Thursday, June 07, 2012

DPS Versus Tank

In response to my post yesterday on Merlins and whether or not I'd go with a Damage Control II versus a Magnetic Field Stablizer II in a low slot, I got this tweet:
eenbal: @kirithkodachi what you mean dcu or mag stab? DPS DPS DPS! Killing him first is better then taking longer to die :)
Hmmm, is that always true? I decided to do some rough back of the napkin math and see what's up. Let's assume I'm facing another frigate doing 200 DPS and let's ignore resistance levels to simplify things. The estimated effective hit point tank of the DCII Merlin is about 7440 points, meaning I would survive roughly 37 seconds. In that time I would do around 5950 points of damage (160 DPS) in return.

On the second Merlin with more damage and less tank, my 5900 EHP tank would last 29.5 seconds allowing me to deliver 5660 points of damage (192 DPS) in return.

In other words, I end up doing more damage in the long run.

Now this ignores a lot of factors such as an enemy with a repper that needs to be overcome with sheer volley damage, optimal range, energy attacks, etc. My point is that it is not always clear cut the best route to take when dealing with how much improvement to the tank the damage control module can give a ship.

* * * * *

In response to Unknown commenter who suggested using ion blasters instead of neutrons and going with a tech II shield extender and two mag stabs, the result is an effective hit point tank of ~6400 points and estimated DPS of 180. Using my 200 DPS opponent, I get to live for 32 seconds doing 5760 points of damage in return. If I switch the second mag stab for a Damage Control II, an 8000 EHP tank lives for 40 seconds and the DPS of 150 does ~6000 points of damage.

Usual disclaimers of napkin math piloting apply. The longer the fight goes on, the greater the chance something bad happens :)


  1. Yet another example of why I've never used EFT/Pyfa to fit a ship. Best thing is experience, knowledge and fighting other people, if it works I keep it, if it doesn't.... well then it gets blowed up real good.

  2. Did you account for the fact that frigate HP (in reality) is more like 1000-2000 tops? I can't tell if you did or didn't. I almost never see a frigate take more than 1500 damage

  3. That's the difficulty with comparing actual to effective stats. That frigate that took 1500 damage (according to the killmail) will actually have absorbed a far greater amount of effective firepower thanks to resists.

    This is complicated by the fact that there are three different resist bands (shield, armor, hull) for any given damage type! The math is totally workable, but you need to assume a very specific set of circumstances, which tends to lead to distraction when people start objecting the the assumptions you have made in your model.

    But your point is valid - you only need to survive long enough against a particular target to deal enough damage to kill it. Beyond that point additional survivability is wasted (you are already going to win) whereas additional dps ends the fight faster (giving you more chance to escape the blob).

  4. You didn't account for overloading, which is the entire point of OMGWTF DPS ships. DPS>all most of the time ;)


  5. Rixx Javix speaks against using fitting tools, but I think that should not be the point at all. You should absolutely use EFT, since it can tell you numbers you wouldn't know without doing mental math or knowing absolutely everything from having lost scores of ships. COMBINED with experience, EFT can be a valuable tool to help you hone your fits' effectiveness without nearly so much trial & error, or at least make that trial & error cheaper.

    The point eenbal made about DPS is valid: In any given fight, if you can deal damage twice as fast and have half the tank, you should accept that tradeoff because you will still win the same fights and they will be over in half the time, or even less if the enemy has an active tank (since your DPS over their repair abilities is significantly more than doubled).

    Lord's Servant's point about overheating is almost moot. When comparing two ships' effectiveness, overheating a high DPS ship has the same effect on its power as overheating a high tank ship unless you have to overheat for so long that your mods would burn out before the fight is over.

    Now that I've spoken for the DPS Is Best side of the argument, I want to voice a word of caution: Even though the apparent effectiveness of a ship stays the same (say your tank decreases by 33% and your DPS increases by 50% so ideally it brawls just as hard), actual fighting conditions are not ideal. The only damage that counts is the damage that actually hits; if you get 50% more DPS but have to expose yourself to more fire to apply it, it's not going to be as good.

    But if the damage applies the same and it's basically the same kind of brawl, that's what the rating score in EFT is for: the square root of DPS times EHP, higher means harder brawling - fit the highest DPS you can while keeping that number up, taking other things into consideration, and you will do well.

  6. Anonymous5:43 am

    Flying mostly solo, I prefer the tank over dps (also, there are almost no stations with repair services around me), and this strategy has worked well for me. Even if the hostile ship has energy neutralizers. Also, while he overloads his guns, I overload my reppers, which creates a very adrenaline-satiated situation. Also, DCII is a must for me personally when flying armor tanked ships and in most shield tanked setups, unless I'm very sure about my shield's hardiness.

    Widders, even if you "can deal damage twice as fast and have half the tank" you have no guarantees that your damage type will be proper for the given situation and you will lose valuable time switching ammo, if possible at all. Many people use RF EMP on Minmatar ships, which is great against shields, but try to melt an armor tanked ship with it and you'll hit a resist wall. Then you DIAF. :)

    Best regards,


    PS. Widders, you forgot the mandatory

    The BattleClinic Team

    Har-har-har :)