Practial difference of signature size?

We all know that a smaller sig means longer lock times and more difficult scans…but what is the “practical difference” of, say, going from 115m to 125m? I mean, is that going to make a 0.01 or 10 second difference in someone targeting you?

I realize their skills and fit make a difference, I’m just trying to get a feel for how significant something like a 10m difference is going to make.

EFT could tell you how long it would take the ship you fit to lock various sides of enemies. Pyfe may but I’m not that skilled with it yet

Also, this may help:

Work that out in %.

125 / 100 = 1.25

115 / 1.25 = 92

It is my laymans opinion you’re probably going to take approx 8-10% longer to target going from 125m to 115m sig radius. Proper formulae would give a way more accurate result, but this can be performed on the fly to reasonable accuracy i reckon.

Turrets and missiles also have a harder time applying damage to targets with smaller signature radii.

For a given speed, the smaller target will take less damage from missiles, and will require slightly more tracking to produce non-grazing hits if you are firing on it with turrets.

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It’s hard to say because it depends on the interacting element. I don’t think lock speed is a linear equation, so I dunno about that.

As for other things, let me give you an example. When your weapon sig is smaller than the target sig, increasing the size of the target has no effect UNLESS the target exceeds the velocity/radial, at which point excess size helps to mitigate that.

In a practical example, going from 115 to 125 would have no effect on small weapons, maybe an 8-10% increase vs medium weapons, and potentially no effect(or incredibly small) vs large weapons depending on your velocity.

Your signature radius is not the only value you need to consider when you probe down a ship. I guarantee you, I can make a fitting that even a properly fit covert ops boat cannot probe down to more than 99%.

You may get close with a high-grade virtue set but I still doubt, you can probe me down.

Weren’t unprobable ships removed? As I recall impossible scans no longer exist, but it may take virtues or maxed skills to find now.

Yes, CCP put a hard cap on the minimum sensor strength / signature radius calculation to effectively remove unscannable ships.

I believe sisters launchers / probes and perhaps rigs and implants are required to get a hit on what is now the hard cap, but nothing is totally impossible anymore.

This is a very hard question, and sorry to say but people in this thread mostly fail to answer your question or simplify it to much.

In order to understand how much difference signature radius change does you need to do the math and not just assume a linear function, because frankly none of the relationships are linear. (A 10% larger signature radius does not equal to taking 10% more damage, nor does it equal to you being 10% faster to lock.)

Lets start with the simple kvalitative values. A larger sig:

  • Makes you faster to target.

  • Makes you take more damage from weapons that do not fully apply to you

  • Makes you easier to detect with combat probes.

Time to target: The relationship between how long something takes to target is outlined here

1/(arcsinh(x))^2 is a nasty function in terms of behavior, however if you look at the graph on the page you can get a general idea of the behavior for the range that we are interested in. From it you can see that lock speed does not change much when you add or remove 10m of signature radius unless the ship in question has a very small sig already (50m or less). So for a ship that has 115m sig, going to 125 makes almost no difference (in most cases you take somewhere between 0.01 and 0.1 seconds less to lock and cruisers spend over 4 seconds locking you in the first place)… however for a 50m sig ship to go to 55m (trying to keep the percentage increase in sig relatively the same) the increase in lock-time is significant (often taking a second less to lock, and cruisers lock you in roughly 5 seconds). This is very important to understand for instance in the context of MWD’s… turning on a MWD as a frigate makes you lockable very fast (something in the ballpark of 20 second lock time down to a 4 second lock time), while doing the same in a cruiser does not change the lock-time that much.

Damage from weapons: This is also quite hard to analyze because you actually don’t have one case to look at but 5 very different cases: 1. Perfect applying missiles, 2. Turrets shooting you when you zero traversal, 3. Turrets shooting you when you have a non-zero traversal, 4. Missiles hitting you when you move slower than the particular missile explosion velocity, 5. Missiles hitting you when you move faster than the particular missile explosion velocity.

  1. Missiles apply perfectly if your signature radius is larger than the size of the missile explosion radius and your speed is lower than the missile explosion velocity. For a cruiser with a signature of 115m this is only the case if you are pretty much standing still, painted or double webbed and being shot at by either rockets/light missiles or heavy missiles. (HAM’s don’t apply perfectly even if you sit still as they have a 160m or more explosion radius). Going from 115 to 125m does not change anything here. If you somehow dropped down below 105m (witch is normal explosion radius for Heavy missiles), assuming you are being shot by heavy missiles you will have case 4 or 5.

  2. If both you and the shooter are standing perfectly still or moving directly towards/away from each other signature radius is irrelevant. The only thing dictating the turret damage is the RNG roll and the distance. (

  3. Assuming you are in range the damage reduction from your signature alone (assuming constant traversal) is a 0.5^(1/(x^2)) relationship. (the formula is the same these days, but the WAS constant is a bit more hidden). This is very very far from a linear formula (here is a scaled graf: What you can see here is that a small difference in signature can be the difference between taking no damage and taking a lot of damage. So for the case of 115m -> 125m, you can go from the occasional glancing hit (50% of base damage) to every hit being smashing (120% of base damage). Essentially more than doubling the damage you receive.

  4. This relationship is inverse linear: In the general case here you can assume that 10% larger signature will equal 10% more damage until you have a signature that is large enough for the missile to perfectly apply (and you have case 1) or target moves so fast that you have case 5. So in the case of a 125m sig ship versus 115m sig ship you can expect the 125m sig ship to take 125/115=1.087 ~ 8.7% more damage from a missile with a large enough explosion radius (explosion radius larger than 125m) assuming they are both moving very slow (usually when double webbed or lacking/burned out prop mod).

  5. This is the case for most missile engagements. If you assume the same ship speed and the same type of missile the relation is “almost” inverse linear, with a dampening factor called the “damage reduction factor” that is missile type specific: In practice this means that a 10% increase in sig will equal to a bit less than a 10% increase in damage taken, usually something like 6-9% depending on missile type you are being shot by.

Easier to detect with combat probes: This is literally not something I would think about as the time to scan someone is determined more by the scanners gaming skill than in-game parameters. You also need a very strong sensor strength ship with a very small signature to run into edge cases where a combat prober lacks the probe strength to probe you, period. The relationship is inverse linear (I am lacking a source, but I am pretty sure based on what I can remember on top of my head having researched this for myself a long time ago). The relationship is basically, strength needed to scan)= (ship sensor strength)/(ship signature radius). Meaning that a combat prober will need 10% more probe scan strength to scan down a 10% larger sig ship given the ship sensor strength stay the same. In practice this is never really an issue unless you use a very specialized fit. But even then there is no such thing as a “unscannable ship” as ccp capped the (ship sensor strength)/(ship signature radius) relation to be equal to the strongest obtainable scan strength (An all V skills pilot in a full virtue pod sitting in a covops ship with a SOE combat scanner with SOE probes can scan any ship).


EFT and PYFA show lock times for standard sigs, you can get an idea there. But sig also affects turret hitting and all weapon damage. I’m currently running stats on my incursus v angel rats and have noticed that the hits and damage applied to arch angels is about a third of normal angels. I haven’t checked their attributes yet, but I’m guessing the extra misses are due to a lower sig and the damage reduction is due to higher resists.

I still think there are some T2 frigates out there that can mount a sig that only the highest skilled scanner can scan down.

Elite rat frigates (like arch angels) have extra resists; usually towards the damage they would normally be weak to. They might also have reduced sig radius- you can tell if they take extra time to lock vs other rat frigates.

Some destroyers and cruisers too.

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