So as you all know, the opticor vandal was released and there's been a bit of a controversy as a result. And while there has been a good bit of discussion about practical stuff like the numbers, dps or how the new version works better with the way the game is generally played, I want to disregard all that for a moment and talk from the other end, a kind of philosophical justification for this departure from how new weapon variants are usually handled.
So, normally, when a weapon gets a new variant it is for a distinct reason. Setting aside the obvious economic concern of "well the game needs content, familiar weapons that are better is content so go make content" that reason is usually to do with the base variant's effectiveness.
Take for example the
gorgon. While it is a somewhat interesting weapon, or at least having a unique and distinct feel to it that someone could justifiably get attached to, it is by most measures, dog shit. It's just not that good at killing shit in this game about killing shit. This would lead people to want this weapon but not shit, because they might like the weapon, but as they progress through the game it becomes less and less capable of working.
The solution to this in warframe is usually a new variant, be it prime, vandal, prisma or wraith. This means that the original weapon, usually low MR and for early game usage, isn't catapulted into a bizarre spot both balance and acquisition wise, suddenly new players are picking up blueprints that either build a god gun that can take on sorties around the time they hit fucking mercury or are getting a weapon that is too high of an MR by a good year of play, and life goes on.
This is the case with a lot of weapons and their varients. They just make the weapon quantatatively better while keeping it qualitatively the same. It's still the same gorgon you fell in love with, but now it can actually kill shit.
Enter the Opticor.
The opticor is a bizarre little piece of kit balance wise for many reasons. It comes in at mr 14 with literally only 1 weapon having a higher mastery rank requirement being the aklex prime. It requires both a clan, fieldron and a forma to build. Aquisition wise, it is unquestionably a late game weapon. It's stats back th is up, while its slow as hell, it packs a hell of a punch.
Now, how do you make a varient of this weapon.
It obviously doesn't need help doing what the weapon does in late game play, besides giving it a bump in crit chance to make it more consistent with crits but that's the kind of change you do with a weapon buff, not an all new varient. Besides that, keeping its feel completely in tact, and making a vandal version out of it wouldn't work the same way as with other weapons.
Now what they did instead is dodge this all together. They made something similar but also qualitatively different. It fires much faster and deals less damage, on top of some QoL things like mag capacity and reload speed. To buff the base opticors damage would be absurd, it already vaporizes whatever is put in front of it after it finishes charging up. So instead they made a weapon that is more in line with others in the game, it plays better with how this game flows and is overall more effective, therefore in a way acheiving the goal of a varient in such a way that it didn't either A) create an exceptionally boring alternative with better supporting stats that wouldn't be used widely for the same reasons the base version isn't, or B) create a busted monster that has the same yield as the base gun but now fires as fast as the vandal version.
They let the opticor keep its throne as what it is, for the people who love that, while creating something new that more suits the way the game is played, IE a hoard shooter where if you spend a full 2 seconds murdering 1 dude, you're probably fucked.
TLDR: The normal opticor is completely fucntional in late game play so in order to make a new version that isn't just slightly better supporting stats for crit consistency, they made something different that is overall more effective while not trying to suplant the original.
PS. I see people claiming the opticor vandal is A) just worse, it isn't, and B) just a worse version of the ferrox, it isn't, while it does lose out on per shot damage thanks to the crit stats of the ferrox, the Opticor vandal has both higher burst dps, and sustained dps on top of the massively better reload speed, 1 metre of punch through, and the explosion when the beam hits a surface that does another 200 damage allowing for both some aoe potential as well as just more damage per shot if you hit something with both the beam and the explosion by angling your shot from above.
Edit: 1 metre of punch through, not 5. Don't know where I got 5 from, but its fixed now and the point still remains.
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