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Do real PvPer change ammunition type?

Major Trant
Brutor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#1 - 2011-11-22 14:17:28 UTC
I should start this by saying that I engage in small gang warfare, currently in NPC null sec, but I've done it in FW and RvB too. Basically small blobs bimberling around trying to catch solo or smaller blobs, occassionally getting outblobbed and running or dying. My examples will use Projectile weapons as that is what I am most experienced in.

My question relates to changing ammunition in mid fight. Do real PvPers actually do this or is it just something people talk about to sound knowledgeable?

So let's say we catch a Hound. He is going to go down in about 10 seconds, changing ammunition is just stupid.

So make it a Drake instead. He will last longer. Now in theory he will be shield tanked and the lowest base resistance is EM. Fact is though, most Drakes will have an Anti-EM rig and 2 x Invulnerability fields. Thus his resistances will be quite similar, but with Thermal being his lowest. Some Drakes though will have an Anti-Thermal rig and an EM Hardener, then one or more Invulnerability fields and his Kinitic resistance will be the lowest. Others might have Anti-EM and Anti-Thermal rigs and 2 Invulnerability fields, then it will be between EM and Kinetic. Some though will just go for the big buffer, all Field Extender rigs and Invulnerability Fields and risk EM damage. Frankly the only thing you can really say for 98% certainty is that Explosive won't be his lowest resistance...for shields, but almost definitely his lowest resist for armor, which won't be as much, but needs to be chewed through nonetheless.

In my Hurricane I expect to be fighting at close range. So my choice of ammunition is EMP, Fusion or Phased Plasma, which basically means EM, Explosive or Thermal damage - always Faction Ammunition (Republic Fleet). T2 ammunition I think is crap and don't use it, that might change after the next patch.

So here's how I do it. When I build the ship, I randomly pick one of the above ammunition types (Faction variants), I load my guns and put 1 or 1.5 reloads in my cargohold. That is it! I only carry one type of ammunition. Once upon a time I did try to carry various types, but all that led to was a bigger Isk loss when I died and a headache trying to work out what to use.

Seriously do real PvPers change ammunition type? Or is it just something the EFT warriors like to rabbit on about to sound leet? I know of no effective way to work out what another player is tanked for, unless you have specifically stalked a particular player prior to the battle. Most ships last less then a minute when they are primaried. You don't have time to poke at it with EMP, then Fusion and finally Phased Plasma before deciding Fusion is the best and wasting time reloading. Occassionally, you might get a few minutes warning that you are coming up against a Shield or Armor gang/ship, but people often fill the holes. None of my Drakes or Shield tanked Hurricanes ever have EM as the weakest resist. You can take a guess, but really it is pot luck, so why not just make that guess before you even undock.

In small gang warfare I tend to come up against Shield Tanked ships the most often. In my limited experience I seem to get better results from EMP ammunition. This I put down to noobs or chancers taking risks and going for an all buffer tank. However, I'm far from certain about my conclusions and I'm left thinking that those people aren't a big threat anyway. Someone who rigs their tank properly is the one I should be looking out for and for that player Phased Plasma would most likely be the more effective. However, at no point am I going to be in mid battle and think "Actually, it looks like I need to switch to EMP!"

When it comes to range that is a similar thing. With my Autocannon Hurricane, I burn into close range in a matter of seconds. If I'm getting kitted it is GTFO. The only problem is when I'm snared by an Inteceptor who is keeping just inside long point range. But Sabot ammuntion isn't going to save me there, it is faster fleet mates or my drones. With an Artillery fit, I will grant there is some scope for different ranged ammunition, but we are talking Alpha popping of individual ships before they can warp off where you completely dominate the opposition or much larger fleet fights.

So what do others think? Have I missed something? Could I ask for replies from people with real experience, not theories on what 'could' be done in certain hyperthetical situations. Assume the enemy is unknown to you until the battle is joined or no earlier than a minute before as you race to reach your tackler.
Luba Cibre
Global Song Setup
#2 - 2011-11-22 14:50:21 UTC
A properly fitted PvP ship is omni tanked, so it doesn't really matter what ammo you choose, if you're in the proper range for the chosen.

