While I wouldn’t call myself the most knowledgeable person ingame I did get a good look into shotgun mainhand dps.
So I thought why not sum up a guide about what I think about the diffrent shotgun abilities when it comes to dealing damage with my favorite boomstick.
It’s less a short guide in the sense of a short read but something that gives you base level knowledge about all the abilities at desposal, giving one a headstart when getting into shotgun. There are things that go further when really going deep into shotgun but those are probably best things that one finds through normal play as playstyles and preferences differ and the guide is already pretty biased on some points.
ACTIVES AND PASSIVES FOR IT:
The basic you will use. Nothing really special. That said you probably will use it quite a lot. (For reasons I pick up when getting to the passives).
Sounds good on paper. It even comes with a bit more damage than other compareable abilities which can be increased with the passive “Blast Barrels”. On paper that is not that bad but the devil lies in the detail. It has a really, really crappy area of effect: A cone.
Doesn’t sound bad? It kinda is. As the greatest damage is useless if you have to fidged around with the positioning and constantly back up to kinda hit your enemies. Especially since enemies love to “swarm” you beating you up from all sides.
The area Double barrel can hit stuff is 25,6m² or 269 feet squared compared to 78,5m² or 845 feet squared for a standard 5 meter around player or 5 meter around target AoE.
Another ability that brings the devil in the fineprint. First things first. It does bring more damage (in form of +30% crit damage) which is really nice to have. Bringing someone with a group that can cast it is pretty nice. Having more than one person is waste of actives, shells, time to deal more dakka. So one always has to judge the situation if it’s appliable or not.
And than we get to the passiv “Fire at will”. More damage is something of a ring to dps everywhere and like smeagol they flock to it.
Downside is that it comes with a trick. It only applies until you get hit. One says: Easy. I say: No, it isn’t. At least not constantly. Things like debuffs ticking on you, adds, reflect barriers and thousand other things can break it. Not getting damaged isn’t always an easy thing. So think before you use it and adapt to the fight you go into. If you can’t keep it up at the next bossfight, why use it? Also bonus number 2 that comes is that you reload a shell on critical hits. While it sounds cool, it isn’t. Knowing how many shells you have and preplanning attacks so you get your reloads when you want them is the thing you want, not random shells popping up on every corner.
Last sidenote is that while the crit damage buff is cool, it isn’t constant, so learning to cast it not during a shield phase should be a given. You get 7ish seconds and a 20 second debuff that prevents you from getting the buff again. Also why having more than 1 person casting it in a group is pointless.
It sounds odd (I think my shotgun became possessed by a feral biest) but is your bread and butter skill. It hurts like every energy waster, takes 5 energy per cast and puts the boom into boomstick.
On the passive side we get “Point blank shot” a passive with good and bad sides. The good side it that it gives you more damage and on top of that it’s by increasing the damage of your attack instead of dealing an additional hit, meaning bigger, badder, boom. On the downside it came with a range restriction that stays true to the name and has more of a bad joke than anything else: 3 meter. So you have to stick to bosses as if you picked a melee weapon and than decided you still were to far away.
Generally I found it worth it since it brings extra damage that is easier to make use of than opening shot even if you can’t get 100% uptime. It’s just a bit short and you sometimes will question your weapon/lifechoice.
It basically “cripples” a ranged weapon to some kind of melee weapon and while some people play melee I believe they will agree that having range is extremly nice.
It’s a goodie. While there are options you normally go with this elite. It may be a cone (which I still think is garbage but let me finish the sentence) but it comes with tools that counterbalance it. Mostly the fact that you shoot 5 times in intervals of 0.5 seconds lets you readjust if you are off your mark. You basically have up 2.5 seconds to wiggle yourself better into position if you for some reason didn’t hit well. Also it goes further so it’s easier to hit (Double barrel has 7 meter and full Salvo 9). Even the fact that you will linger 2.5 seconds casting it is normally no problem. Cause it means 2.5 Seconds to regain energy on top of 5 hits. It basically conserves energy and makes managing energy far easier.
