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Is Light Laser Cannon's tracking penalty too high?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
Is Light Laser Cannon's tracking penalty too high?

Nemarus's Avatar


Nemarus
05.19.2014 , 10:28 AM | #1
I've been making a real college try of using Light Laser Cannons. After all, at short and middle range (< 3000m), they deal some serious burst damage ... assuming you can land two or three consecutive shots. And you'd think, given what ships they are available on, that they should be at least somewhat competitive with Burst Laser Cannons.

The thing is ... they are simply too hard to hit with in short range combat, where it is very hard to keep an opponent near-center for any length of time (even with a Bloodmark using Tensor Field). Even fully upgraded, LLC's still suffer an oppressive tracking penalty of -1% per degree. Compare this to Rapids (which get -0.8%/degree) and Burst (which get a ridiculous -0.5%/degree).

I really don't see why the tracking penalty of any of these weapons needs to be different. They are all limited to the same base range (4000m), which means they should all be equally difficult to line up a centered target.

Plus, Light Laser Cannon already has a smaller maximum firing arc than Rapids or Burst--why does it need a bigger tracking penalty as well? As it stands, the Light Laser Cannon can hardly even make use of what firing arc it has because of the severity of the tracking penalty. The firing arc of LLC might as well be 20 degrees, since you really can't reliably and sustainedly hit anything outside of that.

Compare this with Bursts (and to a lesser extent Rapids), which you can often connect with targets at the edge of the massive firing arc. And don't forget LLC's already have the highest energy cost of all short-range lasers, meaning you can't "spray and pray" for long like you can with Rapids (and no I'm not saying Rapids are fine the way they are, but at least you can hit with them).

For LLC's to ever be competitive with BLC's, in terms of reliable DPS and close-fighting utility, they need to be able to land 2-3 consecutive hits on a reliable basis. Right now that just doesn't feel possible. And worse than that, missing all the time due to invisible RNG just isn't fun. It's no wonder people prefer BLC's, because you simply hit when you expect to. I'm even finding I prefer Rapids to LLC's for that reason--Rapids may take forever to kill something, but at least I am getting positive feedback for my aiming.

I recommend unifying tracking penalty for Rapids, BLC's and LLC's--tracking penalty should purely be determined by maximum range. Differentiate the three weapons by rate of fire, damage/range slope, and firing arc--but not accuracy. LLC's already have a smaller firing arc--let them at least play in that space reliably, so that they aren't so frustrating to use.
Shayd / Callem / RK-4X / "Trynt" - Leader of <Eclipse Squadron>, The Ebon Hawk
http://EclipseSquadron.enjin.com Imperial GSF-focused guild

"Serve the Emperor above all others."

Kuciwalker's Avatar


Kuciwalker
05.19.2014 , 10:43 AM | #2
Quote: Originally Posted by Nemarus View Post
The thing is ... they are simply too hard to hit with in short range combat, where it is very hard to keep an opponent near-center for any length of time (even with a Bloodmark using Tensor Field). Even fully upgraded, LLC's still suffer an oppressive tracking penalty of -1% per degree. Compare this to Rapids (which get -0.8%/degree) and Burst (which get a ridiculous -0.5%/degree).
Don't compare with rapids; our standard line is that RFL is dominated by LLC, and the argument is unconvincing.

Moreover, you need to look at base accuracy too. At mid range RFL has a 5% accuracy penalty versus LLC, and so you would need 25 degrees of tracking penalty to equalize their accuracy.

The only reasonable comparison is BLC, and it's pretty clear the BLC's extremely low tracking penalty is intentional.

Nemarus's Avatar


Nemarus
05.19.2014 , 11:08 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Kuciwalker View Post

The only reasonable comparison is BLC, and it's pretty clear the BLC's extremely low tracking penalty is intentional.
But that's what makes no sense to me. With BLC's, all you need is one split second of lining up on your target's lead indicator and you deal significant damage in one shot. You don't need to keep your target centered for any length of time. You just need that brief glimpse every 1.3 seconds and you can maximize your BLC DPS. But with LLC's, you need to keep that target in your sights continuously--sub-second--in order to get even useful, let alone optimal DPS.

