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I’m wondering about AP ammo vs HP ammo


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Posted (edited)

I want to preface this with a disclaimer, i’m not actually in a position to play A19 so i’m just looking at the numbers as of the wiki and mem’s steam guides. This is also going to be kind of an essay so bear with me,

 

First: what the ammo types actually do (this is just so the information is on display, i am sure you all know this inside and out):

Hollow Point

Pros:

  • 30% damage boost

Cons:

  • effectively doubles armor rating on targets

Additional Information:

  • Increases crafting costs over default ammo by 1 bullet tip

 

Armor Piercing

Pros:

  • Over-penetration
  • Reduces armor rating on targets by ~20%

Cons:

  • Increases weapon degradation by 30%

Additional Information:

  • Increases crafting cost over default ammo by 1-2 gunpowder
  • Interacts with “The Penetrator” perk to further increase over-penetration with rifles

 

 

So it seems that the basic idea behind AP is making killing hard targets easier and adding multi-target capability and the idea for HP is killing soft targets faster, straightforward.

 

The thing is the only time you don’t run into hordes of zombies is when you’re stealthing through a POI, which would be the only time you would benefit more from HP’s damage boost than from AP’s over-penetration and that’s only if you don’t run into an armored zombie (which are uncommon, to be fair). 

That plus the crafting differences (gunpowder is used for lots of different things and has a number of perks that increase efficiency when making it vs bullet tips which have 1 use and have no way to increase efficiency when making them other than time spent) makes it seem like there is much more reason to make AP your primary ammo type than HP.

 

I may be missing something or be completely off the mark on this, please let me know if i am, i want to hear other points of view on this.

 

Thanks in advance for your responses!

Edited by ShellHead
Updated the AP numbers for accuracy (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, ShellHead said:

Armor Piercing

Pros:

  • Over-penetration
  • Effectively halves armor rating on targets

 

Late edit: I don't actually know if the below is still accurate in 19.4b7 since they changed how this works apparently. Sorry for spouting off.

 

You raise some good points, however the above doesn't seem to be correct. In items.xml for ammo9mmBulletAP:

 

<passive_effect name="TargetArmor" operation="perc_add" value="-.2" tags="perkGunslinger"/>

 

It is the same for 7.62 AP, but .44 AP is -0.25 instead of -0.2.

 

Since most of our base designs are raised and shooting down at the Zs (not so much horizontally with several lined up for penetration hits), we use regular or HP ammo most often. Might have a 2nd rifle loaded with AP (don't want to wait for a reload) if soldiers and demos are in the mix. But I will spend an entire day mining lead, coal, and nitrate to replenish stocks and so far bullet tips have not been a resource concern. Brass, though...

 

18 hours ago, ShellHead said:

(gunpowder is used for lots of different things and has a number of perks that increase efficiency when making it vs bullet tips which have 1 use and have no way to increase efficiency when making them other than time spent)

 

This is true, though when you get the box of ammo books, you get a 20% reduction in materials cost, which helps. Each tip costs the same to make of course.

Edited by Boidster (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Boidster said:

 

You raise some good points, however the above doesn't seem to be correct. In items.xml for ammo9mmBulletAP:

 



<passive_effect name="TargetArmor" operation="perc_add" value="-.2" tags="perkGunslinger"/>

 

It is the same for 7.62 AP, but .44 AP is -0.25 instead of -0.2.

Good to know, i’ll amend the post.

21 minutes ago, Boidster said:

Since most of our base designs are raised and shooting down at the Zs (not so much horizontally with several lined up for penetration hits), we use regular or HP ammo most often. Might have a 2nd rifle loaded with AP (don't want to wait for a reload) if soldiers and demos are in the mix.

Makes sense, HP would be well-suited to murderhole-style bases

21 minutes ago, Boidster said:

But I will spend an entire day mining lead, coal, and nitrate to replenish stocks and so far bullet tips have not been a resource concern. Brass, though...

 

 

This is true, though when you get the box of ammo books, you get a 20% reduction in materials cost, which helps. Each tip costs the same to make of course.

To be fair, clay isn’t that hard to get and you need bullet tips anyway but gunpowder having more uses makes it more justifiable to really overstock on it versus needing double the amount of bullet tips per round of ammo for your stockpile. That’s my thinking on it anyway.