"Nothing essential happens in the absence of noise." 

Ryans Revenge
Drunken Wookies
#3 - 2011-11-22 15:53:57 UTC
Wall of text man! Summarise!! :)

Yes pvp'ers do change ammo types. But only if it makes sense like you say.

For me I'll set my ammo on their probable lowest resistance before a fight. I'll only change ammo type mid fight if I notice my current damage is lower than I expected. This means they are obviously tanked towards your current damage and you should swap out. The good thing here is even if you're second ammo does a little bit less damage than the first, there is no need to change back as there isn't a massive difference. However sometimes you'll switch and find that sweet spot you were looking for :)

Hope that helps.
#4 - 2011-11-22 15:57:01 UTC
If i notice my first shot is crap then i know their tank lies only with one type of damage and yes then i do change ammo.Can't say i am a true pvper though so pinch of salt Blink

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.

Tamiya Sarossa
Resistance is Character Forming
#5 - 2011-11-22 15:59:49 UTC
No disrespect, but the problem seems to be that you have experience only in gangs - given away by the 'you race to reach your tackler' comment. In fleet situations you're shooting a variety of targets whose resists tend to average out to omni-tanked, and you'll be fighting at a fleet specific range so ammo choice matters little. Reloading during a fight rarely happens, because as you've observed, the DPS loss from reloading is rarely worth the minor gains.

However, in small gangs proper ammo choice BEFORE the fight is essential. Many ships, especially t2 ships, have omni tanks that rarely actually have omni resists, so loading the proper ammo before a fight CAN make the difference in a close matchup. For example, I've lost a Drake to a Deimos because I hadn't felt like picking up any CN Havoc when shopping that time - spent the entire fight plinking away at his 90% armor kinetic resist and died an embarassing death. This was a situation where having the proper ammo would have easily won me the fight, as evidence by when I ran into the same Deimos a day later and dropped him in less than a minute with the proper explosive ammo.

Similarly, my default nano-cane involve kiting at range, but occasionally I'll want to simply burn down a target before it's backup arrives - again, this is a choice that is usually made before a fight, but the fact that I often need to make this decision ensures that I need both RF EMP/Fusion as well as Barrage.

TLDR; yeah, it doesn't matter in gangs when shooting the primary, but often when soloing or in small gangs it can make a huge difference in the outcome of a fight.

Lady Go Diveher
#6 - 2011-11-22 16:23:57 UTC
If you're using a kiting ship (nano shield cane) as a close range brawler in a gang to apply nothing but close range DPS ... then no, it doesn't matter.

If you're in a situation where your contribution actually matters ... then yeah, often.

There's a reason some people get moist at Barrage M ... and you say "T2 ammo is crap"
Major Trant
Brutor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#7 - 2011-11-22 17:27:18 UTC
There are a couple of comments above that sum up the issue that I am having.

Ryans Revenge wrote:
For me I'll set my ammo on their probable lowest resistance before a fight.

Tamiya Sarossa wrote:
However, in small gangs proper ammo choice BEFORE the fight is essential.

This I just don't get and is the crux of my question - how to work out which is the lowest resistance, given that a serious PvPer would fill the holes. Although credit to Tamiya for pointing out that with T2 ships it is easier to identify, by virtue of the fact they are so strong in two areas that it is near impossible to bring up the other two to the same level. However, most T2 ships are pretty fragile and can be burned down pretty rapidly in gang fights. The obvious exception being the HAC. My experiences tend to be in BC gangs, ganking other BC gangs, with a smattering of T2 ships usually Sabres, Rapiers and Scimitars or individual BSs.

Makes sense what Ryans Revenge and flakeys say about switching once if initially the damage effects are poor. That is probably the best answer that I've seen to date. I've been getting frustrated with reading peoples comments on various forums and in EFT loadouts where they talk about using specific ammo types where they imply it is obvious what the enemy ship is weak to.