If any weapon could survive with a higher tracking penalty, it's BLC's--especially if they are on a Scout. The Scout should have no problem centering a target every 1.3 seconds. On a Gunship, the soft tracking penalty is more essential since the Gunship doesn't have the turning speed to reliably center a target at close range.

Gunships can have LLC's too, but there's no way for them to use them, because you simply can't keep a target centered for long enough (and by "long enough" I mean for a full 1 second) to deal competitive DPS.

And you may claim LLC's are dominant over Rapids, but honestly I'm not so sure. When I had Rapids on my Bloodmark, I feel like I could much more reliably down targets. It took time, but that time was fairly predictable and consistent--and the target never got a chance to begin shield regen. With LLC's, my success is much more streaky. Sure, I can melt a poorly piloted Bomber or Strike that sits in front of me ... but against other Scouts or even nimble Bombers, it's very hard to finish them off with LLC's.

And of course when I switch to BLC's, on any ship, it suddenly feels like I'm playing an entirely different (and much more fun) video game. Hitting is just so much easier and more predictable.
Shayd / Callem / RK-4X / "Trynt" - Leader of <Eclipse Squadron>, The Ebon Hawk
http://EclipseSquadron.enjin.com Imperial GSF-focused guild

"Serve the Emperor above all others."

Kuciwalker's Avatar


Kuciwalker
05.19.2014 , 11:58 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Nemarus View Post
But that's what makes no sense to me. With BLC's, all you need is one split second of lining up on your target's lead indicator and you deal significant damage in one shot. You don't need to keep your target centered for any length of time. You just need that brief glimpse every 1.3 seconds and you can maximize your BLC DPS. But with LLC's, you need to keep that target in your sights continuously--sub-second--in order to get even useful, let alone optimal DPS.

If any weapon could survive with a higher tracking penalty, it's BLC's--especially if they are on a Scout. The Scout should have no problem centering a target every 1.3 seconds. On a Gunship, the soft tracking penalty is more essential since the Gunship doesn't have the turning speed to reliably center a target at close range.
You are missing that BLCs are "shotguns" and therefore are supposed to be generically really good at hitting stuff at close range without worrying about precision.

Quote:
And you may claim LLC's are dominant over Rapids, but honestly I'm not so sure.
Can we not reopen this? The math is pretty clear. RFL's only statistical advantage is in power consumption.

Kalphitis's Avatar


Kalphitis
05.19.2014 , 12:12 PM | #5
Yea, that's why if you have a scout with LLCs you do nothing but search for a DO the entire game. That is the most productive thing you can do. Switch to another ship if a domination pops.

Nemarus's Avatar


Nemarus
05.19.2014 , 12:19 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Kuciwalker View Post
You are missing that BLCs are "shotguns" and therefore are supposed to be generically really good at hitting stuff at close range without worrying about precision.



Can we not reopen this? The math is pretty clear. RFL's only statistical advantage is in power consumption.
Name a game where a shotgun reticle takes up 70% of the screen, like BLC's does.

A BLC could be still be a shotgun by having a firing arc of 20 degrees and virtually no tracking penalty, because of its ability to deal the bulk of its damage in bursts. Instead it has a huge firing arc AND virtually no tracking penalty because reasons. But I'm not even arguing for any changes to be made to BLC's. They are one of the few weapons in the game that feel potent and fun to use.

Saying BLC's are supposed to be shotguns does nothing to address the fact that LLC's are virtually unusable on Gunships and Bombers and frustratingly difficult to use on Scouts. Again, this isn't about BLC's--I'm not arguing for any changes to them. All I'm saying is that you could easily reduce the LLC tracking penalty and it would instantly make them more viable and desirable and fun. BLC's would still be overwhelmingly chosen where available, due to the advantage of their large firing arc, burst potential, inherent crit chance, and the shield or armor piercing. It's not like the exclusivity of their low tracking penalty is required in order to justify the existence or use of BLC's.

