Arc weaponry - getting the most out of it

I’ve dabbled just enough to see the arc weapons have potential, but there’s a learning curve - they may just be the least forgiving primaries in the game. Pay-off is watching whole mobs of enemies get wiped out in one massive bang!

I’ve figured out the shield is a big help with it, as is anything else that slows the enemy down long enough to let you wind up a couple blasts. Also, YouTube vids show players getting rid of hounds on just half a charge or less from the full Arc Thrower.

Anyone here feel like sharing how they get best use out of these difficult yet occasionally rewarding weapons?

Quick Tip:
Forget the Arc Thrower against Illuminates.
Just don’t do it. It sucks.
Take anything else. Use your pistol. But Arc Thrower against Illuminates? Big NO!

The Arc Shotgun, however, is pretty much the best weapon against Illuminates and it destroys them like they’re nothing. If you want to feel like an untouchable wrathful GOD against the Illuminates, try the Arc-Shotgun with MD-99 Autoinjector perk and the SH-32 Kinetic Directional Shield (the DLC shield form the Entrenched Pack).

Ok, so I don’t apporach the Arc weapons like I would any other primary weapons; instead I think of the Arc weapons as specialized weapons, as Stratagem/Support weapons that can not be dropped and also do not need to be called in.

So, the Arc Thrower is beasically a Heavy Sniper Rifle with a long charge-up that gives you the ability to dispatch entire patrols from far away (this is most useful against Cyborgs because their patrol units are the most resilient), so it’s best used while defending objectives or teammates.
When traveling the map I would always switch either to my sidearm (preferably the Gunslinger DLC pistol or a secondary weapon such as the Machine Gun or Dum Dum) to deal with patrols.

This also means that I very often bring Ammo when I use the Arc weapons (which runs counter to how everyone else seems to use these weapons), because I know that I can not rely on these weapons in the same way that I would most other weapons.

The Arc Shotgun, on the other hand, is a bit more flexible than the Arc Thrower and I feel I can use this weapon a bit more aggressively. The charge up time is a lot faster and this weapon good for dealing with certain mobs (especially Illuminate Tripods and Bug Warriors).

Both weapons have their own respective quirks, btw. These are specific to each weapon:

The Arc Thrower can jump from target to target, which is how it can reach such high distances (i.e. killing a full patrol all the way on the other side of the screen), the range however, can artificially be extended by SH-20 Bubble Shields.

If you ever find yourself with a fully charged Arc Thrower, an incoming Cyborg patrol, and a teammate wearing a Bubble Shield between you and the patrol, blocking your shot and alerting the patrol, then take the shot.
Your teammates shield will need to recharge, of course. But while the shield is active it can and will serve as a conductor for the Arc Thrower shot.

The Arc Shotgun has a completely different quirk: it can shoot through solid terrain.
Stand against a wall or piece of cover. Charge your shot. Wait for patrol to walk on the other side of whatever solid piece of terrain your standing near. Shoot. Wait for next patrol. Repeat. Remain unseen.

That’S all for now, I guess. If you have specific questions then just go ahead and ask. This is all just from the top of my head, but I’m sure there’s lots more.

OK, cool. I’ve felt what you’re saying about fighting illuminates with the Arc Thrower; the long charge time is a fatal weakness vs such a mobile enemy. That’s fine, most weapons are better suited to one type of enemy than others. (Even the humble Liberator rifle has a niche, IMO - bug patrols!)

I’d mostly use the Arc Thrower for Cyborgs, I think. How much charge do you go for vs different targets? Such as Grotesques, cyborg grenadier patrols, dogs etc?

Intend to experiment with Arc Shotty some time. I swear it used to take a lot longer to charge; it’s pretty fast nowadays.

Howdy, wanted to drop my perspective, hope it helps.

Couple of addendums:
All due respect to Citizen Graves, this is just my opinion so if it contradicts anyone reading this can try it out and come to their own conclusion. Got mad respect, but I think it works for me against Illuminates.

This is strictly for the arc thrower, I used the shotgun quite a bit, but it keeps crashing my game, so I stopped using it. Plus I like the thrower better

Ok, onto the meat!

I really like the Arc thrower and consider it my main gun. Any advice here is mainly for the arc thrower, as I think it’s the overall better gun and Ilike i better. If I were to rank the guns effectiveness against races, I would say:

  1. bugs
  2. Illuminates
  3. Cyborgs

2 and 3 being pretty close, but the dogs and butchers are worse than illusionists and council members

I know that the are frequent comparisons to sniper rifles, but I think it’s more instructive to think of the arc weapons as trading off characteristics versus the other guns. If we simplify it onto a 1 dimensional axis, it would look like this:
ballistic ------- laser --------------------------- arc
Where the axis of measure is intensity of fire (how quickly and how much can you fire before you hit some limit)

But if we look at range it would look like this
laser -------- ballistic ------------ arc

And if we look at overall raw max damage per shot, it would look like this
arc — ballistic ------------ laser

The number of dots really roughly translate of measure, so you can see that in my opinion, a sniper rifle doesn’t fit because you lose out quite a bit on the range, even if you say that the intensity of fire is a wash. Overall it would be better to translate this to those multi-sided shapes that you get when you get graded in a game and do an overall tierring of the individual guns, but what I want to convey is that the arc thrower is its own thing, and you’ll understand it better if you don’t compare it to something that doesn’t really capture it’s attributes.

