A Discussion on Autocannon Balance

If you’ve been paying attention to other EVE news platforms, you may have seen that I’ve put together both an article and a companion video on where I personally percieve Autocannon balance to be, placing it as the weakest of the three close range turret options.

The title of “Why Do Autocannons Suck” is a tad bit of hyperbole, as they demonstrably still have their uses, but I feel that they in general lack a niche within which they are able to leverage an advantage in their current state.

As such, I wanted to ask you - the many dwellers of the EVE forums - for your opinions on Autocannons. Are they good, bad? Need a buff, a nerf? Let me know, I’m curious to see others opinions on the topic, and anecdotal stories of how it feels to use them in the modern meta.

Thank you for your time!


My first thought was on reload of AC’s, but rather than your buff, how about being able to change ammo without ‘reload’. Effectively the reload time would continue firing the loaded ammo in the feeds for the reload timer, switching to new ammo once it expires.

This could apply to sticking with the same ammo type too, a manually triggered reload would effectively mean your crew hooking new belts/clips/hoppers to the nearly exhausted supply. This would buff dps without changing modules and/or ammo stats, but requires manual intervention to benefit.

ed: This could be applied through OH mechanics, giving effectively instant reload, but at the cost of overheating the system.


I would call @Stitch_Kaneland, @Chainsaw_Plankton and @Suitonia since they have vast experiences with them and will certainly have good ideas on how to fix them.

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They have a niche-selectable damage type without any cap usage to fire so your assumption that they’re bad just begs more power creep.


I haven’t used autocannons for their historical role in awhile. Due to a lot of the issues mentioned here. They are not strong enough in the meta as anti-tackle like their old role used to be on the vagabond/stabber. With things like ramjags, garmurs, snaked inties being a common threat, their noodle like dps at 24km+ just isn’t enough to kill things in a timely manner. Plus, using barrage takes out the whole “selectable damage” when its the only ammo choice that can kite semi-decently. Have fun shooting barrage at a retri or any T2 amarr ship.

Can it still work in the current meta? Sure. But there are far better, cheaper options than either a vagabond, stabber or kite hurricane if you want to project dps. A caracal does a vagabond’s job much better if you’re just looking for anti-tackle.

While projectile reload is pretty oppressive and i would not be opposed to modifying it, i don’t think it would change much on the dynamics of autocannons. Such as in your example with the breacher/rifter. You gain 7 dps. Even if the reload was a 5 second reload, i still would most likely not reload for 7 dps.

The issue with autocannons is their dps is low and fall-off high, to give them this kind of “can hit things at a lot of ranges, just not very well” niche. The current issue is that there are way more options to hit things well at range now than there was in 2012, and there are a lot better options to brawl with than autocannons compared to 2012. Sure, you can brawl with a vagabond/cane. Come up against a ship designed to brawl, and you’re going to die though, or at most, have to disengage and run away.

How to fix autocannons? It would be a slow process so try to avoid power creep. But the 2 ideas i’ve had for awhile is:

  1. The simplest; Buff base falloff rate by 15-20%, give autocannons back the range the TE nerf took away from them (maybe slightly more just to stay competitive in the meta).

  2. Create weapon specific tracking enhancers with varied bonuses to apply to those specific weapons. For example:

Projectile TE = high fall-off, low optimal and general tracking bonuses
Laser TE = high optimal, very low falloff and general tracking bonuses
Hybrid TE = medium optimal, medium falloff and general tracking bonuses

This way CCP can modify the enhancers/stats to the desired effect of nerfing/buffing without effecting every weapon system.

The thing about minmatar is they have extra lows (or a flexible layout) because it was expected that you’d put TE’s on them to buff the range. Minmatar was designed around TE’s. With TE’s being nerfed, it really hit minmatar’s ability to project damage with autocannons, Which is why almost everyone has switched to artillery when wanting to project damage.


add following effect on all autocanons :

  • overheat tracking bonus +10% (was 0%)
  • overheat falloff bonus +10% (was 0%)
  • overheat bonus damage set to 0% (was 15%)
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I agree with Stitch, their strength lies in falloff, it just has way to little of it to be of any use.

Tracking Enhancer Terracide, so that minimatar ships with auto’s fitted don’t have to waste half their stats on an optimal range bonus that they can’t use. (Most logical Option) (Stitches Idea)

A Slight reload speed would be lovely thou but wouldn’t balance it by itself (Jin’taans Idea)

Could be Fun:

T2 Barrage Ammo has selectable damage type + a slight control effect.

T2 Barrage EMP = Neutralises target ship’s Capacitor.
T2 Barrage Fusion = Increases Tracking
T2 Barrage Phased Plasma = Super heat’s any webifing bubble placed around your ship while it passes through reducing the slow % applied to your ship.

yeah, also +200% damage on the AC !!

One big thing is most ammo types don’t impact fall of range, only optimal. This makes it hard to extend a.c. range.
If all ammo for all weapons also impacted fall off ranges it would make a.c. with their long fall offs able to reach out more and kite high dps short range ammo ships easier.


maybe we could change the mostly unused proton/nuclear ammo into falloff bonused ammo and buff their damage to be slightly better than depleted uranium and titanium sabot.

So if you’re flying artillery, you use depleted uranium/sabot and normal short range ammo (plus t2 ammo as needed).

If flying autocannons, you’d want to use the proton/nuclear ammo plus the short range ammo (for dps) and t2 ammo when needed. So proton/nuclear would have better range than the short range stuff but not as much range as barrage.


Posts like this are the main reason probably why CCP imposes constant nerfs of weapons and modules.

Please stop giving them ideas.

Everyone knows AC’s are terrible and badly need a buff, I highly doubt CCP will nerf it more.

Increase ammo clip(and/or) reduce reload.
What was removed via TE nerf bake back into hulls.

In what way are they terrible?

I hope you’re right.

Becuase for every situation you can think of another weapon system would do it better usually a lot better.


For the sake of not complaining - something I’ve continually been accused of doing I’m keeping my mouth shut.

But I do agree with you. Lol.

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In my memory autocannons pretty much always were the worst choice of weapon system? Maybe I’m biased, because I always preferred Artillery, but I don’t remember when I ever saw a point in using autocannons over blasters or lasers, unless I specifically had to target an explosive resist hole.

Just throwing thoughts out there …

What about additional variants of ammunition with differently mixed damage types?
Like TH/EX, EM/KI or EM/EX?

Considering that projectiles are just shells, what about ammunition as a form of utility?
Like Void bombs, but as ammunition, sucking cap dry?


+1 for insta-reload. Other thoughts: convo the lowsec pirates (A.Band.Apart, etc.), they probably will bring better perspective to your discussion, in terms of solo or mini fleet engagement.

Insta reload is lasers gimmick. If you take that away from lasers then lasers end up needing a rebalance as well.


I thought scorch was the laser gimmick oO ?¿ :confusedparrot:

they cost no fit, no cap, have good tracking, neglectible damage. you use them when you have a free turret slot and can’t fit a neutra.

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