Fallout

Help me understand the Syringer

fallout 8 - Help me understand the Syringer
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Spoiler: The Syringer is really, really bad. But does it have to be?

So for the hunter badge, one of the tasks is to kill a bear using a syringer. Thankfully, clubbing the bear to death with the syringer is a valid way to complete the challenge so you don't have to mod the barrels, but this did get me thinking.

I'd never picked up a syringer before because the weapon just seemed bad, but at this point I figured maybe it was worth a second look; after all, why add a challenge featuring this particular gun if the weapon was garbage? That doesn't make sense from a game design perspective, since you want to direct players to the strong elements of your game, and not the weak ones, so I figured maybe there's something I've overlooked.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I was right all along and the syringer is complete trash in every circumstance.

For those blissfully unaware, the syringer can be modded with a variety of different barrels that each do something different:

  • Bloatfly Barrel: Chance to spawn a bloatfly when you kill a mob affected by this effect.
  • Bleedout/Radscorpion Venom Barrel: Does 30/40 damage to the target over 10 seconds.
  • Endangerol Barrel: Supposedly lowers target's damage resistance by 25% but actually does nothing.

Let's look at the venom barrels. The radscorpion barrel takes 10 radscorpion stingers, and it's barely strong enough to take down a level 1 scorched. I repeat: takes 10 radscorpion stingers, barely kills a level 1 mob. If you can kill enough radscorpions to make this mod, chances are you do not have any problems with small mobs. I cannot explain the design philosophy that went into this mod.

Now, the bloatfly barrel. Bloatflies are not a threat to anything. Unless you need to farm bloatflies, there is no point to this barrel.

Ditto the endangerol barrel. It seems pretty potent on paper, but in practice the barrel does nothing. There are several posts on this subreddit, and the conclusion is that this mod does nothing except make its user look stupid.

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Alright, so the syringer is complete junk. Can we fix this?

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First, let's consider which niche the syringer could occupy in the game's combat ecosystem. One thing 76 does not currently have is situational debuffs. There are legendary effects that do extra damage to certain enemy types (ghoul slayer, troubleshooter, etc), and there is the Glow Sight perk that increases your damage against glowing enemies, but that's really it. Sure, there's the cryolator, but that weapon's debuff effect is all around useful and not what I'd call situational in that it doesn't present players with an interesting choice. Yes, freezing the SBQ or the Impostor Sheepsquatch or the Alpha is always good; there's never a situation where you'd not want to freeze them.

So, if we want the syringer to fill that niche, what potential debuffs could make this an interesting addition to endgame combat encounters? Some examples:

  • Enrage: Make the target focus on the shooter for 30 seconds. (Allowing players to act as tanks)
  • Necrotoxin: Reduce healing effects on the target by 80%. (Slows down legendary regen and opens up new endgame encounter design space; also has PvP applications)
  • Tranquilizer: Puts the target to sleep for 30 seconds. Any damage will wake the target. (Hey look at that, crowd control tools!)
  • Radiation Disruptor: Makes the target extremely vulnerable to radiation damage for 10 seconds. Canceled by other disruptor effects.
  • Energy Disruptor: Makes the target extremely vulnerable to energy damage for 10 seconds. Canceled by other disruptor effects.
  • Thermal Disruptor: Makes the target extremely vulnerable to fire damage for 10 seconds. Canceled by other disruptor effects.
  • Cryo Disruptor: Makes the target extremely vulnerable to cryo damage for 10 seconds. Canceled by other disruptor effects.
  • Toxic Disruptor: Makes the target extremely vulnerable to poison damage for 10 seconds. Canceled by other disruptor effects.
  • Blinder: Blinds the target for 20 seconds. (Especially nasty in PvP)
  • Scorchbeast Venom: Turns the the target into the Scorched version of itself. Makes players vulnerable to Prime weapons for 30 seconds.
  • Orbital Tracking Dart: Marks the target for an orbital strike from the Kovac-Muldoon Platform after 20 seconds. Can only have one dart per target at once.
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And so on and so on. I think the syringer could be a really cool tool that could inject some much needed variety into the kind of basic gunplay of 76, it just needs a little love.

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