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...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Recycling day: Signature

EDIT (3/March/2013): Please consider the bulk of this post retracted.  While the stuff about tracking is reasonably accurate, the stuff about damage and in particular my assertion that something is wrong with the gun damage math currently in the game is embarrassingly wrong.

Just a quickie for everyone arguing with me about how large gun signatures aren't effective doing damage against a target with a small signature radius.

Guys, I know what the math says should happen in these circumstances.  Really: I'm familiar with it.  But I'm telling you that out in the field where guns hit ships, what's supposed to happen isn't happening.  The math is failing.(1)  Maybe it's the fact that virtually every fight these days happens under MWD.  Maybe it's the fact that EVE pilots are a lot smarter and are holding their fire until transversal drops.  But mostly, I think something's a little wonky in the actual code that governs how much damage large signature guns should do to smaller targets.

It's not operating the way it should operate, which is why we had titans blapping frigates some months back.  When it was happening, I wrote a whole post about it.  In that post, I wrote in a lot of detail how my large artillery Tornado managed to land three volleys with large guns on an Ares, including the final blow that killed it:
There are 23 ships involved in the KM. Billy was running parallel to the main body of the fleet's path of advance at a range of about 35km. He was there for about 10-12 seconds; I and the Tornados only had time for a single volley, but ships like those Zealots and that Claymore got several volleys off. Based on the evidence, I believe he was double-webbed, once from each of our Rapiers. His speed when I took my shot was about 1600m/s, at a signature of about 100m. He was running parallel to the right side my ship, ahead of me at an angle of about 45-50 degrees, range from me was roughly steady. I do not know when the other ten or so Tornados in the KM took their shots. My guns were grouped 4-1-3, and I fired them in that order. All three groups hit; the group of three caused the KM. 
I'm having a very hard time believing that it was just dumb luck that caused ten other Tornados to all miss and me to hit, particularly when I took a lot of trouble to ensure I'd be able to hit a target in this situation and nobody else in the fleet did.
Not only did my large arties track the Ares (the point to that particular exercise), but I was #4 damage on it, ahead of a ship firing 425mm ACs.

Again: I really do know how it's supposed to work.  It's not working that way.

Now just today, this kill-mail happened.  Anyone want to say again how large rail signature is ineffective against ships with a small signature radius?  I assure you that Ranis pilot knows what he's doing.  And that's a Ranis, not a Ferox.

Solution: the actual code in the actual game needs tweaking.  Something like the nerf currently applied to titan gun signature would do.  But don't look at me to suggest it to CCP.  I'm too busy shooting small targets with big guns.  ;-)  I kid, I kid...

(1) And trust me, I know math.


  1. When did this change happen?

    I was orbiting our home station about three weeks back in an Ares, at a distance of 50KM, and asked our T3 BC people to shoot me. Nobody was able to hit me. I was travelling at about 4500m/s.

    1. I seem to have detected the issue. But the question under debate right now is whether -- had they hit you -- would they have done damage?

    2. So do you also think the turret damage formula is off? It clearly stipulates how damage is rolled based on hit chance.

  2. The plural of anecdote is not data.

    1. Fair enough, and you're right, of course. But also of course, data on this could easily be gathered by CCP. All they would have to do is ask "database, how many times did a large ship final blow a much smaller ship?" This would quickly and easily reveal if this is a thing or not.

    2. Do you really think CCP hasn't done this? Not even during the titan tracking kerfuffle when they scrutinized the relevant code?

  3. Sorry to nitpick again Jester, but

    did my large arties track the **Tornado**


    On a serious note, when looking at the signature radius of the guns, it seems like a MWD puts you well over the signature radius needed by guns larger than your size, and if the tracking formula on the wiki is correct, this more or less completely cancels out the traversal bonus granted by the extra speed. The formula indicates there is no such thing as "getting under the guns" in the conventional sense that there is a critical point of enough traversal to make guns ineffective.

    kind of an interesting comparison between guns and missiles, because oversized missiles (and especially large missiles) deal abysmal damage against undersized targets, sig and speed have separate and limited effects in the missile damage formula, and i wonder if that is the better way to balance things.

