Monday, March 12, 2012

Tracking Titans - Glass Cannons or Flyswatters?

 EDIT:  In my checking to make sure I had the To Hit formula correct in my spreadsheet, I forgot to double check my transversal speed calculations and used a linear function instead of a Sine function. FAIL. I'm fixing the numbers below but for more details, see this post by Tommy Rollins.

As I mentioned Friday, Alekseyev Karde and I disagree on whether or not tracking of weapons on Titans needs to be nerfed. His position as I remember it from the Voices from the Void podcast he was on was that they have to nerf their setup so much to be able to track that they become glass cannons.
New Model for the Erberus.

I've flown glass cannons in Eve before, actual glass cannons like the Caracal and Gank Brutix, and the thought of a Titan, even unfitted, being called a glass cannon strikes me as odd.

So I decided to take a look at the numbers to see what's really going on.

Titan Tracking

I picked an Erebus with six Ion Siege Blaster Cannon Is and put six Tracking Computer IIs (with tracking scripts) in the mid slots. I can get better performance with faction or officer tracking computers, but let's keep it low cost on the assumption that a Titan pilot would not blow a billion or two just to have superior tracking.

With level 5 skills in the relevant categories and a Strong Drop booster active (yum, drugs), the tracking of the guns is 0.0202 radians per second. No remote tracking links, leadership bonuses, anything else.

The "To Hit" formula we will be using is the tried and trusted one from the Evelopedia:

I used two targets in my initial testing to ensure that the Erebus could indeed hit targets with some success: a 1600mm plated afterburning Thorax (max speed 524 m/s and 140 m sig radius) and a 1600mm plated afterburner Myrmidon (max speed 400 m/s and 300 m sig radius).

The results:
At maximum transversal (i.e. target moving 90 degrees to Erebus) the chance to hit is practically nil. At a 45 degree angle for a transversal around 262 meters/sec we get a ~1% chance to hit out at 40 km 0.01% at 50 km range. If the Thorax pilot makes a mistake and the transversal angle drops to 10% (i.e. transversal speed of around 58 m/s) the chance to hit jumps to 57% at 25 km 35% at 30 km.

In easy to read table format:
At 90 degrees: ~0%
At 45 degrees: 1% at 40 km
At 10 degrees: 57% at 25 km
At 45 degrees: 0.1% at 50 km
At 10 degrees: 35% at 30 km

For the Myrmidon:
At 90 degrees: 6% at 40 km
At 45 degrees: 33% at 30 km
At 10 degrees: 90% at 20 km
At 90 degrees: 0% at any range
At 45 degrees: ~1% at 50 km
At 20 degrees: 15% at 40 km
At 10 degrees: 49% at 30 km

So I think its safe to say that a group of ten Erberus Titans at various ranges from each other present a problem for cruisers and battlecruisers, to say nothing of battleships. Considering this Erberus with three Tech II Magnetic Field Stabilizers throws out over 38 thousand raw points of damage per volley, it won't take many "lucky" hits to flatten a target.

So its definitely an impressive cannon. How's the glass part coming?

Titan Tanking

So with no mid slots left and three low slots used, how well can the Erberus tank?

With these tech II mods:
Kirith's El Cheapo Titan Tank
The Erberus sports this tank:
2.25 million armour points.
If that's glass, I want some.


The only way a Tracking Titan is a glass cannon is if its engaged by other supercaps, or perhaps a Dreadnought blob.

After looking at the numbers, I'm even more convinced that Titan tracking is out of whack. Remember that a group of these ships can change fits on the fly by using each other's Ship Maintenance Bay so that they can carry the necessary tracking equipment to turn into sub-cap murderers fairly easily. That kind of flexibility on a ship that literally can take take millions of points of damage combines to make the balance of power skewed and should be addressed in my humble opinion.

The easiest quick fix would be to make tracking modules not compatible with capital sized weapons, but I have not looked into what issues that might present in the reasonable case of Titan versus carrier or dreadnought sized targets.


  1. Out of curiosity, did any part of that tank include anything from leadership bonuses ? T'would be reasonable to assume they would be in effect at the time.

  2. I did not take any leadership bonuses into account, I treated the titan as if it was not in a fleet.

  3. I ran with your initial thoughts and made a few detailed graphs to support it.

    My overall conclusion was that especially with the right support fleet, Titans are a more than a bit overpowered. The right changes to make are tough though. I think its appropriate that an 80+ billion isk ship is pretty powerful, but I'm not sure how to balance it. I like the removal of tracking links though.

  4. Anonymous9:09 am

    Simple thought here and potentially it is what your suggesting. In general make capital class ships need capital variants of their mods. Given that most cap mods are too big to fit inside most ships cargo bay, the thought of carrying even a couple of these around to change on the fly would be impossible.

    This means the ships go out with the fits they have.

    An alternative solution is to disallow refit while agression counter is running which means a ship would need to get to a POS shield or stay out of combat some how for 15 minutes to refit...thus the titan in plan is the titan in play until the end of the engagement.

    I don't believe either would constitute a nerf to the titan, it would simply bring it back to the intended use of this functionality for non combat refits versus the current exploitative way the function is being used.



    :D Nerf Bat incoming.

  6. From my understanding of tracking titan fits, they stick 3-4 sensor boosters in the mids. Toss in tracking computers for the rest of the mids. 3 damage mods in the lows, and the rest of the lows have tracking enhancers. Even still, tracking titans usually stick the most pimped tracking modules on, because tracking is life in those situations. Right now, you can get north of .025 r/sec on a tracking fit Erebus - putting it between the tracking of a CR BS and a mid-range alpha BS. It isn't great, but the 70-80k alpha makes up for a lot of missed shots.

    The far bigger issue than the tracking nerf is the scan res. That nerf is going to kill the tracking titan concept far more than the tracking nerf. It will make lock times twice that of sieged dreads.

  7. All of the numbers look good. Thanks for the nod at the top!

    What do you think of the changes announced?

  8. Judging by the whining to crowing ratio on failheap challenge, I'd say its a good start.

  9. Gentlemen, you're looking at a dinosaur. CCP Grayscale has some changes coming in April.

  10. I've never been shot at by a titan, and have rarely seen them on the field. I'd imagine most of null-sec residents are in a somewhat similar position. Yet everyone seems to have something to say on the matter. Thank you for putting together an insightful analysis of the issue without throwing too much meaningless opinion in the mix.

    There's still one inconsistency. A "0.01% at 50 km" matched with a "0.1% at 50 km" a few lines later. :)