In this video Exigeous looks at why turrets should virtually never be used for primary damage, instead being used primarily for applying an experimental effect when engineered. Unengineered the only good reasons to use them for pirmary damage would be multicrew, Anti-Xeno non-Guardian weapons or if you are physically disabled.
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I’m commander exigeous and today we’re going to look at the difference between fixed, gimballed and turreted weapons to understand when you should and should not use them. While there are several weapons that are only fixed, such as railguns, plasma accelerators and others, we’ll be looking at the weapons that offer all three variants to understand their differences and when to use each. So let’s dig into the numbers to help us understand why, in short you, should almost never, ever, be using turreted weapons for primary damage.
First let’s talk about the basic differences. Fixed weapons are just that, fixed to a single targeting point such that you have to keep your reticle on target to land shots. Fixed weapons have what’s called micro-gimbaling, this allows for very slight gimballing where your reticle will snap to a specific module, or subtarget when close enough to that item. As for Gimballed weapons they are able to track targets in a limited range in front of your ship, moving with your target so long as you are within their firing arch. While this tracking is good when fighting maneuverable enemies many times this isn’t fast enough to always stay on target. Gimbals can also be affected by chaff, scrambling them while the effect is active. I should note that you can fire gimbaled weapons as fixed but unlocking your target, something you can do quickly if a target deploys chaff. Turreted weapons are able to track targets in a full 360 degree arc, only being blocked by your ship. They too are scrambled by chaff and track more slowly than gimbals making it difficult for them to stay on target with maneuverable enemies. Turrets are also the only weapon type that is controllable by a human multi-crew pilot and they offer three modes. Forward fire will only fire when you are pulling the trigger, target only requires you to only pull the trigger once and until you change targets or firegroups they will track and fire when in range and finally, fire at will where they will auto fire a t any target that’s attacking you once you pull the trigger, allowing for firing at multiple non-targeted enemies simultaneously. Turrets are also the most expensive option, with fixed cheapest.
Now let’s look at why turrets might sound great but are generally terrible and should only be used in very very specific situations. There are a few main reasons why, primarily the significantly lower damage output. When combined with the slow tracking speed the amount of damage you can apply to a target is significantly lower. The idea that because turrets are tracking in 360 degrees will net you more damage on target is simply false. In a moment we’ll look at some hard numbers but let’s start by talking about the times turrets can be effective. The most effective use would be to apply an experimental effect, not for damage. For example a Corvette running a small turreted multicannon with say high capacity and corrosive can be great for applying the corrosive debuff to ships as you need only land a single round every 5 seconds to keep the effect active. There are several examples of this, such as scramble spectrum, force shell and drag. The second use of turrets would be for the roughly 7 players who actually use multicrew and want to allow their friends to fire their weapons. Here gameplay trumps damage output as turrets are your only option. Anti Xeno weapons are another example as there is no gimballed option, save for unlockable guardian weapons. Here turrets can be useful, standing in for gimbaled given the difficulty of the fix variants. The final use would be for those like our good friend Jerry, who, being disabled, pilots via voice commands and as such can’t easily stay on target. In this case turrets are really the only thing that allows him to enjoy combat.
Now that we’ve looked at why turrets should only be used in very specific circumstances let’s see why by looking at the damage output for various weapons. When averaging the damage differences across all weapons that offer all three variants we see a roughly 35% damage increase for fixed over gimbaled, with the same roughly 35% increase in gimbaled over turreted where we see a roughly 80% increase of fixed over turreted. In many cases you’ll see that the turreted variant of a weapon is the same damage output as the fixed variant of the next lower class. In some cases, such as beam lasers, the fixed medium deals more damage than a large turret. The final nail in the turret coffin is expense, as these are dramatically more expensive that both gimballed and fixed and while this isn’t necessarily a big deal given credits are fairly easy these days they do increase your rebuy.
Let’s now talk a bit about using gimballed and fixed weapons, and if you’re not yet using these how best to get started. I’d recommending starting by using any of the hit-scan weapons, those are weapons that strike your target the moment they fire, such as the various lasers. Given there is no projectile delay these are the easiest to use and as such I’d strongly encourage anyone using these weapons to use fixed. If you’re using a non-hitscan weapon, such as multicannons, they can be much harder to use when fixed given the velocity of the rounds. Using these as gimballed when paired with a fixed weapon, such as gimablled multicannons paired with fixed pulse lasers allow you to use both weapons simultaneously, where if they were both fixed this wouldn’t be possible given the different reticles due to the different velocities. When looking at cannons the slow projectile speed combined with gimballed tracking makes them rather ineffective, as such I’d always recommend fixed cannons. When learning to use fixed non-hitscan weapons plasma accelerators are a great choice, especially when combined with the efficient engineering blueprint. While they do have a higher skill ceiling that many other weapons the rewards given their extremely high damage output is well worth it. The best advice I can given when using plasma is to be patient and ensure you aren’t firing if your target is further than say 2 kilometres at most as the rather slow projectile speed makes it extremely difficult to use at further ranges.
Hopefully this will help in dispelling the myth that turrets, especially unengineered, are anything other than hot garbage and the notion that you’ll do more damage by them tracking all around you simply isn’t the case. Again, when used to apply an experimental effect, for non-guardian AX weapons, for the 7 of you that actually enjoy multicrew or if your disabled and it’s literally the only way you can enjoy combat they can be effective. If that isn’t the case you will virtually always be better served by gimbals at worse or fixed at best. To be clear this isn’t about getting gud, as the skill necessary for gimbals or even fixed hit-scan weapons is something the vast majority of pilots will master rather quickly. I hope if you’re using turrets for primary damage now you’ll switch over to gimbals and give them a try as I’m confident in the long run you’ll be glad you did. Once again this has been commander Exigeous of edtutorials.com reminding you to fly dangerously and thanks for watching.