Target Painters and Explosion Velocity

One of the confusing parts about missile mechanics is the relationship between sig radius and velocity of the target. If a target is moving the higher the explosion velocity the better the damage applies but then there is sig radius which I guess there can be overkill in that a 40m explosion will apply just as well as a 120m explosion to a 500m target. That sounds quite simple but then there is velocity and what effect sig radius is going to have. An MWD will bloom the sig radius by 500% so unless you are using Battleship weapons against a frigate you are not going to get a penalty for explosion radius being too big but what about the explosion velocity ? is there an overkill for sig radius ? Say the target going 3000m/s and is bloomed to x3 your explosion radius is there any point in using a target painter on him or would you be better off with a guidance computer or flare catalyst ?

Missile damage formula

It appears that once a target is on the better side of a threshold, the damage application can not go further than 100%, so it’s indeed overkill. Though this is harder to achieve with the velocity part, so you always want more webs and explosion velocity modules.

Pyfa has the functionality to crunch those numbers for you for a given fit, on Window > Graphs.

You always want a web over a painter or rig

Yes but being in web range kind of defeats the point of using missiles.

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But an individual part of that equation can exceed 100% to counter another part ?

In that case there would be no overkill for instance on explosion radius against a MWD frigate ?

I’m not sure I have experienced that to be true but I could try it again.

How does a stacking penalty work on a target painter ? Is it if you use more than one or the ship itself is being hit by more than one TP ?

If ship has signature radius larger than explosion radius of missile then it helps with countering velocity effect of the ship itself. Hence if you are using longer range missiles then target painter is better (unless they stick to you but at that point what is the point of long range missiles?)

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I was expecting to see some kind of diminishing returns in the equation, what am I looking for that shows a flare catalyst being of any advantage to a rigor catalyst if it is ? can you potentially just sig bloom ship velocity out of the equation ?

The min function in that equation ensures that the highest damage multiplier you can get is 1, which lets you apply full base damage. Though I missed that signature radius is still in play for the third factor, so target painters can still help when you are past the threshold defined in the second factor.

Basically, the formula defines three possible scenarios:

  • Optimally, the target has both lower speed and higher signature radius. In this case, each of the other factors are higher than 1, and because the min function picks the smallest value, 1 is your damage multiplier. This is when you are shooting a Rorqual or citadel.
  • Less optimally, the target has lower speed but also lower signature radius. In this case, S/E is lower than 1, and becomes your damage multiplier. Think of a neuted and grappled frigate, it still takes reduced damage to some degree from cruise missiles.
  • Most of the time, the target has higher speed, and (S/E*Ve/Vt)^drf ends up being smaller than S/E. This is practically anytime you are shooting a subcapital with a prop module. You can try playing the radius to compensate for velocity, but as long as the ship’s speed remains above explosion velocity, that’s how your damage application gets calculated.

All painters used on the target count for stacking penalties, regardless of origin. I don’t know for sure, but any painter after 3rd or 4th should be tanking.

Italicized the relevant part after your last reply.

Edit: As a final note, one can define the general themes for missile application, but specific theorycrafting questions are best answered by pyfa or online application calculators. The damage reduction factor especially muddles the water a lot.

Maybe it is the commas in the equation that are confusing me, S/E could be 10/1 and Ve/Vt could be 1/10 but that does not cancel out ?

Yeah you’re right, I was being dumb over there. That should work in certain situations.

That’s not true. If a missile has 100 radius and the ship has 50 sig the maximum damage it can deal is 50%. Painters are sometimes better than another web etc. I think painters need a buff though.

Well no it depends what that comma means because if S/E is on both sides of the equation then it potentially has no effect at all on target velocity penalty.

The same way it works on everything else. One or two is ideal, three is alright but strongly penalized, four and more are basically a waste of time.

This would probably only be true if the target already has multiple webs on it, is not using an MWD, has a naturally small sig (armor or hull tanked), and no one is painting it yet.

It does cancel out. Think of it this way - S/E part caps dmg on a stationary target (or one moving slower than explosion velocity).

Did you try webbing target 100km away? Did it work?

I thought so.

With regards to stacking penalty the question was how does a stacking penalty apply to a target, a tracking computer, a defensive resist, a weapon upgrade all affect an attribute on the ship the module is fitted to. A target painter affects an attribute on someone else’s ship and for instance if they have an MWD that is technically a module affecting the same attribute as your target painter.

Suffice to say that the formula allows it to work that way. If you are interested in understanding how the min function works, the page I linked has a part explaining the underlying mechanic of the formula.

The first target painter after the MWD gets a stacking penalty, yes.

Yeah that’s correct, I wasn’t really asking so much as covering my bases. Thanks anyway.

So you are saying that a target painter used on a ship using an MWD will only be 80% effective and the second one will only be 50% effective ?

I see the comma separates 3 values of which the smallest one applies, this explains why ships are able to entirely ignore being hit so long as they are fast enough and the only way to damage them is to close tackle them. Which obviously presents a problem for anything but a similar ship. The answer being that sig radius is not making a moving target easier to hit.


You had it right when you talked about S/E and Ve/Vt cancelling out each other. If you take a good look at the equation and the explanations in the page, you’ll make sense of it. You already know how it works in general.

The problem with sig radius vs target velocity is more a practical one than a theoretical one.

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Looks plain and simple to me, the min function means that a target can tank by any of those methods irrespective of how bad the other factor is.

Light missiles will get the same penalty against a battleship MWD at 1000 m/s as a destroyer AB at 1000 m/s