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The Division Shotgun Guide: Understanding how this weapon works and how to get the most damage

The purpose of this guide is to explore the "innate benefits" of the different weapons. 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.


Now, let's just be honest. Shotguns are brutal in this game. They want to be good, but just ... aren't.
Shotguns are the tactical kissing cousin of SMGs. Both CQB weapons but used completely differently. Whereas the SMG is a precise weapon, the shotgun is a room clearing and fear inducing maelstrom. Maybe that's a bit dramatic ... but you get the meaning.

Ultimately, if standing in 10 feet away and you had a choice to catch a bullet from an MP5 or buckshot from a Benelli Super 90 ... you're going to choose an MP5. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Now, before it is said - yes, because of the number of pellets it has an increased chance to proc an effect. While this is a great feature, it is obviously not enough to put the shotgun into that many hands.

So, how do we make the weapon fierce without making it a single shot overpowered horror show?

DAMAGE BY DISTANCE NOT BY LOCATION

While most people in real life combat would taught to aim center mass to ensure that they have a better than average chance of hitting the target - this is a game. That said, of all the weapons in the game shotgun is the most center mass weapon. Trying to snipe someone's dome with a shotgun is simply doing it wrong.

Shotguns should have a damage multiplier based on distance to target. The closer to the target, the more damage. This would incentivize the CQB nature of the weapon even more than it currently is.
To compensate for this, and also to penalize trying to snipe, headshots are only 10% more damage. There's still a bonus hitting that target - but the increase is minor.

STOPPING POWER

In real life, lets assume you miracled your way into surviving a close range blast from a shotgun ... you're going to pick yourself up off the ground. Simply stated - imagine getting hit, full steam by Ray Lewis ... and multiply it. Basically, the impact from that blast would knock any human off their feet. 

Now, onto the ideas ...

So, "Stopping Power" is a really simple concept which would mirror the real world concept of a shotgun to cause enough ballistic trauma to stop and/or incapacitate an enemy. Now, when it comes to PvP, I am not suggesting that the game world take the enemy combatant out of control of their character.

How it would work in the game is it would take a combination of the distance to the target and the percentage of pellets that hit the target and the percentage of critical hits from those pellets.
  • The closer the distance - the more stopping power.
  • The more pellets - the more stopping power.
  • The more critical hits - the more stopping power.
Let's make the formula weighted so that all variables contribute some percentage to the whole, but not equally. The reason for this is that there should be a chance that an up-close and personal shot doesn't equate to instant-win for the shotgun.

In PvE - this could trip up rushers and any enemy that gets too darn close. This could be a real advantage in situations by giving the user a chance to get off a shot or two and getting back out of range.

In PvP, the effect would allow the shotgun to have effects that could combat anyone up close, but not necessarily rule the conflict. When hit with Stopping Power, the enemy would suffer any (or all) of the following effects depending on the impact calculation (in order of least severe to most):
  • Aim Kick - the enemy suffers a noticable jerk in their aiming - as much as 90-degrees off target;
  • Descope - the enemy would be knocked off their shouldering/scope view; * Spin - the enemy would turn 30-60 degrees left/right/up/down to simulate being knocked by the blast;
  • Cover Break - the enemy is blasted off of cover;
  • Slow Down - the enemy experiences a loss of speed for a few seconds.
None of these should cause the player to lose total control of their character.

SHOCK & AWE
Shotguns are intimidating weapons. Loud. Terrifying. They will tear you up and rattle you. From close range, it will rend your flesh and leave a gaping wound where your chest used to be.

To simulate the horrific output of the shotgun, we could add more baseline damage - but the idea that the shotgun has a slightly disorient the user is a beautiful concept (and maybe even cause a little damage over time).

How it would work is that in PvE - any pellet that hits an enemy under the optimal range would have a 4% chance to proc bleed.

Whereas, in PvP, the calculation would be different. If the percentage of pellets that critically hit (compared to total number fired) is higher than the enemies armor mitigation - then the enemy has a chance experience the effects. This would simulate the concept that the pellets possibly found that exposed area or that someone isn't armored heavily enough. This effect would be that the enemy has a 30% chance to bleed or become disoriented (the proc is a 50/50, so you aren't sure what effect you'll experience). If the percentage of pellets that critically hit is 70% of the total pellets fired and the enemy is less than 3m away they have an additional 30% chance of getting doubled over.

Doubling Over would cause the PvP enemy to be put into a recover animation and will have to stand up or the AI enemy to stumble. To combat any sort of exploit or stun lock - this effect can only proc on an enemy once every 15 seconds (regardless of shotgunner) and the distance must be within 3m.

This makes getting in really close to a shotgun extremely dangerous. Even if ultimately the shotgunner is put down, the enemy could still be out of commission or scrambling away from the remaining squad.

THE FLESHY BITS

A lot of people have mentioned making shotguns rend body armor. In the real world, body armor is suprisingly good at withstanding a shotgun blast. All those little pellets just don't have the properties to pierce through or destroy it.

But, shotgun pellets make short work of organic flesh.

To add a little bonus in PvE, every pellet from a shotgun will do 50% more damage to unarmored targets. If 5 pellets hit a target and 2 of them hit the armor, but 3 hit the flesh ... those 3 will do 50% more damage.

This bonus does not scale versus range.

IN THE OPEN

Another effect that should be added is shared with the LMG. This is some sort of "out of cover" bonus. If an enemy is out in the open - then the shotgun should gain a 15% damage to each pellet at all ranges within the optimal distance.

This would give enemies pause in how to approach someone and help make cover viable - even in short range combat.

CONCLUSISON

These effects do not necessarily translate to the AI shotgunners. AI shotgunners are just fine where they are. They do not need added bonuses to annihilate agents.

These effects would function together to make the shotgun have some added OOMPH while also making it not a 100% insta-win ... although it does approach that point if you get caught by a full blast at 4m.

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