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Sling Suggestions


Pallanza
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I'm copying this from the Frequently Suggested topic since a while ago someone recommended I create a separate thread for this. I think this should also give it a bit more visibility where hopefully it can get more input/testing data.

 

I took a look at some gameplay featuring the sling in the upcoming 1.16 patch and while I like how the sling is now a part of the game, I can't say it's impressed me in terms of implementation. The only ammunition you get are regular stones, and in terms of functionality it's no different than a simple bow with flint arrows. I'd like to see it differentiated via some stat tweaks and for some other forms of ammo to be replaced. I spent some time using the wiki entry for damage values using a simple bow with various arrows to come up with some ideas. My suggestions are based around some premises that I'll state for clarity.

 

Premise 1: Slingers were heavily valued in the ancient world (especially around the Mediterranean) and even considered preferable to archery in some cases not just due to simplicity of ammo and construction, but even for other things such as dealing with armor or better range compared to many bows of the time. See the Balearic slingers or the Rhodian slingers, Xenophon in Kyrou Anabasis states that Rhodian slingers were able to outrange Persian archers. They even had some use as late at the Battle of Hastings, where slingers were placed in the front ranks to skirmish at the beginning of the fight.

Premise 2: Said bows of the time were of simpler construction and lower draw weight than bows of later periods, and should be compared to the crude or simple bows in game. Long bows and recurve bows should absolutely outperform a sling in virtually every way except simplicity of ammo

Premise 3: A simple bow should still begin to outperform a sling at a certain point that is not unreasonably early or late in the hands of a Malefactor. A hunter should be able to outperform them with everything but crude bows and arrows. This is to avoid taking away from the Hunter's role as the dedicated range class, and force the Malefactor to eventually switch to bows and arrows.

Premise 4: Slinging is slower than archery due to needing "windup" and weapon design. A bow requires pulling an arrow from your quiver, nocking it, drawing, and loosing. Once you loose, you can immediately begin the process again without any further wait. A sling requires taking a sling bullet from your pocket/quiver, placing it in the pouch of the sling, making one full rotation at least to gain maximum velocity, releasing the bullet, then retrieving the "knot" end of the sling to put between your fingers again before restarting the process. Using my 30-pound draw weight olympic recurve bow and an improvised sling made from paracord and a patch of fabric, I tested to see how many shots I could get out with each weapon over a 10 second period. Using the bow, I put out 6 arrows with full draw. Using the sling, I put out 4 rocks. This test only took into account firing as fast as possible with reasonable technique, not trying to get a bullseye with every shot

Premise 5: At least two other types of ammo existed for slings in historical records, not just stones. Fired clay bullets were produced due to being able to guarantee better uniformity in shape compared to raw stones. Lead bullets were also produced due to the density of lead allowing for more potential energy to be delivered with every shot

From what I've seen, the sling currently does 2.5 damage, same as a simple bow with flint arrows according to the wiki. It also seems to fire at the same rate as said simple bow. I would buff the damage to 3, and reduce the firerate to 66% of the simple bow. If the sling could also be set to fire a bit farther than the simple bow, even by just 10%, that would also be good. This would also make it stand out in function compared to the simple bow, where the sling offers better dmg/hit and a bit better range, but has a lower dps overall and a worse performer against multiple enemies due to the slower speed. Two other sling bullets should be added, acting as upgrades to the basic stones; if stones are tier 0 like crude arrows, these would be tier 1 and tier 2.

Tier 1: Clay bullets - Made from clay molding, needs to be fired in a pit kiln to use. Increases damage to 3.35. Arrow equivalent would be Flint Arrows

Tier 2: Lead bullets - Made from casting lead in a mold. Increases damage to 4.25. Arrow equivalent would be Copper Arrows

For the sake of simple calculations, I treated a simple bow's firing rate to be 1 second per arrow, and then utilizing my real world test and the wiki's entry for simple bow + arrow values I ran some calculations for damage per hit (DPH), time to kill on common enemies (TTK) and number of shots needed (rounding up to the nearest whole number since fractional HP values are a thing in game). If a simple bow's firing rate doesn't match up exactly to 1 second, then the overall pattern should still hold up as the sling's firing rate would still be 66% of whatever its actual fire rate is. TTK is based on the rounded up number, since you can't fire "half" or "a third of" an arrow/sling bullet. Hunter bonuses to ranged damage are using the 20% buff they'll be receiving in 1.16. Malefactor 25% bow drawing penalty is taken into account as a simple 0.75 multiplier against the archery values.

