I've been really digging the new perk Surplus recently, and I ended up going through an exhaustive number of tests of it on 7 different weapons. Below are my findings; I'll start with the TL;DR and some build recommendations, then go over methodology and other details.
- 3 stacks' buff (i.e. grenade, melee, and class charged – Super doesn't count) is extremely noticeable. You may not have this up that often, but in general, it's better than both a Loader and Dexterity mod for that weapon, even before considering the stability increase. Generally behaved like a +50 to Reload.
- 2 stacks is generally as good as, or a bit below, a Loader and Dexterity mod combined. The jump from 2 to 3 stacks is about the same as from 1 to 2 stacks. Generally behaved like a +25 to Reload.
- 1 stack provides a minor benefit but still shaves 1/10 second off your reloads and a couple frames off your swaps. Comparable to the "normal" versions of mods from year 3, before they got buffed to be the formerly "enhanced" versions. Generally behaved like a +9 to Reload.
- Stability can depend on the gun, but I didn't test how much the reticle shake was affected – only actual bullet spread. For example, Avalanche and Glacioclasm appear not to benefit much at all from the buff to Stability, but it might be reducing the reticle shake and not just… not doing anything.
- I haven't observed any benefits from double-charged abilities like Sixth Coyote, Starfire Protocol, Withering Blades, etc.
- To see what weapons can roll Surplus, click "Randomly Rolls On" on the perk page on light.gg.
When is this valuable?
- The best activities for this are those where you're using your abilities judiciously or not very often. Generally, PVP and low-to-mid-tier PVE, respectively, fit this bill, but it depends.
- Even if you aren't getting more than 1 stack of benefit most of the time, this is a completely free neutral perk – you don't need to be near enemies (unlike Threat Detector), you don't need to hit anything (unlike Zen Moment), you don't even need to fire (unlike Dynamic Sway Reduction), to give a few examples of perks that require very little investment to work. Surplus is just almost always there for you. Because it loves you.
- It has synergy with Demolitionist and Wellspring, two perks that are pretty common nowadays. Wellspring + Surplus is a beautiful combo.
- Grenades are probably the most frequently-used ability for most people, but if you don't have a ranged melee ability you're probably not using it in high-level content off CD. Some throwables like Weighted Throwing Knives are also 'sometimes foods'.
- Because Stasis grenades and melees take notably longer than Light-based abilities to recharge, and those abilities are more powerful, Surplus is probably not a good match for Stasis. Which begs the question,
What subclasses and exotics is this particularly good with?
- Many Light-based subclasses are built around ability recharge, so most non-Stasis subclasses are pretty appealing. I'm probably about to miss some great Exotic pairings, soz.
- For Warlocks, this works well with exotics like Verity's Brow, Sunbracers, Eye of Another World, Crown of Tempests, Nezarec's Sin, The Stag, Sanguine Alchemy, and Starfire Protocol. Specific subclasses include Sky and Well Dawnblades, Devour Voidwalker, and Arc Web and Chaos Reach Stormcallers.
- Class ability uptime depends on your playstyle. Intuition tells me that Warlocks won't leave their rifts charged for very long in high-level PVE, but in lower-tier content it's not really worth it to place down that often. Stag and Alchemy could both have great potential here, letting you get more Rifts and therefore just having it up more often.
- For Hunters, this works well with exotics like Frostees, Ophidia Spathe, Young Ahamkara's Spine, Lucky Raspberry, Shinobu's Vow, and Sixth Coyote. Specific subclasses include Blade Barrage and Sharpshooter Gunslingers, Pathfinder Nightstalker, and probably all Arcstriders.
- As for class abilities, Marksman's Dodge is almost certainly getting used off cooldown so that's probably a bad pairing. Gambler's Dodge depends on how you're playing but is more promising. Sixth Coyote definitely helps with this.
- For Titans, this works well with exotics like Heart of Inmost Light (arguably), Insurmountable Skullfort, Hallowfire Heart, Khepri's Horn, Mask of the Quiet One, Ashen Wake, and Phoenix Cradle. Specific subclasses include Sunspot Sunbreaker, Commander Sentinel, and shoulder charge Striker – arguably also throwing hammer Sunbreaker, shoulder charge Sentinel, and Skullfort Thundercrash.
- For class abilities, uh… I mean, if you're not playing PVP or using Heart of Inmost Light, you're probably not putting your barricade down. So you keep 1 stack of Surplus for free!
Testing and Methodology
All footage was recorded at 60 fps on a consistent framerate PC, and frames were measured in Avidemux. Reload and swap speeds were both measured using a mouse macro that clicked and immediately reloaded or swapped, then I held the left mouse button to buffer input so the game would fire the first frame it allowed. Reload and swap time were measured on the last and first firing animation points. Handling swaps were tested using two 84-handling SMGs, and an 84-handling AR in one case, which I measured to have the same swap time as the SMG.
For the fusion rifle, I used a macro to reload 830ms after holding left click, which allowed the burst to fire and then start reloading. In-game, players can easily cut their burst short by swapping too quickly, but you… don't want to do that, so I went with this macro. It had Accelerated Coils so the charge time stat was 820. The reload and swap times are long because they include a full charge of the rifle, as the exact start of charging is somewhat ambiguous with the Omolon animation.
Stability tests are described in the sheet. I lined up the point of first shot using a flat wall in Concealed void, standing at effectively a consistent distance, and did not move the mouse at all. Recoil is rotational, not linear; so distance doesn't really matter anyways except for the scale of the image. The SMG got a little wild on 2 stacks but I believe that's just luck since 2x didn't show that effect on other weapons. And no, I didn't test stability on Crowd Pleaser. rip
For estimating the Reload stat, I used the formula and data detailed in /u/VanHolden304's post here, which was pretty useful. It was a bit off on the base reloads, which is why some of them say "est. buff +1", but correlated well as reload scaled up. I hit an asymptote on Bonechiller's 3x reload which confused me – it could imply 3 stacks applies a reload scalar like Reload mods and many perks, but I'm not inclined to test that at the moment.
Thanks so much for reading. Hope everyone enjoys this perk as much as I do 🙂
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