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Missile Launchers

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A missile launcher is a type of weapon that is fitted into a high slot. In order to mount a missile launcher on a ship, an empty launcher hardpoint must be available. There are several launcher types, and some can fire multiple classes of missiles. In all cases, if a launcher can fire a missile class (light for instance) it can also fire its FoF equivalent.

Contents

General

Compared to other weapon types, missiles have four major differences:

  • they don't have an optimal range (just a maximum range) which makes them rather easy to use
  • they don't do instant damage
  • they only do a single type of damage
  • no modules available to improve accuracy or range

Most races integrate missile launcher hardpoints into their ship designs, although they all have a turret weapon specialization. All faction's Combat Recon Ships have at least 3 missile hardpoints. The Caldari in particular (and to a lesser extend the Minmatar) have a number of ship bonuses in this field. Their ships often have many launcher hardpoints, operating as dedicated missile boats and allowing for a fair amount of versatility in damage types at medium to short-ranged combat and needing no capacitor. This makes Caldari ships - and missile ships in general - very powerful in PvE, as NPCs generally have few defenses against missiles. Missile-armed ships are also preferred for missions due to their ability to deliver 100% of its damage of a single type, making it highly effective against a single race of NPCs.

The use of missiles in PvP is hotly debated, as the delay caused by missile flight time is often seen as a hindrance when compared to the instant damage by direct-fire weapons. As a result they are generally discouraged from use in most PvP engagements, though changes to torpedoes have lead to discussion on missile's potential close-range firepower.

Not quite falling into the role of PvP, but related, is POS (Player Owned Stations) warfare, where missile's advantages in single damage types and heavy tank make it ideal for attacking large, stationary targets. Cruise missiles allow excellent standoff range from a tower's weapons. Since missile launchers do not require capacitor energy, their sustained fire rate is only limited by their ammunition capacity, whereas many contemporary Amarr and Gallente battleships often need to manage their damage output in order to prevent emptying their capacitors.

Launcher Overview

  • Most Caldari ships are specialized in the use of missiles, but all racial ship fleets contain ships able to use missile launchers. Especially Minmatar ships usually have a combination of turret and missile slots.
  • Missile launchers must be loaded with an appropriate type of missiles before firing, and these missiles are consumed as the launcher fires.
  • Missile launchers do not require capacitor in order to fire.
  • Always hit unless stopped by a defender or fail to hit due to the target's speed.
  • Uses a ship's speed and signature radius to calculate damage.
  • Range not modifiable by switching ammunition except for T2 launchers and T2 ammunition.
  • Damage type can be altered by switching the launcher to a different missile.
  • Relevant skill category: Missile Launcher Operation

Range, Explosion Velocity and Explosion Radius

Missiles are quite different from the turret weapons. Every missile has a Velocity, Flight Time, Explosion Velocity and Explosion Radius.

  • Velocity is how fast it moves, while Flight Time is how long it can fly. Taking both factors together will get you the maximum distance the missile can cover. If a missile flies at 1000 meters per second, and has a maximum flight time of 25 seconds, then its maximum range is 25,000 meters (25km), although not necessarily in a straight line. If a person can fly away from the missile without it hitting for long enough, it runs out of fuel and does nothing to them. Pilots can also warp out of the area before a missile reaches them.
  • Explosion Velocity is the velocity of the expansion of the explosion (phase velocity, as compared to group velocity). It basically describes the ability of the explosion to damage a fast moving target. If the target is moving almost as fast as the missile's explosion, the explosion simply can't hit it as hard. If it is moving faster, most or all of the damage is lost. This is another reason that an extremely fast ship can ruin the ability of missiles to do damage to them.
  • Explosion Radius is a similar statistic - how big the explosion is. The bigger the explosion, the more it will simply wash over the target rather than ripping into it. In effect, a ship with a smaller Signature Radius will take less damage from a missile with a larger Explosion Radius. Thus it is ALWAYS better to have a smaller explosion radius.

All missiles do a single damage type, but usually do a whole lot of it. So, you might have a missile that does huge thermal damage, but it only does thermal damage. You can also swap missiles in a launcher in the same way as swapping ammunition in a turret, gaining a different damage type in the process.

FoF Missiles

FoF stands for Friend or Foe. These missiles come in light, heavy, and cruise varieties, and use the equivalent missile launcher. The difference is that they do not need to be targeted. If a ship damages you, or uses some form of electronic warfare on your ship, then you can launch these and they will automatically attack the culprit. You do not need to target the vessel, but you do need to manually select the fire button to start launching them. FoF missiles have similar attributes to their normal counterparts, aside from their targeting.

Defender Missiles

Defender missiles have one purpose: To destroy incoming missiles. Only one type exists, but any launcher can use defenders. Defenders, though very fast and with good range, have a weak warhead. It may take more than one defender to eliminate an incoming warhead. It is for this reason that it's best to put defenders in rocket launchers, which have a very high rate of fire. A missile launcher containing defenders can only be activated if there is already a missile coming in and will then start launching defenders at the closest missile until there is no incoming missile left.