Lady Go Diveher, you don't quite seem to have understood my post or you seem to think that the only real PvP involves your particular playstyle. Barrage M might be good for kiting, but it is generally awknowledged that most T2 ammunition is poor. For the playstyle that I engage in, which I have clearly identified (my apologies if you find that offensive), Hail would be the T2 ammunition of choice - it is crap!
Esna Pitoojee
Societas Imperialis Sceptri Coronaeque
Khimi Harar
#8 - 2011-11-22 17:31:42 UTC
Change ammunition type to suit a (possible) enemy resistance weakness? Only when shooting capitals, tbh.

Change ammunition depending on whether I want to stay at range or get up-close and personal? Yes, very often. Range control with ammunition can be quite important, regardless of whether you're in a small gang or flying solo.
Tamiya Sarossa
Resistance is Character Forming
#9 - 2011-11-22 18:35:13 UTC
You work out what is the lowest resistance based on your knowledge of common PvP fits - even omni tanks generally have holes, for example against standard armor-canes the tank is EANM based so even with one anti-explosive rig (which is rare, most people go triple trimark) kinetic or explosive are still your best bets, so fit accordingly. A drake with two invulns and one em-reinforcer is still weakest versus EM, especially if you're going to be nueting hardners off (this happens often in small gangs, so it can be worth it to load for shooting base resists). Frigates often don't have the fitting to plug resist holes, and are over quickly, so these are the most important fights to have the proper ammo loaded for.

On the t2 front, it's much more obvious - Curses/Arazus often have gaping EM holes which make it worth reloading to exploit, T2 Amarr you almost always want to be shooting with EM (they often plug thermal holes on armor tankers, but thermal is still decent), and versus t2 Caldari EM (especially in combination with nuets) isn't something you can really go wrong with.

Again, this matters much more in 1v1's and small gang, where your dps will be primarily directed at one target that you can predict resists for rather than w/e random combinations of ships are in the gang you're shooting with primaries dying every fifteen seconds.
Sebiestor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#10 - 2011-11-24 08:08:43 UTC
For autocannons I almost always use barrage M because it is very versatile and has a very nice falloff. Try it, you will like it.

As other have stated, change your ammor before the fight, not during the fights. 10 seconds is a long time in small gang combat. You'll never maken up for the damage you lost during those 10 seconds and you'll have to tank 10 seconds longer.

TLDR:Don't change during combat, but before. If you don't have the experience yet what damage to deal use Barrage or republic fleet phased plasma. (Both do very well on average)

Ungi maðurinn þekkir reglurnar, en gamli maðurinn þekkir undantekningarnar. The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.

Ryans Revenge
Drunken Wookies
#11 - 2011-11-24 11:31:02 UTC  |  Edited by: Ryans Revenge
This I just don't get and is the crux of my question - how to work out which is the lowest resistance, given that a serious PvPer would fill the holes.

Personally I always go with their second lowest resistance and this works fine for me. About 80% of people will plug their lowest resist with a hardener or rig of some sort. The only exception to this rule I have found personally is with amarr t2 ships. Since all their resistances are pretty high most people (including myself) generally opt to use energized adaptive nano membranes rather than specific hardeners, meaning their lowest resist is their lowest resist.

Hope that helps. Feel free to contact me ingame if you have any further questions or want to learn nano ;)
#12 - 2011-11-24 13:11:20 UTC
This is the beauty of Amarr ships, having no 10 sec. delay on changing lenses. I usually change between Conflag, Multifreq and Scorch quite often in fights, according to the range to the target.
With other systems almost never. The 10 sec. is usually too much of a waste. But then with projectiles you are much more flexible range wise, having a bigger falloff. And with blasters you have no range anyway ;)
Vigdis Thorisdottir
#13 - 2011-11-28 02:40:05 UTC
If you do switch ammo during the fight, don't forget to reactivate your guns afterwards!

Almost lost a hurricane that way once.
Fidelium Mortis
Minor Major Miners LLC
#14 - 2011-11-28 15:52:45 UTC
For my blaster and laser ships, I usually carry some long range T2 ammo (null/scorch), T2 shortrange ammo, and faction short range ammo. The T2 shortrange ammo has the highest dps, but I only use it in situations where tracking will not be an issue. A vast majority of the time I'm usually using T2 long range ammo or faction shortrange ammo.

