Projectile Ammunition

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Projectile ammunition is a complex topic because, unlike hybrid or energy ammunition, different kinds of projectile ammunition can have not only different optimal range modifiers, but also different tracking modifiers and completely different damage types. This page attempts to explain projectile ammunition in detail.

Contents

T1 Ammunition Types

Name Range Mod. Tracking Mod. Damage Types Damage
EMP -50% 0% EM (75%)/exp (16%)/kin High
Fusion -50% 0% EXP (83%)/kin High
Phased Plasma -50% 0% THERM (83%)/kin High
Titanium Sabot 0% 20% KIN (75%)/exp Moderate
Depleted Uranium 0% 20% exp (38%)/therm (38%)/kin Moderate
Proton 60% 5% em (60%)/kin Low
Nuclear 60% 5% EXP (80%)/kin Low
Carbonized Lead 60% 5% KIN (80%)/exp Low

As you can see from this table, after the Dominion expansion, projectile ammo is divided into three tiers:

  • 3 short-ranged, high-damage types -- EMP, Phased Plasma and Fusion
  • 2 medium range, medium damage, high-tracking types -- Titanium Sabot and Depleted Uranium
  • 3 long range, low damage types with a minor tracking speed bonus -- Proton, Nuclear and Carbonized Lead

Within each tier the only differences are in the damage type, so EMP, phased plasma and fusion all do identical amounts of raw (before enemy resists are applied) damage.

Faction versions of these ammunition types are available, and offer a nice increase in damage for a price. If you can afford it it's good to carry and use one or two loads of faction ammo in PvP; for PvE faction ammo is usually not cost-effective.

Ammo and Autocannons

  • Your optimal range doesn't exist (or might as well not exist)

ACs have terrible optimal ranges and long falloff (read more about optimal and falloff here). The only reasons why you should be taking autocannons into their optimal range is when fighting missile ships or if you've landed on top of a sniping battleship. All other times, fight in your falloff.

  • If your ship has a falloff bonus, it's designed to fit autocannons

Because optimal range bonuses on autocannons are as useful as explosive damage bonuses for lasers.

  • T1 ammo range bonuses are irrelevant!

All T1 projectile ammo range modifiers apply to your optimal range, not falloff. As ACs have tiny optimal ranges and huge falloff, you can always load EMP, phased plasma or fusion -- your range would barely increase if you load one of the other ammo types.

(There are some very minor exceptions to this rule. For example if you're trying to hit a close-orbiting Jaguar with medium ACs Titanium Sabot not only gives you a tracking bonus, but also hits the Jaguar's weakest resist, kinetic.)

  • Don't ignore the low and middle-tier autocannons

125mm, 150mm, Dual 180mm, 220mm, Dual 425mm and Dual 650mm autocannons have stupidly low fitting requirements and allow you to either fit massive plates, loads of nos, twin reps, MWDs and cap boosters without gimping your setup. Using the next tier above means 4-5% more damage, a slightly reduced ammo consumption, and more falloff.

  • Fit top-tier autocannons for PvE

They use a lot less ammo, which is very important when shooting rats with autocannons as they have the highest rate of fire of all turrets

T2 AC Ammo

There are two types of T2 AC ammo, Barrage and Hail. Barrage is ridiculously useful, and Hail is pretty useless. Note that only T2 autocannons can load T2 ammunition.

Barrage

Barrage comes with a 50% boost to falloff and a 25% penalty to tracking. It does a mixture of explosive and kinetic damage, a little more explosive than kinetic. This is the quintessential kiting/skirmishing ammo type, which lets you fit autocannons and fight at the edge of warp disruptor range.

The only things it's a bit useless against are I-field shield tanks and T2 Amarr ships, who have very high explosive resists and are weaker to EM or thermal damage.

Hail

Hail does a lot of damage, on paper. Unfortunately it also cuts your tracking speed by 30% and falloff by 50%. (It also cuts your optimal by 50%, but you didn't want that optimal anyway, right?)

When fighting large, stationary targets, Hail may actually be useful. Generally, however, Hail's penalties mean that other ammunition will actually do more real, applied damage even if Hail offers the best on-paper damage.

