The armory doesn’t tell you this, but fire rate in Wargame isn’t a simple number. It’s actually composed of two parts: fire rate within a salvo and time between salvos.
Think of a rocket launcher vehicle: you have 12 rockets in the tubes, the vehicle carries 24 total, and you fire the first 12 really quickly. That’s the salvo. Then you spend a minute refilling the tubes with your remaining 12 rockets. That’s the time between salvos. If it takes 10 seconds to launch 12 rockets, but then you spend 50 seconds refilling the tubes, you have a fire rate of 12 per minute according to the armory. Despite the fact that you can burst out 12 rockets in 10 seconds!
Note that a salvo does not have to be fired fast. This is how it works with MLRS, but plenty of weapons have 5-second delays or longer between each shot in their salvo. Rather, the distinction is that we have two reload times – one within the salvo, and one between salvos. Salvos can contain only one shot.
A key trait of the salvo system is that morale only affects the time between salvos, not the time it takes to fire off a salvo. So if our MLRS shoots a rocket each second and then reloads for a minute, it will still shoot a rocket each second if panicked. Only the time it takes to prepare the next salvo will be lengthened.
A salvo can only start being prepared if there is ammo left over; for example, if your hawk AA piece is out of ammo and you bring a supply truck to it, it won’t start shooting as soon as it receives its first missile. Instead, you’ll also have to wait for the 20 or 30 second reload timer to pass.
Every time the lower bar (time to next shot) fills, a hit roll is made.
There’s also an aim time – the delay before the first shot can be fired. It is instant for infantry, a second for tanks, and between 10 and 35 seconds for artillery. Aim time gets worse as morale decreases.
Let’s look at how the various weapons in Wargame can be implemented with this system:
Salvo length: 12 (not listed on unit card). The rate of fire stat is unhelpful, but at 7/minute it should be around 2 minutes reload between salvos.
-MLRS: 1-2 seconds between shots in a salvo, lengthy reload between salvos. A salvo is usually as many shots as the MLRS can carry, but exceptions exist – the japanese MSSR only fires half of its ammo count in one salvo for example. Aim time for the MSSR is 30 seconds like most cheap MLRS. The advantage of 100-point MLRS is that they tend to have 10-second aim times.
-Artillery: Unlike MLRS, artillery generally carries a lot of ammo and salvo length is unrelated to ammo count (with the exception of 10HE pieces, which carry very little ammo and are usually only good for one salvo). This is bad because salvo length is the primary factor that determines whether an artillery piece is good or not, and there’s no way to tell in the armory – pieces with the same or similar price will have wildly different salvo lengths. There are many significant differences in salvo density that the armory rate of fire display does not accurately reflect, but a complete artillery analysis is not the goal of this post so I’ll stop here. Suffice to say, to correctly choose artillery in a mixed deck you’ll need to look at the hidden artillery stats spreadsheet or test burst lengths yourself.
-AA: Salvo length can be inferred from the number of tubes: in the case of strela 10, four shots before the between-salvo reload time kicks in. Armory shows us the reload time between salvos instead of the total rate of fire – this is much more helpful than with MLRS. So, a strela 10 fires four times quickly, then needs ten seconds to reload.
-Tanks: Here it gets fun. There are three types of tank reloading – manual, normal autoloader, and bursty autoloader. Most blue tanks have manual loading – panicking the tank will make it fire much slower. This can be implemented as a salvo of one shot, with the entire reload being between salvos (remember, only the reload time between salvos is affected by morale!).
Most red tanks have an autoloader, their reload time stays constant regardless of panic. This can be implemented as a salvo of say 40 shots, with 6-7 seconds between shots within the salvo.
The Nana-Yon series tanks fire four shots very quickly, then have a lengthy reload. The armory, as always, misses such intricacies in its rate of fire summary. This can be implemented as a salvo of 4, with say 2 seconds between shots in the salvo, and then a 15-second reload between salvos (I have not actually looked for the exact reload numbers).
-Ripple fire: The longbow shoots two missiles quickly at each target – this is a salvo of two, with 1 second between each shot. Then a longer reload between the bursts.
-Infantry small arms and autocannons: This is where it gets ugly. The armory rate of fire is completely borked, because each “shot” actually expends more than one unit of ammo. This is somewhat obvious – if you actually got 400 damage rolls a minute, even with 0.5 HE that would kill a 10hp unit in three seconds..
The way to get the actual fire rate of an autocannon or small arms unit is to go ingame and write down how much ammo a single shot expends, then divide the listed fire rate by that (preferably, shoot multiple, there is often a fractional part). For example, if the RPK gets depleted by 12.5 ammo in one cycle, that means its rate of fire is 381/12.5 = 30 per minute.
Again, the salvo length is not listed in the armory. In the case of infantry, which is guaranteed to take lots of morale damage, this is huge. The MG3 has a salvo of whooping 16 shots, with 2 seconds between each shot, and 6-8 seconds between salvos. This means that 3/4 of the fire rate is invested in the salvo, and not affected by morale damage – a panicked squad will spend the same 32 seconds firing a salvo as a calm one, and only lose an extra 10 seconds or so reloading for the next one. By contrast, most MGs have salvos of 2-8 shots, making them far more susceptible to morale. Which MG has what salvo pattern is something you learn by testing or looking up in spreadsheets, sadly not from the armory.