ICS 2.1 ACM Weapons
In ICS 2.1 we've given enormous attention to enhancing and improving SOF II weapon balance, handling and performance. ICS ACM (accuracy compensated modeling) provides for the following improvements and changes in weapon accuracy, handling and damage:
· improved balance
· greater utility of all weapons
· improved performance under lag
· increased weapon specialization
· improved quality of weapon feel and efficacy
· more realistic relative weapon performance
· more consistent weapon behavior
Generally this is achieved by improving the select or semi-automatic accuracy of the weapons, and decreasing full-auto or fast fire accuracy, but other tweaks subtle and dramatic have been applied as well.
You will generally be more effective when playing ICS using realistic tactics with controlled weapon fire; either rapid semi-automatic or controlled bursts -- 'spraying' with all ICS weapons will rapidly and dramatically decrease you accuracy and effectiveness.
Here's then is our little guide to ICS weapons, their performance and a heads-up to changes in ICS 2.1 (highlighted in orange).
The ICS pistols, H&K Mk23 SOCOM, Colt M1911A1 and Silver Talon all see increased aimed fire accuracy over SOF II -- slightly improving their effective ranges, though as in vanilla SOF II rapid pistol fire will decrease your accuracy dramatically. All ICS pistols are equipped with PTFE (Teflon) armor piercing ammunition raising both the effectiveness and utility of fast switching to back-up as opposed to a slower reload of primary or secondary weapon.
H&K Mk23 SOCOM
THE H&K Mk23 SOCOM is now equipped with a suppressor (and a laser pointer but the batteries are dead). With it's stealth, large 12 round magazine and low recoil enabling a high rate of fire the Mk23 offers a capable backup weapon where stealth can be used to your advantage. The Mk23 has the smallest caliber ammunition, shortest barrel and the least power/damage of the pistols.
The M1911A1 maintains it's venerated position as a well balanced weapon with enormous fire power in a small package -- the M1911A1 hits harder, doing more damage and you can 'unload' nearly as fast as with the Mk23, but the smaller magazine means you'll have to make your shots count. This is probably the best backup weapon for most ICS fans even though it lacks the glamor of the SOCOM or Silver Talon.
Tweaked in 2.0 to better reflect its longer barrel, and magnum load ammunition. The Silver Talon is a chrome plated hand cannon that is the match of many of the ICS SMGs and even the rifles at close range in the hands of a capable marksman. The weight of the Talon and it's heavy recoil make it the slowest weapon to fire and if you attempt rapid firing your accuracy will suffer decisively. But if you love the idea of light weight low profile hand assault weapon the ICS 2.1 Silver Talon is what you've been waiting for.
The Sub-Machine Gun class of weapons see the most dramatic change in ICS from SOF II. To properly scale weapons for ICS' new CQB mission scenarios with the more balanced low power & recoil weaponry required for fast raid tactics; you'll now see SMGs competitive with and even surpassing assault rifle performance at close range.
The ICS Micro UZI fires at a much higher rate very much like the real weapon (though still not nearly the astonishing 1,200 RPM of a real Micro UZI) and is very deadly at close range. The sheer intensity of the Micro UZI's 'high volume' fire is well balanced by its being very inaccurate, the fact that you will have an empty magazine in under three seconds if you spray, and that it's 9mm rounds are some of the lowest power projectiles in the game as they are fired from a very shortest barrel weapon in the game. To be effective you will have to very carefully manage ammunition and aim. Moving and maneuvering for cover and using ammunition judiciously -- the UZI is an enormously powerful and fun weapon. The best tactics using the UZI are to counter-intuitively rush under fire -- getting as close as possible as fast as possible to mitigate the inaccuracy of the weapon.
The ICS 'Grease Gun' gets some much needed added oomph by increasing it's rate of fire and accuracy, and is now a beautiful weapon that elegantly balances the raw power and accuracy of it's .45 caliber ammunition and longer barrel. The M3A1 now has a rate of fire that more closely approximates the real weapon, and the synchrony of it's new voice and 'feel' make this a very effective and versatile SMG. Still one of the slower rate of fire weapons in the game; missed shots in a close fire-fight will cost you, but the M3A1's powerful punch offers skilled marksmen who control their fire with careful aim some of the most kick-ass ordinance in the game.
