Monday, February 17, 2014

Optimizing Your Armor - Survival Time (part 1)

Monday Morning Analysis is a bit late today... posting issue SORRY!

As I said in last week's Monday Morning Analysis, there are techniques you can use to optimize your armor build time.  

In summary, 
  • Use more smaller pieces of prize (Drac & Plate) armor
  • Use fewer larger pieces of research armor
  • Make your larger armor pieces the ones that build faster (like E, not V)
One more rule was pointed out in discussion on the Battle Vortex Facebook Page:
  • When mixing Drac and Forsaken Plate, make the larger pieces Forsaken Plate.
But a quickly built fleet isn't much fun if it ends up on the bottom a lot.  So the other thing to look at is how well your armor will work.  Some ship build sites, like BP Outpost shipyard, will calculate 'equivalent armor points', which is:

Equivalent armor points = Armor points / (1 - resistance)

So if you have 1000 armor points, and 75% ballistic resistance, you have 4000 equivalent armor points against ballistic damage - because you could take 4000 points of ballistic damage before sinking.

After Kixeye introduced Forsaken Plate, equivalent armor points are more difficult to calculate, because the effectiveness of the damage reduction that Forsaken Plate provides depends on what weapon is being used.  For example, ballistic damage reduction is more effective against an assault cannon than a javelin.  This is because the reduction is taken per hit.  When an individual hit does less damage, the fixed reduction is a higher percentage of the total.

I've made a few assumptions in this article: 
  • With % resist and plate, the damage is reduced by the %, then the plate subtraction is performed.  This is based on Kixeye advice available on the forum.
  • Shots in a salvo are 0.1 seconds apart.  This is a commonly used rule of thumb.  I have seen evidence published on the Kixeye forums that the actual time is longer, perhaps 0.2 seconds, and perhaps variable based on the weapon type.
  • When estimating damage from splash weapons, the formula Splash / (3/8 * Spread) is used as a number equivalent to accuracy.  This was told to me by a traveller passing through the sector I was in, and could be total bullcrap.  He seemed knowledgeable though, and I've seen that same formula pop up in a few other places.  This definitely depends on the ship sitting still - trying to avoid splash damage is generally a good idea, but it messes up these sorts of calculations.
  • When estimating damage from accuracy weapons, the hit chance is applied based on attacker's accuracy, then defender's evade is applied against possible hits.  Accuracy over 100% makes no difference, and neither does evade below zero.  I'm not totally convinced on this one, especially negative evade... my siege missiles seem much more accurate than 50% against salvage fleets.
  • The minimum damage from a hit after plate armor subtractions are applied is 1 point per damage type.  This is probably too low.
The metric I have developed to compare ship builds is called "survival time".  Essentially it is: 

Survival time = Armor Points of ship / DPS of attacking weapon

The survival time is calculated independently for each weapon, and can be used to see how well different build variations compare against different weapons.  It can also be used to compare how well different weapons would do against a sample ship build.  If building a ship, higher survival time is better.  If comparing weapons, lower survival time is better.

I'm going to start with a ship with one armor slot - the Sea Scorpion A R4.  This isn't used very much, but with the new launcher, I'm noodling around with an FvF build something like:

This build probably isn't fast enough to beat ballistic rays, but I'll try to figure out what my best armor choice is anyway.  I show this with the D2E, but I could try to use DU3, or a Plate 2, (Ballistic or penetrative).  

A fleet with all four builds is at:

Survival time depends on the weapon.  If I think about other FvF Fleets, some of the weapons most likely to shoot at me are: Assault Cannon Z, Assault Missile C, and Chainguns.  Certainly those aren't the only ones, but those are what I'm choosing to compare.  

When I added the DU3, I saw that compared to the Plate 2, it had less armor points and less bonuses, so it clearly wont be as good; however, I am leaving it in the comparison because it also illustrates a point when compared to Drac armor.