  4. I can't speak for the other comments, so I'll go off mine which was pointing out the difference in scan resolution between the medium vs large railguns.

    All other tracking mods being equal, the medium Railguns will track better than the large. That does not account for 1) range 2) piloting, both things which can reduce the penalty to hit quality from the higher scan resolution weapon system to the point where you get reliable hits.

    Then again, a 5% damage hit from a 10k alpha weapon system is still 500 points of damage, etc. The tracking formula is :workingasintended: as far as I'm concerned.


    Ps, I think you meant "that's a Naga, not a Ferox" in the last sentence of your second to last paragraph.

  5. Yeah, mathematically signature ratios act as a modifier on the ratio of tracking to angular velocity. If your transversal drops to near zero, Sig mismatches become irrelevant.

  6. The description of the situation explains exactly what happened, and demonstrates that there is no problem, except in the imagination of unlucky or incompetent interceptor pilots who get themselves webbed inside another fleet's sweet spot.

    Note the comment on the killmail:

    "Timed a turn right as the naga's guns were cycling, bad luck...."

    The pilot made a turn just as the guns were cycling. His transversal had already been low due to webs, and it dropped to near-0 when one of the Nagas cycled its guns. As a result, at that moment, he was stationary relative to the Naga, and its guns could hit him. The total damage was low, because it was a low-quality shot due to the Taranis's small sig, but it was sufficient to break his remaining buffer.

    Had the Taranis pilot not tried to do a 90-degree turn while under hostile fire, he wouldn't have died.

    The mechanics are working as intended, and they work very well. Naga rails normally cannot hit interceptors, or anything else with a frigate-sized signature radius, provided the pilot is competent. The same principle allows AHACs to brawl against rail Rokhs, and for blaster Rokhs supported by a substantial web/neut wing to eat AHACs.

    You assume that EVE should inherently provide protection to small ships against larger ships; EVE instead requires that the pilot have some actual skill, and put some thought into actively mitigating damage, unlike almost every other game out there.

    Titan blapping worked on the same principle. Even a swarm of titans was largely ineffective against a competently-piloted battlecruiser or AHAC fleet, because of their high velocity and low signature radii. Obviously, idiots who brought in shield-tanked battleship fleets, and MWDed in a straight line at the titans got blapped, but that fate also awaits an interceptor pilot who burns straight at a battleship. But blap titans otherwise required a substantial support fleet with webs and target painters; in order to reduce target transversal and increase signature radius to the point where capital turrets could reliably generate decent-quality hits.

    1. No, Titan blapping happened because of spacial area. Take a ten quarters and toss them on a table randomly. Now try to navigate a dime through that field of quarters without ever being at "low" transversal to one of them.

      What the tracking nerf did was make it so "low" isn't good enough anymore to get a hit. It has to be near zero now.

    2. This. Tracking and signature is working fine. Small ships should not be immune to bad piloting.

  7. If I read your post right, you're saying that large guns should do zero damage to a small ship regardless of transversal / angular velocity? Especially after this comment you made:
    "All they would have to do is ask "database, how many times did a large ship final blow a much smaller ship?" This would quickly and easily reveal if this is a thing or not."
    Your Nado did 371 damage on the Ares out of a possible 11k+ volley while he was double webbed.. I think its working no?

  8. You may know math(s), but apparently you don't know science! ;)

    If you're going to continue to make this argument, please test it properly - get two guns with similar tracking but different signature radii, and prove over multiple tests that their hit quality is the roughly the same. This would prove your hypothesis - your current argument simply relies on anecdotal evidence and really doesn't show anything other than that small ships do occasionally get hit.

    Large guns *can* deal full damage to small targets, and they *will* do so, they'll simply do it less often than smaller or higher tracking guns would. That's how the mechanic works, and this is not in dispute. However, this is a completely separate question to the claim that signature resolution somehow doesn't work as intended.

