Buffs for Medium Long-Range Weapons

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I personally can't wait till Star Citizen
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MS Paint for the win
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You forget something in your analysis about hacs:They are slow. A lot. Base speed is inferior to T3 BCs for some of them. Yes, cruisers slower than BCs. (speaking without any modules). It makes them ill suited for kitting, since bigger counterparts with more damage have the same speed (or more).If hacs had at least the same speed T1 cruisers post up have, they may become viable. (still hard to compete with the new navy cruisers for kitting, the navy omen is clearly better than a zealot for that).
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The comparisons are bad and cherry picked niche situations. A rail Thorax might be competitive against a Talos with Null, but the comparable damage output is a greater function of the Talos having worse Optimal+Falloff than the Thorax, rather than the Thorax tracking better.. And the cost advantage and noob friendliness gets lost when you add in the required fitting implants etc. Those damage graphs look decent, but when you throw in Loki boosts that are everywhere, medium guns don't hit anything anymore.What about Beams anyways? It's all fine and dandy that you get to fit 250mm rails on a Thorax pretty easily, but good luck coming up with a remotely usable fit that has even an MWD and Heavy Beams on any T1 Amarr hulls. An Omen with an MWD and Heavy Beams shooting Multi that has Amarr Cruiser 4 and Controlled Bursts 4 struggles with cap as much as an Abaddon does, nevermind trying to use Beams on a hull without a cap usage bonus like the Nomen, Maller, or Navy Augoror. So much for LR energy weapons being a low-SP entry point. If you don't believe me on this, fit up some non-Zealot Beam setups on sisi with a 4/4 toon and you'll see just how frustrating it is.It would have been nice to have seen a tracking buff with a minor dmg buff rather than the tracking nerf. The tracking nerf just exacerbates their overlap with Tier 3 BCs. The Eagle vs Oracle comparison is funny because it shows that medium rails need a double optimal range bonus to compete with large short range guns with t2 ranged ammo. When you get past 70km, your Optimal+Falloff start to matter more than your tracking does anyways, which is why Large guns will always win the damage application battle at range.With LRHACs lacking the speed or agility to dictate a range or transversal advantage over Tier 3s, there will be no point in using them. The biggest weakness of med LR guns at least in Rails and Beams is their inability to track when using close range ammo due to the relatively short optimal+falloffs they have on unbonused hulls.
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Except without a cap bonus to guns, the Nomen caps out when trying to kite even with a cap booster, better hope you have perfect cap skills and controlled burst V.Cap booster 200s don't cut it so you need navy 400s, making your lasers more expensive to fire and more likely to run out of (cap) charges to fire our guns than ships that use traditional ammo.
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Honestly, I don't think I'd understand those graphs either way.
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What kind of answer is that, "everyone is shit, so we should accept shit as the norm".
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It's literally explained directly above the chart. Even if the axes are labeled you have to read the explanation to know what the contours are
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I'm surprised people are whining about the lack of labels on the axes when a legend for the contours is more necessary as the exact values are not as easily intuited (I.e you have to read the article anyways)
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I made the graphs, I couldn't get labels on 'em due to :mathematica:. I tried, but given lack of labels I stuck to as expressive captions as I could.Y is always distance (KM), X is always speed (km/s).
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The return of the BADHAC?
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Is that EVE Fitting Tool in the main screenshot or what is that?
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whats wrong with photoshoping some labels in?
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Actually, reading the article only tells you what the shades mean, not what the numbers on the graph indicate. My currency inference ATM is that it's transversal velocity (in hundreds of m/s) on the X axis with distance (in km) on the Y axis. However, since these aren't labeled with units it impossible to be certain. Whenever you write any technical piece it's vital to always label your figures and place units on your graphs.
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I still don't see why I should use beams instead of pulses. Kiting at range isn't an option with the slowhacs as long as BC do the job better at higher speed and higher damage. If I take a look at the numbers and the situations I'd use my hacs, I'd rather go for a zealot with pulses or t1 cruisers. MWD on the hac is still dangerous due to loss of sig advantage even with the boni, I'd rather see an ab bonus - plus the issue to use a decent fitting that won't kill the tank or gank to fit the mwd.Beams suck and won't work unless CCP will take a look into their cap/pg usage. And the examples ccp rise supplied are very limited to their environments, if we take a look into the role the hac should fulfill and what their prey/enemies are, we could find some other things to tweak to make them work - especially in comparison to their way cheaper t1 bros.P.S.: CCP please use useful skill requirements for hacs, not energy grid upgrades ;)
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I see you skipped the sentence that said "Below are contour plots, with sections representing different percentage changes in damage given a certain transversal speed (in km/s) and distance." Although distance units aren't given, it's obviously km since that's standard.
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No, the tracking is significant. Below about 30km (the peak of the talos curve), the Talos can't hit well due to tracking. At 30km (which is, yes, into first falloff), it can hit, but the falloff means it can't apply damage as well. Thus, the total DPS *curve* looks the same, even if the potential DPS on a stationary target is very different. The Thorax is also suffering from the same problem (a curve where tracking isn't an issue is straight all the way from 0 to optimal), but at 30km it applies a higher percentage of its damage anyways.And yeah, beams will still have issues. I'm aware of that, didn't quite get it in, and have talked about it.Re tracking buff, that was my first thought as well. I didn't show comparisons, but it turns out it already tracks ridiculously well as is on TQ if you toss some tracking mods on. You could have medium LR weapons which out-track medium SR weapons and out DPS them as well.
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Pyfa.