The passive is “withering salvo”, so far it was pretty decent from what it brings to the table but it is a bit weak on the damage side but with the passive it turns into an add blender. You get 40% more damage with every hit aka pain, paain, paaaaain, PAIN and my personal favorite DEATH TO THE ADDS. You want the passive and any consideration of mainhand dpsing shotgun without it shall be buried deep deep underground.
Now to the major downside: It costs 5 shells. Not like other shotgun elites don’t but it means you can’t cast it when you please, you have to preplan to have your shells when you need to clear adds. Adds don’t die, healer dies, tank dies (sometimes…survival tanks really turned that upside down), you die…
Another thing to point out is that in some fights you would love to use it for energymanagement but have to safekeep it for the spawning of adds. Meaning it can happen that you end up in an awkward wait for adds to spawn since you need the cooldown up and at least 5 shells. Making you depend a little on whatever you have as offhand to bridge the time.
It’s an odd one. On the one side does it not do much for your damage (Assuming you get 1-2 stacks worth of damage from procs of the SPES shotgun) on the other hand does it equip shotgun users with a lot of utility.
Why would you want it: Without passive it’s A. A cleanse B.A selfheal that isn’t bound to heal rating but a percentage of max life (depending on how many shells you can use up for it) C. A group heal. D. A “shellwaster” aka a skill that lets you force a reload.
The first two are great for soloing ,for when things go wrong in lower elite dungeons where adds still don’t hit that bad and scenarios.
The third is really great to support a healer when the group heals run out and everyone is a bit to low for your liking.
Now the passive. “Fortifying shells” provides a groupwide protection buff (More shells equalls stronger buff) for a few seconds. Nothing you normally need to use but something to keep in mind since it opens up the possibility of adding a protection buff to the tools of your groups tank on top of him getting healed. There are situations were he (she?) would kiss your feet for that service. Keep it in mind so you can keep it in your toolbelt.
On the last point that’s good of Reconstitution shells: Since it uses up shells, like all of them it forces you to reload which is…a good thing. Reloads may take 1 second of not damaging stuff but the wrong ammunition or the lack of ability to cast full salvo can be far worse than the one second you need to reload after reconstitution shells (reconstitution shells if not bound to a GCD). I call abilities that do that “shell waster” and RS isn’t the only one that does it.
2.Glutton for Punishment
Nothing for dps. Poor tankability and nothing I wanna see in a shotgun dps build. Technically a shell waster but don’t use it as dps. (I skip the passive because it also plays no role for dps)
The other option for a shell waster for dps and this one does something for your damage output in theory. Shell Salvage gives you (shotgun)energy based on how many shells you use up with it.
I did some math and the essence of it is while it gives you energy and with that damage the time spend to cast it and the extra reload after makes it in average a damage loss.
While a shell waster is a core ability of a shotgun main build and dps always seek more damage it doesn’t seem shell salvage can provide that to a degree that it improves a rotations damage output.
It can be used between bossphases to force a reload (or any other moment you want to force a reload) but I am pretty sure reconstitution shells does it better even thought from it’S design you can see it is planned as a tank skill while dps where thought of using shell salvage.
On the other hand does the passive “Salvage expert” offer 5 energy for your other weapon which makes it probably useful for offhand shotgun users (which I will only mention as this is a shotgun mainhand not offhand guide and also is unconfirmed) and the small bonus feature to reload the same shell as the salvaged.
A group cleanse for multiple debuffs over time. A really odd ability that you probably won’t use often. But in the case your healer is a cleanse short or enemies throw debuffs around a lairgroup like it’s christmas something you can use to be a utility helper. It’s not a really precise tool but it can help, it’s not easy to use (thanks to costing 6 shells) but it technically can be used…it’s a skill for special moments.
