Hi, what exactly mean optimal range, I.E. 19 km, that I will do best damage AT 19 km (not less, nor more) or that I’ll do the same damage from 0 to 19 km?
It is the range within which the range characteristic of your gun will no longer matter (ie you will not lose damage due to range).
Guns also are more likely to miss the greater the target’s angular velocity relative to you gets. And the closer an enemy is, usually the greater its angular velocity.
So for a stationary target, being at 19km or less of it will give you optimal damage. For a moving target, you will probably get the optimal damage at 19km, since if the enemy is closer your turrets will have a hard time tracking them.
Have a look at Eve Uni’s Turret Mechanics for a more in depth explanation of EVE gunnery.
Do read the other posters link to the EvE Uni guide, it is quite helpful.
But to directly answer to your statement…
It really is both… for turrets… because of all the factors involved (read the guide) your “best potential damage” will be at and just under your optimal range. This isn’t always a possible/advisable range in combat so knowing the mechanics involved is important, but as a general rule of thumb until then… it works.
One caveat to the advice offered above - as Minmatar you are probably fitting projectile weapons and they work best in falloff.
I’m Minmatar but use only Gallente ships at the moment (Incursus, Tristan and, when I have all skills, Vexor)
My first character was Gallente. I loved drones but got so tired of seeing the “your railguns miss the enemy completely” message I switched to missiles. They have their own issues but, if you’re in range - they always hit the target!
If tracking isn’t an issue you would still prefer to be inside optimal… as it would provide the most damage possible… it is just rare/impractical in practice with most projectile weapons. Particularly noticeable once you get a feel for the math.
But yes, autocannons are essentially falloff weapons, unlike most other weapons in EvE.
If range was the only factor changing with all others kept equal, then no, the damage would be exactly the same from 0 to 19k. However as said above there are a bazillion other factors in play other than optimal range.
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