This guide explains the various types of Vehicles one has, along with the ways they can be kitted out.
Guide to Vehicles and Equipment (Kits)
Now then, vehicles. Something most people have, until now, been without. But thanks to the recent Howell-Barrex surplus, they’re becoming more common.
Abilities the vehicles have are, if shared by an infantry module, generally comparable to a fully activated or nearly fully activated module.
Now then, driving basics. They go forward, or if you throw it into reverse, they also go backwards slower. None of them, except for the HAUST with its treads, can turn in place, so if you want to turn around make sure to be moving, unless you’re in a HAUST.
Driver controls the main gun, which varies depending on the vehicle. The other occupants can only control whatever is linked to their chair, or if they don’t have anything linked to that chair, watch and hang out in the ride.
First seat’s for the Driver, who drives and aims the main gun. Toggling camera lock will either force your view to automatically go towards where you’re driving or let you manually control your view, although be careful of running into a wall while running from a Hellspawn.
Second seat’s for the Gunner, who controls any Turrets or whatnot that may be equipped. Turrets are generally similar to standard infantry weapons, although usually improved due to being vehicle-mounted.
Third seat’s for the Specialist, who either uses a specialized Harpoon turret if you’re a MERCs madman, or ability specializations selected by the vehicle’s owner. These are usually abilities for the HARV and Tuna, although the HAUST has the option to mount more weapons.
Fourth and final seat’s the utility seat, used for if the pilots in the various seats want to switch positions, or for a fourth man to hang onto. Not much for whoever’s in the utility seat to do in the vehicle. HARVs and Tunas have this fourth seat, but the HAUST does not have it.
Unlike the UBASes some of you may have taken a joy ride with, it is not a good idea to be in a vehicle when it dies. Mostly because whatever can destroy a vehicle is more than able to kill a Marine inside it, to say nothing of being next to an exploding engine.
Now then, there are four types of armoring available for a vehicle.
You have your standard stock armor, provides the baseline for the vehicle and all other armor types replaces it. Nothing much to say otherwise.
You have your Light Armor. As its name says, it’s lighter than the other types, sacrificing raw durability for improvements to the engine, boosting its energy regeneration, leading to better time between recharges and energy consumption while moving.
Then you have Spiked Armor. Looking like it came from an old-Earth apocalypse, it improves the damage you deal when smashing a Mutie with your vehicle, and reduces the damage you take when running a mutant or horde over. The fact it has style if you’re into it does not make up for the fact that you will have less durability overall, although more durability than if you chose Light Armor.
And finally, you have Heavy Armor. Extra disposable plating on vulnerable points, this armor massively increases the durability of your vehicle. The extra weight however taxes the engine, reducing its power generation and making you consume more energy when moving.
Onto armaments and ways to kill STROL from a distance, we’re starting with the lightest ones. Turrets are weapons that are directly comparable to several man-portable weapons.
The Machinegun Turret is the stock turret for the HARV and HAUST. Firing bullets capable of dropping Desecrators in one shot at a decent speed, if it weren’t for the fact you’d have an even chance of hitting a Behemoth at mid-range, it’d be a great turret. Currently however, accuracy concerns makes it unreliable.
The Minigun Turret is the next kinetic turret. Firing a veritable stream of bullets, it makes up for its accuracy with quantity and with its piercing rounds can reduce a desecrator pack to only its leader. Generally a superior choice compared to the Machinegun Turret given comparable damage per trigger pull, piercing rounds, and being less reliant upon accuracy.
The Railgun Turret is an energy-based weapon, firing a single high-damage shot similar to that of a Strike-VI. A relatively high chance to hit vitals, and the mass to make said vital hits hurt, and its ability to pierce, is offset by its abysmal fire rate, relatively high energy cost to fire, and the fact that as a vehicle mounted weapon, unlike the Strike-VI it can fire over zombies, leading to its piercing effect being relatively niche.
The Grenade Launcher Turret is a destructive weapon, firing grenades once a second at a medium energy cost. With significant damage and a blast radius that can clear a street, it is an interesting alternative to using the Minigun turret. Its special firing mode means that it is best used by clicking instead of holding.
The Flamethrower Turret looks impressive, and one would think that with the comparisons one could make between the other turrets and the closest infantry weapon, it would be something similar to the Arclite flamethrower. Unfortunately, it is merely a Salamander someone rigged to a turret controller.
Finally, there is the Harpoon Turret, a specialized turret. Only usable from the third seat, it acts like the Bellator Harpoon gun, but with worse firing rate and higher energy consumption per shot.
The Big Guns
The big guns are the main armaments of the Tuna and HAUST, and both are controlled by the Driver only. These are incomparable to infantry weapons beyond the Vindicator, Viking, and Rocket Launcher, and even then only vaguely and for certain weapons. The weapons that the Tuna and HAUST can take are different however.
First off, there’s the Tuna’s stock gun, the Dual Machinegun. It fires destructive bullets that do not splash. Some of you may have seen Condatis drivers use them, and fire at a decent speed. They actually fire much, much faster, at speeds comparable to an SMG and for a token cost. Unlike the Machinegun Turret, it’s decently accurate even with its two barrels. Also, it has a gunners seat, but that’s just some decoration, you can fire it from your drivers seat.