The passive: Cleanup Crew adds a damage buff if you cleanse a debuff. If you need cleanup in an hour of need it’s really not wrong to pick the passive too cause when you need cleanup you normally have debuff to cleanse on every corner.
It’s the other option to Full Salvo. The active itself deals damage to enemies in a circle with possibility to deal damage to enemies close by and gives the status exposed . The passive “cluster bombs” adds even more additional strikes raining down on the enemy. I have to admit even thought full salvo is nice, bombardment is far more satisfying to watch. Main sellingpoint compared to the option of Full Salvo is that it deals exposed. So much of it that the enemy can be permaexposed. Which in bigger groups makes a lot of diffrence (thanks to the defense reduce, talismans…). To my knowledge there are weapons doing a better job with it so it’s more a thing of “If noone casts exposed on the regional/boss” than you can jump in with ease. Theoretically you can also get exposed with “blue shells” but later to that why that doesn’t work.
The two main downfalls to the ability are that an enemy has to stand still if you want the full effect of the damage/expose which not many bosses do and that you lose effectiveness as other people start to cast expose since you get to the max and can’t get more out of it. (20 seconds)
So definitly a skill you can use in situations when needed that adds to your flexibility but generally you are better off with the simpler full salvo as elite.
Another thing to point out is that it costs 6 shells compared to the 5 shells of full salvo which means it’s only usable when you come freshly from a reload but it’s an instant cast instead of taking 2.5 seconds. So it definitly is the faster cast. If you take it, take the passive with it instead of whithering salvo from full salvo (Thing of a shotgun elite as a combo pack together with the passive…one should come with the other)
While it sounds like a good idea to have a 3 energy power ability of dps don’t use it. The devil lies like so often in the detail. It generates hate, which is SWLs form of aggro, having it in your build makes your tank hate you for good reason.
While one could say “But I only use it in solo” I advice strongly against it. To often it happens that you just forget to switch build and kill your dungeon group just for this ability. So don’t get into the habit of using it.
The passive “Reinforced rockets” is a stacking protection buff pointing out even more the nature of the ability as tank ability.
That said if you want/need/prefer it for solocontent don’T let me stop you.
Now cones come as hate generating basic attacks. While you want a basic attack (for reason given later) this isn’t the basic attack for dps. Stick to pump action and pump enemies full of lead.
Recently I got into the habit of calling it “The AoE a dps needs with the hate generation he doesn’t”. Every issue Double barrel has with it’S area of effect is not existent with HEAT rounds. It’s a circle centered around the target. So basically a ranged circle. Why not use it? Same reason as Rocket pods. It generates hate. Generally your best shot for AoE damage is Full Salvo and anything that your secondary weapon brings to the table and the weak AoE play is one of the major weaknesses of shotgun.
The passive is inline with rocket pods as that it gives you protection (this time for every enemy hit).
After a lot of meh hate generating abilities CQC is a goodie. CQC is a ultrashortrange (think of raging shots passive aka 3m) interupt/knockdown that does some damage. Free interrupt, good for tanks, good for dps, especially nice for scenarios where there is a lot of stuff flying around. Definitly a skill that has it’s uses. The passiv “Fatal Funnel” extents the effect to every enemy 5 meter around the target and turns it into an aoe knockdown. Definitly a passive to always consider when slotting CQC (Close Quarter Combat btw).
The only reason I don’t use it is because I have a gadget slot that is free for Bashosen (AoE Knockdown) anyway. But if I need more knockdown (like when Shambala pops every 3 years or during the shambala events) I slot it and laught as I toy with my enemies. Slot it when you need extra interrupts/breathing room or want to lessen the load on a tank and gadget alone doesn’t do the job. A quirky little ability you just have to love since it lets you do more stuff and be more flexible than you already are.
It produces hate. Do I have to go into detail on it? Also we had such a nice high note with CQC. Basically if you slot Kneecapper as dps you deserve to get your knee capped hard. Use Full Salvo or Bombardment but not this.
