Raven's assault rifles are some of the best weapons in the game, but they also take much more skill than some of the other PMCs. Assault rifles in general don't get very much press time on the forums, which is why they aren't used as much as they should be. Just about all unlockable ARs have some sort of niche. Whereas SVER's ARs rely more on spraying and pure power than Raven's, Raven ARs are all about precision and rate of fire.
In general, Raven's ARs have 3 main advantages over those of Valor and SVER.
1. Laser Guns. Raven ARs with no upgrades in the skill tree are generally the most stable guns in the game. With the upgrades, Raven's ARs have almost no recoil or bullet spread, which greatly benefits those with good aim.
2. High rate of fire. Raven's ARs have generally high rates of fire, with the Gotha Elite having the highest fire rate in the game. This high rate of fire helps to clear rooms at close range because you can get more bullets fired more quickly than SVER.\
3. High reload speed. This balances the only negative coming from the high rate of fire. Raven's guns reload quickly, so you shouldn't have any trouble reloading in the midst of combat.
Now on to the weapons, and the build. ANY raven AR build will inevitably be focused around the ATAC 2000 (available at level 24) and the Gotha Elite (level 31 DLC), with maybe one or two classes with the R-553. NEVER use the Hollis A-3 unless you are trying to fit a repair kit onto a class.
Loadout cost: 5c RoF: medium high damage: extremely low stability: medium-high clip size: 30
The Hollis A3 should only be used as a stopgap at low levels. It is quite possibly the worst primary weapon in the game. The only reason you would use the Hollis A3 is if you need to fit a repair kit on a class. Otherwise, the Hollis does not exist.
Loadout cost: 7c RoF: high Damage: medium-low stability: high clip size: 30
The ATAC 2000 is possibly the best all-around weapon in the game. It boasts excellent accuracy, rate of fire, and stability, all of which much make up for the low damage per bullet. Also, since the ATAC comes with a built-in foregrip, users do not have to buy one from the Supply depot, so they can build a lot of loadouts they couldn't do with any other T2 AR. Unfortunately, the high rate of fire and low damage per bullet means that ATAC users must have good aim to succeed.
Gotha Elite (Comes with Escalation map pack)
Loadout Cost: 6c RoF: Highest in Game damage: low stability: medium-high clip size: 45
The Gotha is a great alternative to the ATAC for those who prefer to play up close. The Gotha's 45 round magazine makes it suitable for CQC spraying, whereas the ATAC requires precision up close. Unfortunately, the Gotha falls short to the ATAC in that it does not come with a built in foregrip, so you'll have to buy one from the Supply Depot and then equip it.
Loadout Cost: 8c RoF: Medium-high damage: medium-high stability: medium-low clip size: 25
The R-553 is a Raven gun, but at heart it belongs to SVER. It trades Raven's stability for SVER's high damage, and by and large does a good job of it. Unfortunately, this gun has a small clip that limits it at all but medium to long ranges. However, it is a great squad support weapon.
Suggested Skill Tree Builds
In general, a medkit with the ability to revive is always necessary. Then, you'll want to get most of the skills in the AR tree that affect ARs. After that, whatever else you buy is entirely dependant on what your playstyle is. The beauty of using ARs is that they do not tie you down to a specific build- you can buy whatever you think will help you succeed. You can use the engineering tree to get increased repair speed and improved explosives. You can get increased health. Or, you can go for increased knife damage and speed. The choice is all yours!
ATAC 2000: GL, reflex sight
This class is a good all around class, but it leans more towards blowing things up.
ATAC 2000: foregrip, reflex/4x sight, silencer
flashbang/poison gas grenade
This class relies more upon stealth and misdirection than the above class. There is a 1c gap in the listed set, which allows you to exchange your reflex sight for a 4x sight.
3. Repair Kit
Gotha Elite: foregrip, silencer, reflex/4x sight OR ATAC 2000:foregrip, reflex, silencer
light/llight + armor
This class is designed to give you some repair ability without having to use the Hollis A3. It also has a 1c gap allowing you to use either reflex or 4x sights. An ATAC may also be subsituted with identical attachments to allow the use of light + armor or an acoustic locator- however, an ATAC must carry a reflex sight to do this.
Gotha Elite: GL, reflex sight
medium armor/medium +armor
This class is designed to utilize the Gotha Elite's excellent CQC abilities. To clear a room, simply toss in a flashbang, and follow it in with automatic fire. If you find that the room is more crowded than you expected, pull out your GL for an easy +10 or more.You can use a PDW to help you finish off the last red dot if you run out of ammo; or you can carry a regular pistol and use medium +armor
5. Squad Support
R-553: bipod/foregrip, 4x sight OPTIONAL silencer
PDW OPTIONAL silencer
smoke grenade/acoustic locator OR BOTH
This class by far has the greatest flexibility of any of the classes listed. With this class, you can modify it to suit whatever your needs happen to be with a 5th class. Need a sniping class? Toss on the bipod and the 4x, grap a PDW, and start hunting. Want to be a designated marksman? Put on the foregrip and the 4x and take out enemy snipers.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the classes above are sample classes. If you don't like any one of the classes, drop it and replace it with something more to your liking. Feel free to mess around and try to find the best class for your style.
Thanks for reading this guide, please comment on anything I screwed up. I'll be back later this week with a guide to using ARs with Valor.