Monday, March 3, 2014

Optimizing Your Weapons - Bigger or Smaller? (part 1)

One opening note - I got a complaint a few days ago that someone got a notification of malicious code when they tried to visit my site.  I suspect that possibly one of the ads contained that code, since I am not doing anything fancy with HTML anywhere on my site.  Unfortunately, Qadabra customer service is about as good as Kixeye (or anyone's these days), so I really was unable to get any help in tracking anything down or get a confirmation or denial of the presence of any "bad" code.  I will be restoring the ads, and if anything funny shows up, please let me know.  Gotta keep building up the 'Buy the Professor a Nuke Cruiser Fleet Fund'... It's at $0.42 right now.

After 3 weeks of Armor posts, I'm going to turn to Weapons.

In this post, I'll be looking at DPS per ton of various weapons, so that you can understand why in some situations, choosing the biggest weapons you can fit is beneficial, and other times, using more small weapons will do the most damage.

First of all, I'll re-explain the DPS per ton metric.  Using a weapon's accuracy, reload time, salvo, and damage, I calculate the expected value of how much damage one weapon of that type will do each second (essentially an average over a long period of time).  I then divide that number by the weight of the weapon (with Shipyard 2), and multiply by 100 (to get a number easy to work with, technically making it DPS per hundred tons).  I calculate separate DPS numbers for ships and buildings, since some weapons have different damage values against those different target types, and all accuracy based weapons have an accuracy of 100% against buildings.  One more thing, for non-accuracy based weapons like rockets and mortars, I use Splash / (0.375 * Spread) as an accuracy substitute.  It's a rough guess - we're not intending to accurately simulate combat, we're just trying to compare weapons, so I think the formula scales well enough.

Research Weapons:
I'll start by looking at research weapons.  These weapons aren't the best when you have access to all the toys, but early players need them, and even big boys still might use them sometimes.  I'll look at a few different weapon types:

Level Fleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hTFleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hTFleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hTFleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hTFleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hTFleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hT

For all of these researchable weapons, there is a constant trend of lower DPS per ton as you go to the larger sized weapons.  This means that when shipbuilding with these weapons, it is better to use all available weapon slots to load the lower level weapons rather than to mount just a few high level weapons.  Just keep in mind that you still want to use up as much of your weight allowance as possible in the fleet.  For example if you only have 160 tons of weapons left to work with on a sub build, mounting two Havok 3 will do more damage (80 t each for 35.2 DPS) than mounting one Havok 4 (160 t for 28.1 DPS) .  But on a Predator sub build, you have the weight to mount two Havok 4 torps, so do that.  Although the small weapons can be more efficient, they aren't always better...  the Thud 1 will not rule the seas until we get a ship with 1000 weapon slots.  (and then I started thinking about plate armor... sigh)

Draconian Weapons:
Although the Draconian weapons don't have levels in the same way as Forsaken, they have different tiers of prints, so we could compare the siege and assault versions of weapons.

I'll start with Mortars - I also included some of the prize mortars because the results are interesting.

Fleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hT
Shock L5.23.9
Shock A6.75.0
Shock Q7.25.4
Assault M9.33.3
Assault X11.14.3
Siege D2.53.6
Siege S4.66.4
Siege B6.112.2

These conclusions are worth bullet-pointing....

  • Shock A beats Shock L in effectiveness, due to its better splash and spread characteristics.  The Shock Q is an upgrade, but not by much by pure DPS standards.  The Q's extra shot in the salvo is its real benefit when faced with bombards or hails.
  • The Siege Mortar S is not much more effective than Shock Mortars when hitting buildings.  This is why the all-shock DNX builds quickly became much more popular than builds with Siege Mortars, due to their ability to overwhelm bombard & hail defenses.  Weight-wise, 5 Shocks = 1 Siege.
  • The Siege B really makes a big difference, and if you include a splash bonus from DNX or (and!!) HES, you can see why Siege Mortars made a comeback when the B was released.
Now to Cannons - I'll include the Assault & Siege prize cannons, but not Chainguns.

Fleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hT
Impact N41.762.5
Assault X52.152.1
Assault Z58.458.4
Assault D41.741.7
Siege L11.452.4
Siege X15.269.8
Siege S*11.452.4
Siege X*13.372.2
* I'm not sure how to account for the splash of the Siege Cannons S & X.  These numbers are based on accuracy only.

  • The Impact Cannon sucks.  If you are ever thinking about it, go look at the DPS/ton numbers for a Thud & use it instead.
  • Assault Cannons are great anti-ship weapons, and don't lose any effectiveness against buildings.  Even compared to other drac ballistics, they aren't bad.  But go look at the DPS/ton numbers for Thuds, Rippers, and Shredders before you think they are the best choice for missions and such.
  • Siege Cannons - good against buildings, not good against fleets (except for the splash thing).  Enjoy the speed bonus.  My personal issue with Siege Cannons is the very long build time - I see their utility but have always chosen to build something else.

Fleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hT
Strike A16.727.8
Strike L18.020.0
Assault C5.74.6
Siege V3.815.0
Siege F5.017.5

  • Strike Missiles are often overlooked - they are too light to base a serious fleet around them, but they are effective little buggers and build really quick (1 hour each).
  • Siege F has the bonus damage, making them more effective.
  • Assault missiles have the range, but they aren't that much more effective from a damage perspective than the Siege Missiles.
And Torpedos:

Fleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hT
Vortex T36.941.0
Assault V14.519.4
Assault X18.224.2
Assault B23.931.8
Siege D15.135.3
Siege C18.941.6

  • Vortex T have only 60 range, and subs aren't often weight limited.  I like Vortex T for the turn bonus on Decoy subs if I need to stay light.
  • Siege Torps were about as effective as the old Assault Torpedoes against ships, and since you usually weren't weight limited for Spectre builds, they used to be the go-to for those subs.  Barracudas need to use Assault Torpedoes due to their lighter max weight.
  • The new Assault B torpedo is great.  Once you get it, use it everywhere you want to use a torpedo.

Next week:  Forsaken Mission Weapons in part 2 of Optimizing your Weapons.