Original text by Qechua
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Gunnery
- 3 Missiles
- 4 Drones
- 5 Other weapons
- 6 Weapon choice
It doesn't matter how much you tank, and how much ewar you throw on a target, at the end of the day, the target needs to be harmed, and eventually destroyed. Your ship has several ways of 'doing some harm' to the enemy, the most obvious of which will be explained below.
Note: You may see reference to the term 'Faction Ammo'. Faction ammo is ammo available from killing npc pirates, or from the Loyalty Point store for mission runners, and delivers increased damage over normal ammo (10, 15 or 20% according to type). Faction ammo can be bought on the market, and is called things like 'Amarr Navy Infrared S' or 'Guristas Scourge Light Missile'.
The most obvious choice when it comes to making big holes in ships, guns (Energy, Projectile and Hybrid) each use 1 high slot and 1 turret hardpoint. All three categories of gun share some common bonds, be it attributes such as tracking speed, optimal range, falloff, or abilities like the target being hit instantly, or that a good recon pilot can tell roughly what guns you are mounting without scanning you.
Energy weapons (Pulse Lasers and Beam Lasers) are the simplest of guns to use, but also in some ways, the most difficult. Energy weapons use a large amount of capacitor to fire and can very quickly reduce your capacitor to 0, crippling your ship, and giving your opponent a shiny paperweight to shoot at. As a result, capacitor management is essential when using energy weapons, and energy weapons are typically limited to Amarr ships which tend to have bonuses which reduce laser capacitor use.
- Quick to change ammo
- Most crystals last forever (Tech 2, Faction and XL crystals do not, all others do)
- Good tracking
- Good optimal range
- Restricted damage types (EM and Thermal)
- High capacitor usage
- Poor falloff
- Pulses and Beams have similar range brackets
Tech 2 Ammo
As with all guns, there are 4 kinds of Tech 2 ammo for energy weapons. 2 for Beam lasers, and 2 for Pulse lasers. Pulse lasers have Conflagration, which does massive damage at the cost of reduced range, increased capacitor use and decreases tracking, and Scorch, which has a long range and good damage but decreased tracking. Beam lasers have the option to use Aurora, with massive range and average damage but at the cost of tracking, and Gleam, which is short range and good damage but have reduced tracking.
Generally Conflagration and Gleam are ignored in favor of Faction ammo. Aurora is used on sniping setups, and Scorch is carried when a quick range boost is needed.
Projectile weapons (Autocannons and Artillery) are a weapon type favored by many, due to the fact they do not use any capacitor to fire. Additionally projectiles are the only turrets that can select their damage type. Different types of projectile ammo do different distributions of damage. For example EMP includes a lot of EM damage, while phased plasma is thermal and kinetic, and fusion is mostly explosive. The flip side of this is that projectile weapons have a quite low base damage and rely heavily on a ship's bonuses to do decent damage. Projectile weapons are found most often on Minmatar ships although they're often also used to fill in empty turret slots on ships that don't get bonuses to any particular turret type.
- (Limited) choice of damage type
- No capacitor used to fire
- Flexible range due to falloff with autocannons
- Low fitting requirements (for autocannons)
- Good damage per shot (for artillery) (Also called "high volley damage" or high "alpha damage")
- Low damage over time
- Poor tracking (for artillery)
- Relatively low optimal range
Tech 2 Ammo
Autocannons use Barrage, which has long range (due to a falloff increase) and good damage at the cost of decreased tracking, and Hail with a short range and excellent damage but decreases tracking. Artillery use Quake, which reduces range and increases damage but decreases tracking. Tremor is also available to artillery, which has a long range and average damage but decreases tracking.
Hybrid weapons (blasters and railguns) are a combination of energy weapons and projectiles, in that they use both ammunition and capacitor energy to fire. Hybrid weapons are at the extremes of the weapon charts, with Blasters doing the most damage of any weapon, and Railguns having the longest range. The trade-off to this is that hybrids are limited to doing kinetic and thermal damage. Additionally hybrids often have tough fitting requirements (especially on the most powerful blasters). Both Caldari and Gallente ships get bonuses to hybrid weapons, with the Caldari bonuses tending to favor railguns and Gallente weapons favoring blasters.
