New TTK is done – this time on the oft-misunderstood topic of recoil.
This has probably been the toughest TTK to put together to date – with some of the vagaries of the mechanic, piecing together a full understanding is hard, to say the least. No doubt I’ll be lambasted for some minor error, but this video comprises pretty much my sum of knowledge on the subject.
Hello, this is XboxAhoy – and this is Time To Kill.
Not all guns suit spray and pray tactics – some weapons kick like a mule, and others stay rock steady.
In this episode, we’re covering recoil.
Outside of damage, recoil is one of the key differentiating factors in weapon balance – guns with higher damage, magazine capacity, or rapid handling characteristics are more likely to have a greater degree of kick, in an effort to preserve performance parity across the weapon selection.
Recoil manifests itself as a disturbance in your aim when firing your weapon – every shot fired will temporarily alter your point of aim, which may mean successive shots will land away from your intended mark.
The amount of recoil a weapon has dictates the overall accuracy of automatic fire – some weapons are able to put an entire magazine in a single target, whereas others might struggle to hit the broad side of a barn at any sort of distance.
The recoil mechanics in Call of Duty are relatively complex, with quite a few different statistics governing the amount of weapon kick – and while you can simplify a weapon’s performance to a simple statement such as ‘low recoil’, or ‘high recoil’ – to truly get an idea of a weapon’s characteristics you need to break down the recoil into its component parts.
First of all, your shots will always land at precisely the indicated point of your sights – there’s no random spread while aiming, nor does any recoil effect alter this.
What recoil will do is move the location of your sights when firing – and thus alter the position of any successive shot fired.
There are two key elements to this movement – one called ViewKick, and another factor called GunKick.
The former has usually been the principal element of recoil’s kick in Call of Duty – it’s only in MW3 where GunKick has become more of a factor.
ViewKick affects your aim by simply moving your viewport – it’s a temporary modifier to the direction in which your character is looking.
This movement of the camera moves your aim along with it, and the rapid movement of the screen serves to present a feel of the gun recoiling while firing.
The ViewKick statistic comprises 4 values – Minimum Pitch, Maximum Pitch, Minimum Yaw and Maximum Yaw.
Essentially, these 4 figures describe an area within which your view will jump to when firing your weapon.
Pitch refers to the vertical element of recoil, and Yaw to the horizontal.
For every shot fired, a random point between each of the minimum and maximum Pitch and Yaw figures will be selected, and this vector will be applied to your current view on screen.
For the most part, the effect is subtle – but ViewKick is cumulative, so successive shots may draw you further and further off target.
The ViewKick figures determine the direction of recoil – when the maximum and minimum figures share the same absolute value, the view has an equal chance of kicking left of right, in the case of Yaw – or up and down, in the case of Pitch.
However, when one figure is greater than its counterpart, the weapon will tend to kick in one direction over another – most weapons tend to have an upward bias, and some will always kick in one direction – such as the Barrett .50 Cal, which will consistently kick up and to the right.
GunKick, the other main component of recoil, behaves in a similar way – but instead of moving your view, GunKick will move your weapon relative to the screen instead.
This means your point of aim, normally fixed to the centre of the screen, may shift off your target.
Note that hitmarkers do not follow your weapon – they will remain dead centre – it’s your sights that will dictate the point of impact, which with GunKick applied may be some distance away from the centre of the screen.
The GunKick mechanic has 4 separate figures, much like ViewKick – as before, a maximum and minimum pitch and yaw figure will determine both the magnitude and potential direction of the effect.
GunKick affects certain weapons more than others – LMGs, for instance, tend to have a high degree of GunKick. Weapons such as the L86 have a considerable degree of movement in the sights while firing.
The statistic is present across other categories, too – some of the SMGs, such as the PP90M1 and PM-9 also have a noticeable degree of GunKick.
One interesting point of note is that it is possible to entirely remove GunKick’s effect from a weapon – with the addition of the Thermal Scope.
As the Thermal Scope removes the weapon model while aiming, GunKick cannot be applied – so the difference in recoil on those weapons with high GunKick is noticeable.
The L86 benefits greatly, having only moderate ViewKick and zero GunKick when paired with the Thermal scope.
Note that the effects of both ViewKick and GunKick is only temporary – after a brief delay, your point of aim will return to its original position.
The speed of this recovery is governed by yet more statistics, and this rate of recovery can have a substantial effect on a weapon’s performance.
In the case of ViewKick, this statistic is called CenterSpeed – and the higher this figure, the more quickly your gun will move towards your initial point of aim.
Note that GunKick also has similar, separate statistics that govern the rate of its recovery.
Another factor in recoil performance is a weapon’s rate of fire – the more quickly your weapon fires, the less time your aim will have to recover before another shot is fired.
Those weapons with a very fast rate of fire will need a high RecenterSpeed to stay on target under sustained fire.
