Let's examine why.
First off, breaking down the Eagle itself.
Weight: [0.6-0.25] means it can get almost as light as the Acolyte... if you can level it all the way up to X, which is pretty unlikely. This issue of accessibility to its apparently intended role as an ultralight sidearm could be somewhat ameliorated if it got the same treatment as the Saber, Crusader, Black Widow, Javelin, Indra, and Wraith and had its weight range narrowed. Regardless,
Damage per bullet: 93.7
ROF: ~6.67 rounds per second (400RPM)
Armor Damage: Because of its high ROF / low damage per bullet, the Eagle takes a relatively large hit against armored targets. How much this hit is depends on your particular character spec and loadout.
Burst DPS: ~624.7
Sustained DPS: ~506.5 (~552.7 with magazine size upgrade)
Firing Time (How long you can spend firing before you need to reload / how long you can sustain burst DPS): 3.6 seconds (6.45 seconds with a Magazine Size upgrade)
Recoil and Accuracy: The recoil on this thing is pretty surprising. When I did my spread test, if I didn't have any stability bonuses on and didn't adjust my aim to compensate, the reticule would go from aiming straight to aiming up into the sky in the time it took me to empty the clip. The accuracy is comparable to some of the less inaccurate SMGs or assault rifles (it has a about the same spread as an Avenger)... not even close to the sniper-rifle-like nature of the Paladin or Carnifex. I made a video with some test highlights... here:
Acolyte vs Eagle
If we're talking about sidearm options, it's only natural to compare to the Acolyte. The Acolyte has a lot to offer as a sidearm because it offers exactly what a sidearm should: Considerable situational advantages that are large enough to incentivize taking the time to switch weapons.
Weight: 0.2 (vs the Eagle's 0.25). A negligible difference really.
Damage per bullet: 490 (1470 against shields). Hits multiple targets and applies a special stagger.
Base Burst DPS with no refire error: 490 (2450 against shields/barriers). (about ~21% less than the Eagle, or a whopping ~292% more against shields).
Sustained DPS with no refire error: ~382.8 (~1914.1 against shields/barriers). With the magazine mod (what else are you going to put on it?) it's ~419.5 (~2097.6 against shields/barriers)
Firing Time: 3 seconds (5 with magazine size mod)
Let's stop to think about that for a second. Against shields and barriers, we're talking 392% of the damage output, applied in an area. Even against health (the least threatening of all the defenses, where enemies just go ragdoll), where you do 20% less damage, one has to consider that you're also doing this damage in an area, with an airburst, and with the ability to ricochet around walls, and with no aim error. This area of effect also causes a special stagger effect which lasts longer than normal for some enemies, rendering them helpless until your next shot or power. All the Eagle gets back for this is the ability to pierce guardian shields and to headshot (and still do less damage to shields). And of course that's not doing you any favors against Phantoms or bosses or anything.
Notes: See the notes for the Carnifex and Paladin below. Like those weapons, the Acolyte applies its damage in bursts and requires very little exposure... in fact less than the Carnifex and Paladin do, since the ROF is slower, shots can be charged up during power use, and the weapon hits an area and can be ricocheted off of walls from a position of complete safety. And the value of its special stagger and area of effect should go without saying... this weapon locks enemies down. It can also shoot over cover and seems to have a small airburst effect (though it's not as noticeable as the Krysae). It also doesn't care about armor reduction with its high damage per shot, and ignores the shield gate entirely. One huge advantage that cannot be ignored is that it absolutely obliterates Phantoms where the Eagle would struggle against their Hand of Denial. The only advantage the Eagle gets in return for all of this is that it can have a piercing mod to deal with Guardians more easily... but even that is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the Acolyte will just up and take a different mod. Oh, and the Eagle can headshot (and still do less damage against shields and clear clusters of enemies more slowly).
Also, the Acolyte functions better in the "light sidearm" role because there's actually a reason to take the time to actually switch to it... massive area damage against shields and anti-phantom utility (since many guns and powers are largely invalidated by their "hand of denial," switching is worthwhile). Quite simply, large situational benefits make for a greater incentive to take the time to switch off.
Paladin / Carnifex vs Eagle
Damage per bullet: 531.1
Base Burst DPS with no refire error: ~885.2 (about 42% more than the Eagle!)
Base Sustained DPS with active reloading and no refire error: ~603.5 (about 19% more than the Eagle!) (With Magazine Size mod ~691.5) (about 25% more than the Eagle with the same mod, and it has less need of a piercing mod due to high damage per bullet and accuracy enough to mailslot guardians. It's about 37% more damage than the Eagle with an EB and piercing, and still more damage against armor)
Firing Time: 1.8 seconds (3 seconds with extended magazine)
Weight: The Paladin is light enough that it can be used as a primary weapon and still have max or near-max recharge speed (remember, very high power recharge speeds have diminishing returns, so getting 200% isn't that important). So really the weight difference only matters if you want a sidearm.
