Saturday, December 3, 2016

Prepping for the next raid cycle - Siege

It's been a while since I posted... I've been busy, and I haven't been able to find the time to put together articles like I used to.  So I was thinking about this, and whether I should put together a 'goodbye post'.  But I had another idea... I'm not going to be able to do the sort of in-depth articles that I have been doing, but I still have stuff I want to say about this game.  So I'm going to try shorter articles that are less based on math & graphs & more on opinion.  Let's see how it goes.

So a lot of people have been talking about the raid cycle that will be starting up after this final Reaver hull raid we've got upcoming.  So far we've gotten pretty strong signals that it will be a Siege-style raid, with targets that look a lot like the Draconian Mines we've been hitting for a while.  It's even possible that the new 95 & 97 mine targets are Kixeye's first 'trial' targets for the next raid type. 

So we've also seen the Centurion enter the Foundry, and a new Harlock's Centurion be available through collecting shards.  We also had the ballistic-based Malice Conqueror hull show up in a TLC. What we don't know is whether there will be new ballistic gear, or potentially even a hull, show up in the next raid to prep us for the cycle to follow.

So with all that, I think it's still a little early to plan a fleet and say "this is my next raid fleet".  But I think it isn't too early to look at what you have, and the fleets for doing mines are the logical place to start.  I never built a full fleet of Centurions, I only built a single hull and use it as a countermeasure platform with Punishers in a DUB fleet.  In fact, after the Foundry Centurion upgrades, I messed up that fleet because of the increased speed of the retrofitted Centurion.

What I have used for mines is a Crusader fleet that I refit from base hitters (way back when), and also the Punishers from that DUB fleet.  The Crusaders were refit to improve their performance in mines, and they look like this:


The armor wasn't really optimized, but these ships did all right, and since I didn't use them for anything else, I didn't mind if I took a while to repair them after getting shot up.  The Alloy CL-3 was the key refit on these.

The Punishers for the DUB look like this:


And even as-is, they would do better in the Mines than the Crusaders... deflection was the key.  But I'm looking at a 2 day 5 hour refit on the Punishers that would look like this:

Swapping the CL-3 for the MX-3 and adding 2 D5-R armors will really help me optimize this fleet for mine-style targets.  (a D5-C might be even better with its bit of deflection, but would take longer to refit) I got all my Gamma Shards, so I'm not too worried about ruining this fleet's performance in DUBs (and I would have to find a new CM platform anyway).  One week of shipyard time for the three Punishers will help me hit the early mine targets to collect Centurion shards with much less damage.  My existing ships are fully ranked, so that will save me even more time since they will be all set to go.

My first refit will finish tonight, so I may post a quick update comparing a refit Punisher against an old one and see what repair benefit I get.  I'm guessing damage will be cut in half.

I'm still looking at Centurions, and after I finish the Punisher refits I will start building some blank Centurions to rank in the next VXP weekend.  If it turns out that we get new ballistic gear in the next raid I'll take a revised look at my plans, but with no new gear I'd start working towards something like this:


Compared to my Punishers, these have slightly better defense (resistance AND deflection), but lower speed and lower DPS output.  The splash defense field will be nice too.  I used PACs instead of Arbalest on this build mostly for weight... with PACs instead of Arbalest / Railguns, I'm not sure the Armor-Piercing shells is the best choice.. I'm thinking Shielded Tactical System would be nice, but would add a lot of build time.  Anyway, the whole point is not to stress over a optimal build right now, since we still don't know what else is coming.  

One more note - although the mines do  a lot of radioactive damage, the Radioactive Plate will give you deflection in PvP targets only.  That deflection will be bypassed in the mines and upcoming raid targets. Don't use it for your raid fleet.

Here's the Huggy's link for all the ships in the article:
https://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!B06G51R1R401R346A2U6P00232323232323230NH01W130Z342U6A5K2F23232323AKAKAKAKAK2C0NH01W1W1W342U6A6P2F23232323AKAKAKAKAK2C07401W1P1V1P1V382U6A436P2C2C2C2C2C2C2C2C2C2C0ZZdC

Anyway I hope this new article format works for you, I'm also going to spend less time sharing it... probably just in the the 3 'show' groups, so feel free to re-share as you see fit.

