(The contents of post are in reference to T1/Faction hybrid/projectile ammo and frequency crystals only.)
Right now, the status quo for turret ammo is that short-to-mid range ammo are used almost exclusively primarily because:
- they do enough damage, especially in relation to their range, to be worth using (whereas T1/Faction long range ammo is almost never worth using)
- for hybrid and energy turrets, mid range ammo is more cap efficient (this is somewhat true of long range ammo, but not to the extent that it compensates for the poor damage being inflicted)
The damage of short range T1/Faction ammo is so high, in fact, that, after precision mechanics are applied (sigs, range, traversals, etc), the actual damage inflicted on opponents frequently exceeds that of T2 short range ammo without the use of webs and paints against targets that are not already substantially larger/slower than your turrets are made for. Yes, even regular T1 short range ammo frequently outperforms T2 short range ammo. (Don’t believe me? Damage model with pyfa. pyfa is your friend.)
Unfortunately, this currently is not true for T1/Faction long range ammo, and as a result T1/Faction long range ammo is almost never used (market volume at Jita is laughably small) whereas I believe it should be for a number of reasons:
- T2 ammo should not be strictly superior to T1/Faction ammo; whether or not T2 ammo performs better than T1/Faction ammo should be situational (something that is planned ahead when designing fits for fleet ops, esp. regarding availability of webs and paints). This is already true of both T1/Faction vs T2 short range ammo and of T1/Faction vs T2 missiles, so it is not unreasonable to ask that T1/Faction long range ammo be buffed so that it is likewise true of T1/Faction vs T2 long range ammo.
- On a standalone basis, T1/Faction long range ammo should be strong enough to be worth using at all in the first place (in both PVE and PVP), which presently it is not. I have heard players say “oh well you can create longbow or siege fits”, and that might be worth considering using T2 long range ammo, but not T1/Faction long range ammo though it very much should be. Presently, the damage inflicted by T1/Faction long range ammo is akin to giving the enemy a backrub or tickling their anus with a feather. It needs to be more than that.
There are many ways in which long range ammo can be buffed. Given that the total damage from one ammo range to the other changes linearly, I think the best approach is simply to raise the total damage off the longest range ammo, and proportionally adjust the total damage of all of the other ammo based on the resulting “slope”.
For example: both T1 hybrid and T1 energy turret have ammo currently have 8 types whose damage starts at 5 and increases to 12 in 1.0 increments; if the starting damage were to raise to 7.1, then the remaining ammo would increase in 0.7 increments to 12 at the shortest range. (7.1 at the longest range is approximately 60% of the damage inflicted at the shortest range, vs the ~41.6% inflicted now)
Now, you might point out: doesn’t this also affect short-range ammo? Isn’t the idea to affect long range ammo only? Well, actually, I think it’s a good thing that it affects short range ammo also, and I’ll tell you why: right now, the shortest range ammo is the most commonly used by a very, very, very, very, very wide margin, so making this linear damage scale adjustment will increase the damage of the other short-range ammo variants (but not the shortest range/highest-damage), thereby increasing their utilization by those who find their range bonus and/or lower cap consumption advantageous (and by those who know how to damage model). Basically, it addresses two concerns at once (the second concern being relatively low utilization of other ammo variants, including other short range ammo, compared to the shortest range).
Now, I haven’t explicitly mentioned projectile ammo in this post since they don’t have a “gradient” of range/damage like hybrid/energy turret ammo does, nor do they use cap, but I think the T1/Faction long range projectile ammo should still be buffed so that the percent change of projectile long range ammo is proportional across the three ammo types. That is to say that if, for example, the damage of the longest range T1/Faction hybrid and energy turret ammo were to be raised to 60% of the shortest/highest damage ammo, then the same should be done for projectile ammo.
I think the leap from 41.6% to 60% is fair - high enough to be useful without being excessively high as to be overpowered (sniper fits don’t defend themselves well against ships that engage them at close range, nor would they operate well once weapon disrupted), but the actual calibration can be debated.
I think the only problem with this change is that, depending on the actual calibration amount, it may be too high in comparison to the long-range variant of T2 long range ammo; having said that, I don’t see why that cannot also be calibrated as well (not necessarily by the same percentage amount). The tracking penalty of the long range variant of T2 long range ammo is quite severe - I don’t think buffing this ammo will make it particularly overpowered when there are so many ways to counter snipers (particularly if their tracking is already vulnerable). You only need a 30 degree angle of approach/departure to achieve 50% traversal at max velocity…
How should CCP determine calibration amounts? The following criteria need to be satisfied:
- All T1/Faction ammo should do enough damage to be worth using in both PVE (including higher end content) and PVP. This is already true of short range turret ammo and missiles
- All T1/Faction ammo should be situationally better than T2 ammo in several practical, non-niche use cases. This is already the case for short range turret ammo and missiles
- For hybrid/energy turret ammo, the “range/damage spectrum” of ammo should inflict enough damage to increase their utilization relative to the currently highest utilization ammo (ie. make them worth buying - right now long range ammo is the laughing stock of Jita)
CCP wanted more bloodshed with Surgical Strike. Buffing ammo the way I propose (which may result in a minor boost to the longest range long range T2 turret ammo) will incur more bloodshed . CCP should consider doing this BEFORE tiericiding turrets as it will make it a lot easier for them to make appropriate tiericide decisions.