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Missiles are very versatile weapons, but it is important to understand the trade off between guns and missiles in terms of benefits and drawbacks. First, it is important to understand the missile damage is typically much more constant than damage from guns. The factors affecting a gun's damage are range, transversal velocity, and ship signature. For missiles, the factors are the ship's speed and signature radius. The speed and signature of a ship are generally constant, though some ships will pulse their MWDs on and off to change their speed.
With guns, the range and transversal are likely to change wildly as the ships maneuver in space. You're not going to have the same wrecking hits or nearly total misses as you have with guns. If your missile connects, chances are the damage done will be the same each time.
The other major difference with missiles is that they are not instant connect weapons. They have a flight time. This is really the biggest drawback of the weapon, as the target that you fired on may or may not still be around by the time your missiles catch up to him. If the ship doesn't warp off, blow up, or get out of range, you will eventually hit him, with the exception of very high speed ships.
The drawback with missiles is in cases where they experience long flight times. Typically you will see this most with cruise missiles where flight times can vary between 20 and 40 seconds with skills. Since the fleet is focus firing a single primary target, it will usually blow up inside of 15 seconds. For this reason, battleships using missiles are typically seen as unworthy in fleet battles. While it is possible to target another ship, you probably won't do much damage to him alone, and he has much more time to escape. Shooting the secondary target or support ships is sometimes an effective alternative, though.
Any decent pilot specializing in missiles (Caldari) should still have guns trained well enough to use a T1 Rokh in fleet battles
Missile Varieties Overview
Generally, what missiles you are going to be firing depends on your ship and your typical target ships. Frigates start with either rockets (short range, fast firing) or light missiles (medium range, slow firing). Cruisers use either heavy missiles (longer range) or heavy assault missiles (shorter range, higher damage), or may fit light missiles in assault launchers to attack fast frigates.
Battleships fit either torpedoes or cruise missiles. Torpedoes hit harder and work best against battleship size targets. Cruise missiles are lower damage, but are faster and have more range than torpedoes, and work somewhat better against smaller targets.
Citadel torpedoes can only be fitted by dreadnoughts and are generally only used against POS targets and other capital ships.
Each missile type has two Tech II variants. Rockets, heavy assault missiles, and torpedoes have a long-range variant, and an anti-ship variant (higher damage, but optimized for bigger targets). Light, heavy, and cruise missiles have a high-damage variant, and a high-precision variant that is better against smaller targets.
There are also auto-targeting "FoF" missiles of each size, that automatically fire (without needing a target lock) on any ship attacking you. A "Defender" missile (that fits in all launcher types) can be fired to destroy incoming enemy missiles.
A missile will always hit if it is fired in range of the target (though the damage dealt may vary, see "Calculating damage", below). The range is calculated from the missiles velocity, times the missiles maximum flight time. Boosting either of these parameters (with skills, modules, or bonuses) will increase the missile's range.
Each missile type comes in four variants, one for each damage type (EM/Explosive/Kinetic/Thermal) in the game. Unlike turret ammunition, missiles always deal 100% of their damage as a single type.
Missile damage and rof can be boosted by the use of one or more Ballistic Control Systems.
- EVE Online guide to missiles: http://wiki.eveonline.com/wiki/Missiles
- Missile Damage and Range Calculator: http://www.evegeek.com/missile.php
- Damage - base damage dealt. The damage type depends on the sub-type of missile. Affected by the relevant missile skill and by Warhead Upgrades.
- Rockets - Dependent upon the Rockets skill.
- Heavy Assault Missiles - Dependent upon the Heavy Assault Missiles skill (new in Kali).
- Light Missiles - Dependent upon the Standard Missiles skill.
- Heavy Missiles - Dependent upon the Heavy Missiles skill.
- Cruise Missiles - Dependent upon the Cruise Missiles skill.
- Torpedoes - Dependent upon the Torpedoes skill.
- Velocity - the missile's in-flight velocity. Affected by Missile Projection and, depending on your ship, your skill level in Caldari Cruiser or Caldari Battleship. In general, it's preferable to increase this instead of increasing flight time, since having missiles move faster means that you can hit faster-moving targets.
- Flight time - the maximum flight time. Affected by Missile Bombardment.
- Range - the missile's base range, from (velocity) x (flight time).
- Exp. velocity, Exp. radius - see "Calculating missile damage", below. Explosion radius can be reduced by Guided Missile Precision for all types, explosion velocity can be reduced by Target Navigation Prediction for light, heavy, and cruise missiles only. The explosion velocity of rockets, heavy assault missiles, torpedos, citadel cruise missiles, and citadel torpedos can not be improved by anything except hull-specific bonuses (i.e. those of Stealth Bombers) or Warhead Flare Catalyst rigs.
