Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Forsaken Mission Items - Torrent Missile and Resonance Battery

Well, it looks like Kixeye doesn't want to let ANYONE catch up with the Forsaken Missions, releasing 2 new items with this week's update.  Players who have gotten Tier 3 on every Forsaken Mission, or have caught up through raids, are still one short of the batch of three new items released three weeks ago. (for me it's Sawfish.  I'll live.)  

The two new items are the Torrent Missile and the Resonance Battery.  I think the most interesting part about these two new prizes is that they are tough to classify.  Most previous items released in the Forsaken Missions are similar to or mashups of something else - for example Shredders are like Rippers, or Agility System is like Guidance Scrambler + Shielded Electronics.  The Torrent Missile is very unlike other missiles, and there really isn't any special like the Resonance Battery.  This post was kind of hard to write, because I really had to think about how these new items might be used.  I'm sure I missed a few things that creative pirates will come up with... and I'm holding one back for myself... heh heh.

Torrent Missile:
The Torrent Missile 3 specs are as follows:  
Range: 58 (75.2 with SFB3)
Damage: 1914 Penetrating + 669 Radioactive
Reload Time: 12.5
Salvo: 16
Accuracy: 90
Weight: 594 tons

With a shorter range than most other missiles (and did you EVER use a rapier?), I'm not exactly sure what to make of this weapon.   The comment in the description says that it does a "blistering torrent of penetrative damage".  Let's look at my favorite weapon metric - DPS per ton, and see if that statement is accurate:

Type(HB3 / SFB3) Weight(HB3 / SFB3) RangeFleet DamageBuilding DamageReload + Salvo TimeAccuracyFleet DPSFleet DPS / ton * 100Building DPSBuilding DPS / ton * 100
Thud 484.873.52344093.570.00%46.855.2116.9137.8
Assault Cann Z320631871871.6100.00%116.936.5116.936.5
Reaver Chain 2633.6692500250018.370.00%95.615.1136.621.6
Assault Missile M67296.21871124.375.00%33.04.926.43.9
Siege Missile A1,34485.84509005.050.00%45.03.3180.013.4
Siege Missile F1,34485.859810485.050.00%59.84.4209.615.6
Impulse Launch U51491160802.870.00%40.07.828.65.6
Torrent Missile 122275.41031103115.590.00%59.927.066.530.0
Torrent Missile 244475.41714171415.590.00%99.522.4110.624.9
Torrent Missile 366575.42583258315.590.00%150.022.5166.625.0

Well for a missile, they do a lot of damage... they sit between the Chaingun and the Assault Z in the key DPS/100 ton metric.  The Torrent 1 is more efficient than the other two versions as well.  The other nice feature this weapon shares with the Chaingun is that the damage is 'front-loaded'.  So they could be more effective than the DPS/ton metric implies, since if you kill your target with the initial volley of fire, that target will not be firing back while you are reloading.  Ignoring the 'boom', the Torrent is also much more effective than the Impulse Launcher, but like the Launcher, it will lose effectiveness against high-evade fleets, although not as drastically since it isn't dependent on the boom.

So the question is how can these be used?

Base Fleet: You will outrage Cerbs (66), but not Howys (78), and you'd have to be very careful around Disrupters (72).  You wouldn't outrange most weapons on guard ships either.  The other concern is the long reload time.  After firing at (and probably sinking) your initial target, the long reload time means that you may have to sit and wait before being able to fire at the next target, and thus be very vulnerable to Brimstone / Halo / Mortar fire.  There might be some use for these on blitz-style fleets, but the Missile-enhanced hulls really aren't durable enough to blitz.  Someone will try this, but I'm not going to try it first.  WAIT AND SEE

(someone already did -  I think some of the things I said above are evident on the video)

FvF Fleet: The key in FvF is to be able to pick your optimum range and stay there.  These Torrent Missiles certainly have enough punch to be able to kill enemy ships quickly, but would be vulnerable to ballistics or rockets if they couldn't keep their range... and they don't have a whole lot of margin.  MAYBE

Drac Base/Mission/Mine: Compared to other missile/launcher fleets that do well in drac bases, the shorter range might not be as much of a handicap as it is against player bases.  These fleets need to have a strategy for dealing with the missile and cannon fire that the player will be in range of anyway.  The greater punch would make up for the additional time needed to get in range of a target.  On a fleet with retargeting, I think these Torrents could be very effective against the dracs.  TRY IT

Reavers: The range is better than the 66 of an Engine Disrupter field, and the additional range over Infernos on a Hellstrike (for example) might allow you to stay away from the rockets on the big targets.  The damage is nearly as good as the ballistics.  Perhaps a mercury with its reload bonus would be a quick effective build, or the R5 MCX would certainly deal out a lot of hurt.  TRY IT

Guard Fleet: The short range here hurts the Torrent's usefulness for guards.  It may work for anti-blitz (especially because many Hellstrike builds are lowest in Missile resist), or on a ship that has high evade or resistance, in order to stop enemies in the range of center-island weapons.  MAYBE

Overall, no ringing endorsements here... I want to like this weapon, but I think some experimentation will be needed to find its niche.  Remember that Penetrative or Composite Plate will really blunt the damage done by this weapon.

Resonance Battery:
This special gives a damage, defense, and speed bonus to ships affected by a tactical field.  The key word is AFFECTED.  So your own friendly fields, like Navigation Array, ECM, or Wake, will affect your own ships when they are in the field (Only the subs in an ECM field).  Enemy fields like Microwave Dampener or Engine Disrupter will affect your ships when your ships are in the enemy field.  For example, your own ships won't be helped by the Resonance Battery against the reavers just because you brought an Engine Disrupter field.

The first question I thought about is - would it be worth it to replace a ship in a fleet with a field, just to get the resonance bonus?  To think about that one, if you consider a 4 ship fleet, and the possibility of adding a 5th ship or adding an arbiter, the 5th ship would give 25% more attack and defense, and the arbiter would give only 20% more attack and defense, with the 20% speed boost.  This probably isn't worth the special slot you'd need for the resonance battery.  However, that assumes an even 5 ship fleet.  

Base Fleet: An arbiter with Nav Array 3 would be made to weigh only 3359 tons.  A Vanguard with Nav Array 3 could serve as a countermeasure ship for a base hitting fleet.  This would let you use more weight in the 4 remaining hitter ships.  I played with a Nuke Cruiser build for a few minutes and ended up with this fleet.  (4 nuke cruisers with 7 launchers, Speed3, Battery (Sub Battery 1 weighs just a little more than resonance battery), D5X, 2xD3-E 2xD2-E), I didn't like it that much actually. UNLIKELY

FvF: I'd rather have the 5th ship and use of the special.  Subs with ECM might be able to take advantage, but specials are very precious on a Sub - you wouldn't give up Engine or Cat/Bat on a Spectre for example.  FORGET IT

Guard Fleet: Give up a ship slot for a Nav Array?  NOT A CHANCE.

Drac Base/Mission/Mine: See Base fleet above.  FORGET IT

Reavers: So now you need TWO arbs to fight reavers?  NO WAY

Resonance Battery - Neat idea, but I have no clue how to use it well.  Maybe some of you pirates out there are a little more creative than me.  I'll keep my eyes open.