Ammo selection

So, what ammo should you actually pack? You don't need to carry a load of every type.

PvP: T1 ACs

  1. Phased Plasma for general use (thermal is a decent all-round damage type)
  2. Fusion to hit armour tanks
  3. EMP to hit shield tanks

PvP: T2 ACs

  1. Barrage for general use, unless you plan to fight at close range
  2. Fusion to hit armour tanks at close range
  3. EMP to hit Barrage-resistant shield tanks
  4. Phased Plasma to hit T2 Amarr ships or for general use at close range

On ships with an inherent falloff bonus and one or more Tracking Enhancers fitted (= the Vagabond), falloff can get so long that you can kite while using short-ranged, high-damage ammo rather than Barrage, for more DPS.

PvE

The rule of thumb for PvE is to hit the weakest resists of the rat type you're fighting, as detailed here.

However, remember the tiering by damage. Some assume that since, for example, Guristas' lowest resist is to kinetic damage, titanium sabot is the best ammo to kill them. Actually, the higher damage of phased plasma makes up for the slightly worse resists.

Rats Best Second-Best
Angel Cartel Fusion Titanium Sabot
Blood Raiders EMP Phased Plasma
Guristas Phased Plasma Titanium Sabot
Serpentis Phased Plasma Titanium Sabot
Sansha EMP Phased Plasma
Mercenaries Phased Plasma Titanium Sabot
Mordu's Legion Phased Plasma Titanium Sabot
Rogue Drones EMP Phased Plasma
Amarr Empire EMP Phased Plasma
Caldari State Phased Plasma Titanium Sabot
Gallente Federation Phased Plasma Titanium Sabot
Minmatar Republic Fusion Titanium Sabot

Ammo and Artillery

  • Meaningful optimal ranges!

Unlike autocannon, artillery do have a noticeable optimal range, though they also have plenty of falloff too. This means that the range bonuses from the T1 ammo types do actually let you reach further away.

  • But . . .

Unless your tank really cannot survive at the range you have with EMP, phased plasma or fusion, you're generally best sticking to the short-ranged types to get the best DPS. Although the longer-ranged ammo types could be used for sniping, they're outclassed by Tremor, the long-range T2 artillery ammo.

  • Alpha

Artillery pieces do low DPS but high alpha -- they deal a lot of damage in one hit. This is a further incentive to use the high-damage, short range ammo, to maximise your alpha strike. In certain PvP situations you can destroy a target in one hit, rendering DPS pretty irrelevant.

T2 Artillery Ammo

There are two types of T2 artillery ammo, Tremor and Quake. Tremor is a good sniping ammunition, and Quake is about as useless as Hail. Both Tremor and Quake do a mixture of explosive and kinetic damage, more explosive than kinetic.

Tremor

Tremor comes with a whopping 80% range bonus, and a 75% tracking speed penalty. It's dedicated sniping ammo. If your targets ever get close enough that they achieve meaningful angular velocity, then artillery, which have slow tracking speeds at the best of times, will really struggle to hit them.

Quake

Quake does a lot of damage on paper, but it comes with a 75% range penalty and 25% tracking speed penalty. As with Hail, the drawbacks mean that Quake will rarely outdamage other ammo types, though it may be useful against large stationary targets.

Ammo Selection

With artillery you are usually either

  • using the short-ranged ammo, within disruptor range in PvP and within its optimal in PvE
  • or PvP sniping with Tremor at long, long range

So ammo selection follows a fairly similar logic to that for autocannons.

PvP: T1 Arty

  1. Phased Plasma for general use (thermal is a decent all-round damage type)
  2. Fusion to hit armour tanks
  3. EMP to hit shield tanks
  4. Maybe one of Nuclear/Proton/Carbonized Lead to use if you find you cannot bring the enemy into range of the short-range ammo types

PvP: T2 Arty

  • If sniping, Tremor, with some short-ranged ammo for emergencies in the hold
  • If not sniping, the same selection as for T1 artillery, with Tremor replacing Nuclear/Proton/Carbonized Lead

PvE

As with autocannons, whichever of the three short-ranged ammo types the rats you're fighting are weakest to.

See Also

  • Turrets, for a more general overview of all three kinds of turret and their associated ammunition
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