And why is it important?!?
Is that Wrongthinker? I was looking for a good pic for falloff or a funny cliff pic and came across this and I did a triple take. I wonder...
Anyway... With the introduction of the new Needler Rocket and the close proximity to the Twinfire, performance wise, this particular attribute, splash falloff, is an important one that had to be addressed, particularly in deciding between the two for the continuing skirmish cycle.
What is it?
Splash falloff. Almost every splash based weapon in the game has a minimum splash damage number, at least that is what it used to be called. In the last few years it has moved to a new name: Splash Falloff, which is a little odd, because the falloff % really is a flip of the minimum % damage number. Maybe I geek out on this crap too much... anyway...
To understand the falloff mechanic, we first have to understand how the splash mechanic works. The weapon has a damage number and this is the damage at the point of impact. Unlike direct damage weapons, once the weapon impacts, the damage is calculated through the splash mechanic, which is inclusive of splash falloff. This means that from the point of impact to the edge of the splash, the damage will, typically, decrease. Think of it as damage radiating outward from the impact point. It looks something like this:
Why is it important?
In the article Spread and Splash - A Story of Co-Dependence we covered how splash and spread interact, how this affects damage and, lightly, skirted around why we take falloff into consideration. With this in mind delving a bit further into this we can see why this number is vitally important in making decisions for equipping our hulls.
As we can see in the above picture, Splash Falloff is a linear declination. In some old mortars the splash falloff was 50%, so at the edge of the splash radius, the damage was half of the listed damage amount on the blueprint (technically 1/4, but that's for another article). This is why we have generally paid very close attention to the interaction between splash and spread. It also is why it is vitally important to get that stat into the weapon's stat block!!
With the Needler and Nailhead we have a rocket with 0% falloff. That means that at the edge of the splash radius you will do the same amount of damage as the point of impact! That is huge. YUGE! And changes a lot of strategy. Where you may have used explosive system 4 in the past, you probably want to use combustion system 2. While ES4 will reduce the spread, it's use generally was two fold - reduce the spread and increase damage density. With zero falloff, you don't have to worry about the latter. Add in fast moving targets and you generally want to increase your spread and/or projectile speed so that your damage isn't falling behind your target. Since the edge of the splash radius is the same damage as the impact point, you want more of your projectiles to 'interact' with your intended target. This allows for a lot of fine tuning toward a target if you were so inclined.
Of other note - the GSU-7 and the Gathering Storm concussive gatling guns have a falloff of 25%. This should help as we gather more intel.
Hopefully this helps clarify this mechanic. I have asked Kixeye to look at putting this stat in the stat block. It is on their list, but no timeline as yet.