(And would you believe this is my 200th post!)


Friday, November 11, 2016

Hellborn - What not to get

No pre-raid post this time, but I'll just combine my "pre" and "one day in" posts here.

Raid thoughts:

Hellborn is here and the raid looks just like the last one.  The one notable change is the addition of the 74 "blitz target".  This target is worth 600,000 points if you kill the Hellstrikes that run away.  If you beat it in one hit, it can be blitzed for a minimum cost of 5 coin, working out to 120,000 points per coin.  For me, I like to be able to do raids for 500k to 1 million points per coin, so using blitz would work out to be a very expensive raid by my standards, but your may vary.  In terms of target diificulty, I tried a couple 74s with the two Tideseekers I built using the build and VXP tokens from the High Tide TLC, and was able to beat it for 4 coin repair.  The keys I found for using Tideseekers there are to avoid drones until ready to hit the mothership, and drive so that you are only engaging only one ship at a time.  Basic stuff.

For most of the raid, I've been using my Hellwraiths to hit 105s and a Grease Monkeys crew to repair, and have just about completed the raid (64M points) using 2 GMs and less than 50 coin.  I've been seeing mixed messages from players in the Facebook groups and such, but I've been having pretty good luck using the 100 Uranium crew rolls lately and I had 3 GMs stocked up.  

The most important tip for this raid when using subs is to come alongside the thermal scouts when firing at them - this way small differences in your ship placement won't cause you to be in thermal range.  Note that the motherships have lower thermal range than the scouts, so you don't have to be as careful when approaching them.  

A couple other notes:

  • The yellow thermal rings seem to pop up a little more often than last time, even occasionally when I'm not near a thermal ship.  I think the drones are involved in triggering those, but I'm not too sure.  I generally try to hit areas that are away from drones until I have to.
  • When my Hellwraith fleet is full strength, it will kill a scout in one volley, so sometimes I will stop my fleet in front of a scout and let it creep into range... but your fleet may vary.


Prizes:

The new prizes are the Valiant - a new defender hull, a Harlock Tideseeker for finding Phantoms, and a new Scattergun weapon and corrosive special.  In addition there are two limited component prizes that will be available for only the first two days of the raid.

Valiant:


This hull has pretty good armor, but not as good as the Vanquisher (100k vs 500k) - it also has longer repair time (3h vs 2h, cut in half when in base defender fleet slot).  Instead, it has across-the-board deflection, which means that it just might hold up longer than the Vanquisher against a lot of attack types.

On the weapon side, this hull gives range, damage, and reload bonuses across the board, which means there are a lot of choices available to the player on what to use.

The first thing to look at is the range - Jefe put this chart together for the Wednesday night BP Crib show:



These are pretty good options across the board, but the new Calamity Scattergun looks really good here, considering it is a weapon that does area damage.

One more thought is that this ship with 1 speed (instead of zero speed) might be good for base prepping, this was probably more true with the stats from the preview, but the ranges as released are actually a little less than using Cyclone/D98-U launchers on a Retribution (103.4).  And even with a bunch of speed boosts, it's REALLY going to be tedious to use it.

Calamity Scattergun:


This Corrosive Scattergun has more range than any previous scattergun, and it also does a lot of damage with its secondary concussive damage.  Having two damage types is particularly useful against conqueror hulls that have the damage-type specific deflection.  In particular, the Fury and Spite have Corrosive deflection but no Concussive deflection (Fury gets 600 Concussive with Bloodthirst). A DPS comparison (again from Jefe) is shown below:



The DPS improvement from previous scatterguns (both by weapon and by weight) is pretty astounding.  Along with the range improvement, this is clearly the new "must have" scattergun.  Although the focus right now may be on building Valiants, any Furys you build would benefit from this weapon as well.

