The larger cousin of the Plasma Rifle is a powerful squad support weapon which is nonetheless light enough to be usable by nearly any soldier. It is the most powerful weapon available to X-Com agents short of the Blaster Launcher, plus it has a fast rate of fire and high accuracy.
This weapon is capable of penetrating a wide variety of terrain features, including most inner UFO walls and doors (See Destroying Terrain for more info). This property makes it indispensable for certain UFO Assault tactics, while its clip size of 35 rounds is usually more than sufficient for the typical engagement.
Pros: High stopping power. High penetration power. Light weight. Spare clips and almost fully loaded guns are plentiful by mid-game - Just pry them out of dead alien fingers. Its auto and snap fire modes are second only to the Plasma Rifle in accuracy. However, the Heavy Plasma has a higher accuracy in aimed fire.
Cons: Clips count towards 80-item limit. Doesn't have infinite ammo like the Laser Rifle, although 35 shots goes a long way. Clips can be hard to come by in the early part of the game, and require Elerium if manufactured.
Heavy Plasma Clip:
As this is practically the be-all-and-end-all general purpose firearm in the game, there is little need to make any real recommendations for its usage as it will fit most of your needs except for its size and lack of unlimited ammo.
What can be recommended is that you'll eventually get PILES of these things in storage after a few successful missions. After you've stored what you need on the Skyranger, don't be afraid to sell the entire lot of them as there'll only be more on the way. Feel free to make use of the generous cash injection by investing it in other aspects of saving the world.
The following lists how many times a soldier can fire the gun by shot type continuously in any given round, and the remaining percentage of any left over TUs that cannot be spent as a shot.
- Aimed: 1 Shot, 40% Remaining TUs (enough for 1 Snap shot or 1 Auto burst)
- Snap: 3 Shots, 10% Remaining TUs
- Auto: 2 Bursts (6 Shots), 30% Remaining TUs (enough for 1 Snap shot)
Note: Soldiers with 51,54,57 TU will be able to fire 3 bursts with 0 TU remaining. While this might seem a low occurence rate (3 out of 32 possibilities), this means that *rookies* have a 27% chance of firing 3 bursts, since starting TU range is 50-60. An interesting reason to arm rookies with heavy Plasmas, instead of waiting until they become squaddies to earn the privilege...
- Do you desire to wield inhuman power against the invading aliens? This is the weapon for you. It's often able to drop a Muton in a single shot.
- This weapon also comes into its own destroying the internal bulkheads, doors, floors, and ceilings of UFOs. Want a door somewhere that there isn't one? Bring in a Heavy Plasma and make one.
- Weighs the same as a standard Rifle. Unless you're weighing them down with tons of gear, any soldier should be able to use this effectively.
- Sports the largest clip in the game after the Lasers, and totally outclasses them in terms of damage.
- After about June or July, the aliens will only use this weapon for the remainder of the game, meaning that ammo and guns are plentiful.
- Sells quite well on the market. You'll literally have PILES of them in storage, just waiting to be sold to the highest bidder.
- One area where the Laser Rifle surpasses the Heavy Plasma is that it can fire off two Aimed Shots, rather than just one, possibly making it a better choice for a sniper when facing against a large number of weaker enemies, such as Floaters and Sectoids, but the lowered accuracy of a Snap Shot is undesirable, For example, Terror Missions, which tend to include a large number of targets you'd rather not accidentally hit. (Gas stations, civilians, etc.)
- It is genereally not a good idea to equip all of your troopers with these if you want to bring a lot of miscellaneous equipment such as Psi-amps, grenades, and medi-kits.