Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Open mouth, insert foot... HARD

As I've mentioned a few times on this blog, I am a rare mutant that -- when I am wrong -- I admit that I'm wrong.  And dear Heaven was I wrong this week... inexcusably, embarrassingly wrong.  I'm a great believer in preaching "admit to, and learn from your mistakes."  Time to practice what I preach and eat some crow.

Earlier this week, I wrote a little post called "Signature" in which I stated my belief that:
I think something's a little wonky in the actual code that governs how much damage large signature guns should do to smaller targets.
And then I wrote a whole lot of wrong about where I thought this was coming from.  EVE blogger and outstanding pilot Azual Skoll took exception and wrote a masterful deconstruction of just how wrong I was and put it on his blog.  It's great reading and I suggest you go out and give it a read if you're interested in the topic.

Now in my own defense -- and not in any way trying to deflect my mistake -- Azual's post is mostly about tracking issues, not damage, and my post was about damage.  I fully concede that large guns have a problem tracking smaller targets; I've said in the past that the tracking issue is solvable and indeed I've done my own experiments to solve it.  My statement was regarding the damage that large guns do to smaller targets when they actually hit them.  Even Azual's data shows this: when the large guns of a Naga actually hit a Cormorant, they were doing equal or better damage than the medium guns of a Ferox.

What I forgot, and the source of my mistake, is how gun damage is calculated.  When a gun does hit a target, it does a minimum of 50% base damage to the target.  And damn it damn it damn it, I knew this!  But somehow this week I idiotically forgot about it and instead of looking it up, I worked myself into a holy snit over my indignation about something that didn't deserve my indignation.

So, to summarize, Azual Skoll is completely right and I am completely wrong.  I'm really embarrassed, and I apologize.  I regret the error, as I say at times like this.

So yeah, the math within the game generating damage on large guns against small targets is working perfectly well.  So I'm now going to transfer some small bit of my indignation to the math itself.  Should guns automatically do at least 50% base damage when they hit, regardless of the target size they're hitting?  I'm thinking "no".  What do you all think?

29 comments:

  1. "yes"... otherwise missiles will be OP compared with turrets...
    missiles use the sig and speed of the target (so long as said target is within flight range) VS there own stats and only need a TP 2 help even the field by a good margin, turrets NEED tracking to hit and if you removed the base 50% then you also need a TP to help increase the base damage of the turret to a respectable level, when comparing to other weapon system of choice.
    also u also need 2 take into consideration of the ammo used in both weapon systems and the attributes that both ammo use when making the damage formula spit out how much damage you did to said target... SO many variables!
    personally i think they should be even in a perfect world, but with the formulas we currently use I'm happy with the balance... excluding how little damage med rails do :P

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  2. "Should guns automatically do at least 50% base damage when they hit?"

    No, they shouldn't at all. Why not just make the minimal inflicted damage dependent from the signature of the target in relation the the guns signature? Something like
    min[(targetsignature/gunsignature)*0.5,0.5]

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  3. bon apetit ;)

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  4. Given the low hit chance that big guns have on small or moving targets (and especially on small and moving targets), and that their average damage per hit is already reduced, removing the floor on damage seems punitive to me (assuming that overall hit chances remain the same, etc.).

    The real question though is - do large ships really do too much damage to small fast ships? Considering that battleships have trouble with frigates, to the point where advice to new BS pilots includes "get your drones skills up so you can use them to handle rat frigates", I'm not at all convinced that they need any sort of nerf.

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    1. Consider for a moment that a salvo from a dreadnought or titan will do several tens of thousands of HP damage.

      I have successfully one-shotted a Merlin that was orbiting a Mega Pulse Oracle: the Merlin was orbiting at 10km on afterburner. One moment the Merlin was there, the next moment it was gone. Sure, that salvo was one of about three hundred, but the lucky salvo hit for more damage than the Merlin had EHP.

      So what's the point of having frigates in a fleet if you can blow up enemy frigates by simply firing enough large guns at them?

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    2. Yes, it works fine, luckily there are no fast, maneuverable large gun platforms ... oh wait. I'm pretty confident a group of competent Tier3 pilots could pilot their ships in such a manner that at least one of them has low enough transversal to actually land hits. Battleships are truly (most of the time) not really the problem here.

      The problem here really isn't that much different from the tracking titan issue from last spring. Back then, Jester compared the tracking titan scenario with a bunch of coins spilled on a table. You cannot maintain high transversal with all coins. Espacially when, like here, the coins may try to move in such a manner to keep transversal low.

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  5. If it was incorporated into the tracking formula, I think it would be fine if signature had a greater affect on reducing damage from guns, but I wouldn't want to see it as a direct modifier on damage, because I think that would make guns too much like missiles. Basically, I think guns should continue to do damage the way they do now if transversal is minimized, flying straight at a turret ship should always be a bad idea.

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  6. Yes. It'd be stupid for a frigate not to be obliterated by a neutron blaster cannon II when and if it gets hit. 50% is actually low.

    Imagine a tricycle hit by a train if you disagree.

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  7. Jester, you can't admit you are wrong *before* we get to work up an unholy rage and riot in Jita.

    This is going to be a reason why you aren't ready for CSM....

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    Replies
    1. Jester is obviously ready for the CSM. You might want to remember that old adage “It’s better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” Go troll someplace else.