Some specific tactics and tips that are not race specific

  1. Learn trigger control - the arc gun is the only gun that both requires the ability to feather your shot (plasma rifle, sickle, camper) and to hold the trigger. If you can’t feather, you won’t be able to get snap shots off (you will hear charge, but no discharge will occur), and if you can’t hold the trigger for long periods you’ll be prone to accidentally discharge and roast your teammates and objectives
  2. Understand your charge by sight and sound - initially you’ll use your eyes to determine charge, but over time you’ll get a feel for the timing. In general I would say that you’ll want to identity max, then half by ear, otherwise you’ll have to keep looking at the screen and you’ll get wrecked when the action turns into a scramble.
  3. Understand how the lightning arcs - I’ll go in another post if enough people ask, but basically remember that the lightning prefers to travel in these directions in this order. It will also prioritize enemies ahead of friends if there are both, but will happily travel through an ally to get to an enemy if only an ally is present. Also buildings and objectives count as enemies. Distance has an effect on target selection, but also tied into intensity of the shot, so it’s much harder to gauge.
    a) straight
    b) left/right
    c) backwards (not really, but if it goes straight, it WILL turn twice and arc back towards you. You can’t die
    from this but an ally will get zapped)
  4. Damage scales non-linearly to time - The damage charge isn’t linear. It might be close, but the damage does seem to accumulate faster later in the charge cycle
  5. Time and distance are the same - Don’t focus on perfect charging, if you can make appropriate distance and then charge, that is the same as perfecting your charge timing. In the same vein, don’t focus solely on stratagems and perks that give you more time. If you can master your distance or improve your damage output intensity, that is more fruitful than getting off a series of perfectly charged shots

Race specific tips

  1. Bugs
    Scouts will die in a feathered snap shot. This makes the arc thrower really powerful in scout removal and preventing alerts. You never run out of ammo and you never overheat. It tends to take 2 or 3 shots, even though it arcs the way scouts line up, it tends not to arc to all of them.
    Stalkers require 2 half charge shots about, or 1 fully charged shot. But don’t try to do this. Instead snap off a feathered shot or hit them with melee and they will run off. If you keep hitting them with feathered shots they will stay away, and you will discover other enemies, even invisible ones since the gun will keep arcing to enemies. You can even hit enemies off screen this way!
    All other enemies except brood commander and tanks: take your time - you can move while charge so move away and fully charge 1 shot. All of these enemies either will die, or will be near death and you can finish them off with 1 or 2 feathered snap shots.
    Brood commanders take 5 or more fully charged shots. However be careful, once near death they will charge and snap shots will not take them down and you won’t have enough time to fully charge your shot. I highly suggest finishing off with either your pistol or grenades. You can do this, but unless your alone, you rarely have the space to dance around and finish them.
    Not sure how many shots it takes to kill an impaler, but it’s alot. If you must, if the tentacles are close, you can arc your shot through the tentacles.
    Never killed a tank just using the arc thrower.

  2. Illuminates
    The arc ignores cloaked status! You can murder observers this way if you have a bunch following you around cloaked.
    3 feathered snap shots will kill a shielded scout. However you’ll find the alarm is raised while you’re getting off your third shot. It’s preferable to charge about 20% and then fire off another snap shot to kill.
    Hunters take around 2/3 charge to kill. I keep thinking it’s half but then I always find that they didn’t die, so just charge a little extra to be sure.
    Outcasts are best dealt with like stalkers. Zap with a feathered snap shot, then charge while they move away. about 1/2 charge will kill them and apprentices. I’d overcharge a little if you have outcasts around to make sure they die.
    Tripods will die 100% to 2 fully charged blasts if they have shields up. Around 40% will strip shields, but then the followup shot will take almost full charge. I prefer to fully charge the first shot since it feels like ( could be completely wrong) that the arc does “overdamage”. That is to say damage above the shield is done to the target rather than being ignored.
    Obelisks take 4 or 5 fully charged shots. If you start right after the wall goes up, you’ll have plenty of time to kill one. Don’t stop charging after it starts to teleport, you can kill as it closes up and you’ll get the explosion sound effect instead of the fall apart sound effect.
    Illusionists and Council members - Here is where it gets terrible: the arc thrower can’t explode the orbs. This really sucks, and it means that naked, it’s almost impossible for you to take down one of these enemies. Even if you preaim before your controls get reversed, it’s likely you’ll get down before you can charge enough shots to kill them. Feathered snap shots stagger, but the council members can get off the 360 burst even while getting staggered. Switch to pistol, take down some orbs, and dance like crazy to kill these guys. Honestly though, just carry a secondary (or magnum) that can kill them. Also if you must do it naked, use strafing run to strip shields so you can hit hard with the charged blast. You’ll have enough time for a little over half charge before they shoot an orb if you’re at max distance (which you’ll want to be to avoid the omni-directional blast). Full confession, never killed a council member naked and solo just using the gun without stratagem help. It’s really miserable.

