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A ranged weapon is, by definition, any weapon that can be thrown or consumes Ammunition to attack at a range. They are generally used to attack Monsters without the player having to expose themselves to melee damage.
Ranged Weapons deal ranged damage to enemies, the magnitude of which is determined both by their own damage stat and the damage stat of any ammunition the weapon is using. For example, an arrow with 6 base Damage fired with a bow with 10 base damage will result in a total base damage of 16. In addition, attack speed bonuses for ranged weapons increase the speed of the projectiles, not the weapon's rate of fire.
Ammunition will be automatically used when attacking, and when one stack is depleted, the next one will be used, if additional stacks are available. If more than one stack of ammunition is in the inventory, the ammunition will be used in the following order:
- Ammunition in the "Ammo" slots of the inventory will take precedence, top to bottom.
- If there is no suitable ammunition in the Ammo slots, ammunition in the inventory will be used, left to right and top to bottom (including those in the Hotbar).
The total number of available ammunition for a weapon can be seen in the corner of the weapon's icon on the Hotbar.
- Main article: Bows
Bows are ranged weapons that fire Arrows. Arrows fired from Bows are affected by gravity and travel in an arc, so it is necessary to aim slightly above the target when firing from afar. All arrows (with the exception of Jester's Arrows, Hellfire Arrows and Vulcan Bolts) have a chance to drop themselves after hitting a target or a surface, allowing them to be collected and reused. They make good weapons for starters, since arrows can be easily found in Chests or Pots, or crafted with Wood and Stone.
- Main article: Repeaters
Repeaters are an improvement over bows introduced in 1.1, crafted with minerals found in hardmode. They fire at a better rate, range and projectile speed when compared with bows, and are capable of auto-fire by holding down the mouse button.
- Main article: Guns
Guns are generally fast-firing weapons that use Bullets for firing. Several guns (or their components) can be bought from the Arms Dealer, as well as a few kinds of bullets. Unlike arrows, bullets fired cannot be recovered, although some guns (e.g., the Shotgun) fire several shots with only one bullet, and some (e.g., the Megashark) have a chance to fire without using a bullet.
- Main article: Thrown Weapons
Thrown Weapons are weapons that, as the name suggests, are thrown by hand. Though weak, they are easily accessible and have a better chance to be reusable compared to arrows, with the exception of Grenades (as they explode in impact). Most can pierce multiple enemies, making them useful against crowds at medium range. Spiky Balls roll for a while and stop, but they cannot be picked back up, damaging and slowing enemies that walk over them instead.
Unique Ranged Weapons
There are many unique ranged weapons available, most of which fall under the category of guns or a variant thereof. Some of these include:
- The Sandgun uses Sand as ammo, and its shots drop down and turn into blocks that can be mined back upon collision with blocks and enemies. However, it is often banned for use on servers due to the fact that its use is messy and lends itself to griefing.
- The Blowpipe is a slow, weak ranged weapon that fires Seeds, which can only be obtained by cutting grass while the blowpipe is in the inventory, and Poison Darts.
- The Blowgun is very similar to the Blowpipe, but has much higher damage. It also allows the player to collect Seeds.
- The Flamethrower and its upgraded form the Elf Melter are guns that use Gel as ammo and shoot a continuous short-ranged burst of fire.
- The Star Cannon uses Fallen Stars for ammunition, which have a very large hit box, has a quick rate of fire, and pierces multiple enemies. Its primary drawback is the relatively sparse availability of ammunition.
- Although Flails, Boomerangs and Light Discs allow the player to attack enemies from afar, they deal melee damage, and are therefore not considered true ranged weapons.
- The Space Gun and Laser Rifle are Magic-based weapons, despite having the appearance and function of guns.
- Even though the Magic Dagger is used just like a thrown weapon, it uses mana rather than being consumed on use, and is thus a Magic weapon.