Rapid Fire update turned out to be a massive flop, so let’s go wild with ideas!
What makes a weapon system worth using is a niche they are the best choice for.
Blasters in the “in your face” niche.
Lasers in “free range chicken” niche.
Rails in “slippery pete” niche.
Triglavian ■■■■ in “whaling” niche.
Cruise missiles in “bashing” niche.
So why not make one for autocannons?
Introducing new mechanics: critical tracking. Normal tracking still applies chance to hit, critical tracking works on top of that, but tracks for a critical hit, has separate values to regulate it, and drastically improves damage dealing abilities on targets it can critically track.
The niche it creates is burst damage against higher weight class or otherwise immobilized targets. It creates a reason to fit them instead of blasters - higher damage on what it can critically track. It creates a skill ceiling of keeping your traversal lower than needed to simply hit a target to get that damage boost. It creates counterplay of finally making tracking disruption as essential as other ewar in order to not fall prey to superior crit tracking. It can give meaningful unique hull bonuses for minmatar ships.
With this proposal, autocannon ships will become a big threat to something they can outtrack, with a counterplay of getting under their tracking. This does not call for a severe range limitation autocannons suffer from at the moment, becoming more of a hit-or-miss weapon which can apply proper damage to a target that can be tracked in falloff even despite being at some distance, and losing its damage output against a target that can outspeed its critical tracking even in effective range, only taking normal hits, as underwhelming as they are now. To further this niche, they can be made as a more responsive on/off weapons, which can be enabled when someone is getting slingshot to the arc to unload its damage quickly during lower transversal, then reload while he returns and passes you at high speed, giving them limitation of not being F1-and-forget capable weapon for a tradeoff of being better when used at the right moment. This will give a reason to fit autocannons over blasters for brawling against higher weight class, and over pulse lasers for engagements where you control the transversal rather than range.
What do you think?