of PPCs and specifically Dual PPCs. Please refer to my "Complete Mechs and Weapons Spreadsheet", which contains all of the data used in this analysis and can be found here:


PPC: Medium to high damage, low rate of fire, medium to high heat, long range, excellent homing ability, charged shot

An Atlas has a defense of 6000, and a fully charged Level 3 Dual PPC does 1,000 damage per shot. So, it takes six fully charged Level 3 Dual PPC shots to kill an Atlas, or about three fully charged Level 3 Dual PPC shots to kill most Light Mechs. However, there are other weapons that can do even more damage. Both the Lava Gun and the Level 3 Dual Warhammer do 1,500 damage and both have splash damage that is about 90%-100% of normal damage with a radius of around 1.5 Mechs. The Dual PPC does not have splash damage and is only the 3rd most damaging weapon per shot, as seen below:

Damage Per Shot (Level 3)
Warhammer X2 - 1,500
Lava Gun - 1,500
PPC X2 - 1,000
Warhammer X1 - 750
Gauss Rifle X2 - 750
Autocannon X4, Javelin X4 - 667

Rate of Fire:
The Rate of Fire of a fully charged PPC is around 24 shots per minute or one shot every 2.5 seconds. Both the Warhammer and Guass Rifle have faster firing rates, 36 and 30 shots per minute, respectively. Using the rate of fire for each weapon, you can calculate the average damage per second. When doing so, you'll find that the Dual PPC only does the 5th most damage per second:

Average Damage Per Second (Level 3)
Warhammer X2 - 900
Machine Gun X4 - 486
Lava Gun, Warhammer X1 - 450
PPC X2 - 400
Pulse Laser X4 - 397
Gauss Rifle X2 - 375

The Dual PPC is one of the hottest firing weapons in the game, generating approximately 3.5 bars of heat per shot, which is equal to that of the Lava Gun and the Level 3 Autocannon X4. Not only that, but additional heat is generated while charging up and holding the charge on a PPC. This heat buildup effect also applies to Warhammer timers. Therefore, holding PPC charges and Warhammer timers both generate additional heat that other weapons do not have to account for.

Heat Bars Per Shot (Level 3)
Autocannon X4, Lava Gun, PPC X1 and PPC X2 - 3.5
Javelin X4 and Warhammer X2 - 3.0
Crossbow X4, Guass Rifle X2, Warhammer X1 - 2.0

PPCs have a long range, equal or nearly equal to the Autocannon, Warhammer, Javelin, Pulse Laser and Guass Rifle.

Homing Ability:
PPCs have the ability to home in on targets, as do Javelin Missiles, Crossbow Missiles and the Guass Rifle. However, PPCs seem to have "superior homing ability" in some cases that allows the homed shot to circle around if it misses its target. This effect can actually be detrimental if the shot circles back around and strikes the Mech that fired it. Unfortunately, PPCs also seem to have "inferior homing ability" when it comes to projectile speed. Higher level PPCs fly through the air much slower than other homing weapons, which makes the PPC's homing capability less useful. Target Mechs can often easily duck behind cover, whether it is a building, a hill or even another Mech. Guass Rifles on the other hand, always fire at the same fast projectile speed and home in for a near-instant hit on the target every time. Homing can also be beaten temporarily through the use of Target Jamming. An experienced player, with the proper Mech, can block 1/3 of all homing weapons through constant use of their Target Jamming ability.

Charged Shot
PPCs, unlike any other weapon, have to be charged up comlpetely to do full damage. During charge-up and while holding the charge, a Mech's cooldown time is doubled. Also, PPCs do not fire at full capacity unless they are completly charged up. PPCs fired at minimum charge only do around half damage, while partial charges do an amount of damage somewhere in between. Regardless of how charged up the Dual PPC shot is, full heat of approximately 3.5 bars is always generated.

Dual PPCs can deal significant amounts of damage, but both the Lava Gun and Warhammer X2 can dish out more damage, with splash damage added in. Machine Guns X4 and even Warhammer X1 can cause more damage averaged over time and neither of them generate nearly as much heat as Dual PPCs. Even though PPCs have great range and homing capability, these factors are less meaningful on maps with plenty of varied terrain/buildings/walls/Mechs to hide behind, due to their relatively slow projectile speed. And finally, the PPC is the only weapon that requires a charging mechanism, which generates additional heat and is less beneficial when fired prematurely.

Dual PPCs are powerful long range weapons with excellent homing ability, but the disadvantages of slow speed, high amounts of heat and a mandatory charging mechanism serve to balance the power of this weapon. If PPCs were truly overpowered, then we would probably see more people complaining about Uziels, Ymirs and even Pumas being overpowered.