THE OTHER PASSIVES:
We already talked about most passives (3 of the 5 rows) but there are a few not bound to the abilities. And I go into them a bit since there is at least one that is essential and another that is pretty good so you also get an idea about those.
4.Row or the Shell Passives
Passives in this row are for making specific shell types stronger or the overall use of shells.
1.Odds and Evens
This is the must have I talked about and the reason Opening Shots passive isn’t great when it generates extra shells. On Even counts your power abilities deal 15% more damage (6/4/2 shells) and on uneven counts your basics deal 70% more damage (5/3/1). That’s a lot of firepower for the cheap, cheap price of not 3, not 2 but only one single Passive slot.
It’s what makes shotgun dps work but it also comes with a downside. You need to start counting shells. Every time you don’t know your count you can’t proc O&E and lose damage. So if opening shots passive would give you a shell and you miss it it could lead to some trememdous damage lose. You want your shellcount to be static so you can plan ahead so you have full salvo when you need it (or bombardment or 6 shells for shells salvage/reconstitution shells/cleanup…you get the idea).
I let that sit with you and move on. If you plan on playing shotgun mainhand this is your best friend and the ability you need to know in your sleep.
It is also a reason why energy isn’t as valuable as for some of the other weapons as it makes your basic so much stronger that the diffrence to spending energy over raging shot compared to pumpaction (divided by 5 cause 5 energy cost) is shrinking quite a lot.
2.White Phosperus Shell
A simple passive that makes your Red/Dragonbreath Shells 12% stronger. If you have a free passive slot you can get free damage here. I have to admit I never quantified how much it effects damage output but generally it’s not that essential just a cherry on top of the ice cream cup that is your damage.
An odd skill I never needed that much. It increases the shellcount of purple/depleted uranium shells by two. With 8 shells a lot of abilities like bombardment, cleanup etc are far easier to cast and if you have problems with getting your shellcounts right for some of the big abilities this is the passive for you. Think of it as the training wheels passive for new shotgun users or the odd trick in the veterans arsenal.
Also keep in mind that the UI currently doesn’t support showing 8 shells so it only shows you 6 even if you have more shells loaded. If you keep track of your shells you should still be able to follow it.
While odds and evens is the must have this is the ability that I deeply recommend. It improves the amount of dragonbreath/Depleted Uranium/Armor-Piercing Shells in favor of Anima Shells (more red/purple/blue shells for less green/healing shells) which makes it far easier to get the shells you need in every situation.
Rough values are: 37,5% Green, 37,5% Red , 15% Purple and 10% Blue (without passive) to 20% green, 40% red, 30% purple, 10% blue (with passive).
In terms of chance increase of purple shells that means it improves your ability to at least have one purple reload option depending on the amount of shotgun abilities by roughly 20% for 2 to 6 shotgun abilities. (See spitball values in picture.)
Since the normal order for max damage looks like red-purple-red-purple… having the extra percent purple helps to sticking to the order and also in keeping purple more often for solo play and scenarios (I explain later why that is a thing) and also shows why bombardment is the way for exposed compared to blue shells. Blue shells are to rare to be consistent.
In my opinion while it doesn’t add damage directly, it does improve the handling of the weapon a lot.
5.Row or the Passives for Tanks (mainly)
This passive is similar to other shell passives but this time strengthens the only shell that doesn’t give you damage: Anima Shells. It improves the healing from them from 3% to 4,5%. Nice to have when you start out solo but the later you get the more you stick with reconstitution shells or just killing stuff faster than a minimal damage increase especially since green shells are also a dangerous damage sink.
It gives you protection when you reload (for a few seconds). Not much to say about. Generally I don’t see it viable in any dps build. Take white phosporus over this if you have the free passive slot.
You reload 1 shell every 5 seconds in combat. I think since we already talked about shellcount in odds and even it becomes clear why this passive is a waste of oxygen and a passive slot for any main hand shotgun user. You just make your life harder for no reason. You can use it but there really is no reason for it. It solves no problem but creates one.