The MP5 gets a slight increase in accuracy to meet the other weapons and to scale this weapon to the incredibly accurate real world MP5 relative to the other SOF II/ICS weapons. Like all ICS weapons the improvement in accuracy and results only avails a difference when you fire semi-automatically or in very short double-taps; using burst-mode and spraying compromises accuracy.
ICS 2.1 gives the controversial SOF II shotguns an overhaul. In vanilla SOF II the 'shotties' have the most powerful impulse/time damage of all the weapons in the game, and their enormous 'patterns' make them unrealistically effortless to hit with.
No more shot spam! In ICS 2.1 the USAS is loaded with 12g sabots (mil rifled slugs) -- one of, if not the most powerful rounds in the game, making the USAS in effect a short barrel automatic rifle with very low accuracy and very low rate of fire. The USAS-12 is however a very powerful weapon with its 12g sabots which will slice through anything, but managing that power will mean firing it in controlled single shots to be effective; accurate ranged fire is virtually out of the question. Under pressure and attempting to spray against high rate of fire weapons will unfortunate consequences for the man or woman with the USAS-12. Learning to use this weapon appropriately for fast close assault is will be essential to realizing its potential.
The M590 is still the capable monster it's always been, but now body armor lowers effective damage (though not as much as it realistically should). You'll still be able to 'whomp' with the 590 but you'll have to use more marksmanship to get people at the center of your 'cloud' of fire, and the M590 dance & fire my not have the results you hoped for... We've also stomped the SOF II M590 crouch lean bug...
The ICS ACM Assault Rifles are very carefully balanced; each offering unique advantages under specific circumstances. The hallmark SOF II performance weapon the AK74 still maintains it's vaunted position of most powerful weapon but now exploiting it's power requires greater skill, and is offset by greater pressure from the competing weapons.
The AK74 is the benchmark weapon of ICS; it was used as the standard of acceptable power in the critical impulse power/time equation for time and damage. All weapons were raised to meet the AK74 in time/damage in specific circumstances. But the AK74 does not go unchanged; firing the most powerful assault round in the game its accuracy is has been slightly decreased when fired automatically, but slightly improved when fired semi-automatically maintaining the AK74's position in the game as most effective weapon in the hands of a skilled marksman.
Changed in 2.0 the SIG sees the most dramatic changes in the assault rifle category from vanilla SOF II; with increased rate of fire and accuracy combined with its 2.5x scope the SIG is a very capable weapon. In 2.0 scope magnification was reduced, weapon climb slightly increased and full-auto fire accuracy decreased slightly. Scoped and rapid fired semi-automatically the SIG is an excellent scout class counter-sniping weapon for fast move and maneuver coordinated assault.
The M4 sees an increase in rate of fire over vanilla SOF II -- but be warned; with increased rate of fire the onset of inaccurate fire comes more quickly as do empty magazines making your two grenades a virtual necessity. Because of its high rate of fire you climb the inaccuracy curve fast making good fire control a must to successfully employing the M4. Close-in fast spraying can be effective, but the M4 is only the match for the ICS SMGs in CQB, not their better.
The sniper rifle and SAW see their specialized roles enhanced and focused, with more satisfying performance and 'feel'; ICS 2.1 also overhauls the OICW XM-33a introduced in 2.0...
The OICW is in effect two rifles; a 20mm grenade rifle (it's not a grenade "launcher") that fires compact 20mm KE munitions, and a short barrel 5.56 close assault class rifle. The OICW is a prototype weapon of which many versions exist; ICS rolls version XM-33a which has the classified TA/FCS fire-control computer gutted and does not employ SMART 20mm HEAB rounds -- instead employing more conventional 20mm NATO KE (Kinetic Energy) munitions. The ICS XM-33a still is a feature float with four fire modes (semi-auto, burst, full-auto, 20mm rifle), and two scope magnifications (1.5x & 6x). The 20mm KE rounds are low yield KE rounds that do a fraction of the damage of a 40mm M203 round and should be thought of as very large, slow moving bullets with a very small blast radius. The 20mm grenade rifle is equipped with one 6 round magazine of 20mm KE rounds and is best suited for taking out snipers or players shooting defensively around corners or concealed behind cover where you can 'splash' them into moving or empty your magazine carpeting their position and suppressing their fire while you or your team maneuvers. The 5.56 close assault rifle is less powerful and accurate then other assault rifles due to its short barrel and should be used semi-automatically to maximize it's limited effective range and power.
