What makes a weapon?
A weapon has two components: a firearm, and a melee weapon. Notice, though, that in BG3 you don’t pick weapons as much as you do weapon kits. Multiple weapons can be distributed together. That is, in some kits, the firearm weapon is separate from the melee weapon, yet they’re complete packages. So we will only be considering the weapon kits as a whole. There’s no reason to discuss the effectiveness of a weapon without discussing the other weapon that goes along with it.
Point and shoot! But these are only single shot weapons, so you better make yours count. In comparing firearms, here’s what to look at:
- Reload Speed
- Bullet Speed & Lock Time
Different stats are more important at different distances. In close-quarters combat, reload speed is most important, while damage and accuracy are less important. Firearms do more damage than melee, so being able to easily reload is a big advantage. Most reload so slowly, that professional players never reload in close quarters combat.
At medium range, all weapon stats can be considered to be equally important.
At long range, damage and accuracy are most important. These are what empower the rifled firearms to kill from so far away. High damages extend the one-shot kill range. Reload speed isn’t as important because it may take several shots to hit the enemy anyways.
Concerning bullet speed and lock time, rifled weapons’ bullets travel faster and have a shorter delay between when the trigger is pulled and when the bullet exits the rifle. This lets rifles track targets more easily at range.
Point and stab! More players die from melee than from musket balls. Melee weapons are much more sensitive to stat differences. Slight changes can completely alter a weapon. Here’s what to consider:
- Melee Range
- Melee Damage
- Melee Speed
- Melee “Sweep” Factor
- Alternate Attack Modes
Melee range means how how far from an enemy you can be and still hit. Technically, the weapon with the highest melee range will have an advantage, but we’ll see that there’s more to it.
Melee damage effects how many body hits it takes to kill an enemy. High-damage weapons can always kill in two hits, while most weapons kill in two or three hits. This also effects whether or not you can confidently kill an enemy you know to be wounded.
Melee speed refers to the time between melee attacks. If two players attack each other at the same time, the one with the faster melee weapon will be to finish off the enemy first.
Melee “sweep” factor refers to how easy it is to hit with the weapon. Weapons with higher sweep factors allow users to “sweep” the mouse for a longer time and larger distance and still expect to hit.
Alternate attack modes let players attack much more quickly, at the cost of doing less damage. These can be used to more easily finish off wounded enemies.
Generally, high-skilled players prefer to have muskets with bayonets for the longest melee range.
The Weapon Kits
Below are descriptions of how to best use each weapon. Notice here that we don’t give the weapon stats. The in-game classmenu has those. Instead, we focus on the higher-level observations to help you understand how to best use these weapons on the battlefield.
Short Land Pattern Brown Bess with Bayonet
The Short Land Pattern Brown Bess is the modern British infantry weapon. It has a long melee range and does lots of damage. It is less accurate than other muskets, yet this usually does not matter in close-quarters skirmishes. Like all muskets, it has a low “sweep” factor, which means that users have to be more precise in their stabs, in terms of both timing and location. This makes muskets like this very high-skill weapons.
Long Land Pattern Brown Bess with Bayonet
The Long Land Pattern Brown Bess is the older brother of the Short Land Pattern Brown Bess. It has a longer melee range, increased damage (melee & bullet), and increased accuracy. Its disadvantage is that it is slower. It stabs and reloads slowly. With all this in mind and through experience, players find that the Long Pattern is great for one-on-one melee engagements but can be clumsy in group fighting. Due to it’s higher accuracy and longer one-shot kill range, the Long Pattern is occasionally used in line battle for long-range engagements. Due to its higher melee damage, it can kill Minutemen and Native Americans in two arm hits, while all other bayonet weapons require 3 arm hits.
Charleville with Bayonet
The Charleville muskets were donated by French forces to Continental units. It behaves similarly to the Short Land Pattern Brown Bess. It does less damage and is shorter than the Brown Bess, yet it is more accurate. This makes it worse at melee than the Brown Bess, but better at long-range shooting. Like all muskets, it has a low “sweep” factor, which means that users have to be more precise in their stabs, in terms of both timing and location. This makes muskets like this very high-skill weapons. It is a reliable weapon in nearly all situations.
Spanish Mosquete with Bayonet
The Spanish M1752 Mosquetes were donated by Spanish authorities to the American cause. Imported from Havana, Spain, and France, these muskets have the Spanish patilla lock with a French style. Mechanically, the musket is extremely similar to the French Charleville. It does slightly less damage all around, yet it is slightly longer and also has a reduced lock time. The reduced lock time means that it takes less time for your musket to fire after pulling the trigger; this makes it easier to hit moving targets.
Pistol and Sabre
The Officer’s pistol and sabre kit is excellent for close-quarters combat. The pistol is great for point-blank kills and reloads quickly. It is always safe to reload, because this is the only kit which allows the player to cancel the reload by switching weapons. The sword is strong enough to kill non-grenadier enemies in 2 arm hits. The sword also allows users to “sweep” their aim moreso than the other weapons. The disadvantage of this kit is the shorter melee range and slower melee speed.
Short Land Pattern Brown Bess Carbine and Sabre
The Officer’s carbine and sabre kit is similar to his pistol and sabre kit. The difference here is that he receives a longer-range carbine instead of a pistol. The carbine deals more damage and is more accurate than the pistols, yet it takes longer to reload. It still takes less time to reload than other muskets. Also, the officer cannot cancel reload with this kit.
