FromSoftware mercifully spares Armored Core 6's most busted shotgun in latest balance patch, despite community memes

 A mech from Armored Core 6 - specifically, a close-up of its sleek, aerodynamic head - among a dusty ruin.
A mech from Armored Core 6 - specifically, a close-up of its sleek, aerodynamic head - among a dusty ruin.

I am no galaxy-brained Armored Core 6 theorycrafter. Much of my time the game's been spent crafting dumb bumper stickers, cobbling together mechs, and praying at the altar of the pile bunker. But even I've heard of the Zimmerman.

Armored Core 6's latest patch has been raising some eyebrows. Aside from balance tweaks to certain pain-point bosses—Balteus, the Sea Spider, and Cel240—the juicy stuff lies in the weapon buffs. Assault rifles and SMGs like the Ludlow and Turner have received a tuneup—as well as the linear rifle Curtis, which is great news for me since it's one of my go-tos. Most players, however, are wondering how the hell the Zimmerman shotgun came out unscathed.

The Zimmerman is a shotgun you unlock after scrapping the Sea Spider—and it's gnarly. Our friends over at Gamesradar put together a great rundown of why these things are busted, and there's been an onslaught of community memes surrounding them, including a tsundere anime girl with Zimmerman pigtails. Simply put—they slap, and they slap hard.

In Armored Core 6, you can stagger enemy mechs by filling their ACS bar, which makes them vulnerable for a short amount of time. Some weapons even come with a specialised "Direct Hit" stat to capitalise on this window.

The Zimmermans have great impact damage, but moreover they're shotguns. In AC6, how you move is often the difference between life and death. You can avoid a ton of damage just by outrunning your opponent's weapons, though there's a rock, paper, scissors game to play based on mech design—with some options particularly good at swatting lightweight flies.

The Zimmermans fire their whole payload all at once, though, so if you're out of position for even a second, you're getting blasted to high heaven. Here's an example of it in action during a boss fight, courtesy of Reddit user Ragnaroknight.

The one downside to the Zimmermans is their reload time, but you can offset it (as Ragnaroknight does) by using an unlockable OS upgrade which turns your shoulder-mounted weapons into holsters for two additional firearms. This means you can blast with the Zimmermans, switch to something with more sustained fire, then swap back when they're reloaded.

Regardless, I'm genuinely glad FromSoftware isn't taking a nerf-first policy here. It's good design to buff underperforming options instead of scrapping a players' favourite tools. Diablo 4's nerfs in the runup to its latest season are a great example of how this can go terribly, even prompting the devs to swear off doing anything like that ever again. FromSoftware is evening the playing field before it launches artillery at it, which makes for a nice change of pace.