DISCLAIMER: I applaud 343i's balancing for being one of (if not) the best multiplayer balancing feats ever. Any and all critisism regarding flaws in my logic should be constructive. Thank you.
In this post I will explain through various means why the Covenant Carbine in Halo 4 is a technically flawed primary weapon. This doesn't mean it's outright terrible, because there are plently of circumstances in which it is effective, but something's not correct. I will also provide various solutions to ammend the issues I've found with the weapon.
First, let's recognize why the Carbine is on par with it's two other precision weapon brethern, the DMR and BR. This is a shot list below demonstrating such:
CHARACTERISTIC: CC, DMR, BR
FIre rate (RPM): ~257, ~155, ~155 (accounting for 1200 RPM burst and 0.5 second delay)
Shots to down Shield: 7, 4, 12 (4 bursts of 3)
Headshots: 1 for all
Shots to kill an unshielded body: 5, 3, 7 (3 in a burst, one shot out of last 3 can kill)
Now what we should really consider is that most players are experienced enough to aim for the head, at which point the last values are obsolete. Judging from these characteristics, we could say very liberally that they are all about the same lethality. And that is true, somewhat, when you're talking about just ONE enemy. In fact, due to the compiled nature of the shots, the hypothetical Time to Kill (TTK) of the CC is greater than both the DMR and the BR, respectively. But let's go back a second. What happens when you're trying to kill more than one enemy?
Under the circumstance that every person is 100% accurate and lands nothing more than the necessary shots to kill with a headshot, the following replecates the ammo required to do such:
KILLS: AMMO LEFT FOR WEAPONS (CC, DMR, BR)
One: (18- = 10, (14-5) = 9, (36-15) = 21
Two: (10- = 2, (9-5) = 4, (21-15) = 6 (divide by three, explained below)
Three: (2- = -6, (4-5) = -1, (6-15) = -9 (divide by three, explained below)
What can we take from this? First, the values designated by the "Two:" row indicate how many "compensation shots" the user would have left to finish off the opponent(s) (remember, this was under the impression that everyone was 100% accurate, which no one actually is). In this, we find that the DMR has a full 4 compensation shots to use between the two enemies. That's an average of two compensation shots per enemy. This is very gracious for such a precise weapon.
Either way, let's move onto the CC and BR, which have 2 and 6 respectively (when you divide by the 3 shots per burst that are fired it's still 2), so they're both the same... right? Consider this - every burst fired with the BR contains three bullets, only one of which actually needs to be lethal. So it's really not necessary, if at all in the first place, to take more than one compensation shot, or burst for that matter. The CC actually needs to land one of two lethal headshots per each enemy, otherwise the user won't be left with enough ammunition to finish the job. That's why, from that standpoint, the CC is already worse than the BR and DMR.
Now take the second point, which is under the "Three:" section, containing all the negative numbers. This is what we could call the "clean-up" values, or how many extra headshots it'll take to kill the third enemy once you've killed the two above (again, not accounting for ANY lapses in accuracy, totally ignoring the first segment we've discussed above). Looking again at the DMR, you'd need only 1 more headshot from your pistol to finish off the opponent. Triple kills, all things aside, should be pretty easy.
This time, the BR and CC are not even relatively close. The BR has a value of -9, translates to 3 shots from your pistol of choice. Quite a bit worse than the DMR, but not as bad as what you'll see next.
So you'd like a Triple Kill with the CC? FORGET IT. You'd need a full 6 (TWICE as much as the BR and SIX TIMES as much than the DMR) headshots to clean up the job afterwards for that third guy, at which point, you'd be better off running away and reloading or something. Assuming you can actually do that, you're probably extremely talented at getting headshots with everything.
Throw human error into the mix and you have yourself a weapon of which just doesn't compete in terms with the other two comparable primary loadout precision weapons. Sure, you could down the shields with other means, and say that the DMR has more sway etc, but I'm just talking on a pure technical basis here. There's a problem, and it needs to be addressed.
Below are some solutions I'd like for someone to consider here. If you have your own or are in support of any of these, please reply:
SOLUTION 1: Increase magazine size to 22
This would eliminate most issues with our little ammo conservation problem, keeping the lethal capacity at a cap of 2 kills like the other ones. If you chose 22, that leaves 4 compensation shots comparable to that of the DMR, and would make it take only 4 pistol headshots to finish off, one worse than the BR. You get one good and one bad, which is better than two crumby stats. 23 rounds would push each number up one, which could make the gun a little bit too good.
SOLUTION 2: Decrease shield threshold from 7 to 6 shots
Effectively changing the "Two kill" equation to (18-(2*7)) = 4 compensation shots and (4-7) = 3 pistol shots, which is more subtle than changing it to 23 rounds but at the same time is more effective than a 22 round improvement since it not only changes it from 4 to 3 pistol shots, but also lowers the TTK on each successive individual opponent.
SOLUTION 3 (kinda extreme): Worsen the other two weapons
The DMR could be worsened by cutting one or two bullets, and the BR by cutting the ammo count to 33 or one less burst. These are fair enough options that would force these guns to be more conservative with their ammo exhaustion.
NOTE: This took me a considerable amount of time to create. If you don't mind, the feedback for this topic would be greatly appreciated. Again, I'm being logical about this, so please be constructive in your feedback as we try to solve these issues regarding this weapon. If you disagree with my statistics, I can show proof on demand. However, I should inform you that all of these statistics were privately tested and calculated using my game and HD PVR recordings broken down in Sony Vegas.
Thank you again. Looking forward to those responses.