- Rate of Fire - delay (in seconds) between missiles shots, assuming the base (Tech I) launcher variant. Affected by Rapid Launch and better launcher modules; tech II launchers will also be affected by the relevant specialization skills.
- DPS - Base damage per second, calculated from (damage) / (rate of fire).
Javelin, Rage, Precision, and Fury missiles are Tech II missiles that can only be loaded in Tech II launchers. They come with various penalties to your ship that stack with each launcher the missile is loaded in. For PvP usage, examining faction missiles is highly recommended, Caldari Navy missiles can be easily purchased in Jita and deal 15% more damage than regular Tech I and are relatively affordable.
F.O.F. missiles automatically pick a target, making them somewhat useful when jammed, but deal substantially less than their targeted variants.
Firing times on the chart below are for T2 launchers. T1 launchers have a reduced rate of fire.
|Name||Damage||Velocity||Flight time||Range||Exp. velocity||Exp. radius||Rate of Fire||DPS||Penalty|
|Rocket||25||2250 m/s||2 s||4.5 km||85 m/s||20 m||3.2 s||7.8|
|Javelin Rocket||22.5||3375 m/s||2 s||6.75 km||85 m/s||20 m||3.2 s||7.0||-7.5% ship speed|
|Rage Rocket||32||2250 m/s||1.8 s||4.05 km||82 m/s||30 m||3.2 s||10||+7% signature radius|
|Light Missile||75||3750 m/s||5 s||18.75 km||170 m/s||50 m||12 s (9.6 s*)||6.25 (7.81*)|
|F.O.F. Light Missile||56||3750 m/s||5 s||18.75 km||170 m/s||50 m||12 s (9.6 s*)||4.67 (5.83*)|
|Precision Light Missile||65||3750 m/s||2.5 s||9.375 km||179 m/s||35 m||12 s (9.6 s*)||5.4 (6.7*)||-7.5% ship speed|
|Fury Light Missile||96||3750 m/s||4.5 s||17 km||174 m/s||85 m||12 s (9.6 s*)||8 (10.0*)||+7% signature radius|
|Heavy Assault Missile||100||2250 m/s||4 s||9 km||101 m/s||125 m||6.4 s||15.625|
|Javelin Heavy Assault Missile||90||3375 m/s||4 s||13.5 km||101 m/s||125 m||6.4 s||13.3||-5% ship speed|
|Rage Heavy Assault Missile||128||1875 m/s||4.3 s||8 km||93 m/s||180 m||6.4 s||20||+5.4% signature radius|
|Heavy Missile||150||3750 m/s||10 s||37.5 km||89 m/s||125 m||12 s||12.5|
|F.O.F. Heavy Missile||113||3750 m/s||10 s||37.5 km||89 m/s||125 m||12 s||9.42|
|Precision Heavy Missile||130||3750 m/s||5 s||19 km||87 m/s||112 m||12 s||10.8||-5% ship speed|
|Fury Heavy Missile||192||3750 m/s||9 s||34 km||97 m/s||215 m||12 s||16||+5.4% signature radius|
|Cruise Missile||300||3750 m/s||20 s||75 km||69 m/s||300 m||17.6 s||17|
|F.O.F. Cruise Missile||225||3750 m/s||20 s||75 km||69 m/s||300 m||17.6 s||12.8|
|Precision Cruise Missile||260||3750 m/s||10 s||37.5 km||71 m/s||270 m||17.6 s||17.0||-4% ship speed|
|Fury Cruise Missile||384||3750 m/s||18 s||67.5 km||58 m/s||550 m||17.6 s||21.8||+4.5% signature radius|
|Torpedo||450||1500 m/s||6 s||9 km||71 m/s||450 m||14.4 s||31.25|
|Javelin Torpedo||405||2250 m/s||6 s||13.5 km||71 m/s||450 m||14.4 s||28.125||-4% ship speed|
|Rage Torpedo||576||1250 m/s||6.4 s||8 km||61 m/s||650 m||14.4 s||40||+4.5% signature radius|
|Citadel Cruise Missile||1500||3500 m/s||20 s||70 km||29 m/s||1500 m||44 s||34.1|
|Citadel Torpedo||2000||1100 m/s||15 s||16.5 km||20 m/s||2250 m||26 s||76.9|
* Assault launcher
|Missile names of|
each damage type
|Heavy Assault Missiles||Torrent||Fulmination||Terror||Hellfire|
|Citadel Cruise Missiles||Thunar||Catastrophe||Rajas||Sol|
Each missile graphic has some kind of color stripe, fin, or fuselage that indicates the type of damage that it will deal.
Cyan generally indicates that the weapon will deal EM-type damage. This is usually most effective on shield-tanking ships
Yellow is explosive damage
Grey or Green indicate kinetic damage.
