Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Reign of Fire - Thoughts on the Prizes

3:45 PM UPDATE DAY 2:  CM Robot posted a reversal of the earlier statement that the damage was spread over the swarm time - the posted damage is damage per shot.  

9:30 PM UPDATE: As initially posted at around 4:30 PM, my DPS calculations were wrong - by a factor of 6!!!  The damage rating is spread over the swarm duration, not 'per shot'.  I appreciate the messages, and I am committed to making the corrections.  Even professors aren't perfect, right?

When the first leaks about UAVs were posted, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

"How will we defend against these?"
"I don't want drones like War Commander!"
"These will break the game!"

I didn't see much point in speculating until we knew more.  With the statistics for the Atlas Carrier and the Hornet UAV Drones posted and the raid video available, the game mechanics are slightly more clear.

Kixeye's thread is here:  https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/451126

The Raid Video is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ad30GwZ1B2w

A UAV FAQ thread is here:  https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/451165/p1

Robot clarified the damage per drone on page 7 of that discussion
and then reversed course here:  https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/451165/p10

Hornet UAV:
These UAVs go in a weapon slot, which makes them somewhat unlike sea-based drones, which launch from drone modules equipped in a tactical slot. The blueprint posted shows range, damage, and reload time.  The description explains they work like a missile, which means they are targetable and otherwise work like weapons.  Their hit chance is automatic, meaning 100% and evade does not work.  

They have some extra statistics posted -  
Reload = 2.0
UAV Swarm Duration = 3.2
UAV Reload = 0.6

The first time I saw these statistics, I thought the UAVs would have to fly back to the carrier and reload.  Looking at the video, I see this is not the case... the UAV carriers launch a new wave of drones every two seconds.  Although the drones return to the carrier, this seems to be just 'decorative', since there is no limit to the number of drones fired.  

So the way to calculate DPS is to figure that each launcher will launch a drone every 2 seconds, and that drone will do its posted damage over the swarm time  does its posted damage every 0.6 seconds (unless shot down).  The Hornet UAV will fire 6 shots (at T=0, 0.6, 1.2, 1.8, 2.4, 3.0), with a 2 second reload time.... resulting in effective statistics of: 

Fleet Damage = 66 * 6 = 396
Building Damage = 33 * 6 = 198
Salvo = 6 

So my rough estimate of fleet DPS / 100t is (66 * 6 / 2.0) / (563* 0.85 / 100) = 41.4
Like my other DPS/100t metrics, this assumes Shipyard 2.  

This is a fair amount of damage for a weapon with range 97, assault missiles have a rating of 5.1 DPS/100t against fleets (including SFB3 weight).  

41.4 DPS / 100t is in the same area as the assault cannon X.  The Hornet UAVs do a huge amount of damage against fleets, considering their long range.

Against buildings, the DPS/100t is cut in half with the damage, so my estimate for building DPS/100t is 20.7.  

20.7 is also very large for building damage, as a comparison, Siege Missile F do 17.5 DPS/100t.

If mounted on a Atlas Carrier, the 30% damage bonus will make these even more effective.

There is a delay for the UAV travel time, but it looked comparable to a mortar (if not faster) in the video, so it really isn't a disadvantage.

With shots doing 66 points of damage (11 points per shot), even one piece of Compound or Penetrative Plate will be an very effective defense.  The drones are also vulnerable to any type of countermeasure.  I think that countermeasures just got a lot more important... those Countermeasure Triton builds or even the flak cannons may be making a comeback.

As suggested in the raid video, these may will be good for prepping bases, particularly on an Atlas where they do a fair amount more damage than assault missiles.  With the amount of damage these carriers do, any base without countermeasures will be able to be broken by UAVs.  FvF maywill also be a use, particularly since evade doesn't affect the damage, but the carriers would have to be able to keep away from the enemy ships.   

Atlas Carrier:
The Atlas Carrier has statistics comparable to many other large ships - 8 weapon slots, high max weight, and lots of built-in armor are its most notable qualities.  It also has 20% radioactive resist and gives a 30% damage bonus to UAVs.  The UAV damage bonus will scale the Hornet DPS numbers above.  One note in the Atlas description - it states that all of its weapon slots allow for equipping of UAV weapons.  The raid video explains that Floating Fortresses, Super Fortresses, and Tritons will have UAV slots, but not as many as the Atlas. 

One other possible use for the Atlas carrier would be as a base guard - it has 0 evade, which is good for a ship that size, and with its nuclear resistance, it may be a good stopper ship against Nuclear Cruisers.  For this role, build it with lots of evade armor and Guidance Scrambler.  For a stopper ship, UAVs would not be the best weapon choice, since those would not force an attacker to stop... rocket or cannons are the usual choice if you want to force attackers to stop in your base.

Other Raid Prizes:
Many of the raid prizes on other tiers are the same as the last time I wrote the "what should I get" article for Infernal Onslaught.  See that one for other ideas, but I did want to point out a few changes:

Siege Missile F: This missile adds bonus damage and flak evade to the basic Siege Missile Statistics.  It hasn't been available since the MCX was first released, and has been on top of many players' wish lists for a long time.  If you like using MCX, pick this up.  

Siege Mortar B & Shockwave Mortar Q: Much better than any other mortars (Assault Mortar X excepted).  If you like mortar fleets, pick these up - you know you want them already.

Countermeasures:  Last article I mentioned I liked Countermeasures.  With UAVs, these will be critical.

Evade Upgrade: With evade being the best defense against nuclear cruisers, this is becoming a more popular special.

Halo and Javelin:  Upgrade your base defense with Halos or Javelins - Halos are obsolete if you have Brimstones (even against ships with radioactive defense), so keep that in mind.

(Original I guess not quite the...) Final Thoughts: 
These new carriers and UAVs seem to be another way to take down a base, but effective defense against them is possible.  I think Kixeye's real plan is to create so many ways to take down a base, that effective defense against them all is not possible.  Consider all the ways a base can be attacked: Mortar DNX, Missile MCX, Spectre Prep, Reaper Prep, Hellstrikes, Nuclear Cruisers, and now UAVs.  Each of those has a counter, but it might start getting difficult to counter them all.  This game has been Rock Paper Scissors for a long time, and now it's getting to the realm of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.

It may not be "very simple", but I think this enhances gameplay for all.  How?  Coiners who want a fleet of every hull in the game will keep on coining.  Players who don't coin will have to pick and choose which fleets to build, but the number of bases that may be crackable with the fleets they have will be increasing, because some players will have tailored their defenses against other types of attacks.

New Final Thoughts:
Well these aren't nearly as much of the game changer I originally thought they would be just 5 hours ago.  These are a nice upgrade from assault missiles, and I think the graphics look pretty cool from the video.  I'll get them but probably just stick with building my Nuke Cruiser fleet.

I really like being accurate in what I write on this blog, and it's been pretty tough with these new items, and the drip feed of information that is sometimes accurate and sometimes not.  I haven't really gotten any hate mail yet (maybe just a few low-grade trolls on the Forums), and I really appreciate everyone bearing with me.  

And a couple hours into the raid, it looks to be about the same as the last one, so you should be able to do about as well or better than you did last time with the same tactics.  Give the large amount of damage at range these weapons do, I strongly recommend you pick up the UAVs and the Atlas Hull if you are able. 

Thanks for reading and giving me feedback.

Good Luck on the raid!!