  3. Cyborgs
    Half charge will take out a pack of squad leaders. No joke. Tied with the suppressor for taking out scout packs. No, really, you can stay super sneaky with this gun. And your max range is just outside of their detection range.
    Bane of you life dogs take about 25% or 3 feathers snap shots. I hate to tell you this, but you’ll have much better survivability if you can melee dodge and snap shot via melee dodge. If you’re solo you’ll generally have time to charge, backup and fire point blank to get the line of dogs. But if there are multiple players, the camera view will not give you the same amount of distance. You can dodge past the leaping dogs and charge your shot if you melee dodge.
    Do use the orb to practice at first, but you’ll still need to understand the basics, otherwise any Hulk or IFV can strip your shield with a stray shot and you’ll be dog food. Literally!
    One fully charged shot can kill a whole pack of grotesques. Watch out for the point blank effect against them though (And dogs, but slightly less dangerous). For some reason if you fire at point, point, point blank, sometimes the game doesn’t register the hit or does at reduced damage.
    One and a half fully charged shots will take down a berzerker. But after the first fully charged shot it’s in this slow shambling state that can actually save you by blocking enemies, so be aware.
    At least 7 or 8 fully charged shots to kill a butcher. Maybe more. It’s crazy how much HP they have. Be aware of this and be prepared to have alternative damage otherwise you’ll never be able to hold objectives, you’ll always get run off. Solo I really like strafing run. It fill in gaps in the arc throwers competencies and you’ll be able to get 2 or 3 off against a pack of butchers if you’re kiting them.
    IFV’s are your friend. Disable one and use the tank to arc your shots against enemies. Unless dogs spawn really unluckily for you, you are nearly invincible using this tactic.
    KOR_Lune put together a video detailing how many shots to kill a hulk and Warlord (Hulk and Warlord test). I think hulk is around 5 or 6. Warlord it’s stupid how many. You can only shoot 1/2 or more charged shot against Warlords. Feathered snap shots don’t penetrate the armor. You’ll know by the flinch. It is really good at finishing Warlords off though - typically a single EAT won’t kill, but 1 or 2 fully charged shots will put them into the burning state.

Whew! Hope this helps. Would love to know if anyone else mains the gun. I was gonna add more about fire lines and avoiding Team kills, but I think this is enough.


Awesome detail there, thanks a bunch for sharing! I’ve only read half so far and learned a lot. Cheers.

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Not sure if anyone mentioned this about the ark weapons cause I couldn’t be bothered reading for texts but the projectile can pass through solid objects.

Yep that was mentioned…

Only the Arc Shotgun. The Arc Thrower which has longer range with the chaining does not go through solid objects (except enemies and allies).

Wow…I’m coming to the realization that the new cyborg unit, the legionnaire, is almost impossible to kill with the arc thrower. The shot is always treated as if it’s from the front, so it’s always getting blocked. I need for the war to end so I can test solo on lvl 13+ planet and see if it’s possible to kill them when they shoot their grenades, like how the hulks drop their shield, but if not it might mean it’s literally impossible to kill those units with an arc thrower. Will also test with the arc shotgun.

So got a chance to test the arc thrower (and shotgun) against the new legionnaire units. They are indeed invulnerable from all angles and all times from arc blasts. But it’s actually not bad at all of you’re not worried about raising the alarm, they provide a perfect buffer between you and the rest of the units you are fighting. They conduct arc shots and if you just keep them between you and the other enemies you can shoot the rest of the units freely without being shot at. It’s actually safer to do this to shoot warlords than it is up close, and hulks won’t block your shots. Best part about this is when the number of other enemies is low, just let a hulk or warlord destroy the legionnaires for you with their weapons and they will be shooting them in the back. They’ll die very quickly to friendly fire.

If you do want/need to kill them, you’ll need to alternately run towards and away - they will initially scatter and that’s your chance to melee them in the back. They will stop and turn after a small distance. DO NOT go toe to toe - the shield makes them invulnerable and they will smack you with their shield. The swing looks exactly like a hulk melee attack, but lower damage. The real problem is they don’t flinch so you can get trapped by them and get killed. Hit and run with melee. The guard dog will really cut them up as they run away if you have that.