The Eagle can't really fill the same niche the Paladin or Carnifex does, for two reasons. First, because of the difference between high damage per shot weapons and automatic weapons, and secondly because of the difference in accuracy and recoil. The Paladin is a caster's handheld sniper rifle that lets stasis snipers two-shot Phantoms. The Eagle doesn't have the kind of accuracy the Paladin or Carnifex do, and moreover would break stasis instead of blowing away the enemy's health bar on the second shot.
The Carnifex and Paladin also require less exposure since they don't require sustained fire. They also lose less damage against armored targets because of higher damage per shot, opening up mod/ammo options other than piercing. On the other hand, the Eagle doesn't really care about the shield gate... but then the Paladin and Carnifex don't mind much either. They will kill any foot soldier in two shots or less with a proper spec.
It is perhaps also worth noting that the burst weapons lose less DPS for mixing in power use between shots, since you can fire off a power during the ROF cooldown.
Hornet vs the Eagle
The Eagle isn't as accurate as the Paladin though, so let's take a look at something else. Maybe even something that's kinda lame in the larger scheme of things. How about the Hornet? You know, that gun that's known for being useless if you have the Hurricane? The Hornet has an only slightly larger spread than the Eagle does, and they're both rapid fire weapons light as a feather, so it's a good comparison.
Weight: 0.45. Still a bit heavier than an Eagle X but whatever.
Damage per bullet: 67.2 (even worse against armor than the Eagle. But keep reading)
Base Burst DPS with no refire error: ~746.7 (about 19.5% more than the Eagle)
Base Sustained DPS with active reloading and no refire error: ~632.5 (about 25% more than the Eagle!) (With Heatsink mod ~678.3) (about 34% more than the Eagle!)
Firing Time: 2.16 seconds (~3.9 seconds with heatsink mod, ~7.2 seconds with heatsink and magazine mods)
Notes: And here's where the comparison really falls apart. Mods. Remember the bit about the Hornet losing more against armor than the Eagle? Well let's also remember that it has 25% more sustained DPS... meaning we can switch out extended barrel for a high velocity barrel (ignoring a whopping 90% of armor vs pistol piercing mod's 65%) and still get the same damage output as the Eagle with EB and piercing mod against other defenses... and still have space for an extra mod. You could add Heatsink for an effective 182% magazine size (on average) and almost twice the spare ammo (not to mention boosting your sustained DPS against all defenses over the Eagle despite not having an extended barrel 25% damage bonus), or you could add a scope and be more accurate than the Eagle and more stable while moving and shooting. And unlike the Eagle, you can easily get the Hornet to X. And this is comparing to a weapon that isn't really relevant in the endgame metagame.
The Eagle vs the Phalanx
Okay, maybe comparing it to an underwhelming Gold weapon was too much to expect from an ultra-rare black card pistol. Let's bump it down to silver, folks. Now we look at the Phalanx, which is very similar to the Eagle, with a few differences. Let's have a look.
Weight: 0.25. Exactly the same!
Damage per bullet: 143.5 (so it loses a good deal less damage against armor than the Eagle)
Base Burst DPS with no refire error: ~597.9 (about 4% shy of its ultra-rare cousin at level X)
Base Sustained DPS with active reloading and no refire error: ~462.9 (about 9% shy of the Eagle)
Firing Time: ~2.88 seconds
Notes: Okay, so the Phalanx is better against armor, a bit more accurate, has no real recoil, loses less DPS to extra maneuvers like powers (due to lower ROF), and is only slightly less damaging when compared the Eagle... a black card weapon. Of course, it's trivial to get a Phalanx X, but almost impossible to get an Eagle X. Let's see just how many levels it takes for the Eagle to actually get better damage output than the Phalanx (discounting the Phalanx's advantages of accuracy, recoil, and armor damage just to be extra nice to the Eagle). Well, it turns out an Eagle 8 has 89.5 base damage, and therefore about 596.7 burst DPS... lower than the Phalanx. It turns out that in order to bypass the Phalanx's burst DPS, you need an Eagle IX (it's actually probably slightly lower than that though because of human refire error on semi-automatic weapons, but still).
In short, the Eagle is just plain awful for a black card weapon. It has no place as a primary weapon. Moreover, the value of "sidearms" in this game are questionable to begin with, and the Eagle isn't even one of the better choices for that role (and is no lighter than most choices until it reaches a high level). In fact, it's not even as good as the Phalanx until it reaches a very high level. Its power has been almost doubled... and the boat hasn't rocked. It needs more to make it relevant and worthwhile as a commendation pack reward.
Edited by GodlessPaladin, 08 August 2012 - 01:32 AM.