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There's a very popular strategy in PoE which consists of :

A : Equip everyone with a gunpowder weapon

B : Kill a few enemies in the first second of combat

C : Swap to main weapons 


There's only 2 unique arquebuses in the game and one of them comes at a high opportunity cost. Plus, enchanting 6 arquebuses to superb is a big no-no since it costs twice as much components for whatever reason.


So which is better for this strategy : 

- A generic exceptional arquebus ?


- A unique pistol ?


Bonus question : is it viable to randomly give a blunderbuss to your fighter or paladin for the first shot instead of an arquebus, or do you have to commit into a few talents to make it worth ?

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Let's assume you only want to shoot once and don't want to reload - then the only pistols that come close to damage per 1 shot are Fellstroke (because of Ambushing) and Dulcanale (because of Annihilating). Pistols also need two resources each to upgrade by the way. All two handed weapons need two resources of each category, all one handed weapons need one resource of each. Sadly, there are no superb pistols in the game and also only one exceptional unique. Exceptional arquebuses can be looted from Torn Bannermen - exceptional pistols, too. I also assumed all weapons have been enchanted to exceptional.

  • exceptional arquebus:
    • base damage: 24-36 = average of 30
    • + 30% damage from exceptional:  +9
    • only +20% damage on crit: +6
    • exceptional bonus + inherent acc malus = +3 ACC
    • 39 on hit, 45 on crit
    • with every additional point of MIG you will get +0.9 damage
  • Fellstroke:
    • base damage: 22-30 = average of 26
    • +30% damage from exceptional: +7.8
    • only +20% on crit: +5.2
    • Ambushing = +25% damage sneak attack bonus: +6.5
    • +3 ACC as arquebus
    • 33.8 on hit, 39 on crit
    • with Ambushing: 
    • 40.3 on hit, 45.5 on crit
    • +1 MIG = +0.78 damage
  • Dulcanale:
    • base damage: 22-30 = average of 26
    • +30% damage from exceptional: +7.8
    • Annihilating: +70% on crit: +18.2
    • +3 ACC as arquebus
    • 33.8 on hit, 44.2 on crit
    • +1 MIG = +0.78 damage

Hope I don't have typos or something... :)


So, those two can be alternatives. They have lower range though! Another drawback is that they do about the same damage as arquebuses, but only if the circumstances are right and if your MIG is not too high. Chars with high MIG should favor arquebuses because of higher base damage. Low MIG chars (with high PER in case of Dulcanale) might favor pistols - if they don't mind the shorter reach. 


Blunderbusses have the highest damage per shot (not hit) - but only against very low DR. In order to make them work well against foes with even mediocre DR you'd have to stack DR bypass: Penetrating Shot, Ryona's Vambraces, Effigy's Resentment: Devil of Caroc = 13 DR bypass, +16 with Lead Spitter. With those you can hit most foes really hard. But even then there's a problem with Blunderbusses and that's lashes. Lashes don't use the DR bypass you stacked. So a blunderbuss is the worst weapon to put a lot of lashes onto. So say goodbye to that blunderbuss, dear paladin and dear chanter. :) But a rogue for example can do good things with a blunderbuss and said DR bypass options. A fighter, too - especially if he has sunderung blow (= -8 DR). Same with a wizard: he can use Expose Vulnerabilites to lower DR directly which also helps with the lashes a bit. And the neatest trick is: he can cast Combusting Wounds on the target first and then deliver 6 parallel DoTs with the 6 pellets. So there are uses for the blunderbusses, but they need a bit of preperation. There's also Silver Flash which has two different Spell Chance enchantment. Because you hit 6 times with one shot there will most likely be a proc.


So: fighter + blunderbuss can be really good, paladin with Flames of Devotion: not good.

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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