Compressed Corrosion Canisters:


Again, I'm going back to the Jefe well on this one:


From a pure damage perspective, improving the multishot though Heavy Barrel, or improving the concussive damage through Advanced Concussive will give more benefit than improving the splash damage through Compressed Corrosion Canisters.  But you don't have to choose.  Since each of those three specials affect different statistics, they can be combined for huge damage benefits (as shown in the "stacked" column).  On the Valiant with 5 special slots, and no reason to use an engine or armor special, there is enough room to do it.  But on Offensive ships where you may only have one special to allocate for your weapon boost, consider the other options and even the Hydroxide Injectors, which will give the +1 multishot with the +25% corrosive damage boost.  Adding to multishot is particularly effective with the Calamity Scattergun because it only starts with 3 pellets instead of 6 for the Conflagration Scattergun.  

Harlock's Tideseeker:

This is the anti-sub ship we've been waiting for since the very first phantom sub was released.  It can see phantoms on the world map, and it has the thermal range to see them in combat.  The only defense subs have left to survive against these is speed.. and that really applies only to Hellwraiths.  So when building Tideseekers, remember to emphasize speed if you want to kill the subs you hunt down.

Limited Components: 
I'm putting these together because they aren't worth any more time than that...
 
Using Armor to get 10% Slow Resistance just doesn't seem that great.  Better ways to get Slow Resistance are Agility System and Shielded Tactical System.  For Armor slots on Conquerors, War Plating is a better choice.  1 Million points per piece of armor doesn't seem like that bad a price, but only for armor you'd want to use.


With only 20 points of deflection, I feel like there are more important ways to use your special slots on the (generally) PvE hulls that this special is limited to.  If there were 100 points or so from this special, then it might be worth using.  5 Million points for this just doesn't seem right as-is.

What to get:
The new prizes are good for base defense... you want them.  At 30 million points they seem to be at around the same value point as other recent prizes.  If you're a little short on points, leaving off the new special is probably the best choice out of the three.

Elsewhere in the main prize ladder, the Enforcer (1.75M) and Charon Torpedo (900,000) are good deals if you are missing a defensive hull and a Scourge Torpedo.with 88 range.  D98-U Launcher (900,000) is also a good deal if you are missing a 94 range launcher.  It makes a great spotter weapon if you are building a tank-type ship, or even an alternative to railguns on a Punisher.  Stealth Attack System 4 (350,000) goes well with the lower end sub hulls where you are limited on special slots.  If you have to decide between the Tier 2 weapons, you'll just have to decide where you are weakest in capability and focus there.

And at this point in the raid cycle, I am less positive on the Hellwraith, especially if you were able to pick up the Tideseeker in the first run of High Tide.  If you don't have a good weapon for Tideseekers, the Fire Twister Torpedo (9M) is your best choice from this raid.  The Concussive Gatling Gun (7.5M) is also available but seems a bit overpriced.

The Harlock's Tideseeker, at 20 million points, also seems like a good value considering the brand new unique capability it brings to the table.  

The two new locked limited prizes just don't seem worth it to buy or use (as I mentioned above).  The shards for "super-hulls" may be worth it if you have the commitment to save up... the Gamma Behemoth in particular only takes 10 shards (45M total points over two raids), so only 2 raids are required to complete that hull.  Other than that I don't see too much use for the Hellstar, Protonemesis, or the Man-of-War.  Ghostcrawlers are fun and still useful occasionally... but don't be leaving them sitting around anymore (speaking of which I just docked mine)!

For the other unlocked Prizes, 

Good Deals:
Arbalest (1.1M) 
Heavy Plating 3 (2M)

Pick these up if you don't have them.

Overpriced but maybe useful:
Styx Torpedo (6M)
Concussive Gatling Gun (7.5M)
Concussive Upgrade (3M) 
Nuclear Accelerators (4M)
Punisher (12.5M) 

Only pick these up if you are 'desperate' for the capability, but look for alternatives.  For example, the Punisher is a great tank for the 109s in the FM, but many players are having success with the Tideseeker.  The Styx Torpedo is 6 million points, but the Charon is only 900,000.

OK pirates, play smart and have fun, and start sinking those Phantoms!