Monday, February 24, 2014

Optimizing Your Armor - Survival Time (part 2)

For Part 2 of my piece on using Survival Time to optimize your armor, I'm going to look at a few more sample builds - these are actual questions my friends and alliance mates have asked me over the last week or two, so they might apply in your situation.

If you missed Part 1, read it here.  I discuss how the Survival Time metric works.

Nuclear Cruiser Build - Resist or Evade?
Let's start with the Nuke Cruiser.  I was presented with this build (Config 1 in my table below), and asked how it looked for hitting bases:

I thought it was alright - I noticed the one larger piece of armor was the D4-E, which is the right choice for build time.  

But I noticed that he was adding Missile (D3-M) and Ballistic (D3-C) resist, which are mostly from aimed weapons.  I suggested making those both D3-E, and ran the numbers (Config 2 in the table).  I found that the E armor did better against all aimed weapons.  This happens because the E armor helps against all the aimed weapons (two 7% bonuses), but the M or C armor only will give you only one bonus against each weapon type (one 10% bonus).  This configuration will hurt a little against the splash weapons that do Missile or Ballistic Damage, such as Halos, Brimstones, or Assault Rocket C.  Also note that the evade does much better against impulse launchers and assault torpedos, since evade is the only helpful bonus there.  This is almost a general rule - 2 evade beats 2 resist armors.

Then I decided that since a little evade was good, more evade might be better.  So I replaced the D5X with Evade upgrade.  That put me a little bit over the weight limit for a 5 ship fleet, so I decided to also replace the D4E with Penetrative Plate 3 so keep my armor points & save some weight.  I usually don't like the Penetrative Plate, but I was thinking Halo defense.  This is Configuration 3 in the table below.

Ship ConfigShip Config 1Ship Config 2Ship Config 3
Armor points:100481004810048
Explosive Defense:46.00%46.00%20.00%
Ballistic Defense:52.00%46.00%20.00%
Missile Defense52.00%46.00%20.00%
Concuss Defense:0.00%0.00%0.00%
Radioactive Defense:30.00%30.00%30.00%
Explosive Subtract:000
Ballistic Subtract:000
Missile Subtract:0014
Concuss Subtract:000
Radioactive Subtract:000
Expected Time of survival (seconds) from:HIGHER TIME IS BETTER
Accounts for "subtract" armor (resist% before subtract)
Javelin with DUShell3194.07197.75148.86
Sent 5206.34210.26167.52
Cerb 443.6143.6129.44
Howy 4112.97115.1286.10
Assault Cannon Z371.87388.30290.44
Assault Missile C1,301.991,326.691,220.83
Siege Missile V989.741,008.51784.87
Shredder 3853.04869.22650.16
Thud 41,484.551,512.721,131.49
Ripper 4539.27549.50411.02
Shock Mortar Q719.58719.58485.72
Assault Mortar X133.11133.1189.85
Siege Mortar B169.60169.60114.48
Impact Cannon A1,908.591,944.821,454.72
Assault Rocket M209.33204.68152.38
Inferno Rocket73.1973.1953.67
Reaver Chaingun 1677.38717.14596.91
Reaver Chaingun 2350.32370.89308.73
Reaver Chaingun 3241.74255.93213.03
Siege Cannon X801.69850.94636.48
Impulse Launcher D92U763.50875.23969.85
Assault Torpedo B407.21466.80517.27

So what's best?  

Configuration 1 - D4-E D3-E D3-M D3-C with D5X: Best against Hail & Brimstone, tied with Config 2 against Explosive Splash weapons.

Configuration 2 - D4-E D3-E D3-E D3-E with D5X: Best against aimed weapons except all-radioactive or concussive. Tied with Config 1 for Explosive Splash.

Configuration 3 - PenPlate3 D3-E D3-E D3-E with Evade Upgrade: Best against impulse launcher and torpedos.

