Strategy:Rocket launcher

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Game Data Strategy

Main Guide (v0.9.9.4)

Version Changes (v0.9.9.5)

Nothing significant to the weapon itself.

General Tactics

Base strategy posted by GrimmC 16:00, November 15 2011 (GMT).

The rocket launcher is the type of weapon that either works fantastically or utterly fails. Its main feature, a radius 4 explosion, can also be its biggest drawback. Players will often hesitate to use the launcher for fear of damaging themselves or destroying a nifty item--which does, in fact, happen often enough. The explosions reach farther than one might expect and tend to zap items you thought were safe. Additionally, its damage output also puts it in a somewhat strange place, as it is overkill for early enemies, yet not powerful enough to quickly kill mid- or late-game enemies. Nonetheless, with some tweaking, the rocket launcher can become an excellent secondary weapon for any build.

There are two main situations where the launcher is useful: hitting clusters of enemies, or knocking enemies (usually just one) outside of your vision range. Since the Shotgun is also an area of effect weapon, in the first situation, you'll use the rocket launcher mainly against medium-strength or greater enemies. If you're not careful, this could backfire and propel a dangerous enemy closer to you. This will happen when the source of the explosion is behind the enemy, but it's somewhat unpredictable. In the second scenario, the knockback from the explosion can keep dangerous enemies such as Viles or Mancubi out of striking range. But without modification, this will often fail.

  • Dealing knockback is an effective way to keep enemies out of your range most of the time; you simply shoot them, reload, and shoot them again when they enter back into your vision range until they die. As a bonus, you might be able to use the knockback to send the enemy into lava or acid to deal even more damage to it. This generally works well as long as you have only one enemy to worry about. Matt_S 5:22, November 10 2011 (GMT)

The rocket launcher has two main flaws. The first is accuracy. +4 accuracy is pretty good, but most people will want to use the launcher at a distance where the explosion won't also harm you. (Unless you're playing a Fireangel build.) Yet even at a distance of 5-6 squares, the launcher completely misses often enough for it to be a problem. Typically these rockets fly on, perhaps hitting other enemies but also perhaps blowing up a useful item. Trying to hit an enemy at the edge of your vision range can result in 3-4 misses in a row if the RNG is feeling spiteful.

  • The rocket launcher has a decent accuracy bonus, but missing enemies is always a possibility, and it will happen eventually. If you want to shoot at a crowd of enemies, you should try to aim your shot so that it can potentially hit a second enemy if it misses the first. Alternately, if there is a wall close to the enemy, you might consider shooting the wall to guarantee that the enemy gets caught in the explosion, but you should be careful about the explosion potentially knocking the enemy closer to you. Matt_S 5:22, November 10 2011 (GMT)
  • It's advisable to take a level or two in Eagle Eye, if possible, because missing with the rocket launcher can be quite hazardous; it leaves you vulnerable for a couple of seconds while you reload, and there's also the possibility that, if the rocket strikes a wall or enemy behind the one you're shooting at, the explosion could propel the enemy you were shooting at closer to you! Ideally, you want to hit your enemies when they're at the edge of your visual range so that the knockback from the explosion pushes them far enough away to give you enough time to reload before they can return fire. This way, you can hit them with rocket after rocket, and they won't be able to hit you back. Tormuse 20:45, November 14 2011 (GMT)

The other problem is reload speed. With 1.5s reload, the more dangerous enemies will act twice before you finish. Even if you've pushed them beyond your vision range, there's a good chance they'll walk back in and attack, especially if you miss.

Both of these problems can be solved by assembling the micro launcher. With +7 accuracy and 0.8s reload and fire time, all of the previous problems are solved. Though you lose some damage and explosion radius, the micro launcher plays to the launcher's best strengths. You may even find it the most effective launcher, since the reduced explosion radius makes it less likely to trigger barrels or destroy items. However, this will necessitate carrying more rockets. The other option is assembling a tactical rocket launcher. It has five shots in a clip, but no improvements to accuracy. You may also have trouble finding enough mods for the assembly.

Finally, there are some miscellaneous uses of the launcher worth mentioning. You can rocketjump with the altfire. Damage is reduced, doing around 10-12 points damage with no armor, 5-7 with blue. The knockback will propel about the distance of your viewing range or better. This can be used to escape dangerous enemies when there's no cover. (The Bruiser brothers fight is a prime example.) WARNING: If you rocketjump next to a wall, you will just blow yourself up instead.

  • There are some circumstances when it could save your life, such as when you're surrounded by Mancubi and Arch-Viles and similarly dangerous enemies and the relatively minor damage from the rocket jump is preferable to the barrage you would receive from them. I have also, on one occasion, used it to destroy a corpse I wanted to get rid of in a Nightmare game; the corpse wasn't near any walls that I could explode a rocket against, so rocket jump was the only way to do it. I've also heard a tale of someone who used it in an Angel of Red Alert game to accelerate around the map faster and save time. There are a number of creative ways to use it, so don't neglect it completely. Tormuse 20:45, November 14 2011 (GMT)

One of the best ways to use the launcher is by blowing up walls to make your own path. This can often be used to bypass otherwise unavoidable rivers/pools of lava in the late-game. This can also be used occasionally to get the drop on enemies. (Or dodge them.) In Angel of Red Alert, you can create shortcuts to reach the stairs if you are short on time.

Lastly, the rocket launcher deals fire damage, which is the best way to gib corpses. This is significant wherever Archviles are present, as it prevents them from resurrecting dead enemies.

  • Destroying corpses becomes extremely important during Nightmare difficulty as well. Tormuse 20:45, November 14 2011 (GMT)

On the whole, the rocket launcher is an excellent secondary weapon for any build. It just needs a little bit of work to make it reliable. Even with a Whizkid-blocked build, there is always some way to overcome the combined weaknesses of your build+the launcher. You should carry at least one stack of rockets, 2-3 if you really make use of it. With a rapid-fire build, it can even replace your shotgun with proper modding. Of course, if your traits naturally make up for the launcher's weak areas, you can use it right from the door. But modding in this direction will only make it more efficient.

The rocket launcher is undoubtedly one of the stronger weapons in your arsenal, but it won't always be worth the inventory space: without the backpack, you can only hold 10 rockets in an inventory space, and that space might be better used holding a large medkit or something. Carrying two or three stacks of rockets will probably be plenty as long as you don't rely too heavily on it - it is best saved for emergencies anyways. The only unfortunate thing is that revenants and mancubi are some of the enemies most deserving of rockets to the face, but they drop rockets when killed that would then be destroyed by your rocket explosion. A rocket box is definitely worth holding on to to go with your rocket launcher, because it can allow you to quickly reload, covering for the rocket launcher's main weak point of being a single shot weapon with a fairly long reload time.

Special Levels

If you try to clear The Wall, you will need a rocket launcher, which you can get by clearing Hell's Arena in normal games and most challenges. Clearing The Wall also gives you a missile launcher, which is like a rocket launcher that can hold four rockets, reloads a little quicker, fires a bit faster, and is more accurate, but has a smaller explosion and can't be used to rocket jump (a maneuver I can't give advice about because I've never used it). Unless you have a particular plan that involves the rocket launcher, ditching it for the missile launcher is recommended. Similar strategies apply for the missile launcher. Matt_S 5:22, November 10 2011 (GMT)

In the Phobos Anomaly, a single Rocket Jump can land you safely in the entrance room, avoiding the worst of the ambush. Svankensen

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