The tables below compare the raw on-target damage output of weapons. This is the average damage impacting on the target prior to the reducing effect of armour, or vulnerability/resistance modifiers. It measures the general utility of the weapon across a broad range of targets. For lightly armoured targets with no particular vulnerability or resistance, it's a very close measure of actual effectiveness versus that target type.
Explanation of terms
"Skirmish range" is any tactical situation where accuracy is important, where a miss matters. "Point blank" is any situation where accuracy is irrelevant, and misses become hits, such as point blank range, or using area effect rounds against a target backed up against a wall, or near vertical shots from above down to the ground. Many real situation will lie somewhere between these 2 extremes. The best general guide to weapon effectiveness is probably the Skirmish value rather than the Point blank value - typically, misses do matter. (In fact in many situations, misses not only don't help, but make things much worse, e.g. due to friendly fire.)
The Instantaneous rates capture a moment in time and answer the questions 'what do I do fire with right now?', or 'which weapon is best with a mix of other tactical actions?'. In contrast, the Sustained rates consider the 'rounding errors' of unused TUs that are wasted in a full turn of just firing, and thus these rates are lower than the Instantaneous rates. The Sustained rates are for the scenario when you are just pounding away turn after turn at the same target (or targets), barely moving or shifting your aim.
(However neither of the rates consider the time nneded to reload. Mainly this is because reloading uses fixed TUs rather than %TUs, and so is very hard to model - you would need to consider actual Max TUs or pick some (very) arbitrary "typical" level of Max TUs. So the Sustained rate should be thought of as "sustained fire until magazine is empty", not indefinite sustained fire. There is some more discussion of these sort of issues on the Talk page.)
- The data in these tables was derived from this spreadsheet File:Firepower.xls.
- On the Talk pages of the various Aliens, there are Weapon Ranking tables that are specific to that Alien's armour level, susceptibility/resistance, and Health. Those tables are ranked by armour-adjusted on-target damage, rather than raw on-target damage. This table above is a better measure of a weapon's general power, especially against lighter-armoured targets.