RotGtIE in in this thread and Comassion in in this thread have both commented on how the machinegun is the de-facto choice of weapon for a solider due to a relatively low AP cost, a high rate of fire and an acceptable level of accuracy (given the no. of shots) with the weapon. The issue with having a de-facto weapon in alpha is that game features are harder to test fully if the best choice for the player is to equip all his soliders with the same weapon. This thread therefore proposes to suggest tweaks to ballistic weapons within the framework of the existing alpha, to enable all weapons to be fairly tested.
So, without further ado. Having read Comassion and RotGtIE, I would propose the following changes to the machinegun. Increasing the AP cost to 45, while reducing the no. of shots to 4
The average AP of a corporal is between 55-61. The current AP cost of a machinegun is 25, so a machinegunner can get two bursts of 5 shots off with some change left over to move a little if necessary. It also has one of the higher suppression rates, and despite its low accuracy modifer, the sheer no. of shots almost guarantees a hit regardless of accuracy. Therefore, by increasing the AP cost to 45, the machinegunner has a between 10-15 AP to get into position (2-4 tile steps), but can only get one burst off regardless. It also "future proofs" the weapon, as the next time a machinegunner can get another burst off is when they get to 90 AP! By removing one shot from the burst, the overall accuracy of the weapon is also slightly reduced, as there are fewer chances for the machinegunner to hit a target, so a player is more likely to use a machinegunner to suppress a target than he is to kill it.
However in doing this a machinegunner becomes vulnerable to suppression. With a 50% drop in AP, machinegunners in general cannot return fire the turn they are suppressed. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? I'm not certain.
If you're not using Quartermasters weapon editor, look for weapon.machinegun and replace the BurstFire line with: <BurstFire ap="45" accuracy="35" sound="Weapon Machinegun Burst" shotCount="4" suppressionValue="50" suppressionRadius="5" />