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[Spoilers] Which bow is best? Aiming to resolve confusion around bows There's a regular debate around the bow accuracy stat on the wiki, and it left me wondering... Are shortbows really more accurate than Northern Bows? What's going on here?

So, having recently found myself with extra time on my hands thanks to the global pandemic, I fired up ghidra and spent some time decompiling UnReal World 3.62 to see what's really going on.

Decompiling code isn't exactly straightforward; one gets the instructions executed by the CPU, not the original source code, so there's a lot of piecing things together and sleuthing required. But I think I've managed to get to the bottom of this particular open question, and Sami has been extremely kind in letting me share my results.

Before I get into spoilers, I want to point out that the in-game manual on missile combat gives an accurate description that appears to be confirmed by code:

Quote from: Missile Combat
Success at firing an arrow or throwing a weapon depends on the applicable weapon skill. This is a common combat rule and missile attacks are no exception, but your performance only determines the initial quality of the shot/throw, ie. how much your aiming is off and how accurately you manage to send your missile on its course. The worse your performance the wider the cone of spread is possible, so it's not always guaranteed that a good shot/throw will result in a good strike at exact location of impact. Even a minor deviation from the intended trajectory will accumulate over distance. Any shot/throw is bound to hit better at close range, and the further the target, the more precision is required. Should your missile miss the original target or  even fly completely wild, it can still hit something else on its course - unfortunately this could be also your own dog.

Quote from: Ranged Target
A target that is being attacked by a missile weapon can't choose any conscious defense maneuver as in melee combat, but moving targets can still avoid getting hit. This defense possibility for moving targets is automated and it doesn't matter if the target is aware of the attack or not. A target is considered moving if it is actively running, flying, escaping etc. from one location to another, but also when it's making fast movements in its place like when engaged in a fight. The faster the target is moving the better chance it has to make it out of the way or to make a lucky movement in its place and unintentionally dodge the missile. This is based on the target's actual mobility and manner of moving, so if the target is slowed down due to physical penalties or for whatever reason, its chances to avoid missile attacks are lowered accordingly. Naturally, it's not only the target's speed that matters but the missile velocity as well. It's easier for any moving target to make it out of the way of low-velocity missiles, but very fast animals will be challenging to hit even with bow and arrow - and exceedingly challenging if they are both fast and small.

So straight up, the game tells you the important factors involved are:
  • Your missile skill, which determines the accuracy cone
  • Distance to target, which determines how much aiming errors can accumulate
  • Size of target, which determines what you need to hit
  • Mobility and activity of target, which determines their chance of getting out of the way
  • Missile velocity, which reduces the chance of a target dodging

None of this mentions "weapon accuracy", and Sami has confirmed in a PM to me that:

Quote from: Sami
If the bow accuracy would really be radically different between bows it surely would have been mentioned in the game information.

So I can confidently say that the accuracy figure on the wiki is extremely misleading. It does mean something, but you are almost certainly never going to encounter that in the game. Read the spoiler section below if you really want to know, and also have a little more bow mechanics revealed.

Spoiler: show

Every item in the game has an 'accuracy' figure, it's a measure of how un-aerodynamic the object itself is. Arrows and javelins have the lowest number (1), whereas plants and articles of clothing can have numbers in the hundreds. Items with lower numbers are more accurate when used as a missile. So if, in desperation, you were to throw your actual bow at an opponent, you could make a more precise throw with a Northern Bow ('accuracy' 5) than a heavy crossbow ('accuracy' 10).

To be clear, unless you are throwing the bow itself, this 'accuracy' value has no effect.

Your weapon skill, and the item quality (of both bow and arrow) all appear to contribute to tightening the cone of spread, with poor quality items making it especially hard to shoot straight. There is also a velocity calculation which is determined by the square of the bow's piercing/point stat, plus a constant (which appears to be the same for all bows). Higher powered bows (such as the longbow and Northern bow) will shoot higher velocity missiles, resulting in more damage on impact, and reducing the time a target has to get out of the way.

I presume, but have not confirmed, that higher velocity missiles also means missed shots will travel father, and are more likely to break on impact.

I have not checked to see if a bow's weight has any relevance on missile velocity. My gut feeling says it does not, but I do not have evidence to support that. Nor have I checked to see if the bows have different shooting speeds.

Many thanks again to Sami for not only an incredible game that's brought me much joy throughout the years, but also for his understanding and support when I decided to dig further into its mysteries!

~ Teellox

July 21, 2020, 04:49:27 AM