Friday, October 21, 2005

Railgun Guide

Railgun Overview

From the EvE Database:

Railguns use magnetic rails to fire solid chunks of matter at hypersonic speed. The accurate range of railguns is very good, but due to technical limitations it cannot use onboard guidance. This results in a fairly rapid drop in accuracy at extreme ranges. Requires hybrid ammo types: antimatter, iridium, iron, lead, plutonium, thorium, tungsten, uranium.

At first glance the railgun selection may seem daunting, but an order will soon appear. The two defining factors are caliber and variant type. As the calibers increase so does the size category the gun is in.

Railgun Calibers

The following table shows the caliber of railguns available and the size category they fall into. In general terms, as caliber size goes up the damage and range of the gun increases and the tracking speed decreases.

Small Medium
Extra Large (Capital)
- 75mm
- 125mm
- 150mm
- Dual 150mm
- 200mm
- 250mm
- Dual 250mm
- 350mm
- 425mm
- Dual 1000mm

Railgun Variants

Generally speaking, each of the railgun variants will be represented in each caliber. Railgun I is the base type, with Railgun II being the "Tech 2" version. The other variants are the "named" versions.

Railgun Attributes

The following factors determine how the railgun will perform:

Note: The EvE Tracking Guide has an excellent overview of how tracking works. It's a Flash presentation you need to start after it loads in the web page. It's not immediately obvious, but there are 5 pages.

Some of these factors are tied to the caliber of the railgun, and will remain the same for each of the types. For example, every 250mm railgun has a tracking speed of .028 radians per second. Other factors vary for each type. For example, the damage modifier is different for each type of 250 mm railgun.

The other important attributes are the fitting information:

These two factors determine how many turret hard points you'll be able to fill with your railgun of choice.

Railgun Ammunition (Hybrid)

Railgun ammunition also plays a role, affecting the distance, base damage, capacitor usage, and type of damage done.

There are eight types of hybrid ammunition, in each of the Small, Medium and Large size classes. These ammunition types are:


Hybrid ammunition does two types of damage simultaneously: Kinetic and Thermal. The ratio of the two damage types varies with ammunition type.

Each type ammunition type also has a different effective range. Generally speaking, the longer range ammunitions do less damage than their longer range counterparts. The actual damage done depends on the target's resistance and a number of other factors.


There are some skills required before you can use a Railgun, and many more skills that will improve your effectiveness with a Railgun. Some of these skills apply to other weapons, as well.

All of these skills have the following attributes:

Primary Attribute: Perception
Secondary Attribute: Willpower
This means the higher your abilities (attribute points) in these areas, the quicker you will learn these skills. You can check your attribute points in the "Attribute" tab of your character sheet. There are learning skills that improve these attributes and therefore shorten your learning time. It is generally accepted practice to train the learning skills to some degree before advancing too far in the gunnery skills.

The learning skills that shorten Gunnery learning time are:

Spacial Awareness - 1 point bonus to Perception per level learned
Iron Will - 1 point bonus to Willpower per level learned

In addition to railgun specific skills, there are skills that reduce CPU requirements, increase powergrid and speed up capacitor charging. While not covered here, they are well worth investigating.

Skill List

Modules (aka Damage Mods)

A number of modules can be fitted to your ship to enhanse the damage of your railguns. Collectively these are referred to as "damage mods". There are also tracking enhansement modules. Many of these modules aren't specific to railguns, but may work for any turret weapon.

For railguns, the "damage mods" can be found in the Market Browser under Ship Equipment / Turrets & Bays / Weapon Upgrades / Magnetic Field Stabilizers.

Examples of these modules are: Basic Magnetic Field Stabilizers, Gauss Field Balancer and Magnetic Vortex Stabilizer I.

As with everything in EvE, you'll need to train skills to use the module. Fortunately, the requirements are simple:

Other Factors

There are two other factors that will affect your abilities with Railguns. These are:

Both your race and your ship may give you a bonus for hybrid turrets.

These factors are arguably considered the least important of the factors since they are out of your direct control. It's nice when they work in your favor, but shouldn't be a primary factor in your decision making.

Outfitting Strategy

Bigger isn't always better. Smaller railguns have faster tracking, faster rate of fire, and lower capacitor requirements. For close in fights you might be better served were more guns shooting faster and hitting, rather than a couple big damage dealers that can't hit the target. On the other hand, for dealing damage from a distance, nothing matches the big guns.

Another major configuration is outfitting budget. Your current ship may not have enough power or CPU to fit all of the available turret hardpoints. Outfitting your guns has to be done in conjunction with your other modules.

Consider the situation you're equipping for and plan accordingly. There are ship equipping guides that will give you an idea of the variations available to you.

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