Talk:Launcher Weapons

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What's the difference between launching and firing, in your opinion, spike?

AFAIK, they are exactly the same thing, in terms of gameplay mechanics.

The only difference is that the Rocket Launcher and Small Launcher need to be reloaded between every shot, whereas the HC needs to be reloaded every 6 shots. Jasonred 04:24, 1 March 2009 (CST)

To be pendantic, Launch is the Blaster Launcher's mode of attack, and doesn't abide to the normal rules. The rocket launcher is clearly one of the strongest weapons (for each hit) you start with, though not necessarily the fastest or lightest.
Perhaps a distinction between weapons with or without an area of effect should be made for clarity. -NKF 04:52, 1 March 2009 (CST)
Basically, I said that the Rocket Launcher was the strongest fired weapon you start off with, and Spike editted me out. Hmm... ok then, I will change it back, I guess. Jasonred 05:04, 1 March 2009 (CST)
Yeah sorry about that. It helps to know the history of these discussions, which is really about debating the best standard squad weapon. While you could reasonably argue that a Rocket Launcher is a "fired weapon" - with one round per turn fire rate and probably only 3 reloads per soldier - it's definitely not something you would want to use a standard squad weapon. But it's a fair enough point about Heavy Rockets and my original language was misleading so please feel free to correct it! Cheers, Spike 09:20, 1 March 2009 (CST)
Actually let me explain this a different way. Tactically, the Rocket Launcher, Blaster Bomb Launcher and Stun Launcher all occupy the same/similar tactical role (with obvious differences for the Stun Launcher). They are low rate of fire, limited ammo, heavy support weapons. They are never going to be primary squad weapons, due to their tactical and logistical limitations. The game mechanics of launch vs fire are not really relevant to the tactical uses, strengths, and weaknesses. Basically these type of support weapons are in a different class to standard squad weapons. Does that make sense? Spike 09:58, 1 March 2009 (CST)
Hmmm... actually, would you believe that, in one of my recent games, the rocket launcher DID become not only my PRIMARY squad weapon, it became my ONLY squad weapon? (other than the stun rod). This was at the very start of the game, BTW. I just bought enough rocket launchers and Large rockets to outfit everyone on my team with them, and went into my first UFO recovery with a mad cackle of laughter. How effective was it? ... would you be surprised to know it is VERY effective? The only danger is lost loot. And sometimes, I wouldn't have minded a rifle or AC-AP for storming the ships. But overall, I would say arming 60% of your squad with Rocket Launchers is not a bad idea at all... So, I never joined in that "best standard squad weapon" debate, but I would have thrown Rocket Launcher in as a suggestion.

... btw, please do not put the blaster launcher, stun launcher and rocket launcher into the same tactical role, they are COMPLETELY different. The stun launcher is an uber AOE stun. The blaster Launcher is a wall breaker, and a very very good "panic button" when you don't have psi... The waypoint system gives it ridiculous tactical use, and I do not see how you can equate it to the Rocket Launcher... Jasonred 20:55, 1 March 2009 (CST)

The Small Launcher also makes a great close-range area-effect panic weapon for armored soldiers entering a UFO. A soldier in a Power Suit is quite resistant at GZ, and one in a Flying Suit even moreso. The aliens...not so much. Even if the soldier manages to stuns himself, that means the aliens won't be shooting at him anymore. You can clear a whole room of aliens waiting in ambush this way. Arrow Quivershaft 21:21, 1 March 2009 (CST)
I love my stun launcher... it's such a lovely weapon... and it's the only weapon I LOVE to see aliens carrying AND love to carry myself...Jasonred 21:40, 1 March 2009 (CST)
Beyond its intended use, the small launcher is a fantastic anti-Cyberdisc and especially anti-Reaper weapon on all difficulty levels. On beginner levels, it vapourizes sectopods with ease (as in, just clipping it along the edges can bring it down). On other levels, it has a great chance of knocking out a Sectopod a lot more effectively than a heavy plasma - though you may need an extra hit or two on Superhuman if you didn't score a good damage roll.
I would actually put the Blaster Launcher and Small Launcher in the same category as the rocket launcher. They're one-shot-heavy-hitters. A one-waypoint blaster attack is not that much different from a rocket launcher attack (at its set accuracy), and the small launcher is definitely a launcher - with the main difference being that it leaves buildings standing afterwards! -NKF 01:01, 2 March 2009 (CST)

All-Launcher Squads

Yes I've also tried arming the whole squad with Rocket Launchers as primary weapons, mainly on Terror Missions with a "take no prisoners - take no chances" philosophy. At a later stage in the game I've sometimes done the same with Small (Stun) Launchers, especially when playing XComUtil's "prisoner-based research" option. And there are points in the game when the Small Launcher is your most poweful weapon. You just need a supply of grenades to dispatch any stunned prisoners you don't want to take home with you. And ample MedKits for the friendly fire cases.

