Hello everyone, it's been a while since I last posted and I hope you all are still having fun with Warframe.

I'm here today to discuss something that has been bugging me and a lot of my fellow Tenno for a while, is Heavy Caliber worth it?

Typically, you could expect anyone to come up and say, Heavy Caliber... More damage? Of course it's worth it, but I'm debating to push that fact a slightly different direction.

Elemental damage has been around since before the huge damage system overhaul, but it's typically the last thing someone mods for when they build their weapon loadouts. You'd assume that the increased amount of damage you receive for Heavy Caliber makes up the accuracy falloff that comes with it.

Sometimes that isn't the case. Most fire-fights in Warframe are close-medium range ones, but there are several times in my career in-game where I've needed to shoot at further distances than most would feel confident shooting with Heavy Caliber.

In the context of my post, I did a little experiment. I'll admit it might be a little rudimentary, but I think it will help get my point across, and also offer a little insight for you guys.

The gun used in this test was a 4-forma Soma, and I tested it against Heavy Gunners from the Vedic sector in Ceres. Bastille was used to hold them still for testing. <3 Vauban

Soma Vs. Grineer Heavy Gunner


Ferrite Armor:

Puncture: +50% effectiveness

Toxin: +25% effectiveness

Corrosive: +75% effectiveness

Cloned Flesh:

Slash: +25% effectiveness

Fire: +25% effectiveness

Viral: +75% effectiveness


Ferrite Armor:

Slash: -25% effectiveness

Blast: -25% effectiveness

Cloned Flesh:

Impact: -25% effectiveness

Gas: -50% effectiveness

Test #1 Results: (Aiming for Headshots)

Mod Loadout:

Base Damage with this loadout: 40

Serration - MAX (+165% Damage)

Heavy Caliber - RNK8 (+135% Damage)

Vital Sense - MAX (+120% Crit Damage)

Point Strike - MAX (+150% Crit Chance) - for consistent crit evaluations

Overall Base Damage Increase: +300%

Average Critical Damage Per Shot against target (LVL 31 Heavy Gunner): 346

Amount of Shots needed to dispatch target: 10

Shots Taken: 13

Distance from target: 25m

Test #2 Results: (Aiming for Headshots)

Mod Loadout:

Base Damage with this loadout: 65

Serration - MAX (+165% Damage)

Infected Clip - MAX (+90% Extra Toxin Damage)

Rime Rounds - MAX (+60% Extra Cold Damage) -- Combines to create Viral, (75% more effective vs. Cloned Flesh)

Vital Sense - MAX (+120% Crit Damage)

Point Strike - MAX (+150% Crit Chance)

Overall Base Damage Increase: +165% + 150% of base damage from elemental mods

(Was as close as I could get to the same increase from Test 1. A rank 9 Heavy Caliber would balance this, but I didn't have the cores/credits to rank it further at the time of testing.)

Average Critical Damage Per Shot against target (LVL 32 Heavy Gunner): 596

Amount of Shots needed to dispatch target: 7

Shots Taken: 7

Distance from target: 25m

DAMAGE OUTPUT DIFFERENCES (Test 1 & Test 2) HC = Heavy Caliber, ELM = Elemental

Note: that the two test damage numbers would be far closer if I had a Rank 9 Heavy Caliber. The damage bonuses you'd receive from any elemental combinations would make the ELM loadout more effective, however.

Maximum Calculated Damage Potential per mag (100rds): (@ 75% Crit Chance) (HC Loadout): 19,800

Maximum Calculated Damage Potential per mag (100rds): (@ 75% Crit Chance) (ELM Loadout): 32,175

Seems to be quite a bit more damage for the Elemental build, and it has to do with the increase in base damage from Test 1 to 2. It's dealing 61% more damage per bullet from Test 1, and that difference between the two of approximately 12,000 overall magazine damage potential is the result. (varies slightly from crit potential.)

Here's what it would look like for the two of these loadouts if we used Split Chamber:

Maximum Calculated Damage Potential (@ 75% Crit Chance W/ Split Chamber) (HC Loadout): 37,620

Maximum Calculated Damage Potential (@ 75% Crit Chance W/ Split Chamber) (ELM Loadout): 61,133

(Above values not factoring in the +/- damage bonuses from specific damage tyes. e.g. Puncture, Slash & Viral. Just the raw damage potential.)

Per Shot Efficiency:

Test 1: 76% of shots hit @ 25m / Drops to approx. 38-45% hitrate at 50m

Test 2: 100% of shots hit @ 25m / Drops to approx. 85-90% hitrate at 50m

Ammo Efficiency: (Good aim / recoil compensation in mind.)

Test 1: At max firerate, 24% of shots fired at 25m will miss, thus reducing overall capability to consistently deal damage and maintain ammo reserves.

Test 2: At max firerate, 0% of shots fired at 25m will miss, greatly increasing your overall lethality. This value will climb as range from target increases.


Considering the damage output potential you can achieve is greatly increased from being able to land every hit possible, Heavy Caliber isn't recommended for maximum damage against a specific faction.

Having the capability of dealing 75% more damage against a certain enemy (Viral/ A Heavy Gunner, in this case) consistently and accurately, makes using elemental combinations of any variety a better way to go than just modding for pure base damage. (When several base damage types actually do proportionately less damage against certain enemies.)

Heavy Caliber may add to the amount of extra damage your elemental combos may dish out, but its hit against accuracy and therefore efficiency makes it less viable for longer elapsed missions (Such as high tier survivals and defenses). You will deal far more potential damage, accurately and efficiently by just using multiple elemental combinations.

It also makes it quite easier to accurately hit enemies at much farther ranges than would be possible with Heavy Caliber. Being able to conserve ammunition and still eliminate key targets at range makes using elemental combos much more practical than achieving greater base damage at the cost of accuracy.

Not to mention that with higher amounts of elemental damage, the greater the chance of inflicting that status' proc on an enemy, such as Viral. When Viral procs, it cuts the available health of any target by half, considering the enemy's health is above 50% when you proc. This vast decrease in health will likely make any follow up shots quickly eliminate your intended target. ___________________________________________________________________________________

Overall, I think using straight elemental damage combinations built against certain factions is a much better way to go than using Heavy Caliber.

It may take up an extra slot to achieve an elemental combo, but the increase in accuracy, greater lethality in combat, and the ability to fire and hit at far greater ranges makes Heavy Caliber seem all the more detrimental to the variety of engagements you may face in-game.

Alright, that pretty much sums it up for me. Let me know what you all think about this. I'd like to hear any opinions/questions you may have.

Note: I am not saying you shouldn't use Heavy Caliber because of its negative effect on weapons, I'm just pointing out that there are ways to get the best of both worlds.

But if there are some of you out there who like a challenge such that you don't know where your bullets are going to go, then by all means, use whatever mods you'd like to. ^^

Peace out, and thanks for reading. AEP8FlyBoy.

Sorry for the tl;dr.

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