February 4, 2010

A New Objective, Now Within Range

Well, as it may have been noticed, I did not write much in the log after the original entry. This is in part due to having been busy, but mostly because I could not gather anything interesting enough out of what I've been doing that others would care for. As such, I'm taking the log in a new direction: documenting what I learn in order to hopefully reduce the stress on future new capsuleers.

First topic? Range 

Something that confused me about my ship was the range I could shoot stuff at. This is because guns don't have a simple "range". Rather, it is a compound range consisting of Optimal Range, and Accuracy Falloff. This further contributed to my confusion, as projectile weapons are versatile in their falloff. For instance, the Gatling Pulse Laser I has an optimal range of 4000 m, and a falloff of 500 m, as compared to the 125mm Gatling Autocannon I, which has an optimal range of 800 m, but a falloff of 4000 m.

But I should explain what each of these is. The optimal range is the range at which the guns function *best*. They track their target best, are accurate, and do the highest amount of damage at that level. As the distance increases to the optimal + falloff range, the accuracy goes down to about 90% of what it was, and the damage goes down. Past that range, the accuracy falls quickly. On the other side of the spectrum, the tracking gets progressively worse the lower below the optimal range you are toward your target.
Graphically, this is what it means in terms of the laser versus the autocannon:





The colors (Red to Yellow to Green) correspond to the overall approximate DPS by the gun at the range shown. As you can see, each gun has different advantages. The pulse laser is really efficient at almost exactly the 4000 m range, whereas the autocannon is only really accurate at close range, after which it is mediocre at the 4000 m range. This means that in a fight, if the Amarrian ship fielding the pulse lasers could keep a Minmatar ship at 4000 m, it would tear the lightly-armored Minmatar ship to shreds. However, an experienced Minmatar pilot knows how to leverage his ship's fast speed to get up close and personal (with autocannons) or at super range (with artillery), in order to dictate the range of the battle. Take, for example, a comparison between the longest range Tech 2 cruiser guns, laser vs. projectile:


Update: I had used the data for battleship guns instead of cruiser guns for the artillery originally. Oops.

These ranges are also not considering any skills or ship bonuses. A Hurricane battlecruiser with Tech 2 Howitzers, range bonuses, and long range ammo can shoot at 100 km using its falloff. Unfortunately, the insane range of artillery comes at the cost of low firing rate, and hence relatively low DPS. Its shells do do a ton of lump damage (high Alpha), but that's a story for another day.

How to Kill Minmatar Ships 101: slow them down. For example, artillery is useless at short range, so if something fast caught the Hurricane off guard and pinned it down, it would soon experience a lot of pain from shortrange laser scorching once the Harbinger it was shooting caught up.
Hope my little story here was useful. Until next time,

 o7 

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