Edited by ShellHead (see edit history)
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Tips vs gunpowder.. both are 100% mineable, so, not really that big a deal to choose between. You'll just spend a little more time in a different mine.. :)

 

As for the effect, the AP ammo is IMO the general winner. The cases where HP is better are limited; soft targets and limited numbers. Usually those conditions mean you're not in any danger. While running around with HP in your gun means you'll do exactly zero damage on soldiers, that might become an issue fast. I mean, sure, they're fun to knock around while ammo lasts, but I don't think that's what you want from your ammo usually ... :)

 

Of course, if and when you design your defenses to not support AP, you'll be better off with HP. But even then the amount of rounds you'll need for the soft targets isn't all that different, just a round or two on most targets.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, theFlu said:

While running around with HP in your gun means you'll do exactly zero damage on soldiers

 

Never mind the stuff hidden here. I'm playing on 19.3 still, like some person stuck in 2020.

 

Spoiler

 

This seemed unlikely so I tested it and I was surprised. Tested twice for each ammo type, using a Lvl 6 pistol (no mods) vs. a standard Soldier.

 

Shots to kill standard Soldier Body Shot Head Shot
9mm Ball 5 3
9mm AP (identical damage to Ball) 5 3
9mm HP 4 2

 

 

 

Edited by Boidster (see edit history)
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13 minutes ago, Boidster said:

 

This seemed unlikely so I tested it and I was surprised. Tested twice for each ammo type, using a Lvl 6 pistol (no mods) vs. a standard Soldier.

 

Shots to kill standard Soldier Body Shot Head Shot
9mm Ball 5 3
9mm AP (identical damage to Ball) 5 3
9mm HP 4 2

 

That’s really interesting! So the 30% is still effective.

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14 minutes ago, Boidster said:

and I was surprised

Huh.. that's my current color as well; I literally spent a couple clips of 9mm HP re-stunning a soldier While writing that comment. It didn't take a point of damage.

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Posted (edited)

Mine was nomad, I use that for testing since the numbers actually match there.. Tested on default now, same result, 0 damage - seems a little easier to knock down thou :)

 

Normal soldiers, level 5 pistol (had it in my bar from earlier), no skills.

 

19.4 b7

Edited by theFlu (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Did some testing myself with feral soldiers being shot in the head.  HP ammo does, indeed, do 0 damage.  Pistol, AK, M60, marksman and sniper rifles all did nothing with hp ammo.  However, the magnum for some reason does do a little with HP.  I have to assume the natural penetration on magnums are figured in here.  The wording is misleading, I thought it doubled the effectiveness of zed armor, not negated hp damage entirely.  Skill points were not relevant, tried lv 1 with 0 points in anything and maxed skills.  Books are also irrelevant except for pistols - after completing the set, powder burns allows pistols to damage armor in close range.  The damage is pitiful though.  All in all, this really makes hp ammo rather useless...

 

AP rounds seem to save around 2 in general so a little improvement.  As far as mats go, lead is plentiful.  I never mine for lead, I have more than I will ever use just getting it through mining for other ore or looting.  Tips are, essentially, free.  I dedicate a minimum of 1 forge to each base mat so time is not even a factor for them tbh.  Mats become so prevalent eventually though that none of them matter all that much.

Edited by FA_Q2 (see edit history)
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18 hours ago, Boidster said:

Since most of our base designs are raised and shooting down at the Zs (not so much horizontally with several lined up for penetration hits), we use regular or HP ammo most often. Might have a 2nd rifle loaded with AP (don't want to wait for a reload) if soldiers and demos are in the mix. But I will spend an entire day mining lead, coal, and nitrate to replenish stocks and so far bullet tips have not been a resource concern. Brass, though...

 

My latest base designs have been horizontal paths so AP ammo is very beneficial.

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2 hours ago, theFlu said:

@Boidster , you wouldn't happen to be on 19.4 b6 or older - they fixed the AP / armor issue in b7. That was in January, (whoa, time files), but, that would be the easiest explanation.