The MSG90A1 will now hit dead on the button when scoped, net latency and player movement create enough game inaccuracy without adding artificial inaccuracy to the weapon that can make it miss at a heads width at the limit of visibility on a fog map (as in SOF II). The MSG90A1 is now an effective sniper rifle, but don't bother spamming -- inaccuracy will soar and you will miss. Unaimed the MSG90A1 will be virtually useless now necessitating a fast switch to a secondary SMG or backup pistol.
In the real world if you could fire this behemoth prone it's deadly accurate weapon, firing standing, or, standing and spraying is another matter. Firing the most powerful round in the game (same as the MSG90A1) we dropped the ROF to something more realistically approximating an M60 as scaled to the ROF of the other weapons in ICS. The M60 is capably accurate in single shot or very short burst fire (though nothing approaching an assault rifle or SMG), spray with this weapon and your rounds could land anywhere as you are standing and firing an awkward to hold weapon with a ton and a half of ammo, and very hefty punch of recoil. The M60 can be effective in controlling and suppressing narrow choke points. You'll find the M60 less effective in CQB against more accurate higher fire volume weapons unless you learn to train and control your fire.
ICS 2.1 fleshes out the vanilla SOF II MP armory seven new munitions; so in addition to the M84 Flash, ANM14 Incendiary, and SMOHG92 Fragmentation grenade we've added: M15 Phosphorous, M7A3 Gas[/b] (and a gas mask equipment option to protect you!); and M67, L2A2, MDN 11 and F1 Fragmentation grenades! Each grenade has unique tactical features that you can use to fit your play style or circumstances.
Unchanged from SOF II (except for our signature sound) the M84 is arguably the most tactically powerful (and underutilized) munition in ICS.
Similar to SOF II and ICS 1.0; the ICS 2.1 M18 disperses thick orange smoke to differentiate it from M7A3 Gas and makes an excellent tactical screen for crossing large open areas, covering drooped objective objects, flags, or your escape.
Familiar SOF II performance with new sounds for ICS the ANM14 is probably the most tactically abused and consequently ineffective weapon in SOF II/ICS -- powerful used defensively and destructive used offensively obstructing and even collaterally damaging your team, use this one less or with caution
New and nasty; red phosphor is horrific stuff -- get it on you and you can't get if off as it continues to burn a hole through you. Similar to the ANM14 Incendiary in effect but more subtle because it's harder to see burning puddles of phosphor and larger embers. Look out for this stuff! A great defensive weapon and for covering an escape -- same cautions apply to abuse of the ANM14.
New in ICS 2.1 the M7A3 disperses a dense cloud of tear gas that is both blinding and impeding to unprotected players. Certain to become a very powerful weapon in the hands of a player or team that learns how to use it -- effectively the M7A3 will make objective rushes (and escapes) by a protected player (with the M76 Gas Mask equipment option) a capable tactic.
This is the standard fragmentation hand grenade that is part of SOF II MP and ICS 1.0 and is unchanged from its stock performance in SOF II. It has a smooth sheet metal body and is shaped like a lemon. The SMOHG92 is used as a baseline for comparison to the capabilities of the other new ICS 2.1 fragmentation grenades
The body of the M-67 hand grenade is a 2.5-inch diameter steel sphere containing more explosive but less shrapnel material in it's smaller body the M67 does less damage but over larger radius then the SMOHG92.
The L2A2 is based on the US M61 Steel 'lemon grenade'; it does less damage then the SMOHG92 or M67 but over a much larger radius then either. Great for high ping players..
MDN 11 Fragmentation
This is a German plastic fragmentation grenade that does more damage then the SMOHG92, M67 and L2A2 bu t in a much smaller radius then any to them. You'll need a good toss to be effective but will get surer kills if you aim and throw are good.
The mother of all 'frag' grenades 'old ironsides' or the iron pineapple grenade this behemoth delivers the most damage over the largest radius of all the grenades but it's heavy, you only get one and you'll have to be very careful with it. You can't throw it as far as other grenades so throw short and you'll be 'eating it' with your intended target, throw it carelessly or without skill and caution and you'll almost certainly take out team members.