Make Autocannons great again

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.

etc.

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?

Sounds like a decent and original idea but doesn’t this make smaller AC’s extremely op in swarm situations?

Honestly I’d just like nuclear and proton to just provide a falloff boost. And then do a sit-rep a little down the line, maybe adjust auto and artie optimal/falloff to compensate.

Not really. They can’t orbit if they want crits - it increases their transversal, thus reducing their damage to current unimpressive value. If they want to crit, they have to stay at low transversal, and if they stay at low transversal, bigger guns will have easier time hitting them, making the whole thing somewhat balanced on risk/reward.

I was really hoping they’d finally give the Typhoon a Target Painting bonus and make it another “disruption” battleship, but we should only be so lucky.

As for your suggestion, I think that even though it’s an original idea, it would be very difficult to implement.
Something I floated awhile back that was received well was tweaking the firing rate/damage multiplier so it has a much more rapid rate of fire, but lower damage modifier with roughly the same dps. This is ideal for the weapons in their current state because it negates some of the major issues that firing into deep falloff has, as well as making them very useful against active tanking for averaging a higher effective damage rating over time due to being able to land significantly more hits in to compensate for misses or poor shots.

I make my living implementing stuff.

I think it won’t even need code modification, fairly sure it can be laid on top of Dogma as it is.

Isn’t it opposite? If it’s the same dps, but higher fire rate, it will have more often reloads, and lose dps.
As for getting more shots in, it makes dealt damage closer to average by averaging good and bad rolls over time, but doesn’t increase it.

The problem with autocannons has never been with the turrets.

The problem with autocannons has always been with projectile ammo.

Overhaul all projectile ammo so that the optimal bonus gets replaced with a falloff bonus. This would still keep arties quite relevant (since they have massive falloff) and would be a huge boost to autocannons.

Done.

(I’ve been saying this for years, but it took CCP years to adopt FAXes and the recent warp speed buff, so…maybe there’s hope?)

(Yes, I suggested both of those before they got implemented…)

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This is of course one way to do it, but in my opinion, there are points it still doesn’t address.

Even with a falloff bonus, they still lose to blasters. Hard. Maybe they’re going to get not 40% worse at falloff, but 10%, or even equal, or even a bit better, that would still be bad, because in deep falloff, your damage is already negligible - like stated on reddit, at mid-range medium autocannons are outperformed by small lasers in both damage and tracking, and some falloff bonus is just gonna push the range at which small lasers do better than medium autocannons, but not change the issue fundamentally.

I still think that in order to be used, there either need to be a niche where autocannons are the best choice, or there needs to be a ship that enables autocannons to perform. For large autocannons, quite horrible by themselves, there is Machariel, but medium autocannons do not have that.

There’s also pve to consider. Explosive damage pve has been shafted for years. Explsoive drones suck. Half the missile ship are kinetic-locked, those that are not have massive trouble applying damage to small and fast angel ships. Explosive fighters suck even harder than explosive drones, adding orbiting range issue on top of worst damage. The only boat that can use autocannons and not have the pilot die from frustration is Vargur, which is having twice the problem of poor damage output on top of the price tag and siege mode requirement, which is kinda wrecking your point to be honest, because there’s a ship that has fixed the falloff problem, and still sucks!

So, in my opinion, autocannons need some way to get at least close to same damage as competition regardless of falloff issues to be usable.

In my opinion, based on what you’re describing you’re asking for autocannons to be the best choice in every situation.

Not going to happen, nor should it.

The shouldn’t match the face-melting DPS of blasters, the raw optimal of railguns, or the pure damage versatility of missiles because that’s the niche of each of those weapons.

Short-range turret that isn’t damage type locked locked? Autocannon.
Short-range turret that can apply damage well past its optimal range? Autocannon.
Short-range turret that has the option to boost its tracking at the expense of DPS? Autocannon.
Short-range turret that can operate while neuted out? Autocannon.

You’re not wrong though, fighting in deep falloff is always the worst choice. And I also agree that projectiles in general, and autocannons in particular, feel like they lack a niche. But, “good all-around weapon” is a niche unto itself, and what you can do for autocannons (and arties) is change what qualifies as “deep falloff” so they are actually better off all around.

Imagine if, instead of modifying optimal range, projectile ammo modified falloff. There is a 100% range spread for optimal range bonuses in T1 ammo currently (-50% to +50%), so imagine that kind of spread being applied to falloff instead. “Deep falloff” would be much further out (in some cases) providing a much larger engagement envelope.

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