 

That is exactly it. I will edit the post above. Now I take issue with the word "fixed"! 🙂 I can see that HP ammo might be less effective vs. an armored opponent - as FA_Q2 said, I expect double armor protection - but doing 0 damage is IMO more broken than it was before. We ought not to have to switch ammo for specific opponents in the middle of a horde. In fact, that was your original point, kinda: the way it is now, why ever load up HP, at least once you get past the GS where soldiers start showing up?

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12 hours ago, theFlu said:

Mine was nomad, I use that for testing since the numbers actually match there.. Tested on default now, same result, 0 damage - seems a little easier to knock down thou :)

 

Normal soldiers, level 5 pistol (had it in my bar from earlier), no skills.

 

19.4 b7

Can confirm same result. HP = 0 damage to regular soldier and demolisher.

Also on 19.4 b7 , with pregen 1 map, save generated today.

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1 hour ago, Boidster said:

Now I take issue with the word "fixed"! 🙂

I think it's intentional, but now that I think of it, I'm not sure if I've seen an official opinion on it. I may have just fallen to my cynicism, the armor/damage reduction system is a little too simplistic IMO, which leads to exactly this.. two times fifty is 100, and that's that. ... eexactly :)

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Yarp. HP should add something like 20-25% armor (as AP removes 20-25% armor), given that the armor "rating" is just a % reduction in damage taken. I looked at the 19.4 XML and they didn't change the bullets, it seems. So changing this

 

  <passive_effect name="TargetArmor" operation="perc_add" value="1" tags="perkGunslinger"/><display_value name="dTargetArmor" value="1"/>

 

to this:

 

  <passive_effect name="TargetArmor" operation="perc_add" value="0.2" tags="perkGunslinger"/><display_value name="dTargetArmor" value="0.2"/>

 

should fix the 'fix'. I need to rearrange some client folders to test in 19.4 'cause my main server is still running 19.3.

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That fixes HP being “fixed” but we still kind of wind up in a situation where the anti-armor and multi-target capabilities of AP outshines HP in most scenarios. So what should be done to bring the 2 ammo types closer in line with each other?

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For a semblance of realism, the HP ammo could be given exaggerated stopping power. From the real life concept of; If a bullet actually penetrates a target, it carries some of its force with it, while an expanding round that stops inside a soft target delivers the entire force to that target.

 

In game terms that would mean increased chance of knockdowns, which could be handy in some situations; even in horde nights if you have something to knock zeds down from.

 

Although I don't think even an actual 100% stun chance would get me to use them with the 0 damage downside.

 

Maybe if it didn't trigger demos (because of course it does, zero damage and still the demo goes brr^H^H^H^H boom... :) )

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Having thought about it for a bit, i’m thinking the solution is twofold: 1, give HP ammo a healing reduction/negation effect, this would make it better for PVP and give it an edge against irradiated zombies. 2, make more high-tier/boss-tier zombies durability come from raw health numbers as opposed to high armor rating. This makes the choice between the alternative ammo types more nuanced: both have general horde applications (AP with over-penetration, HP with a damage kick), both have applications against high-priority targets (AP hammers armored zeds, HP would make killing irradiated zeds much easier).

 

This seems like the most straightforward change to HP ammo to make it competitive with AP.

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I tend to use standard ammo first and then hollow points for general use. Since armor piercing rounds can wake sleeping zeds, I don't use them when scavenging or adventuring. I save the armor piercing rounds for horde nights. This works as demolishers and a few other zombie types have armor. Hell, doing extra damage to zeds on horde night is never a bad thing. This all depends on how much you care if zeds wake up or not. I hate searching tier 5 buildings like factories and listening for 20+ minutes to a zombie breaking things, especially if those things are lootables. I am the type of player that loots everything, can't leave anything behind, and WILL make multiple trips to keep absolutely everything.

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standard ammo for the m60.

fancy stuff for .9mm and .44 guns.

AK with scope and silencer.. HP for sneaky headshots.

 

(only good once you have the no dmg penalty for silencers perk)

 

M60 std ammo as ya just need to make more bullits and get gud on headshots with it.

(used to be dead simple until they started wobbling when they jump up. Now, not quite as easy, but,

the giggle factor when the hop up the last block to the straight killing walkway, and then fall OFF before I can shoot...  heh)

 

Dogs are really really stupid on that last jump. They fall off about half the time.  :D

 

 

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