6 shots/10 sec = 1.66 sec per shot
    Crude Arrows (2.25 DPH commoner, 2.7 DPH hunter)
        Chicken dead in 3.32 sec (2 shots per commoner/hunter)
        Rabbit dead in 4.98 sec (3 shots per commoner)
        Rabbit dead in 3.32 sec (2 shots per hunter)
        Wolf dead in 8.3 sec (5 shots per commoner)
        Wolf dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots per hunter)
        Drifter dead in 9.96 sec (6 shots per commoner)
        Drifter dead in 8.3 sec (5 shots per hunter)
        Deep Drifter dead in 13.28 sec (8 shots per commoner)
        Deep Drifter dead in 9.96 sec (6 shots per hunter)
    Flint Arrows (2.5 DPH commoner, 3 DPH hunter)
        Chicken dead in 3.32 sec (2 shots per commoner)
        Chicken dead in 1.66 sec (1 shot per hunter)
        Rabbit dead in 3.32 sec (2 shots per commoner/hunter)
        Wolf dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots per commoner/hunter)
        Drifter dead in 8.3 sec (5 shots per commoner)
        Drifter dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots per hunter)
        Deep Drifter dead in 11.62 sec (7 shots per commoner)
        Deep Drifter dead in 9.96 sec (6 shots per hunter)
    Copper Arrows (3 DPH commoner, 3.6 DPH hunter)
        Chicken dead in 1.66 sec (1 shot per commoner/hunter)
        Rabbit dead in 3.32 sec (2 shots per commoner/hunter)
        Wolf dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots per commoner)
        Wolf dead in 4.98 sec (3 shots per hunter)
        Drifter dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots per commoner)
        Drifter dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots per hunter)
        Deep Drifter dead in 9.96 sec (6 shots per commoner)
        Deep Drifter dead in 8.3 sec (5 shots per hunter)
    Tin/Bismuth Bronze Arrows (4 DPH commoner, 4.8 DPH hunter)
        Chicken dead in 1.66 sec (1 shot per commoner/hunter)
        Rabbit dead in 3.32 sec (2 shots per commoner/hunter)
        Wolf dead in 4.98 sec (3 shots per commoner)
        Wolf dead in 4.98 sec (3 shots per hunter)
        Drifter dead in 4.98 sec (3 shots per commoner)
        Drifter dead in 4.98 sec (3 shots per hunter)
        Deep Drifter dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots per commoner)
        Deep Drifter dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots per hunter)

4 shots/10 sec = 2.5 sec per shot
    Stones (3 DPH) - Worse TTK than a Tier 0 Commoner against everything but chickens, better DPH
        Chicken dead in 2.5 sec (1 shot per malefactor)
        Rabbit dead in 5 sec (2 shots)
        Wolf dead in 10 sec (4 shots)
        Drifter dead in 10 sec (4 shots)
        Deep Drifter dead in 15 sec (6 shots)
    Clay Shot (3.35 DPH) - Worse TTK than a Tier 1 Commoner against everything but chickens, better DPH
        Chicken dead in 2.5 sec (1 shot)
        Rabbit dead in 5 sec (2 shots)
        Wolf dead in 7.5 sec (3 shots)
        Drifter dead in 10 sec (4 shots)
        Deep Drifter dead in 12.5 sec (5 shots)
    Lead Shot (4.25 DPH) - Worse TTK than a Tier 2 Commoner against everything but chickens, better DPH
        Chicken dead in 2.5 sec (1 shot)
        Rabbit dead in 5 sec (2 shots)
        Wolf dead in 7.5 sec (3 shots)
        Drifter dead in 7.5 sec (3 shots)
        Deep Drifter dead in 10 sec (4 shots)
    Flint Arrows (1.875 DPH)
        Chicken dead in 3.32 sec (2 shots)
        Rabbit dead in 4.98 sec (3 shots)
        Wolf dead in 9.96 sec (6 shots)
        Drifter dead in 11.62 sec (7 shots)
        Deep Drifter dead in 14.94 sec (9 shots)
    Copper Arrows (2.25 DPH)
        Chicken dead in 3.32 sec (2 shots)
        Rabbit dead in 4.98 sec (3 shots)
        Wolf dead in 8.3 sec (5 shots)
        Drifter dead in 9.96 sec (6 shots)
        Deep Drifter dead in 13.28 sec (8 shots)
    Tin/Bismuth Bronze Arrows (3 DPH)
        Chicken dead in 1.66 sec (1 shot)
        Rabbit dead in 3.32 sec (2 shots)
        Wolf dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots)
        Drifter dead in 6.64 sec (4 shots)
        Deep Drifter dead in 9.96 sec (6 shots)

At all bullet tiers Malefactors have mostly worse TTK but better DPH than Commoners with a simple bow and equal tier arrows
Tier 0 bullets (stones) are easy to acquire out in the field and does not need to undergo any crafting to use
Tier 1 bullets need access to clay and a pit kiln, forcing players to stock up at a base, but kill wolves faster than Tier 0
A Hunter with a Simple Bow and flint arrows will have mostly superior TTK than lead bullets.
Malefactors can get better TTK with bronze arrows than with lead bullets in exchange for more costly ammo production
The higher TTK Malefactors experience is somewhat balanced out by their lower aggro range

Once a Commoner gets a steady supply of at least bronze arrows, or can make a long bow, the sling's comparability drops and the Commoner becomes outright better at ranged combat than the Malefactor. In comparison, a Hunter with flint arrows can already kill enemies faster than a Malefactor with lead bullets, without needing any metal to be invested into ammo. And once they get bronze arrows, they beat a sling in both TTK and DPH. This is to say nothing about getting iron arrows, or upgrading to a long bow or recurve bow which further improves archery's performance compared to slinging. As for the Malefactor, this modified slinging increases the sling's longevity to about the bronze age, at which point they would be better off switching to the simple bow (unless they value economy of ammo over effectiveness in combat). They get extended usefulness out of the sling, while still falling into the role of "easier early game, but suffers in late game". Lead bullets hit hard and give them the same damage as a thrown flint spear (after the weapon damage penalty) at slinging ranges, but suffers from lead only spawning in sedimentary rock (copper spawns almost everywhere) and being unable to pan for it (unlike copper) as a balancing act. It also gives lead more in-game uses than what it currently has.

Of course, I'd like to see veterans with more experience or capability for value testing comment on this and give their opinions. But I feel these modifications would do slinging more justice rather than its current implementation which is fairly bland and limited.

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