Friday, September 23, 2011

Turret Talk Two

The idea of firing real ammunition instead of Simulated Destruction charges was both terrible and exciting.  It was one thing to use live ammunition against the outside hull of the Starship, but shooting live rounds actually inside the ship would mean damage on a grand scale!  There would be an enormous amount of exciting repair work to look forward to!
--Douglas Adams

Yesterday's post saw a comment from one of my readers that raised some interesting points.  I do so love comments, and instead of trying to reply to a somewhat complicated matter within the comments of that post, I decided to turn my response into an entire post of its own.  So fasten your seat belt and get ready for some more turret talk.

Instead of forcing you to head to yesterday's comment section, I'll repost foksieloy's comment here, I've removed the line breaks to save some space, but otherwise the comment remains unedited.
You didn't account for one thing though. Ammo. In order to do same damage, blasters need to use antimatter while ACs use fusion while Lasers use multifreq. All those ammos have -50% optimal. This hurts blasters much more than it does auto-cannons, reducing their effective DPS more. It hurts lasers to the point of breaking. Only reason why lasers continue to work is T2 ammo, which turns them into huge optimal melters. Barrage is just beautifull as well. Null comes short. Blasters would be much much better weapons systems if only null would be boosted, even without changing much else!
Before I get to the business of responding to the comment itself, I want to explore two concepts that I think are important to understanding a bit about the post from yesterday as well as understanding some of what I'll be discussing today.  The concepts are things not directly related to the world of internet spaceships, which I know can be scary for some of you, so feel free to skip ahead if you're not interested.

Not Important Internet Spaceship Business

The first thing I want to talk about, proving I did pay attention to my economics professor, is ceteris paribus.  Ceteris paribus is a latin phrase roughly translated as "all other things being equal" and is commonly used to explore cause and effect in economics.  The concept is useful in economics because of the often complex nature of topics being discussed and the likelihood that when looking at two obviously related points of data, that everyone understands you're simplifying the matter down to just what's being discussed and ignoring other outside influences.

The other thing I want to talk about, proving I did pay attention to my statistics professor, is the concept of testing hypotheses suggested by the data.  Feel free to google that phrase if you'd like to do a little light reading on the subject, but what's important to understand is that if you form a hypothesis based on some data, and then you use that same data as proof of your hypothesis, you're doing it wrong.  In other words, if data seems to indicate a certain hypothesis is true, it's important that you gather new data to confirm it rather than going back to the data that suggested it in the first place, lest you run headlong into some circular reasoning.  (Editors Note: The EVE FNG did not in fact take all of his college classes simply to assist in writing this blog, despite all evidence to the contrary.[1])

Important Internet Spaceship Business

Now that that's out of the way, back to the internet spaceship game.  The first point brought up in the comment was that I "didn't account for...Ammo."  This would seem to imply that I somehow forgot that guns shoot things in EVE, but I assure you this isn't the case.  The spreadsheet that I uploaded yesterday was actually just one of three sheets that I had in that workbook.  The first was the raw data, the second was what you saw, and the third included additional columns for both short and long range ammo types.  The reason I left it out of my final analysis are twofold.

The first had to do with the information it was yielding.  Since I had been tallying a best and worst in each category, and the ammo types only amplified these traits by the same amount for each weapon, I was effectively counting numerous data points multiple times.  This seamed to lend undue weight to the attributes, as Projectiles having the best falloff three times was just multiplying this one trait by three.  I was doing my best to limit the amount of data manipulation on my part, and felt that including that in the data went too far.

The other reason is more subjective, but I also happen to think it's a better reason overall.  I needed to draw a line somewhere between examining the turrets themselves and examining their actual use in the game.  I felt that I was approaching a slippery slope by including the ammo because, had I done so, what's to say I shouldn't have also looked at the ship bonuses of ships that would use the turrets.  Had I included ship bonuses, why not entire ship fittings?  With Damage Mods, Tracking Enhancers, Weapon Rigs and everything else thrown into the mix, I felt this would do more to obscure the data than actually make it useful to the reader.

The rest of the comment from yesterday deals mostly with the idea that Blasters begin to fall short of the other weapons systems when looked at through the filter of ammo.  As I mentioned before, I have a hard time justifying the analysis of the Turrets with Ammo, but without the Ship Fitting as a whole.  So I'm not going to.  What I am going to do is take it a step further and compare two very similar ship fittings, an Incursus with Blasters and a Rifter with Autocannons.  Why am I ignoring Lasers?  Well, try as I might, I couldn't come up with any fit for a Punisher (or any other Frigates with lasers for that matter) which came close to the numbers of the Incursus and Rifter.  This isn't to say the Punisher is inferior, but it has significantly lower damage as it lacks any sort of Ship Bonus to damage, while having more than twice the EHP and just made my damage graphs look rather silly.

As for the fits themselves, do try to pay less attention to how the ships are fit and more to the general spirit of ceteris paribus without completely gimping either one of them and we'll do just fine here.  The Rifter does come out slightly ahead on DPS and Mobility, but I'd argue that the amounts aren't statistically significant and that a hundred other factors would determine who would win in a fight before 2 DPS did.  With that out of the way, let's see how they hold up to the assumption that ammo "hurts blasters much more than it does auto-cannons."

Red is for Rifter by the way, and he does seem to be on top during the majority of the curve.  In fact, the only time Incursus is ahead is between the 1600 and 3700 meter marks.  Of course, the only reason the Rifter starts ahead is because of that initial 2 DPS lead, so ignoring that I think it would be fair to call them pretty much dead even until around the 5km mark when the Rifter starts to pull a bit ahead.  The largest gap occurs between 8 and 9 kilometers at a 6 DPS difference.