So what would the Professor build?  I recommended Configuration 2, to cover most base defense weaponry.  At the range of impulse launchers - I worry about aimed weapons like missiles, and ballistics on Goliaths like chainguns and thuds.  That seemed a nice balance to me.  Evade emphasis may be more of a FvF build, where you may be hit by subs or other nuke builds, but the big drop in resistances hurts against most weapons.   However, I have an alliance mate 20 levels higher who swears by the high evade builds.  I have the numbers, he has the experience... you'll have to make your own decision in the end.

Stingray Build: Armor or Evade?
The next question I was asked related to the new Compound Armor 4, and whether it would be good on a slot-limited configuration, such as a Stingray.  I'll go with a R5 Assault Cannon Stingray.  I'll start with a High Evade configuration - this build isn't too fast, but has nice range.  I might use some chainguns here to use up more weight, but we do have plenty of space to fit the new heavier armor.  

Unfortunately, Compound Plate hasn't been added to the BP Outpost shipyard (when I wrote this) so I'll have to do the math by hand.  Since I have 1700 tons to work with, I'm not going to worry too much about the exact weight, Compound 4 only weighs about 100 tons more before the weight modifiers, which will only total 16% with Shipyard 2.  Compound will add 535 armor points per piece of armor, and drop the Evade from 67% to 62%.  I also tried a super evade configuration with D4E and Evade upgrade instead of D5X.

Ship ConfigShip Config 1Ship Config 2Ship Config 3
Armor points:569367635693
Explosive Defense:33.00%33.00%0.00%
Ballistic Defense:33.00%33.00%0.00%
Missile Defense33.00%33.00%0.00%
Concuss Defense:0.00%0.00%0.00%
Radioactive Defense:0.00%0.00%0.00%
Explosive Subtract:0160
Ballistic Subtract:080
Missile Subtract:0120
Concuss Subtract:000
Radioactive Subtract:000
Expected Time of survival (seconds) from:HIGHER TIME IS BETTER
Accounts for "subtract" armor (resist% before subtract)
Javelin with DUShell3112.19117.0188.59
Sent 5119.29137.4094.20
Cerb 419.9124.7713.34
Howy 465.3169.2251.57
Assault Cannon Z220.30336.98173.96
Assault Missile C752.701,140.68594.37
Siege Missile V572.18614.75451.82
Shredder 3493.16630.11389.42
Thud 4858.25961.98677.72
Ripper 4311.76379.76246.18
Shock Mortar Q328.59415.14220.16
Assault Mortar X60.7974.9740.73
Siege Mortar B77.4593.4051.89
Impact Cannon A1,103.411,372.41871.33
Assault Rocket M93.47142.8862.62
Inferno Rocket32.2342.3823.72
Reaver Chaingun 1388.52531.36345.94
Reaver Chaingun 2200.93237.46178.92
Reaver Chaingun 3138.65156.79123.46
Siege Cannon X482.78529.68381.23
Impulse Launcher D92U431.28444.92508.29
Assault Torpedo B328.60338.99387.28

Configuration 1 - D4E D4E D5X: Never the best.

Configuration 2 - CP4 CP4 D5X: Best against everything but all-radioactive and torpedos.

Configuration 3 - D4E D4E Evade Upgrade: Best against impulse and torpedos.  Worst against most of the rest. 

The damage reduction is nice, but the numbers were looking like a win for the Compound even before I entered the damage reduction values.  Usually, more armor just wins.

So what have we learned from 3 armor articles?
Armor takes a long time to build, but armor is what keeps your fleet afloat when you are getting shot at.  Choose your armor pieces carefully to optimize build time, and optimize resistance against the weapons that you think will be shooting at you.

Next week: I'm going to move from armor to weapons.  When are big weapons better than small weapons?  Or the opposite???

Also coming soon: I will be releasing a web version of my Survival Time Calculator so you can use it for your own builds.

Hopefully you don't mind the ads too much...  All advertising proceeds will be put into the "Buy the Professor a Nuclear Cruiser fleet" fund.