Reducing Rapid and LLC tracking penalties to -0.5/degree would improve the meta across all ships without hurting anyone or anything. It'd make the game more fun for new players, who don't fully grasp concepts like tracking penalties, and it'd give ships without BLC's some decent killing power.

I really don't see the downside, but I'm willing to entertain one if presented.
Shayd / Callem / RK-4X / "Trynt" - Leader of <Eclipse Squadron>, The Ebon Hawk
http://EclipseSquadron.enjin.com Imperial GSF-focused guild

"Serve the Emperor above all others."

Gavin_Kelvar's Avatar


Gavin_Kelvar
05.19.2014 , 12:23 PM | #7
Well I've found that with LLC it helps taking the T4 right upgrade rather than the left one which gives a crit bonus. That's because, as far as I can tell, the reduction of tracking penalty by 5% is a straight up elimination of the first 5% of tracking penalty. Which means you have to be 10 degrees off center to have a 5 degree tracking penalty instead of only 5 degrees off center.

This is also why I think BLCs are so bloody accurate. They get that bonus as a T3 upgrade. Combined with their low tracking penalty it means they have to be pretty far off center before they're suffering any sort of tracking penalty.

I do like the idea of standardizing tracking penalties for every close range weapon (perhaps use RFL tracking penalty as a middle ground between BLC and LLC?)
Aodhán Guilhem
Republic Strike Fighter Pilot
Jedi Covenant

Nemarus's Avatar


Nemarus
05.19.2014 , 12:25 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Gavin_Kelvar View Post
Well I've found that with LLC it helps taking the T4 right upgrade rather than the left one which gives a crit bonus. That's because, as far as I can tell, the reduction of tracking penalty by 5% is a straight up elimination of the first 5% of tracking penalty. Which means you have to be 10 degrees off center to have a 5 degree tracking penalty instead of only 5 degrees off center.

This is also why I think BLCs are so bloody accurate. They get that bonus as a T3 upgrade. Combined with their low tracking penalty it means they have to be pretty far off center before they're suffering any sort of tracking penalty.

I'm not sure LLCs need to have their tracking penalty changed, reduce it further and it just makes RFLs that much more inferior. But I do like the idea of standardizing tracking penalties for every close range weapon (perhaps use RFL tracking penalty as a middle ground between BLC and LLC?)
Oh for sure, taking the tracking penalty upgrade is MANDATORY if you want any hope of LLC's dangerously. But that means no crit chance, which BLC's get in T2.
Shayd / Callem / RK-4X / "Trynt" - Leader of <Eclipse Squadron>, The Ebon Hawk
http://EclipseSquadron.enjin.com Imperial GSF-focused guild

"Serve the Emperor above all others."

Kuciwalker's Avatar


Kuciwalker
05.19.2014 , 12:37 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Nemarus View Post
A BLC could be still be a shotgun by having a firing arc of 20 degrees and virtually no tracking penalty, because of its ability to deal the bulk of its damage in bursts.
Irrelevant. The developers clearly believe that the given statistics are thematically appropriate for a "shotgun"-type weapon. Their interpretation isn't facially ridiculous. Therefore it would be inconsistent with the developers' thematic vision to remove these statistics from BLC or to add them to other weapons. BLC or other weapons need to be adjusted in ways that don't challenge these themes.

The rest of your post isn't worth addressing, although I'll reject the premise that the 1%/degree tracking penalty is crippling on LLC.

Zoom_VI's Avatar


Zoom_VI
05.19.2014 , 12:59 PM | #10
Why do people always thing BLC is supposed to be a shotgun.
1) its single target
and
2) it doesn't even look like a shotgun blast.

Besides Shotguns are not actually that great of a shortrange weapon. What makes a weapon good at shortrange is its compactness and ability to be moved in tight quarters, neither of which are inherent characteristics of a shotgun.
Crinn

Carry me, I'm Plasmatech.