- Excellent damage (for Blasters)
- Excellent range (for Railguns)
- Average to good tracking
- Uses capacitor and ammunition
- Very limited range (Blasters)
- Restricted damage types (Kinetic and Thermal)
Tech 2 Ammo
Blasters use Null, which increases range and has good damage but decreases tracking, and Void, with a short range and excellent damage but decreases tracking and uses more capacitor. Railguns can use Javelin with its short range and good damage at the cost of decreased tracking, and Spike which has a long range and average damage but decreases tracking.
Missiles differ from guns in several areas, giving them a different set of advantages and disadvantages. Missiles are fired from launchers (which require 1 high slot and 1 launcher hardpoint), and are split into long range, low damage missiles (Light, Heavy, Cruise) and shorter range, higher damage missiles (Rocket, Heavy Assault, Torpedo).
Missiles are most commonly found on many Caldari ships, quite a few Minmatar ships and some Amarr and Gallente tech 2, or faction ships.
- Damage type can be chosen, by switching between the four missile types
- It only matters how big and how fast your target is moving, not their actual tracking
- High damage per volley
- Missiles do delayed damage, due to their flight time
- Low damage over time (except torpedoes)
- Missiles can be outrun or trivialized by a combination of speed and size
Tech 2 Ammo
Rockets, Heavy Assault Missiles and Torpedoes all share the same missile variants; Javelin, which has a higher speed and therefore a longer range at the cost of lower damage and a decrease in ship velocity, and Rage, with high damage at the cost of reduced explosion velocity, increased explosion radius, lower missile speed as well as an increase in the ships signature radius. Light, Heavy and Cruise Missiles also share variants, namely Fury with increased damage and explosion velocity but a shorter range, increased explosion radius and an increased ship signature radius, and Precision which has increased explosion velocity and decreased explosion radius but a low range, low damage and decreases ship velocity.
Drones are little craft controlled by a pilot and supplement the ship in some way, be it additional firepower, remote repair of others or electronic warfare. Drones really begin to become a factor to cruisers and above (as well as some tech 2 frigates), especially on the Arbitrator and Vexor.
Drones are stored in the drone bay of a ship. They are found on all races' ships, but many Gallente and some Amarr ships get bonuses to their use.
- Virtually immune to electronic warfare
- Limited ability to act independently
- Can be effective against small ships when used by large ships
- Can be destroyed
- Can get left behind in a rapid withdrawl
Basic drones. They fly out, they do damage to the target. Of all the drone types, the Thermal ones (Hobgoblin, Hammerhead, Ogre) do the most damage, the Explosive ones (Warrior, Valkyrie, Berserker) are the fastest, the Kinetic ones (Hornet, Vespa, Wasp) have the best hitpoints and the EM ones (Acolyte, Infiltrator and Praetor) are the cheapest. Explosive drones tend to be the most popular in PvP (especially Warrior II's, sometimes the only drones fast enough to damage very fast targets); with thermal drones come in a close second. Kinetic and EM drones are usually not worth using in PvP unless you really need that specific damage type.
A variant of combat drones, sentry drones have a much larger range than normal drones (between 20 and 80Km drone dependent), but fairly low tracking. They are also immobile once launched, effectively stopping the ship which launched them as well, but in longer battles it can make sense to drop sentry drones and move away from them, returning to pick them up when the fight is over. They are effectively player controlled sentry guns, with a good range, good damage and good hitpoints, and allow medium snipers to compliment their firepower nicely.
Much like a remote repairer, logistics drones repair the shield or armour (drone dependant) of the target. They cannot, however, repair themselves (although they can repair each other), and they cannot repair the ship which launched them. They are often not worth using over combat drones unless used in conjunction with other remote repair.
Energy Neutralizer drones
Like a mini neut, these drones suck the targets capacitor into thin air. Individually, they are not particularly powerful, but in groups of 5 they are equivalent to a Neutralizer of their size (small for light drones, medium for medium drones, large for heavy drones). Still though, they don't really make up for the damage output you lose from not using combat drones.
Electronic Warfare drones
Available in varying sizes, EWar drones replicate the effects of the Electronic Warfare carried by ships (ECM, Sensor Dampeners, Tracking Disruptors, Target Painters and Stasis Webifiers). While most are not particularly useful due to stacking penalties, ECM drones are an excellent way of getting out of a bad situation, plus can be very good while flying solo or in small gangs.