A Rocket Launcher-based squad has some obvious tactical limitations. Many of these same limitations exist for BL and SL as well, but are most acute with RL.

Most serious is that you can't engage a target any closer to you than the large blast radius of a rocket - about 9 or 10 squares is the safe distance I think, especially since you have to allow for the chance of a round falling short by a square. So any target closer than this distance to any friendly unit, can't be safely engaged inside this distance. The practical response to this with RL-based teams is to destroy all buildings and cover in an expanding radius around the drop point, so that targets are either killed by this, or are spotted at longer ranges. This however uses a lot of ammunition, especailly on multi-level maps (since each elevation level must be cleared separately).

It is also difficult to fire from cover (windows or walls) as there is a risk of a miss detonating on the firer and his squad. Fire and movement discipline becomes crucial - moving in expanding circles or in line abreast. Intermixed lines are very dangerous.

Ammunition is tight. With a 14 man squad and 4 rds each you only have 10 spare slots in the 80 item limit. Avoid wasteful Snap fire if you can!

Reaction fire becomes a major liability. Even accurate shooters with clean lines of fire can cause a major disaster if an alien target appears near to friendly troops. Preventing reaction fire errors becomes a major headache.

As armour comes along it reduces all these problems to some extent.

Despite what I've said, I do believe Rocket Launchers can work as a primary weapon, but only as long as they are backed up with complementary secondary weapons. Pistols are essential (either basic or improved versions). Grenades (for close quarters work and clearing small terrain features) and Stun Rods (for point blank & vs Civilians) are very useful.

In summary while it is a very destructive approach that does not fit all situations, arming entirely with Rocket Launchers can be made to work, once the difficulties are understood. Spike 05:56, 2 March 2009 (CST)


I once tried an ALL rocket launcher campaign for the tactical portion of the game. No grenades, no sidearms. Just pure unadulterated rocket lawn chair fun. It was a literal blast.
I played all the way until I met the Sectopods and stopped there. Not because I couldn't continue, but rather some other challenge caught my interest. I think it was the all-pistol, all-grenade (with one pistol for enemies that can't be hit with a grenade) or maybe even the all AC/HC campaign (this was awesome until I hit the Sectopods).
Getting your head around the limitations of the rocket launcher was the real challenge. The firepower was just lovely. Funnily enough, with careful shots, you could even capture aliens with the rockets. Took a while to get the psi lab all the same.
The limited but heavy ammo management was a major activity throughout the campaign. You had to be very careful with them or else you would have to force an evacuation. Didn't stop me from firing the occasional careless snapshot into the ground or a hedge!
Reaction shots were a real pain to contend with - although if you left the rocket empty at the end of the turn and only loaded it when you needed to fire the launcher, it worked out perfectly. You're only going to get one aimed shot in any case, so it won't matter which end of your TU bar you load the launcher.
What surprised me most was how much money was in the bank despite the operational cost of maintaining a giant stockpile or large rockets. Heavy plasma sales do stack up - especially if you choose to not use any.
Mind control situations were not pretty. At least, at first it wasn't until it clicked that I should use flying suits and small rockets to reduce the one-hit-friendly-kills. The lower amount of ammo per soldier helped. Ammo mules were a later development of mine during this campaign, which helped with the encumbrance (on rookies) and mind control issues.
Though it can be a bit of a culture shock at first, the all-rocket launcher campaign is both highly amusing and quite an enriching experience. -NKF 23:36, 2 March 2009 (CST)
Actually, A Large Rocket only costs 900... equal to 1/40th of hiring a rookie. CHEAP. If you fire 5 rockets to kill 1 alien, you will still end up very very rich.
Storming a ship tends to get very very destructive... I couldn't bear it... just had to bring in non-HE weapons to save my Elerium...
Mind control WAS NOT PRETTY. Agreed! On a night terror mission, I threw a smoke grenade out the skyranger and ended turn 1. Alien turn, I heard the distinctive squiggle squeek sounds and said in my heart "good bye squad, I knew you well". In fact, I somehow had 3 survivors from the resulting carnage, and the dust-off saved the skyranger. Jasonred 11:47, 5 March 2009 (CST)