Pennsylvania Long Rifle and Hunting Knife
The Frontiersman’s Pennsylvania rifle, also known as the Kentucky rifle, is the most accurate weapon in the game. Its disadvantage is its long reload and decreased damage. In the right hands, it can still kill anyone from any distance. The rifle’s bullet moves faster than musket balls, and the advanced lock setup reduces lock time (the time between pulling the trigger and when the bullet comes out) by half. These two factors together make it much easier to track long-range targets. The Frontiersman’s knife is a unique melee weapon – it is very weak and short-ranged, yet very fast.
Büchse Rifle and Hirschfänger
The Jaegar’s Büsche rifle is the second most accurate weapon in the game. While not as accurate as the Pennsylvania rifle, it reloads more quickly and does significantly more damage. Users won’t be doing 99 damage with this weapon like they might with the Pennsylvania rifle. The rifle’s bullet moves faster than musket balls, and the advanced lock setup reduces lock time (the time between pulling the trigger and when the bullet comes out) by half. These two factors together make it much easier to track long-range targets. The Jaegar’s hirscfhänger sword, while statistically worse than the officer’s sabre, has the same melee range and in the right hands is just as deadly to the head. Users need lots of skill to use these weapons right.
The War Club has the distinction of being the highest-damage melee weapon in the game. Faster than the axes and swords, it is also the fastest weapon which can kill with just two arm hits. Also, it has a lower-damage but faster secondary attack which is useful for finishing off wounded enemies. The Native American also moves faster with this weapon than he does with others, and he is then the fastest moving player on the battlefield. The distinct disadvantage is that without a musket, he is an easy target in long-range combat. And he still receives more damage from all sources, just like the Militia.
Musket with Axe
The Tomahawks and Beltaxe kits for the Militia and Native are similar, so they will be considered together. They come with bayonetless muskets; the Native receives the Long Pattern or Brown Bess, while the Militia receives the “Committee of Safety” Brown Bess or the Fowler. The Fowler is a unique musket, because it reloads more quickly than other muskets and is capable of firing buckshot. With ball, the Fowler is the most accurate non-rifled weapon, although it does less damage. Overall, choice of musket is a personal preference, although for the Native the Long Pattern has the advantage for being more accurate and doing more damage (which is useful for players who don’t reload often). In melee, the Tomahawk and beltaxe behave exactly the same. They do lots of damage (2 hits to arm kill) and have a high “sweep” factor, while they are otherwise short-ranged and slow. The fast movement speed of the Militia and Native make up for these deficits, allowing for quick hit-and-run attacks. These are the game’s “slasher” weapons. Keep in mind that when playing as Militia or Native, players receive more damage from all sources.
Long Land Pattern Brown Bess with Smallsword
The Long Pattern & Smallsword kit for the Militia is known as the State Militia kit. This is because with this kit, the class has a unique model and uniform. Also, these were the weapons used by the “State Militia” class in the BG3 beta. In comparison to the Militia’s other kits, the Long Pattern musket performs sufficiently well. The unique part of the kit is in the Smallsword. Small “gentleman’s swords” like the Smallsword were common status symbols in the 18th century. In comparison to the axes, it does less damage (two arm hits don’t kill), yet it is faster and has a slightly longer range. The sword also has the extra versatility of a faster, low-damage alternate attack for finishing off wounded enemies. Whether to use this kit or the Militia’s other kits is personal preference.
Short Land Pattern Brown Bess Carbine with Bayonet
The Brown Bess Carbine with Bayonet is a very unique weapon. In terms of firepower, it is less accurate and does less damage than a full length Brown Bess. However, in medium and close-quarters combat, these weaknesses make little difference. The advantage of the carbine is that, as a shorter weapon, it is the fastest loading musket. This makes it more feasible to reload while capturing a flag. Also, the carbine is capable of firing buckshot (6 pellets), which makes it even less accurate at medium range but increases damage. Rarely with buckshot, players can kill two wounded enemies with a single shot. In melee, the carbine has a range and speed advantage over swords and axes, but it is much shorter than other muskets and does less damage than most weapons. This weapon sits in a middle ground.
Musket with Grenade and Hanger Sword
The Grenadier kits are heavy; they come with a musket, a grenade, and a hanger sword. The French Grenadier has a modern French M1777 musket, while the British Grenadier has a short land pattern Brown Bess. The M1777 musket, as a lower calibre musket, is more accurate but does less damage. Otherwise, the grenadiers have the advantage of having two ranged weapons, because they have a grenade too. There are two throwing modes: an overhand throw and an underhand toss. These grenades have 5 second fuses, and cannot be switched out once lit. The best tactic to use with them is to cook them for a few seconds, and then throw them at the feet of groups of enemies. For this time though, the grenadier is vulnerable to being shot or being charged in melee. Grenades are useful for indirectly attacking enemies hidden behind fortifications. Only direct hits are fatal to unwounded enemies. In melee, the grenadier’s sword has a longer range than other swords and axes, and does more damage than bayonets. Hence it has an advantage over non-bayonet weapons. The hanger has a faster, low-damage alternate attack for finishing off wounded enemies. The grenadier’s slower movement speed, however, reduces its ability to manuever in melee. Yet, the grenadier’s built-in damage resistance lets it sustain more hits before dying (ex. bayonet chest & arm hit doesn’t kill).