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  8. Yes, guns should do minimum 50% damage when they hit. The problem isn't that large guns have a damage floor when they hit. The problem is that skirmish fleets have no effective way to maintain transversal. Give players the tools to create fleet formations and the "problem" goes away.

    In the nano era, large guns were largely useless because everyone was orbiting. You didn't care if your fleet was on the opposite side of the enemy from you, because you could warp in 2 seconds and there was no friendly logi anyway. The navigation UI of Eve has not kept up with the evolution of the meta.

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    1. "The problem is that skirmish fleets have no effective way to maintain transversal."

      It's absurdly easy to maintain transversal. It just requires that the pilot do more than orbit and mash F1. The modern nano gang requires that the pilots understand how to fly their ships, not merely be F1 monkeys following the FC's orders.

      http://www.evealtruist.com/2011/12/truth-about-signature-resolution.html
      http://www.evealtruist.com/2011/12/video-tracking-and-spiralling.html

      Read it, watch it. Know it. But the basic is simple: if you're called primary in a skirmish gang, warp off, spiral, or burn away.

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  9. Jester, it doesn't matter to much what the actual minimum damager per shot is, it's the effective DPS being applied.

    A better place to focus your attention with regards to the tracking formula would be the sig-rad/sig-res ratio. This ratio means that larger guns have a lower hit chance on smaller target EXPECT when transversal approaches zero. As transversal approaches zero, hit chance approaches 100% which means that the sig-rad/sig-res ratios gets completely ignored.

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  10. http://kb.tribalband.net/index.php/kill_related/94096/

    Tell me again why you think frigates and destroyers should receive a natural immunity to battleship guns?

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    1. That's a case of baddies in battleships getting kited by ships with longer ranged weapons, not an issue with large gun tracking.

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    2. Tell us again why you feel a fleet of battleships should be able to defend themselves from frigates and destroyers without a support fleet of their own cruisers and destroyers?

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  11. If you try to hit a flea with a sledge hammer - your probably going to have a hard time of it, but of course if you hit the damn flea with the sledge hammer the damn flea should die.

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  12. Imagine a running rabbit, normally used to being shot at by rifles.

    Now imagine said running rabbit receiving a glancing blow from a cannonball. Small item being hit, even by a glancing blow, is not pretty.

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  13. I wonder why a frigate that is stupid enough to collide with something made to hurt a lot bigger things should get out unscathed. Instead it should hurt like hell. But only if it hits...

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  14. Hats off to you for this post. That's more like the guy I'm voting for in CSM ;)

    I think the damage floor of 50% is fine; Every once in a while a BS gets lucky and splats a 'ceptor. Make sure "every once in a while" is balanced, and then the splat is both funny and balanced.

    Incidentally, when the hit chance gets below 1%, you can ONLY get wrecking shots, so the damage ends up being 300% instead of 50% when it does land!

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  15. To some extent, yes, a big gun should do a fair amount of damage whenever it hits. This is more physics based than game balance based, but if two shells, a 200mm and a 400mm, both graze an object, and all other factors are kept equal (velocity, mass, etc...), I'm pretty sure the force of the 400mm shell will be greater. In game terms, more damage. Imagine a patrol boat getting shot with a grazing blow from either a machine gun or a cannon from a battelship. The force of the cannon is going to do more than the small cal round.

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  16. "Should guns automatically do at least 50% base damage when they hit?"

    Yes they should. If a large bullet is impacting your small ship it should take significant dmg as it makes big holes in your defense layers (whether it is shield, armor or structure).

    But a large gun should have greater problems to hit a small target even if the tracking is sufficient. Think of it as small guns can be adjusted more precisely cause of less inertia of the mechanic. Small deviations are huge problems in this distances.

    In short: If you have luck, target is dead. ATM it is too easy to have that luck.

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  17. I was just trying to imagine what a frigate, the size of a 747, getting hit by a 1400 mm shell travelling at a thousand kilometers per second (for you Imperial folks, that'd be a 55-inch shell at 2.2 million miles per hour)

    Hmmm if that shell has the density titanium, and a length of 3 m, then its mass would be roughly 20.8 tonnes. Its kinetic energy would be approximately 2,400 kilotons of TNT, or 120 "Fat Man" atomic bombs.

    Can honestly say that even a glancing blow would be a blast.

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  18. Yes. Of course. Indeed, if anything, large calibre rounds should logically scale *up* against small targets - if they hit.

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    1. They already do scale up due to the difference between damage applied and EHP of the target.

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  19. No.

    (I would like to write more, but actually that is all that really matters. No they should not as this would help balacing, but they should be still able to crit for some little wtf moments)

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  20. My advice would be: Yes.

    I do not even pretend to understand the whole math involved. I can only tell my gut feeling, that if this were not the case missiles would see even more use.

    Also: kudos on you admitting an error. It took you long though :-)

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  21. No, they shouldn't be doing 50% base damage. A revamp of the tracking formula will unlock the full potential of EVE's massive fleet/counter-fleet/counter-counter possibilities.

    Unfortunately, it's a complicated formula with massive implications that will be a nightmare to test + balance. Thus CCP is unlikely to do it any time within the next couple years.

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  22. My opinion:
    http://www.ninveah.com/2013/03/resolution-versus-radius.html

    TLDR: yes, large guns are slightly too good at blapping frigs/dessies, IMO.

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