Monday, May 22, 2017

Spread and Splash - A Story of Co-Dependence

Demystifying this Relationship

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

There are times when a subject matter comes up that, in my mind, is easy to envision, yet when I try to articulate an explanation it turns out more complex than what I see in my mind. Spread and Splash in in that category.

Spread : 

Spread is defined as the area that the projectiles will hit within. Projectiles may hit in the center of this area or they may hit to the edge of this area.  When we look at stats, Spread is given as an absolute number, however, in order to understand the interactions, you have to convert that number into actual spread off-center. To do this you have to divide your spread number by 5 (this info is directly from Kixeye).

For example, if your build has an absolute spread of 90, the true spread from the center point of your targeting would only be 18 (90 divided by 5). It would look something like this:

It is a much smaller area than the absolute number would lead you to believe. Spread is merely the 'drift' of your projectile from center point of your targeting. In the past, most players would want a higher spread in order to take advantage of the splash mechanic. With the advent of Scatterguns there has been an introduction of more specials that have mitigated spread to allow a narrower and more concentrated area of fire. This allows one to tweak both spread and splash more precisely in their builds. To determine which path you want to follow, one must look at the intended target, weapon selection and the amount of splash your build has in order to determine an optimal build.

Splash :

Splash is the area that is damages . While spread is where a projectile may land with regard to a specific targeted spot, Splash is the damage that radiates out from that point of projectile impact. This is what we see when we target a ship or turret and our mortars or scatterguns damage and sometimes destroy nearby turrets, ships and walls. The higher the Splash the further out the damage reaches.

Splash is an interesting mechanic in that damage is a linear drop off from point of impact. In other words, at the impact point (center of your Splash circle), you will have 100% damage and the further away you progress from the center, the less damage will be dealt. Generally, the drop off at the edge of the splash radius is 50% of the damage of the weapon (old mortars value). Some are more, some are less, but the drop off is always linear.

For example, a hull with a total splash of 54.8 (Weird number, I know, but I'm using a specific build.) and damage of 1,000 per shell will have that amount halved to 500 at the 55 range (outer edge of the Splash circle) and at the mid-point of the range (27.4) the damage would be 750.

The general consensus is to always increase your splash as much as possible. As 'standard' wisdom in the game, many players do not realize why this bit of wisdom makes your weaponry more effective. In essence, you want your weapons to hit your target so that the inner ring is what is dealing the damage. The closer to the center, the more damage is imparted. This then begets the question of spread v. splash and is a perfect segue...

Spread v. Splash : 

This is where you can really start tuning your builds. Several nights ago I was fiddling with the idea of spread and splash and was plotting various combinations on some graph paper. I had seen BP Professor's equation, but not knowing the how that calculation was derived I decided to elicit some help from one of the math gurus, TFC's own Brian 'I'm gonna flip a table' Randich. To say that we geeked out a bit would be putting it mildly. He started getting into calculations that I couldn't follow and that brought us to the point of wanting to distill the info into some simple equations. This is what we came up with.

Coverage Efficiency = Splash / (2*(spread/5))

Damage Density = .5 * Splash / (2*(spread/5))

(These are relational equations based solely on known mechanics and may not accurately reflect actual in game performance due to unknown factors ranging from RNG to actual min. damage % of weapons to enemy armor. M'kay?)

To illustrate the interactions, we can use an outlier hit of a mortar (a mortar that hits at the very edge of our Spread) for reference while we plot the various calculations.

The first calculation (Coverage Efficiency) should give you an effective coverage percentage for your weapons. Using the above example you would calculate 54.8 / 36 = 152% meaning that your weapons would cover over 100% of the spread radius in damage and that you would guarantee hitting anything (standing still) at the point of targeting. This is reflected above by the red ring.

The second calculation (Damage Density) will give you an idea of how efficient the damage dealt would be from this build. Again, using the above example we would get 27.4 / 36 =  76%. This percentage would reflect the amount of your weapons that would damage anything (standing still) at the point of impact with the 'inner ring' of damage. This allows you to tune your build to maximize this damage. This is reflected above by the orange ring.

As you can see, the relationship between these two mechanics is a little more complex than one would initially consider. Hopefully, in now knowing their interactions, you can more efficiently build toward your intended target and fine tune builds to maximize your available options when building.

And to steal a friend's line:


- Always increase Splash.

- Spread is a choice. Make sure it's a good one.


  1. can I get a math check? weapon has splash of 22 and spread of 75, ship and specials give 224% splash and 70% spread. so coverage would be 140% with a density of 70%. is this correct??

    1. So splash would be 71.28 and spread/5 is 25.5.

      Rounded up would be 140% and 70%, yes.

    2. Thanks it appears as a good overall coverage and density for my sloths

  2. I have a rule of thumb that I follow when using spread to splash.... If I am using the fleet with smaller islands of base type weapons such as in this current garrison raid cycle I will try to go for a medium spread and the highest splash possible... If I want to add a little spread, not a big deal, I just throw on a Molotov Maiden crew and usually that takes care of the adjustment... For base defense it depends on the weapon... Mortars again medium spread large splash and for scatterguns, personally, I like a larger spread which generally cut the splash available to use because of the limitations of special slots but not being able to always tell what fleet and opponent will use (fast blitz or slower tanks) I like my fleet ready for both occasions if possible.