WORK IN PROGRESS
So. You've just gotten yourself a shiny new rocket kestrel, and are aiming to go out and get some kill mails (preferably not your own). the question is, how do you do it? This article seeks to capture the thought process behind fighting all manner of enemies in a rocket or light missile fit kestrel.
Table of Contents:
The most important step in understanding PVP is damage, specifically how damage is calculated. It's the foundation upon which pretty much all of your strategy in a kestrel is going to be based - how to deal damage to them while avoiding damage to your opponent.
Eve weapons are loosely divided into three categories. We'll talk about each in turn.
Turrets - Energy, Projectile and Hybrid subvariants. Worry about tracking and range. Highest DPS
Launchers - Missile Launchers. Worry about application and travel time. Midling DPS
Drones - Traitorous Galmil armaments. Worry about tracking and speed. Lowest DPS (But often combined with other weapon systems)
Every weapon system has the same problem. that little DPS number in the fitting screen? Pretty much the only way you will ever hit that number is if you and your target at sat completely still, 500 m away from each other. Nowhere is that more evident than with turret weapons.
There are two factors that affect turret DPS - Range and Tracking.
Each gun turret has an optimal and falloff range, modified by various ammo types. In the fitting window the falloff will be displayed as a total (7km optimal, 10km falloff) while the guns stats page will list the falloff as an addition to the optimal (7km optimal, 3km falloff). This is also sometimes written as a single range stat (7+3km).
Within your optimal range, everything is golden, you'll hit normally. In your falloff, each shot has a chance to miss, lowering your dps. At the edge of your first falloff, you're going to hit only about 50% of the time, at your second falloff only 6.25%. As you can see it pretty quickly drops off.
Assuming we have an optimal of 7km and a falloff of 3km extra, here is what it looks like with our buddy the space croissant Tormentor.
So, thats all good and all, but what if our target is moving? That's where tracking comes in.
Each gun turret has a tracking stat, which measures how fast a ship's guns can move to keep up with a fast target. Tracking goes against the targets Transversal, which is how fast they are moving across your field of vision. Against a target with high transversal, your guns might only land glancing hits (read: less damage) or miss entirely. Transversal is increased by speed and decreased by range, but angle is also a key factor. Even if you're screaming fast, going directly towards someone gives you no transversal, and they'll still make you have a bad day.
Here is another shitty picture demonstrating this with our buddy the Omen (Can you tell I like lasers?)
Putting it all together:
So, each class of gun (Energy, Hybrid, Projectile) has a short and long ranged version
Long Ranged: Lower DPS, Worse Tracking
Beam Lasers: Best DPS, Best Tracking, Worst Range
Artillery: Worst DPS (But Best Alpha), Worst Tracking, Middling Range (Projectiles have good falloff)
Railguns: Middling DPS, Middling Tracking, Best Range
Short Ranged: Higher DPS, Better Tracking
Pulse Lasers: Worst DPS, Worst Tracking, Best Range
Autocannons: Middling DPS, Middling Tracking, Middling Range (Projectiles have good falloff)
Blasters: Facemeltingly Best DPS, Best Tracking, Worst Range
So. As you can see the various guns have slightly different stats, but the strategy is pretty much the same
Get in close to long range guns. If you orbit them close, they will not be able to track you and miss most of their shots.
Stay away from short range guns. If you keep away from them, they will be out of range and will miss most of their shots.