Launcher varieties

Frigate class launchers

Icon rocker launcher.png Rocket Launchers
The short range Frigate class launcher. It fires Rockets rapidly. Does more DPS than a Standard launcher, but chews through ammunition very quickly and must be fired at "knife fighting" range. This is 5 km to start with for a rookie to roughly 10 km with max skills before range enhancements, and discounting target movement. They have low system requirements and they can use Defender missiles. Typically, only fast and small ships wanting to engage targets at relatively close range will want to employ rockets.
Icon standard launcher.png Standard Launchers
The long range Frigate class missile launcher. This launcher is loaded with Light Missiles, which can reach up from 19 km (standard missile range) to roughly 40km with max skills before range enhancements, and discounting target movement. These launchers fire Defenders as well as FoF missiles.

Cruiser launchers

Icon rocker launcher.png Assault Launchers
Improved long range small launcher for Cruisers or higher. Unlike what the name suggests, this launcher does not fire 'Assault' missiles, but rather the Frigate class Light Missiles. The hook is that the Assault Launcher fires them at a faster rate, increasing DPS by about 25%. Ideal for supporting your drones against frigates in either lvl1/2/3 missioning or for specialized anti-frigate setups on missile ships, such as the Caracal, Curse, Cerberus or Drake.
Icon heavy launcher.png Heavy Launchers
Long range Cruiser class launcher. These launchers fire Heavy Missiles, which can reach from 37.5 km without skills to roughly 84 km with max skills before range enhancements, and discounting target movement.
Icon heavy assault launcher.png Heavy Assault Launchers
Short range Cruiser class launcher. Fires Heavy assault missiles. In a fashion similar to the Rocket Launcher, the Heavy Assault Launcher fires these missiles rapidly at a comparatively short range, roughly 9 km without skills to 20 km with max skills before range enhancements, discounting target movement.

Battleship launchers

Icon cruise launcher.png Cruise Launchers
Long range Battleship class launcher. Fires Cruise Missiles, which can reach from 75 km without skills to roughly 168km with max skills before range enhancements, and discounting target movement. In most cases, a pilot will find that his cruise missiles are capable of firing much further than his targeting systems will allow. Therefor a sensor booster is often carried to mitigate this issue. With good skills and a scripted sensor booster, a cruise missile is easily capable of hitting targets beyond 200km with no reduction in damage.
30px torpedo Launchers
"Short" range Battleship class launcher. Fires Torpedoes. Like the Heavy Assault and Rocket launchers, this launcher fires Torpedoes rapidly at a short range for high DPS. Like heavy assault missiles, they can reach from 9 km (standard torpedo range) to roughly 20km with max skills before range enhancements, discounting target movement. Also used by frigate-class Covert Ops Stealth Bombers.

Capital Ship class launchers

Icon citadel launcher.png Citadel Launchers
Long range capital class launcher likely to only be seen on certain Dreadnoughts. Fires Citadel Torpedoes, which move extremely slowly. They can reach about 150 km with max skills before range enhancements, and discounting target movement (although the target you fire them at had better not move much at all).

Missile Efficiency Enhancements

Damage

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{Missile Type} (1x - 7x)*

Skill with {Missile Type}. Special: 5% Bonus to {Missile Type} damage per skill level.
Training Time Multipliers: Rockets (1x), Standard Missiles (2x), Heavy Missiles (3x), Heavy Assault Missiles (3x), Torpedoes (4x), Cruise Missiles (5x), Citadel Torpedoes (7x)

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Warhead Upgrades (5x)

Proficiency at upgrading missile warheads with deadlier payloads. 2% bonus to all missile damage per skill level.

Icon ballstic control system.png Ballistic Control System (low slot module)

Provides a +7.5 - 10.5% rate of fire and +7.0 - 14.8% damage bonus for missiles.

Icon rig missile launcher.png Warhead Calefaction Catalyst (rig)

Damage: +10% (T1) or +15% (T2). Penalty: 10% increased CPU requirement for launchers.

Icon implant hardwiring.png Hardwiring

Every missile type has a separate implant to do 1%/3%/5% damage, spread among the various slots:

Missile Type Implant slot Hardwire Name and type
Torpedoes 6 Zainou 'Snapshot' ZMT
Cruise Missiles 6 Zainou 'Snapshot' ZMU
Heavy Assault 7 Zainou 'Snapshot' ZME
Heavy Missiles 7 Zainou 'Snapshot' ZMH
Defender 8 Zainou 'Snapshot' ZMD
Standard Missiles 9 Zainou 'Snapshot' ZMN
Rockets 9 Zainou 'Snapshot' ZMR
FoF Missiles 10 Zainou 'Snapshot' ZMF

Rate of Fire

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Missile Launcher Operation (1x)

Basic operation of missile launcher systems. 2% Bonus to missile launcher rate of fire per skill level.

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Rapid Launch (2x)

Proficiency at rapid missile launcher firing. 3% bonus to missile launcher rate of fire per level.