In the table below:
Ship Config 1: D2E
Ship Config 2: DU3
Ship Config 3: Penetrative Plate 2
Ship ConfigShip Config 1Ship Config 2Ship Config 3
Armor points:265028803150
Missile Defense:0.00%0.00%0.00%
Explosive Defense:0.00%0.00%0.00%
Ballistic Defense:40.00%40.00%40.00%
Concuss Defense:0.00%0.00%0.00%
Missile Subtract:0010
Explosive Subtract:000
Ballistic Subtract:000
Concuss Subtract:000
Expected Time of survival (seconds) from:HIGHER TIME IS BETTER
Accounts for "subtract" armor (resist% before subtract)
Assault Cannon Z59.4860.3365.99
Assault Missile C149.97152.12188.20
Siege Missile V105.07106.57119.21
Shredder 3150.65152.82167.14
Thud 4261.73265.49290.38
Ripper 495.2396.59105.65
Assault Mortar X18.9520.6022.53
Assault Rocket M29.1331.6536.57
Inferno Rocket11.0311.9813.11
Reaver Chaingun 1114.39116.03126.91
Reaver Chaingun 259.1760.0265.64
Reaver Chaingun 340.8341.4245.30

First comparing Configuration 1 & 2, the extra armor points outweigh the extra evade against every weapon type, even the 'accuracy' weapons.  Then, moving to the Penetrative Plate on Configuration 3, we see that adding even more armor points helps (obviously).  I left a few other weapons in the table, just so you can see that against some of the high explosives like Infernos or Assault Mortars, this build has no chance.

So far, the Pen Plate 2 is best.  I'm also going to look at Ballistic Plate, and using D5X instead of the Guidance Scrambler 3, which lets me use heavier armor

Configuration 4: Ballistic Plate 2
Configuration 5: Ballistic Plate 3, replace GS3 with D5X
Configuration 6: Penetrative Plate 3, replace GS3 with D5X 
Ship ConfigShip Config 1Ship Config 2Ship Config 3
Armor points:315036503650
Missile Defense:0.00%33.00%33.00%
Explosive Defense:0.00%33.00%33.00%
Ballistic Defense:40.00%60.00%60.00%
Concuss Defense:0.00%0.00%0.00%
Missile Subtract:0014
Explosive Subtract:000
Ballistic Subtract:460
Concuss Subtract:000
Expected Time of survival (seconds) from:HIGHER TIME IS BETTER
Accounts for "subtract" armor (resist% before subtract)
Assault Cannon Z70.4179.9068.63
Assault Missile C174.47192.60227.78
Siege Missile V116.56120.90126.78
Shredder 3187.22229.33174.07
Thud 4303.82335.48302.15
Ripper 4115.49136.07110.02
Assault Mortar X22.5338.9638.96
Assault Rocket M34.6259.8567.35
Inferno Rocket13.1120.6320.63
Reaver Chaingun 1146.18149.12111.76
Reaver Chaingun 270.4566.4157.81
Reaver Chaingun 347.5443.8139.89

Now, you can start to see the tradeoffs, I highlighted the best survival times in Green.  Against the missiles and the larger ballistics, the Evade configuration did better.  Against the smaller ballistics and the splash weapons, the Ballistic Plate with extra resist did better.

So which should you choose?  It depends on what you plan to do with the fleet, and what you think your enemy will be packing.  But I want to summarize a few ideas:

  • With few armor slots, more armor points can be better than Drac armor.
  • Combined with some Resistance, Penetrative Plate can help against missiles more than evade.  (This doesn't account for evade helping prevent Phalanx from being overwhelmed)
  • Ballistic Plate does better than Evade against the small ballistics, but against big chainguns... Evade rules.
When I started this article, I was also going to look at some Hellstrike configurations in this article, but it's getting a little long already, and I still need another 400k points to finish my raid. Also, I'm starting to see some hits from these nuclear cruisers, and they seem pretty decent. So...  
Next week: I'll look at optimizing the armor configurations on Nuke Cruisers.