Thursday, January 15, 2015

Worsening Range Claims

From the very first shot you fired from your N-Strike Elite Retaliator back in 2012, you knew the "75 Foot Elite Ranges" weren't what you were expecting.  We eventually figured out that most of those range claims meant more like ~50 feet parallel to ground, which was still an improvement over the original N-Strike range that we were used to at the time.  However, it seems like those big bold claims on the box are starting to make even less sense.

Take the N-Strike Elite Crossbolt Blaster for instance.  Much like other recent Nerf blasters, it's got a staggering 90ft range claim.  If you take a look at the video, that dart trajectory takes a nose-dive pretty early on.  Looks like standard Elite stuff... but if that's the case, we've now widened the gap between actual ranges and those that are getting printed on the box.

This has been especially true of the "Elite XD" ranges, which I think gets broken down quite well in Drac's PSA about them.  Before the Elite lineup was even realized, we had a taste of "improved" blasters from Nerf with their Dart Tag lineup.  The famed "Blue Trigger" blasters featured upgraded internals and stronger performance, and these happened to start coming out just before the N-Strike Elite stuff hit shelves.  I think a lot of people assumed that since Nerf had legitimately improved the performance on these Dart Tag blasters that it would also be true when the Elite XD stuff started coming out.  In the end, the Elite XD blasters are simply recolors with more convincing box art.  They even come with statistics on the back, like this one from the back of the Demolisher box.  Apparently 73% of the darts should reach ranges between 85 and 96 feet while the rest are "< 85 Feet"... which still doesn't make a lot of sense.  Granted, there's no non-Elite XD counterpart of the Demolisher to prove that it's ranges hadn't improved, but across the board... whether the range is 80, 85, or 90 feet, tests upon tests upon stats upon stats have more than easily proven that they're really not any better than the standard Elite ranges we've come to expect in the last few years or so.

So why did Nerf bother posting higher range claims with these recolored blasters?  Because they're simply trying to sell more of the same products by misleading the buyer into thinking that "Well, not only am I getting a cooler color, but it'll also shoot better than the one I've already bought".  Whereas before, with the recolors they used to do, recolored blasters were just a one-trick pony.  Same blaster with different colors.  They're banking on the fact that there's an advantage to buying the "Elite XD" products by posting range claims and statistics.  Not only that, but the majority of these XD-ified blasters are done up in white.  Remember how well the Whiteout Series did?  So does the marketing team at Hasbro.  It's a win-win if you think you're getting a Whiteout-esque looking blaster that is more powerful than the ones already in your arsenal.

Then there's another piece to these ranges... and that comes in the form of the "N-Strike" label return, signifying worsening ranges.  Take the Nerf Sharpfire for instance.  Brand-new blaster, no Elite logo, no range claims.  This blaster looks like it could have some pretty serious range.  It's essentially performing like the old N-Strike blasters were... which is odd considering that after several years of Elite ranges... we sort of expect everything to at least clear the 30 foot mark.  My friends at Basic Nerf have proven this to have pretty dismal ranges.  There's also the Slingstrike which, while it apparently has better performance than the Sharpfire, it's still not going to hold up against other current blaster ranges.

The question then is why the mix?  On the one hand, Nerf is over-fluffing range claims on their XD lineup that are really just recolored versions of the original designs.  On the other hand, we have new blasters coming out that are going toe-to-toe with old Mavericks and Recons from the original N-Strike lineup.  In the end, it's up to the modding community to improve these blasters, so it's not the end of the world.  It's just a strange time right now for ranges with Nerf.  Now more than ever, it's important to do your research on new blasters to see if the hype really lives up to the claims.  There's an abundance of great resources out there, many of which I have listed in this post.  Especially as far as dart range has been concerned, I've been relying on RandomShadow09 for consistency to see how these blasters really perform, regardless of what the pretty box art says or what the blaster looks like.

1 comment:

  1. A Sharpfire can be beautiful, just get rid of that big hole in the breech, put some brass in and 4" of an Ace spring and you are cooking.