  9. Two words: Availability heuristic. You just dont remember the thousands of wiffed shots you have fired against small targets.

  10. You keep countering "these medium guns track better than these large guns" with "but these large guns are hitting things when I don't think they should be able to". It's starting to look a bit like doubling down. :)

    Seriously, perform a controlled experiment. Don't settle for a qualitative feeling about a memory of a busy combat situation in which you had to guess at half the variables and were actively trying to rig the others. Put a 425mm railgun and a 250mm railgun side-by-side and shoot it out against a range of targets. You know math, so you know how to test this properly.

    Or, if we're actually in agreement that *hit chance* is working as advertised, can you elaborate -- specifically and scientifically -- on what you think is divergent with the damage calculation?

  11. Karbox DelacroixMarch 1, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    I agree that it would be great if CCP published a lot more interesting data. I also think that if a million 1400s are fired in a forest that some birds and squirrels and small fuzzys will be hit.

  12. Seems to work fine for me. I love the arty/ac nado for pvp blapage and the mach with either ac or arty for pve. You have to plan your strikes and manuelly pilot so that trans is lowered or dictate range before firing. I can blap frigs at 49- 38k which is outside my falloff of 37k. Inside 15k got to burn away best you can. In the 15k- 37k range you try to burn parallel if you can and hope they mess up and make a hard turn and then burn at or away from them. And Pray you kill them before they can orbit you tight.
    In a fleet you can have an anti frig nado too. Those always get a good laugh in local from an inspecting ceptor pilot. Got a rapier and maldiction at the same time that way.

  13. Jester the hit formula treats sig radius and transversal as multipliers of the same calculation, not two separate modifers

    -> small sig, bad transversal
    -> large sig, great transversal

    is about the same thing.

  14. Tar-Palantir is fairly sure that Jester is NOT talking about hitting the target. Those mechanics we all know and the recent KM shows how a mess up in transversal allows large guns to *hit*. Jester's test scenario was all about testing transversal and hitting the target. Believe his point is about how much damage large guns do to small sig targets when they DO get hits. If Tar-Palantir understands Jester correctly, Jester's point is that Large guns are doing too much damage to small sig targets when they do hit.

    Scout, tackle, warp-in point, suicide agress, die.
    your humble Interceptor pilot

  15. This is relatively easy to test. Throw an oversized plate on a stationary ares. Put reps on the ares so you can have more than a couple rounds into its hull. Grab a tornado and start working your way up in gun groups sizing with MWD on and off.

    With the MWD off, the guns should do 12% of their normal damage...and with the MWD on they should do about 27%. I'll wait until you see that the numbers are about what they should be.

    You punched it with 370 damage according to the mail. So let's do some math. Adjust for that damage control let's call it 600.

    He has about 1000 ehp of hull with a damage control on. (assuming good skills) Since it is hullshot we can work directly with ehp (resistances the same all around on the hull)

    So, you had about 10000 worth of damage available, and did 6% of it. Perfectly reasonable.

    Even assuming that the killmail is a bit bugged and that it only reported the damage done by that last 3 gun group..(3/8 * 10000 = 3750) You did...16% of your available damage. A bit high if his MWD wasn't lit but let's be serious here..he was trying to burn like hell and get transversal up or GTFO.

    Still perfectly reasonable even if his MWD was off. Which it probably wasn't.

    So in short. You might know math but you are just not applying it properly. What occurred to your ares pilot was perfectly normal, within the game bounds, etc.

  16. Jester,

    I think what you're feeling isn't "The tracking formula is borked". I think you're observing "The tracking formula works as intended and limits big guns to either misses or really shitty hits, but even a really shitty hit from big guns is a tremendous amount of damage to a small target."

  17. No.

    Nobody is saying you can't hit small stuff with big guns. Obviously you can.

    But once thing remains true: Larger guns DO have more tracking issues than smaller guns, very much due to sig.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.