4.No Time to Bleed
You heal 3% of your max life on a glance. Definitly tank ability and I think I don’t have to explain that.
After going through all rows there is only one passive left. The starter passive:
This is actually a more defensive passive with quite some use. You get 6% of your hp healed with every reload. Sounds fine? It has some hidden feature. It buffs reconstitution shells. Assuming you want reconstitution shells with 6 shells you come from reloading and reload afterward again which triggers this passive twice on top of the heal from reconstitution shells. That is the diffrence between nearly dead and pretty good on hp.
Definitly something that proofed useful on my first play through the story and is still in use to quickheal minor damage from story mobs.
Anima-Infused Shell aka Green
A healing shell that is the bane of dps. Basically picking it doesn’t give you damage. In that it is compareable to 0% heat elemental/0 corruption blood or any other mechanic just not giving a bonus. It does have some uses in early story gameplay but as you get stronger the incentive to use it gets lower and if you get stuck with it your prime concern should be getting rid of it as fast as possible. One rim case I found use for it is when I’m trying to lower my damage intentiously.
Dragonbreath Shell aka Red
One of the most loved shell times giving you a dot to stack up to 6 stacks on an enemy. I normally go with half my shells in longer fights (raid/dungeon/lair) as you can have the dot and depleted uranium shells at the same time. One has to be careful to not what I call “overstack” or “burn” stacks. Since you can’t get past 6 stacks of debuff on an enemy using to much of dragonbreath results in suboptimal damage due to the shell only refreshing the 6 stacks instead of adding a stack.
On the other hand it has some uses on bosses and enemies that like to port away or put up shields regulary (assuming they aren’t reflective shields), as you can stack the debuff on the enemy and he still gets damage in the case he ports or gets hit by 6 stacks of dragonbreath ones the shield drops.
Depleted Uranium aka Purple
Personally the best shell you have. A flat damage increase that never is a wrong idea, not always the optimal choice, but never really totally wrong (like green). In longer fights it makes the other half of your shells as it gives you it’s damage buff while you keep your dragonbreath debuff going. In shorter fights the value of purple outpaces red as a dot hasn’t got enough time to fully apply compared to purple working more directly. Which means it is a good shell for solo/story content (first playthrough it’s not really showing it but the higher you get the more you will feel how it makes short fights shorter) and in scenario where fights should take as short as possible and because of that you are actually trying to make dot less and less effective. Keeping purple up as much as possible in scenarios greatly reduces difficult.
Only sidenote I would love to make is that even with munition expert it’s a rarer round. So trying to finish a fight before a reload can help in improving uptime. I let it up to you finding the ways to do that.
Armor-Piercing Shells aka Blue
A shell that isn’t as good as a red shell (assuming you don’t burn stacks) and definitly not as good as purple shells but still better as green shells. While the shell doesn’t give damage directly the fact that it can apply exposed on enemies that didn’t have exposed (even if short and only with a 50% chance. Keep that in mind) does it create an opportunity to create more damage. Sadly it’s to weak in it’s effect as that it can be combined with other shells and it is to rare as that it has a use as source for consistent expose debuffing.
Technically it was planned as group content shell, practically it does a really bad job at it and doesn’t even have a passive to make it better.
-Talk about actives
-Talk about passives
-Formated the text for better structure
-Changed some titles/words from lower case to upper case
-Added data to the passive Munition Expert
-Added values for the area of effect on Double Barrel compared to other standard AoEs
-Changed the text of Shell salvage to represent my new made experience and deeper math of it.
-Added a bit of text and fixed a few typos
P.S.:Too be continued. I managed to give you guys actives and passive and will add a short talk about shell types after. If you want to see what I picked personally for myself I gladly do a build explain on my personal builds upon request. I also fix, smooth out and format the guide as I find time…as this short guide turned rather large but still isn’t as large as it could be especially in the numbers department.