Here is my attempt to simplify some of the more confusing aspects of the game play...
* Takes a deep breath…
Guns, Optimal Range & Fall Off
This part is pretty simple I think… INSIDE of your gun’s optimal range you do near to full DPS. Beyond your optimal and inside of your gun's fall off, you do about 1/2 of your normal DPS
So if you're sitting there looking at how awesome your ship is in EFT, dealing 700 DPS inside of your optimal of only 2,500 meters, look at your fall off and cut that number in half to about 350 DPS, because that is what you will be dealing most of the time.
Missiles, Velocity & Signature Radius
Missiles factor in damage a bit differently then guns do… Speed x Velocity = your missiles range, but when they hit their target your missiles will land for less damage if said target is small and fast.
The smaller the target is…
And the Faster the target is going…
The less Damage your missiles will do. Mkay?
Guns Vs Tracking
Without Tracking EVE would kind of suck… Tracking adds an added dimension to the game because it gives us the option to literally “fly” our ships in space while we are fighting. There is a hell of allot of math that goes into this, but lets just skip all that shall we so we? Let us instead try and understand this like a real living human beings.
Imagine a race car driving around a perfectly circular racetrack…
Now imagine that you’re standing in the middle that circular track…
You watch as the race car slowly spins around you. The bigger the track the slower the race car will “appear” to be spinning around you, right? Like wise, if the tack is smaller that same race car would look like it was zipping past your head at a much faster rate of speed.
So big track… car looks like its spinning slow
Small track… that same car looks like its spinning faster? Right?
Your guns do this and call it “tracking” so if the racetrack becomes a ship's orbit and the race car becomes ship, you can begin to visualize what is going on. If your ship is orbiting farther away it "appears to be moving slower” just like the race car on a big track, and it is thus EASIER TO HIT. If however that same ship is orbiting closer at the exact same speed “it appears to be moving faster” and is thus harder to hit. The speed does not change, only the distance does, and in doing so it's relative velocity vs the observer.
Sense... does it make some?
Well if it still doesn't, watching This Tutorial Video might help.
Tracking Vs. Speed Vs. Ship Size
If your in a small ship (like a frigate or an interceptor) and your going REALLY fast, you can zip around with enough speed so large guns can't hit you no matter what your distance is. Obviously being really tiny and really fast is key here...
Now Some Fun Facts About Tracking!
1. If it’s really far away then it’s also really easy to hit (assuming that your guns can shoot out that far)
2. If it is really close to you it’s also really hard to hit, especially if your in a big ship and the other guy is in a small one.
3. The smaller the ship that you're flying is, and the faster that it is, the better that it will “Sig Tank” damage (especially from larger ships)
4. FLYING STRAIT TOWARDS OR AWAY FROM A SHIP IS NOT SIG TANKING!!!
... you may very well get one volleyed and killed before you can say WTF
Always remember the race track...
If the car is coming directly towards you, or moving directly away from you, it would not appear to "move around you" in a circle right? It would only appear to get bigger or smaller as it approached or drove farther away, thus it has no transversal and it might as well be standing still.
The Stupid Guns Vs Missiles Discussion
They have told you that “missiles don’t do instantaneous DPS” and thus “guns are better in PVP” well consider the following…
Unless your flying Amarr ships that get ridiculously awesome optimal gun range, your guns have a much larger falloff then they do optimal. So unless you're getting up close and personal with them (in the first few seconds of the fight) you are hitting them inside of your falloff, doing about 1 / 2 of your normal damage. We then also have to account for the travel time of your drones, which also do not do instantaneous damage.
Getting to your optimal requires burning to your target…
Which takes time right?
Missiles don't do instantaneous DPS...but They Have No Optimal Range
They also fly to the target much faster then your ship can fly there, and when they hit they have no “fall off” range where their DPS drops to 1/2. So yes, your DPS may be delayed, but by the same token your landing your missiles faster then the gun ships can burn to their optimal range & land their full DPS.
So I shall leave you with this little bit of EVE wisdom…everything tends to balance out in the end. Missile launching Drakes and torpedo launching Typhoons can stand toe to toe with the best of them. They bang out similar DPS to their gun ship counterparts and they have exceptional weapons range. The typhoon can deal all damage types as well which is another strong plus in it’s favor.
Just food for thought the next time that someone tells you that guns are better then missiles and that’s all there is to it...
The truth is that they are just talking out of their ass