Red is Thermal damage
Calculating missile damage
The damage done by missiles is complex to calculate. Because missiles always hit the target (if in range), the game is designed so that huge missiles won't be able to insta-pop small fast frigates.
The calculation depends on six parameters:
- The base damage of the missile (D)
- The explosion velocity of the missile (vE)
- The explosion radius of the missile (R)
- The velocity of the target (v)
- The signature radius of the target (S)
- The damage reduction factor for the missile (DRF)
The base damage, explosion velocity, and explosion radius for each missile are given in the tables above. The signature radius of the target is related to its size and type. It varies from about 40 m for frigates to about 125 m for cruisers, and 400 m for battleships.
The complete formula is:
Damage = D * MIN(1, S/R, (vE/v * S/R)^(log(DRF) / log(5.5)) )
DRF is a value based on missile type which is visible on the charge info page:
- Rocket = 3.0
- Light Missile = 2.8
- Assault Missile = 4.5
- Heavy Missile = 3.2
- Torpedo = 5.0
- Cruise Missile = 4.5
- Citadel Torpedo = 5.5
- Citadel Cruise Missile = 4.5
The log(DRF) / log(5.5) portion then can be resolved as:
- Rocket = 0.644
- Light Missile = 0.604
- Assault Missile = 0.8823
- Heavy Missile = 0.6823
- Torpedo = 0.9441
- Cruise Missile = 0.8823
- Citadel Torpedo = 1.0
- Citadel Cruise Missile = 0.8823
Two important things to note about the damage formula are that you can never deal full damage to a target with a smaller signature radius than the missile explosion radius, and increasing your signature radius by some factor is equivalent to decreasing your velocity by the same factor. The latter factor makes it nearly impossible to use MicroWarpdrives to mitigate missile damage except with interceptors.
Missile related skills
- This is the basic missile skill, required for all other skills. 2% bonus to missile rate of fire per level.
- Skill for fitting rockets. Requires MLO I. 5% bonus to rocket damage per level.
- Skill for heavy assault missiles. Requires MLO III & Standard Missiles III. 5% bonus to HAM damage per level.
- Skill for light missiles. Requires MLO II. 5% bonus to light missile damage per level.
- Skill for heavy missiles. Requires MLO III & Standard Missiles III. 5% bonus to heavy missile damage per level.
- Skill for cruise missiles. Requres MLO V & Heavy Missiles III. 5% bonus to cruise missile damage per level.
- Skill for torpedoes. Requires MLO IV & Heavy Missiles III. 5% bonus to torpedo damage per level.
- Skill for citadel torpedoes. Requires MLO V & Torpedoes V. 5% bonus to citadel torpedo damage per level.
- Skill for friend-or-foe missiles. Requires MLO II. 5% bonus to FoF light, heavy & cruise damage per level.
- Skill for anti-missile defender missiles. Requires MLO II. 5% bonus to defender missile velocity per level.
- Extends missile range. Requires MLO I. 10% bonus to max missile flight-time per level.
- Extends missile range. Requires MLO III. 10% bonus to missile velocity per level. (Train this before Bombardment)
- Requires MLO II. 3% bonus to missile rate of fire per level.
- Boosts damage against fast-moving targets. Requires MLO II. 10% bonus to missile's explosion velocity per level.
- Increases missile damage. Requires MLO IV. 2% bonus to missile damage per level.
- Boosts damage against small targets. Requires MLO V. 5% decrease in explosion radius of light, heavy and cruise missiles per level.
- Skill at using advanced rockets (anti-ship and long-range). Requires Rockets V (advanced rocket firing requires MLO V). 2% bonus to tech II rocket launcher rate of fire per level.
- Skill at using advanced heavy assault missiles (anti-ship and long-range). Requires Heavy Assault Missiles V (advanced heavy assault missile firing also requires MLO V). 2% bonus to tech II heavy launcher rate of fire per level.
- Skill at using advanced light missiles (high-precision and high-damage). Requires Standard Missiles V (advanced light missile firing also requires MLO V). 2% bonus to tech II standard & assault launcher rate of fire per level.
- Skill at using advanced heavy missiles (high-precision and high-damage). Requires Heavy Missiles V (advanced heavy missile firing also requires MLO V). 2% bonus to tech II heavy launcher rate of fire per level.
- Skill at using advanced cruise missiles (high-precision and high-damage). Requires Cruise Missiles V (advanced cruise missile firing also requires MLO V). 2% bonus to tech II cruise missile launcher rate of fire per level.
- Skill at using advanced torpedoes (anti-ship and long-range). Requires Torpedoes V (advanced torpedo firing requires MLO V). 2% bonus to tech II torpedo launcher rate of fire per level.