In for completeness. That, and you never know where you will end up on an Agony class!
Not strictly drones, but basically the same thing, fighters are large drones deployed by Carriers and Motherships. They are used like drones, except they have additional abilities. Firstly, they can be delegated to people in the same system (and gang) as the carrier pilot, allowing a pilot to use them (even if the craft cannot normally deploy drones, but the player receiving them must have a high enough drones skill to cover the number of fighters). Secondly, they can follow a target around a system, meaning that your victim needs to leave the system in order to escape. Fighters do a lot more damage than regular combat drones and have about the same hp as an un-tanked cruiser, but are ineffective against small ships so they are mainly used against battlecruisers and larger. Fighters cost about 15 million isk apiece and so, when isolated from a carrier can be killed off quite easily to hurt the carrier pilot's wallet.
In Basic, you were taught the dangers of smartbombs, but in truth they are not that powerful. Smalls and mediums simply don't do enough damage and larges still have a big range limitation. Having said that, they are useful for anti-drone duty on dedicated ships, and, with timing and a large does of luck, can take down a missile (albeit at huge energy cost).
Battleships with 8 high slots are generally used for smartbombing battleships.
Forgot to pack a point? Bumping is the 'art' of simply ramming as much mass as possible, as fast as possible into a target to change its course and speed. A useful tactic in several instances, it is mainly used to move people away from a station or gate in order to destroy or disable them.
Since the speed nerf bumping isn't nearly as powerful as it used to be, but can still be effective.
Nosferatu (Nos) and Energy Neutralizers (Neut) are capacitor warfare weapons, draining away the targets capacitor in different ways. Neutralizers are easy, they use some of your capacitor to take away some of the targets capacitor on a 1-to-1 ratio (improved by skills and equipment). Heavy neuts are incredibly dangerous to interceptors, with 1 of them capable of destroying the entire capacitor (thus rendering the interceptor very vulnerable).
Nosferatu are more complex. They take a small amount of the targets capacitor and adds it to yours, as long as your capacitor percentage is lower than the targets. It is therefore beneficial, if you mount multiple Nosferatu, to split onto different targets, and keep your cap as low as possible to maximise capacitor income.
Nosferatu and Neutralizers require 1 high slot. They are found on a large amount of ships, but are especially dangerous on the Sentinel, Curse, and Pilgrim.
Neuts play a very important role in killing capital ships, as they can keep a cap from being able to tank a very large fleet.
When it comes to selecting weapons for your shiny new ship, it can be a lot more complex than most people think. Yes, some craft are pretty simple, such as pure combat ships, which simply reduce it to 'Long range or Short Range'. However, some ships require more thought. The Vexor, for instance, has ship bonusses to medium hybrids and drones, yet is commonly fitted with small blasters and drones so as to include a 1600mm plate as a tank. In addition, electronic warfare ships may mount different weapons (or no weapons at all). The Celestis I've recently used, while having a bonus to medium hybrids, has heavy launchers as its weapons, again to make way for the 1600mm plate.
It's all about thinking what you want the ship to achieve. An Armageddon set up to do maximum damage to the enemy would be best suited with 7 Mega Pulse lasers, a Nosferatu and 5 Heavy Drones. An Abaddon set up as a bait ship, however, may ignore the large energy bonus to mount 8 large autocannons (for the no cap use), and concentrate on a big tank. An Arazu which is going hunting for Guristas or Serpentis ratters wants to maximise EM and Explosive damage, while maintaining range (using its sensor dampeners as the tank), so will use Explosive drones. A Blackbird excels at long range jamming, so mounting assault launchers loaded with precision light missiles to scare away interceptors will probably be better than heavy launchers and a compromised tank. A Thorax out hunting solo will almost certainly mount medium blasters, but may go for ECM drones over combat drones, so as to make a getaway if needed and reduce incoming damage.
You can also fit to common perceptions. The Deimos is widely considered an all out blaster boat, so going for a speed tank, medium railguns and a pair of web drones will completely throw the opponent off from the start, giving you a huge advantage and still makes good use of the ship bonusses. Thinking even slightly outside the 'cookie cutter' setups and doing some math (or getting EFT to do the math for you!) can grant you a huge advantage at the start of an engagement, be it solo or gang, and with good piloting, you can hold that advantage all the way through.