The Tuna’s first option for replacement is the Autocannon. Firing explosive shells at half the speed of the stock option, it deals a massive amount of damage to its primary target and can clear desecrators with the splash. Its power is balanced by the power consumed with prolonged firing, so remember to use short controlled bursts with it.
The Tuna’s second option is the Plasma Cannon. Similar to the gun of the Athena, the Elysium APC that the Insurgents have stolen and used, it fires at a slightly slower rate than the Autocannon, and with much less power per shot. If you’re going to kill anything with it, it’s going to be from the energy and not the raw power. Unverified reports indicate that it may have a cooling time if you fire it too long, leaving you unable to shoot.
The Tuna’s final option is the Anti-tank cannon. An slow-firing cannon, it’s capable of stripping some armor and dealing decent damage on top of that. Perfect for a slow day of shooting Slashers, or for some panicked shooting at Fluffies. It’s more than capable of dropping a healthy marine to near death with a shot, so watch your fire around friendlies.
The HAUST is most likely remembered for its massive guns, and its stock cannon is more than capable. Capable of killing Hellspawn over a long chase or taking down Fluffies in a handful of direct hits, it’s hard to not want to take it. High damage of course means a corresponding chance to murder a marine with it, so watch your fire.
The Breaker cannon for the HAUST is an odd-duck, like its other cannons. It has pathetic upfront damage, firing two shots of poor damage, but compared to its other cannons it fires supremely quickly and has a halved cost to firing, although volume of fire makes it consume more energy overall. Its main draw is that each shot shatters armor, leading to it mulching armor and leaving the vulnerable meat underneath exposed, although it struggles to actually kill said meat.
The Shotgun cannon for the HAUST is capable of theoretically higher damage than its main gun if all of its shots can hit a target. Unfortunately, it has poor accuracy, with most of its shots hitting the ground if used against targets further away than about 10 meters. It is unable to be used for horde clearing as well, due to its shots having a poor spread for distribution among an incoming street of zombies.
The Plasma Cannon is the HAUST’s final main gun. Unlike the Tuna’s Plasma Cannon, it has the exact same damage as its stock cannon, just in energy form. As for its advantages, it has already been said. Its drawbacks are numerous, from a halved fire rate, to halved radius of impact, although a merc can be misled by the size of the energy vortexes left behind by its impact, and a painful energy cost per shot.
Universal Utilities & Certain Specializations
Utilities are where the second seat sits, but given that there is a grand total of one non-turret utility that lets the person there do anything, I prefer to call it the gunner’s seat. Note that only the Tuna and HAUST have turrets on their utilities.
For the Tuna and HARV, they both have the option to take Heavy Fuel Tanks and Light Fuel Tanks, and for all three vehicles, Nano-Repair bots for their utility slot. These are all passive effects, preventing the ability to take an active ability or turrets.
For all three vehicles, they can take Minelayer, which produces a minefield, and Harpoon Turret, for capturing monsters, for their Specialization. The HAUST can take the Light or Heavy Fuel Tanks for their specialization instead.
Now then, there are currently three vehicles widely available to us Mercs.
The HARV is the smallest, fastest, and most fragile of the vehicles available. It uniquely has the ability to launch Flares from its second seat. Besides that, its unique specializations include that of dropping a Seismic Resonator, dropping up to two Spike Strips, dropping Smoke Grenades, or calling in a Dropship, although it cannot enter the Dropship. It also uniquely has the highest base regeneration rate of the vehicles, at 5 regeneration, opposed to the 1 regeneration for the Tuna and HAUST.
The Tuna is the transition vehicle between the HARV and HAUST. It has access to the Machinegun, Minigun, Flamethrower, and Grenade Launcher turrets for its utilities. For its specializations, it has access to Targeting Systems, Safeguard Devices, the HSLF, and a Heal Gun module. It is affected by Targeting Systems, providing bonus damage to itself, and possibly affected by the Safeguard Device and HSLF.
The HAUST is the biggest vehicle available, and correspondingly both the one with the most energy reserves and generally slowest vehicle. It can replace its basic Machinegun turret with a Minigun, Grenade Launcher, or Minigun turret. Its specializations include a Rocket turret, Rail Turret, Artillery Turret, or the ability to deploy Assault Microdrones.
The HAUST’s Rocket Turret fires rockets in a manner similar to the Missile Swarm, and acts much the same. The Artillery Turret calls in an artillery bombardment, which is ok if not great given the HAUST’s other capabilities.
Now then, some of you may be wondering what differences the vehicles you can drive and the UBAS has.
The main difference is that the UBAS and vehicles do not share a power source. Vehicle batteries cannot be used on the UBAS, and vice versa. The UBAS is also more easily repaired by Combat Engineers, restoring more durability than if they were to repair a vehicle.
The UBAS is more easily deployed as it is dropped in, requiring either a Combat Engineer to call one in or for a controller to be recovered from certain Howell-Barrex bunkers. The UBAS is also able to move easily inside buildings, and is extremely easy to maneuver compared to a vehicle.
Overall, a UBAS does not fulfill any roles that a Vehicle would, acting more like a stronger Marine than anything, with its relative ease of deployment and maneuvering combined with its extra health.