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{Missile Type} Specialization (5x)

Specialist training in the operation of (Missile Type} launchers. 2% bonus per level to the rate of fire of modules requiring {Missile Type} Specialization (Tech II).
Multipliers exceptions: Standard Missiles = 3x, Torpedos = 8x

Icon ballstic control system.png Ballistic Control System (low slot module)

Provides a +7.5 - 10.5% rate of fire and +7.0 - 14.8% damage bonus for missiles.

Icon rig missile launcher.png Bay Loading Accelerator (rig)

Rate of Fire: +10% (T1) or +15% (T2). Penalty: 10% increased CPU requirement for launchers.

Icon implant hardwiring.png Hardwiring - Zainou 'Deadeye' ZMM

1%/3%/5% bonus to all missile launcher rate of fire (Implant Slot 10).

Range

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Missile Projection (4x)

Skill at boosting missile bay propulsion systems and manipulating guided missiles' jet engines. 10% bonus to all missiles' maximum velocity per level.

Icon rig missile launcher.png Hydraulic Bay Thrusters (rig)

Max velocity: +15% (T1) or +20% (T2). Penalty: 10% increased CPU requirement for launchers.

Icon implant hardwiring.png Hardwiring - Zainou 'Deadeye' ZML

1%/3%/5% bonus to all missiles' maximum velocity (Implant Slot 7).

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Missile Bombardment (2x)

Proficiency at long-range missile combat. 10% bonus to all missiles' maximum flight time per level.

Icon rig missile launcher.png Rocket Fuel Cache Partition (rig)

Flight Time: +15% (T1) or +20% (T2). Penalty: 10% increased CPU requirement for launchers.

Icon implant hardwiring.png Hardwiring - Zainou 'Deadeye' ZMC

1%/3%/5% bonus to all missiles' flight time (Implant Slot 7).

  • Unlike Tracking Enhancers and Tracking Computers for turrets, there are no modules to greatly increase missiles' range or improve their accuracy;
  • Sometimes a pilot will find that his missiles are capable of firing further than his targeting systems will allow. To mitigate this issue one can use Sensor Boosters (mid slot) and Signal Amplifiers (low slot) and train the Long Range Targeting skill;
  • 'Sniper' is the term used for a ship, most commonly a battleship or HAC (Heavy Assault Cruiser), fitted in a way that allows it to engage and destroy targets at long ranges. It is generally used in PvP setups, although engaging NPCs at long range (a tactic usually referred to as 'kiting') can be effective too;
  • Many Caldari ships get a 10% per skill level missile velocity bonus with the Cerberus (Caldari HAC) getting a bonus to both missile velocity and flight time. There's no Minmatar ships with such range bonus, their ship bonus usually concerns rate of fire.

Accuracy

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Target Navigation Prediction (2x)

Proficiency at optimizing a missile's flight path to negate the effects of a target's speed upon the explosion's impact. 10% decrease per level in factor of target's velocity for all missiles.

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Guided Missile Precision (5x)

Skill at precision missile homing. Proficiency at this skill increases the accuracy of a fired missile's exact point of impact, resulting in greater damage to small targets. 5% decreased factor of signature radius for light, heavy and cruise missile explosions per level of skill.

Icon rig missile launcher.png Warhead Flare Catalyst (rig)

Explosion Velocity Bonus +15% (T1) - 20% (T2). Penalty: 10% increased CPU requirement for launchers.

Icon implant hardwiring.png Hardwiring - Zainou 'Deadeye' ZMA

1%/3%/5% decreased factor of signature radius for light, heavy and cruise missile explosions (Implant Slot 8).

Icon implant hardwiring.png Hardwiring - Zainou 'Deadeye' ZMS

1%/3%/5% decrease in factor of target's velocity for all missiles (Implant Slot 9).

  • A smaller signature radius makes a ship harder to hit due to tracking effects, take longer to lock, and take less damage from weapons. Signature radius is proportional to the physical size of the ship so smaller ships are harder to hit and in case of missiles, take far less damage. Next to that, the faster a ship moves, the less damage it gets from missiles as the ship moves out of the explosion radius. To increase a ship's Signature Radius one can also use Target Painters and to reduce speed Webifiers (both mid slot modules).

Power Need Reduction

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Weapon Upgrades (2x)

Gunnery Skill. Knowledge of gunnery computer systems, including the use of weapon upgrade modules. 5% reduction per skill level in the CPU needs of weapon turrets, launchers and smartbombs.

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Advanced Weapon Upgrades (6x)

Gunnery Skill. Reduces the powergrid needs of weapon turrets and launchers by 2% per skill level.

Icon implant hardwiring.png Hardwiring - Zainou 'Gnome' KTA

A neural Interface upgrade that lowers launcher CPU needs by 1%/3%/5% (Implant Slot 6).

Targeting

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Signature Analysis (1x)

Electronics Skill. Skill at operating Targeting systems. 5% improved targeting speed per skill level.

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Long Range Targeting (2x)

Electronics Skill. Skill at long range targeting. 5% Bonus to targeting range per skill level.

Overloading

All missile launchers have an overload rate of fire bonus of 15 %

See also



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