Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Battleship Missile Launcher Incoming?

Over at TMC they have been circulating some rumours about what is coming in the winter expansion. Whether these leaks are accurate or not, well we'll find out on Thursday! Nothing really earth shattering in there and certainly no 'headline feature' as yet. A new pirate faction? High-sec POCO's becoming player controlled? Mobile cyno jammers/disruptors. But one thing did make me go 'oh yesh yesh yesh yesh!' - Rapid Heavy Missile Launchers!

Cruisers and battlecruiser missile-boats have always had a counter to smaller ships in the medium sized rapid light missile launcher. Battleship missile boats with their torpedoes and cruise missiles haven't. There weapon systems have always been problematic when dealing with smaller vessels. Lets have a quick look at how missile damage is calculated in the simplest way possible so even I can understand it.

Each missile has a blast or explosion radius and each ship has a signature radius. These two circles determine how much a damage a stationary ship will take from the missile. Moving ships can take less damage so lets not go there, we're just talking size here as that matters!

Take a standard torpedo. It has a explosion radius of 450m. Now say you are firing that at a Rokh battleship that has a signature radius of 500m. The Rokh is going to take 100% damage from that torpedo as the signature radius is bigger than the explosion radius.

Now lets fire that torpedo at a Drake battlecruiser. The Drake has a signature radius of only 295m making it substantially lower than the torpedo's blast radius of 450m. The damage taken from the blast will be calculated as a ratio of the explosion radius to the signature radius. TL;DR - the Drake will only take a percentage of the actual damage the torpedo is capable of.

Now fire that same torpedo at a Moa class cruiser. Its 135m signature radius means that torpedo is going to waste the majority of its damage in empty space.

Finally lets be really silly and fire that torpedo at a Slasher class frigate. As you can see below, the 30m signature radius of the Slasher means even when not moving it only takes a tiny fraction of the damage.

That is why battleship missiles don't tend to be effective against smaller vessels. Cruise missiles have smaller explosion radius, 330m so will do better damage to smaller vessels. For example that Drake at 295m is close to the 330m of the cruise missile. But the cruise missile does less damage than the torpedo, 375hp verses 450hp.

Now heavy missiles have a smaller blast radius. At 140m that will do max damage to the Drake and almost max damage to that Moa. 135hp is much lower damage but it is doing maximum or almost maximum. There is some wasted damage, but not a lot.

One thing that you might be thinking is "Woah Drack! We're talking 450hp damage from a torp verses 135hp from a heavy! Even with radius calculation, that is a big drop in damage". Yes it is, but let us not forget the first word in the name of the new weapon system, 'rapid'.

A single shot from an autocannon does less damage than an artillery cannon, but AC's do more DPS overall due to their rapid fire rate. I would guess the DPS will be in the middle of the two existing missile systems. 

Torps = High DPS/Short Range. 
RHML = Medium DPS/Medium Range. 
Cruise Missiles = Low DPS/Extreme Range.

I'm looking forward to trying these new launchers out...... IF the leak is true!


  1. And now put these Rapid Heavies onto stealth bombers...


    I'll just leave this here ^^

    With the correct fit + tactics cruise missiles kill frigates and cruisers juuuuuust fine.