Single Cannons vs. Energy Weapons
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Join Date: Dec 2007
06-14-2011, 02:57 PM
From dividing the damage over time by damage per volley for the various weapons, it appears that all energy beam weapons fire every 1.25 seconds.
Cannons, Dual Cannons and Turrets fire every 0.75 seconds.
Dual Heavy Cannons fire every 1.5 seconds. (Exactly half the fire rate of Dual Cannons)
Torpedos fire at a rate of 6.5, 8.5, or 10.5, so it appears that there is a 0.5 second lag time between reloads of a weapon, or perhaps this is firing time. If you assume energy weapons are the same, then beams fire every 0.75 seconds, cannons every 0.25 seconds, and Dual Heavy Cannons every second. That's probably not important, though, the "true" firing rate is relevant enough.
The short answer is that since Single Cannons have a 180 degree arc of fire, between Beam Arrays and Dual Beam Banks (at 270 and 90 degrees, respectively) they will do more damage than a Beam Array, but less than a DBB. They can be useful on a Cruiser to move some of the damage to the front facing, instead of broadsides, while still leaving a narrow broadsides in the forward arc, where a Beam Array to the rear will overlap. The more rapid fire rate will also mean you will keep putting hits on the target more often, possibly keeping it from bringing shields back up if they have fallen.
It's really a matter of personal taste. Cannons are not useless, but you have to spend skill points on them, and use the Cannon Rapid Fire and Scatter Volley abilities instead of Overload and FAW. Then again, a turret boat might do well with turrets rear and cannons front.