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The Division Light Machine Gun Guide: How to Fix It

In the current state of the game, the SMG and DMR have innate benefits not available to the other weapons in the game. This makes them intrinsically more powerful than the other weapons in the game.

Ultimately, the "innate benefits" should be designed to incentivize the proper real world tactical usage of the weapon and/or punish players for using the weapon foolishly. 

Right now the LMG is the powder-puff weapon of the game. It has the slowest cyclic rate, the weakest damage and the lowest game-to-reality application of ammo capacity.

Before we get into fixes, let's discuss first the current objections to changes out of the way:
  • Higher Suppression Rate - this is not a "unique benefit" in the same way increased critical hit chance is. It isn't applicable to PvP and a host of enemies completely ignore this effect. So, while it is cool and helps the weapon function in PvE - this is not a mechanic that justifies the weapon class.
  • Accuracy Increase with Sustained Fire - this is also pretty cool, but it is simply a translation of the way the real world gun handles. Much like a DMR is innately more accurate at long range. Or shotgun buckshot speads out with multiple pellets. Or an SMG has less recoil. So ... while this seems unique to the weapon, it is simply how the weapon handles and not a unique benefit like critical hit % increase.
With that out of the way, the purpose of the LMG is to control the flow of the battlefield and force enemies to take cover for extended periods of time.

In PvE, only some of the AI will ever take cover and the ones that do are usually not the ones that matter. So, while the mechanic is cool, it is only used a relatively low portion of the time.

In PvP, the suppression effect is non-existent. Players simply wade through the hail of low damage bullets to unload with an SMG at close range.

So, how do we make the LMG force suppression and have an effect that simulates suppression?
% Increased Damage To Enemies Out Of Cover (CDMGM)

In the real world suppression works because people are afraid of getting an acute case of lead poisoning - in the game, this fear is not present.

To create this dynamic, we propose that when using cover or, as suggested below, when not moving for 1+ seconds, the LMG will have increased damage to enemies out of cover.  However, there's a better view of this mechanics. 

The better mechanic would be each LMG rounds that connects has a compounding damage multiplier (CDMGM). The way this works is that the target will receive increasing amounts of damage the longer it is taking damage. The damage increases exponentially by 1-2% for every LMG rounds that lands on target up to a maxium bonus of 30 bullets.

For instance, assume the LMG has a base damage of 6,000 per bullet and 2% multiplier:
  • Bullet 01 = 6,000 DMG
  • Bullet 02 = 6,000 * 1.02 = 6,120 DMG
  • Bullet 03 = 6,120 * 1.02 = 6,242 DMG ...
  • Bullet 30+ = 10,446 * 1.02 = 10,665 DMG
Each player has their own individual CDMGM. The LMG does not transfer the current multiplier to another target as each target has their own multiplier. This means that the shooter cannot simply stack up the damage multuiplier on Target A and apply that stack to Target B.

Additionally, the compounding DMG should have a refresh rate. This means that after not firing on the target for 3 seconds should reset the compounding DMG multiplier (switching weapons, moving and/or reloading will also refresh the CDMGM). Shooters should also be able to maintain the multiplier against covered targets as long as they maintain suppressive fire.

The reason this benefit should exist only when the LMG is in cover is that otherwise nothing would stop a user from pouring lead at an enemy and advancing on thier position. That is NOT what an LMG should be doing ... that's the job of the squad. Additionally, being in cover innately makes turning slow which gives an advantage to players that have successfully flanked or advanced on the LMG position.

In PvE, it would help the LMG be both a squad weapon and assist if you want to solo some content. The benefits would allow the LMG to focus on any enemy stupid enough not to take cover (or worse, rush the entrenched position) as well as push enemies into cover.

In PvP, it would punish players that want to fight in the open and not take cover. In other words, it would force players into a suppressed state for fear of getting lit up. It would punish anyone trying to simply rush at the entrenched position.

Suppression Effects

So, now that we've forced players to take cover - how do we cause them to feel "suppressed"?

The following three debuff effects:

Reduce accuracy and increase recoil.
It is hard to be effective when rounds are hitting all around the you. This should make being on target extremely difficult. The effect should be anyone within 2 meters of the spray and should increase as rounds are fired. The effect should fall off with distance. This would make anyone think twice about a direct, frontal advance on an LMG.

Reduce speed.
Users under suppression would struggle trying to manuever with rounds flying by. This effect would reduce rushers (both AI and human) and would help when chasing rogues. Thus an LMG helps with becoming a great rogue hunter weapon or even for rogues to suppress advancers while their squad retreats. It adds a cool tactical element. This effect would be more pronounced at close range.

Someone mentioned this before and it's a pretty solid effect. When under suppression, the enemy would experience a lesser version of the disorient effect.

These effects should only be applied if the LMG user is standing still or in cover.

Sniper Stopping Effect
Regardless of the effect , if under fire from an LMG, any scope greater than or equal to 8X should suffer extreme stability issues. Basically, it should be very hard to snipe when in the cone of fire from an LMG. In the real world, this is how a squad advances on an entrenched sniper. LMG the position and move up.

The effect should taper with distance. So, the DMR should be more reliable the further it is away.
Now, before these adjustments are ruled OP - there are simple tactical ways to combat an LMG and there are in skills to combat item #2 and item #3.

Having a Support Station with Immunizer becomes a skill with a purpose. For instance, a sniper can toss it out and remove the suppression effects ... and put rounds into the exposed head of the light machine gunner. A group with SMGs might toss one out near the LMG position and advance.

So, we have effectively made the LMG a strategic weapon that helps control the battlefield, made it situationally dangerous but not invalidated the roles of the SMG nor the AR.

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Credits: Special thanks to MauiMisfit for this informative guide.