As a part of the changes coming in Odyssey 1.1, CCP has announced that they are adjusting all medium long-range (LR) weapons. This change coincides with the long-awaited HAC rebalance, and the two changes are intended to complement each other. Since the introduction of the attack battlecruiser, medium long-range weapons have not found much use as a viable weapon platform.

At first glance, the anemic DPS of medium LR platforms has been corrected. A rail Thorax used to max out at around 317 DPS; now it can put out 533. However, when CCP giveth, CCP also taketh away. Medium gun tracking has been slightly nerfed to compensate for the damage increase. This nerf is a bone of contention in the forum thread, and was a focus of CSM discussions when the change was put in front of us.

Here's how the buff actually shakes out in graph form. Below are contour plots, with sections representing different percentage changes in damage given a certain transversal speed (in km/s) and distance. To make these plots, I assumed that the guns were firing their close range ammo (Antimatter, EMP, and Multifrequency) and had no tracking enhancements other than all V skills. The target is an afterburning Thorax with a max speed of 0.85 km/s and a sig radius of 120, just under the guns' 125.

new guns vs old guns

From left to right are rails, artillery, and beams, compared versus their previous versions. The dark area is a 0% increase or nerf, the light purple is a <5% buff, the next-lightest area is a 5-15% buff, and the lightest area is a 15+% buff (the middle one, artillery, only has a <15% buff overall). Medium railguns received the largest bonus, with a good sized region in which they're 15% better than previously. Medium artillery received the smallest buff, which is fair given that they saw some limited use before the change. Beams fall somewhere in between.

While anemic DPS has always been a problem for the guns, they also face an overlap with tech II short range weapons, blaster Taloses, and attack battlecruisers wielding either long range weapons (Naga, Tornado) or short-range ones (pulse Oracles). 

Point Range Kiting

Point range skirmishing consists of fighting at ranges between about 20 and 40 km, with the sweet spot right between 20 and 30. Right now, you can best do this in an MWD Talos loading Null ammo. Pulse Zealots also operate in this range, although they have less kite than the MWDing Talos. Medium long-range weapons hold some promise for this area as a low-SP entry point or as a cheap counter to Talwar blobs whose sig would frustrate a large-gunned attack BC.

Here's a mid-SP Thorax fit designed for skirmishing in that range. It's a tight fit - with Ali's skills (AWU IV, reasonable support), it still requires Genolutions, an EG-602 and a MACR. After the buff, it will do 314 DPS without drones when hitting full-on (swapping to tech II weapons increases this, but also pushes it into AWU V territory).

[Thorax, noob skirmy]

Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Damage Control II
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction

250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I

Warrior II x5

Genolution Core Augmentation CA-1
Genolution Core Augmentation CA-2
Inherent Implants 'Squire' Engineering EG-602

Here's its DPS (in contour and in "EFT" form for transversal ~= half of target max velocity) applied to three potential targets: a Guardian in an AHAC gang, a Talwar, and itself. 

Left to right: DPS vs. Guardian, Talwar, and skirmish Thorax.

On all three targets it performs acceptably, with the medium railgun buff helping the Thorax most right where it wants to apply damage. Compared to Zealots, the skirmish Thorax fares poorly, though. The extra SP and isk investment nets you roughly a 2x performance increase over the t1 option. However, the skirmish Thorax performs about as well as a Talos against both low-sig targets at a fraction of the price and skill points:

EFT style DPS graphs for the Thorax (blue) and pulse Zealot (red). The pulse Zealot wins.

The same graphs, this time for the Talos. A rail Thorax is a much stronger competitor for the Talos at small sigs.

The return of LRHACs?

Swap the tracking bonus for a range bonus like the ones on the Zealot, Muninn, or Eagle and you get a ship that can go reasonably fast, tank reasonably well, and apply damage at range even to rather small targets. Their niche is threatened by the attack battlecruisers, most notably the pulse Oracle. The Oracle's tank is not bad and despite Scorch tracking reduction, pulses are still "short range" weapons.

Comparing just the Eagle to the pulse Oracle, there are upsides and downsides. At reasonably far range and moderate transversal, you're applying a good deal more damage due to the superior signature resolution.

Obviously, this advantage disappears if your target is a large thing or not moving very fast. For DPS on large and/or stationary things, nothing will beat an Oracle setup. Is the performance tradeoff worth it? That depends on the applications, and several others have made more intelligent comments on the fate of post-rebalance HACs.

We'll see where the doctrines shake out; for now, this is a much-needed buff to a long-neglected weapons system. Maybe we can get missiles sometime too?

CSM8 Vice-Secretary, @ali_of_space, TMC editor. I play EVE, LoL, and miscellaneous other games.