Picture for clarity. Grammar.
The problem with incinerator is that it is impossible to effectively hit a target with it. And I don't mean a predator that is leaping around your back all the time with the intention of buttsex - try it with a moving monkit instead. Especially against one of those monkits that move sideways until they get in melee range of you, try shooting at it while you're standing still. I dare you to kill that monkit with incinerator before it gets close enough to punch you in the face. At most times it's even better to have the starting bow(or any other weapon for that matter) at any given point in the game. Incinerator doesn't really feel like a close-ranged AOE weapon - which it should be.
My suggestion is to slightly remake it:
Totally not ms paint
Voila! More streams. Having 1 extra stream of fire might not be enough to have any noticeable impact, but 3 total might just do the trick. Having 3 total streams of flames will finally make it feel like a true close-ranged AOE weapon. It will finally be possible to actually hit something with it! It might even be too easy, so leaving it at that might be a bit overpowered as a free weapon. Therefore it can be nerfed in other areas so it can excel freely in close range:
- Make it so the damage from all three streams doesn't stack onto one target simultaneously. (Mandatory)
- Ammo nerf. (10-15% . We won't need as much ammo, since it is very close range and deals about the same damage as flux. Also free. )
- Slight projectile speed nerf. (might not need this depending on how it works live)
Making incinerator have more range and damage is the wrong approach, I think. Counting pure DPS, incinerator is about the same as flux. However, trying to make it similar to flux (more projectile speed, more range, more AOE, more DPS...etc.) would not solve the problem, it would just become a cheaper version of flux (that would probably be even better than flux itself).
Making incinerator have more unique characteristics as a weapon is a lot more desirable. Per the suggestion stated above, it would make incinerator a lot more powerful close range. How powerful? Quite a bit, but it would still be close range.
- Scattergun has it's place as a free low-mid ranged, high potential damage weapon that deals it's damage instantly and has a lot of AOE. However, it does less damage the farther away the target is, because of bullets scattering, reload.
- Discharger has it's place as a free mid ranged, mid-high potential damage weapon and deals it's damage instantly. However, it is a bit tricky to use, requires good aim, is single target, and deals no damage if the target is out of range, reload.
How I would like to see incinerator:
-Incinerator has it's place as a free low ranged, mid-high DPS weapon, deals it's damage continuously and has a lot of AOE. However, it's projectiles are slow, it has short range, low ammo(after ammo is nerfed by say 10%).
The thing is, you can buff incinerator AOE by adding more streams without the fear of it becoming overpowered. The projectiles travel relatively slowly (to your beast enemies), and you would still have to get really close to your target to dish out any damage at all. But if somebody wants to pick a fight with you in melee range (filthy stalkers *grr) you will have a fighting chance when the commander decides to rush chem. However, it will still be mostly ineffective as the game goes into it's later stages, but then again - free weapons shouldn't be your go-to choice after Tier 2.