As far as tanks go, sometimes there are options that offer more general versatility than plugging a resist hole. For instance going with a speed tank with a dual prop (afterburner and mwd fitted) can pay off more than fitting mods/rigs that will patch the hole. Also target dampeners and tracking disruptors are worthwhile over attempting to plug the resist hole.

ICRS - Intergalactic Certified Rocket Surgeon

Brutor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#15 - 2011-11-28 19:08:44 UTC
well in the gangs I fly in we always know the ships we are fighting ahead of time so we do load optimal damage for the most part.
Really in 0.0 most tanks are shield so that is either EM or Thermal unless it's T2 Minnie then it's explosive.
Armour tanks are almost always explosive. it's pretty simple. If you don't know the ships you are fighting ahead of time then i would invest more in scouts.

I don't think I have ever switched ammo types in the middle of a fight though - takes too much time.
Pandemic Horde
#16 - 2011-11-28 23:05:37 UTC
Riedle wrote:

I don't think I have ever switched ammo types in the middle of a fight though - takes too much time.

I have but it was only because I ran out of the ammo I started with, I was only carrying two reloads lol
Ancy Denaries
Frontier Venture
#17 - 2011-11-30 12:50:03 UTC
As a primarily laser flyer, I frequently switch ammo, but it's somewhat a moot point for lasers since the switch is near instant. Conflag on slow, large targets, MF on everything else in range, Scorch for distant targets, UV for distant and insanely fast targets.

"Shoot at anything that moves. If it doesn't move, shoot it anyway, it might move later."

"Do not be too positive. The light at the end of the tunnel could be a train." - Franz Kafka

Gizznitt Malikite
Agony Unleashed
Agony Empire
#18 - 2011-11-30 21:03:37 UTC

Do PvP'ers change ammo for fights??

Absolutely..... although its much more important to do so in small gang and solo pvp.

Principle 1: Switch ammo types BEFORE the engagement.
--- This means while in warp to the target, while powering to a target, etc. When in range of the target, you should be firing!

Principle 2: Load the ammo to best reflect the battle situation.
--- Are you kiting, or will you be kited. What role will tracking or sig radius play in the engagement? What are the general resist holes of your targets? What targets need to be primaried?

Principle 3: Reloading during a fight is typically only done when your dps is negated.
--- This is most commonly done because you can't hit your target because it is out of range or is outracing your tracking. Switching mid-fight to hit a resist hole is generally not worth the lost firing time (although there are exceptions).

Essentially, loading the right ammo type requires a general knowledge of common ship types, common fleet types, and the general fits and tactics. Truth be told, the basics are simple (Emp for shield, Exp for armor, and load for appropriate range), but to know all the exceptions and implement them takes a lot of work.
Ireland VonVicious
Vicious Trading Company
#19 - 2011-12-01 18:43:16 UTC
Projectiles: Change ammo for range/dmg type and it's rarely done.

Hybrids: Change ammo for range/cap and it's rarely done.

Lasers: Change ammo instantly for range/cap reasons. (( No delay ))

Missles: Change ammo for many reasons:
Range/Dmg type just as rare as projectiles.
You get primaried in a small gang you might switch to defenders.
You are getting ecm on you it might be time to switch to f.o.f. missles.
(( Defenders and f.o.f. missles happen a lot with gurista ships as most dps comes from drones ))
King Rothgar
Deadly Solutions
#20 - 2011-12-03 02:57:03 UTC
To answer your question, no. Most don't change ammo like that. If I know in advance I'll be fighting a shield fleet then I might load EMP if I have any on me (rare but sometimes). Alternatively if I know I'm fighting armor I will switch to fusion before the fight starts (that I generally carry). But my default ammo is phased plasma. You simply can't go wrong with that as whether they are armor or shield, it will be the second lowest resist most of the time. So it's a good blind guess. Barrage certainly has it's uses but I don't typically load that as default. That said, unlike EMP and fusion, barrage I almost always have on me.

[u]Fireworks and snowballs are great, but what I really want is a corpse launcher.[/u]

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