Red Algorithm

Red Algorithm

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Weapon Penalty
By Eugene
In this short guide you will learn what is weapon penalty in Red Algorithm, how to avoid it, or how to at least mitigate its bad effect
Breaking down weapon penalty in Red Algorithm
Understanding the weapon penalty mechanics is crucial for successful survival, yet it can be a bit confusing and not clear for some new players.

When you pick a new weapon you may notice a warning sign like "Your hero level [X] is too low":

You can see it here under the weapon image, name, and description

The weapon that is selected on the screenshot above is Tesla, which is a level 16 weapon. To use this weapon properly your hero level must be 16 or higher.

You can find your current hero level here:

Everyone starts with level 1...

When you are using a weapon which level is too high for you, it will be highlighted in red:

Weapon's image has a slight red background and its name is written in red, which means that you are currently penalized

Ok, so being penalized and carrying a high-level weapon too early is bad, but how bad exactly?

Here is what these weapon penalties do:
  • Damage: -25%
  • Accuracy: -25%
  • Range: -25%
  • 25% slower reload speed
  • Higher malfunction rate
  • Incoming experience speed: -25% (very important!)
As you can see, it's not a pleasant thing to carry around a weapon that you can't handle as many of your stats will be severely reduced. It often takes at least 1 perk to get +25% to a stat, so you would need at least 5 perks to compensate for all of those penalties. At the same time, you will gain these 5 levels much slower because of the reduced experience gain speed.

One way to counter this mechanic is to get Handyman[] perk, which reduces weapon level by 5. Another thing that partially compensates for it is habit mechanic (you get better at using a particular weapon if you use it for many levels), which we will talk about in another guide.
Can I use a high-level weapon early?
Sure you can!

The fact that your level is lower than the weapon level and that you will get a penalty doesn't mean that you should always avoid high-level weapons. Actually, there are many cases when it's smart to use a high-level weapon, even if it gives you the penalty.

For example, if you have a low-level assault rifle, Dictator[] level 3, and you are level 4 right now, and you see Patriot[] (level 6) in the weapon box, of course you should go ahead and take it now! Yes, you will get the penalty, but it will only be for the next 2 levels.

You will also lose 50% of the habit that you accumulated with Dictator, but it won't be 100% because you are switching weapons within one class (assault rifle to assault rifle).

So, at the end of the day, you have to answer yourself is it worth it to get a high-level weapon early at this time, or not? It's a hard question in many cases as it depends on many factors, but that's the beauty of the game that you need not only to shoot monsters but use your brain too.
What about REALLY high-level weapons?
Ok, handling the weapon penalty for a few levels is not a disaster, but is there a way to pick a really cool-looking gun of like 20 - 25 level when you like level 5 or so?

Well... Surely, you shouldn't do that, and most likely if you decide to do such a thing, you won't survive more than 5 - 7 more minutes.

If you pick Minigun[] (level 18), or Apocalypse[] (level 28) when you are like level 3, of course, you won't be able to do much. You need perks to increase your move speed, you need perks to increase accuracy, you need perks or weapon upgrades to reduce weapons weight, you need a high habit handling machine guns, etc. Generally speaking, you should start a game with a low-level weapon and only after a few hero levels switch to another one.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule and a few ways to play comfortably with a high-level weapon. -25% damage, accuracy, range and reload is bad, but that's not the biggest problem of the penalty (because it's partially compensated by high weapon stats), the biggest problem is -25% experience. And, high-level weapons almost always also have an experience gain penalty of their own, -15, -30, or even -50%, which will bring down your total experience gain speed to like 25%.

An obvious answer to all these problems is Lucy[], a premium hero with a native +25% experience bonus, but it's understandable that not everyone is willing to purchase it. Also, Lucy might seem strong, but what is the benefit of this +25% exp bonus when you reach the maximum level (30)?

If Lucy is not the answer (although, she is great with mid-tier weapons 10 - 15 levels), another option is to try out perks that give you more experience like Geek[] and even more extreme - Genius[] (+50% experience, -50 HP and -25% damage). Yeah, it won't be easy, but it could be a lot of fun trying to pull something like this off.