what is the purpose of the Rapid Fire Laser?

2/3 the damage of the ion cannon for a 3% faster ROF.
1 more crew, 4 fewer power than ion cannon
slightly lower AP than ion cannon
70% of the range of the ion cannon (but also half the minimum range)
… which would make you think maybe it’s an antifighter gun, but no, tracking speed 1.5 vs 2.0

I don’t get it.

Did you take into account that the ion cannon fires in salvos? Meaning it has a larger reloading time then it seems, influencing its true dps. Minimum ranges can also be important. And in some builds of a ship, you may have to add an extra power plant just to fit a ion, or another crew module.

I have found for myself that the purpose of the Rapid Fire Laser is that it fills holes in frigate designs where I have very little crew and power left over from the “real” guns etc. And they do keep up a pretty good hail of constant laser burst fire.

The ion cannon is not fired in salvos.

I’d say that’s the selling point. Two RFL’s do more for less power, provided you can put up with the extra weight/crew/hardpoint usage. I just use them as a sort of sidearm for when I want additional antishield power but can’t afford a full ion cannon.

At least it isn’t a quantum blaster.

There is a small niche for these kind of low-power weapons. The frigate pulse laser is pretty underrated, and the Howitzer is downright amazing.


yes, the ion cannon is the better choice most of the time ( and don’t even speak of the phasor cannon, just disappointing for an unlockable weapon).

but i’ve made highly spammable frigates with 4 rapid fire lasers minimum, better 5.

they drown everything in bullets and can overwhelm even strong shields extremely fast and can quickly damage modules if you’re lucky.
i didn’t trust the stats either, but that’s something the stats don’t show you, you have to see it in battle.
i don’t see any other purpose besides this very speacial task however.


I’m pretty sure that’s not true…

I’v heard that those RFLs can shoot the hull directly since its min range is lower in the shield bubble radius.

If you can get your ship that close, and you don’t mind not being able to dire anything else… I don’t think I’d make that my primary strategy, but I could see a few fast ships speeding up to take advantage of this… Problem is, those fast ships will die quickly because they’ll be the first to arrive, and will generally receive the full anger and retribution of the enemy’s entire fleet. Perhaps if you tied them to a trigger ship that is likely to last for the first 50% of the battle or so, and then once freed they zoomed up and did their worst… Interesting idea… I’ve never though of using trigger ships that would last more than the first minute or so of the battle. The RFL could indeed come in handy used like this…

A reason you may not want frigates regularly getting that close is that cruisers, when they explode, do AOE armor/hull damage to nearby ships. It’s not much damage to other cruisers, but take a look at the hull hitpoints of frigates sometime. The RFL itself has 10 hitpoints. Get your weapons knocked out by a successful kill and that frigate has turned disposable.

More disposable than usual, at least.

The Rapid Fire Laser is quite a bit cheaper in point cost than the Ion Cannon. The Ion Cannon is an excellent weapon, but it is expensive.