This rate of recovery, paired with the varying types and degrees of kick, will determine a weapon’s overall recoil characteristics.
The M60, for instance, has a similar degree of kick to the PM-9: the PM-9 even has a faster recenter speed. However, in practice the M60 will prove more controllable with automatic fire – as the M60 fires 600 rounds per minute while the PM-9 fires much more quickly, at 1090 rounds per minute.
It is entirely possible to adjust your aim while firing, compensating for the recoil – the slow-fire rate and large magazines of the LMGs make them ideally suited for wresting onto target whilst keeping the trigger held down.
Some weapons might have a high degree of kick, but a very fast CenterSpeed – such a weapon would be suited to firing in short bursts, allowing the kick to settle quickly before firing again.
One such weapon is the G36C – with its moderate upwards pull, automatic fire can drift off target quickly – but, as it has the fastest RecenterSpeed in the assault rifle category, burst firing is devastatingly effective in its potential accuracy.
Conversely, a gun with low kick but slow recenter speed would suit automatic fire – but under sustained shooting would likely drift off target.
One such example would be the SCAR-L – which has very moderate kick, but also has the slowest recenter speed in its class.
There are many other secondary factors that will have an impact on your weapon’s recoil – some may reduce its effects, and other factors may magnify it.
In the case of the Sniper Rifles and LMGs, one thing you can do to improve your weapon’s handling is to alter your stance.
Such weapons benefit from a substantial reduction in the degree of both ViewKick and GunKick while prone, and have a similar reduced benefit while crouching.
Laying prone in a defensive position will allow you to lay down impressively accurate fire with some weapons – most of the LMGs become quite controllable full-auto when employed this way.
Similarly beneficial to your weapons performance is the Kick proficiency – this will reduce both the amount of ViewKick and GunKick your weapon has by 20%.
This will improve your accuracy when firing full-auto, and ultimately will lead to you landing more shots on target at a longer range.
Some of the attachments will have a similarly positive effect on your accuracy.
The grip, for instance, will improve your weapon’s centrespeed – improving recoil recovery times and overall accuracy when firing full-auto.
This faster recovery will also enhance effectiveness of your weapon when firing in short bursts, moreso than kick which only affects the magnitude of your weapon’s recoil.
Some attachments will have a negative effect on your weapon’s performance, although such additions normally offer a benefit to balance their downside.
The addition of Rapid Fire will speed the rate of fire of your weapon, which will antagonise your weapon’s base CenterSpeed – and increase effective recoil as a result.
Rapid Fire is best suited for close-range use, then – as your accuracy at longer ranges will otherwise quickly diminish.
Some of the optical attachments will have a negative effect, too – the ACOG Scope, for instance, decreases centerspeed, impacting the speed of your recoil recovery.
The effect is relatively mild, but an ACOG scope will require greater fire control to be accurate at longer ranges – but with the scope attached you do gain the benefit of greater magnification.
The Thermal Scope will also decrease your centerspeed – although, with the complete removal of GunKick the net result is an overall improvement in handling on certain weapons.
The LMGs generally fare well with the attachment, for instance – and even the PP90M1 is surprisingly controllable with a thermal scope attached.
Note, than contrary to popular belief – attaching a silencer to your weapon will not affect recoil in any way.
The silencer will, however, hide the muzzle flash when firing your weapon – which will reduce the flash’s obstruction when firing, which may help your aim a little – and lends to the illusion that the weapon has lower recoil.
Managing recoil is an important skill to master in Call of Duty – doing so is really just a matter of developing a sense of the degree of fire control you’ll need to exert to remain accurate.
No matter your weapon, the distance from your target is the most important factor to consider – if your enemy is in the same room as you, you simply don’t have to consider recoil: it’s more important to get as much lead as possible in the general direction of said foe.
Firing in short bursts will help ensure accuracy at a longer range – as recoil effects are temporary, and allowing the kick to settle will place a second burst in the same place as the first.
Fully automatic fire is only really suited for close-to-mid ranged gunfights, depending on the weapon you’re using – some of the higher recoil weapons suit a moderated fire rate in almost all circumstances.
For the Type 95 and M16A4, this recoil control is enforced for you – and so these weapons can be effective at a longer range if fired accurately.
The semi automatic weapons, such as the sniper rifles and Mk14, require a trigger pull for each shot fired – so you can moderate your fire rate to fit the range at which you’re engaging your target.
Moderate your cadence to a sufficient level, and with the semi-autos you’ll generally put two bullets into a single hole.
Learn to manage recoil, and you’ll find more of your shots meet their target – and more shots on target will mean quicker kills, and will let you walk away from more gunfights.
Should your weapon kick like a mule, learn to keep it under control – and you’ll make it perform like a stallion.
Thanks for watching, this has been XboxAhoy.
Join me for the next Time To Kill, when I’ll be covering the mechanics behind aiming in detail.
Until then, farewell.