Next is the long range ammo, testing whether "Barrage is just (beautiful) as well," while "Null comes short."  Again, the initial lead owes more to the difference between the starting fits than anything to do with the ammo, so Null proves to be stronger until around the 7km mark.  Of course, this is long range ammo we're talking about and thus the performance at longer range is more important.  Barrage manages to widen to an 11 point lead in the DPS at right around 13km before the gap narrows again.

OK, I admit it.  I've been being a bit sneaky up until this point, holding an Ace up my sleeve as it were.  Although the two fittings presented do indeed have very similar modules, the Incursus does have the advantage of a drone that I've been ignoring.  As mentioned earlier, my previous post was trying to isolate just the turrets, but it can't be ignored that Hybrid turrets on a Gallente Hull often come with the added DPS of drones.  Sometimes it's quite a lot of them and other times, as is the case with the Incursus, just a single one to tip the scale.  Let's see those DPS Graphs again, shall we?

What a difference a single unbonused Hobgoblin II can make, eh?  You'll notice the Rifter is still red, and now has no range at which is does more damage than the similarly fit Incursus.  Still think "Blasters would be much much better weapons systems if only null would be boosted?"  Because I don't.

Are We Done Yet?

Before I wrap this up, I feel it would be careless of me not to address two points.  The first is that it may seem I'm picking on Autocannons a bit here, or trying to prove some point about them being not very good.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  In case you're new to the blog, keep in mind that I fully support the AC Punisher as being a superior ship fitting to the more intuitive Laser Punisher.  There are, however, certain times when I feel that Autocannons aren't so much overpowered as they are over-hyped.  People seem to casually hold onto ideas that they have the best Alpha by confusing them with their Projectile cousins Artillery, or that they have the best Tracking simply because the Rifter gets a Tracking Bonus.  I think it's important to understand that Autocannons do have their strengths, but that those strengths mainly lie within their incredibly generous fitting requirements or with the tendency for Minmatar ships to come with a double bonus for their guns while other races are often getting their bonuses split among the weapons and tank.

The other, far more important really, thing to point out is that I by no means am attempting to pick on foksieloy for his comment.  He's been a loyal reader for quite some time, and is one of the few that consistently comments on posts, and I appreciate him and others like him tremendously for their feedback.  When I initially read the comment my reaction was more, "Awww crap.  I knew someone was going to say something about ammo," than "HAHA!  Now is my chance to rip him a new one!"  Hopefully everyone here is mature enough to realize that I actually enjoy being called out for things I say in this blog.  One of the reasons I sit around comparing data in a video game is because it makes me better at the game in question.  I then enjoy sharing that information out of some sense of wanting to spread knowledge as I feel it would elevate the game for everyone.  If I've somehow overlooked or misinterpreted something, I'd certainly rather learn about it in the comments of a blog than when I'm warping away in my pod.



[1] The EVE FNG doesn't actually have an editor.  What he does have are errant parts of his personality that enjoy referring to themselves in the third person.


  1. A nice bit of analysis, im not sure whether it holds true for medium and larger hulls. Purely because the extra drone damage isn't so pronounced or not able to put its damage onto your opponent quick enough to make up the difference in turret dps.

    Will also have to say that small blasters are fantastic weapons.

  2. I would like to add that you do not really notice the issue with null, until you move up to medium size weapons (which I agree was not part of your first analysis).

    Thats why most pilots [weasel words][citation needed] agree that small blaster ships are very good.

    Also with those fits, the dps is simmilar, but the rifter can opt for a much stronger tank due to fitting requirements.[1] ;)


  3. "This would seem to imply that I somehow forgot that guns shoot things in EVE, but I assure you this isn't the case."

    Just an additional note, this was never implied, I was quite sure you considered it.
    I was half expecting a small footnote on ammo amplifying the weaknesses of some weapon systems, and since there was none, I made it in the comments.
    That was the original intention of my comment. :)

    And yes, no need to make part 3 of the discussion bringing tank into play.

    Because then we would also have to discuss the SP needed to use that one drone compared to no skill for the rifter. And the fact that that neut can shut down the DPS. And that drones can be killed with graphs showing the DPS over time for both ships... ;) And we are looking at a 8 part series on weapon balance. :>

  4. Nice post, between the previous one and this one that's a pretty good explanation of turrets and damage.
    What I would really like to see now is an explanation of what it all means.

    OK, so damage is fairly straightforward as is optimal and falloff (if you know what they mean, have you covered optimal and falloff? you probably have but it always seems to be a massive source of confusion to newer players) but I've never really got tracking.
    I know roughly what it means, that its about the turrets ability to "track" an object moving across their field of fire and that the better your tracking the faster these objects can be moving and you can still hit them. But I have no real idea how the tracking attribute attached to the turrets apply when it comes to shooting down that pesky frigate orbiting me.

  5. High quality blog! Very interesting topics and good read.
    One possible direction to expand this comparison is to take ammo damage types into consideration. It is often said that "hybrids suck because they don't have selectable damage types". True, shooting at a resist hole makes sense, but what if the pilot has plugged his T1 resist hole?

    I claim that antimatter has the best damage profile against both proper T1 shield and armour tanks.

  6. Any updates? CCP Zulu needs your input!

    No, really, he does need it. Badly.