Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More Chaos Mortar Thoughts and a Nuke Cruiser Build

I wasn't sure if I would post this week, but here goes... Riptide is winding down.  I didn't want to spend too much coin during the raid, and I didn't feel like grinding away, so all I took were the High-Lander Nuclear Cruiser, Chaos Mortar, and the Juggernaut (just for my collection really). I've seen the Grimshine in action, and it is an amazing ship - I will probably regret not having it but I have limited funds and time to play this game.  

More thoughts on the Chaos Mortar
When the stats were released on this weapon, I was not floored.  After more thought, and seeing it in action a couple times, I like it more, especially when paired with the Berserker.  The original article where I showed the DPS per ton classified this mortar as a "tweener"... not the best for Anti-ship and not the best for Anti-building.  One of the reasons was its relatively high spread of 110 vs. the Siege B spread of 100, and the Assault X spread of 60. However, when putting this weapon on the Berserker, the overload effect makes a triple shot of mortars.  Normally, a mortar with a spread of 110 would take a few shots to take anything out, but when you overload, there are enough shots fired that instead of doing a little damage over a wide area, you do a LOT of damage over a wide area, and thus the high spread seeds that destruction over a larger area.  So even though the Berserker doesn't have specific mortar bonuses, the Chaos Mortar and the Berserker do make a great pair.

Nuclear Cruiser Build
I'm in the process of building my nuclear cruiser fleet, I have 3 hulls done with just 5 launchers and Speed System 3 and just started a High-Lander.  I like to build bare hulls like that so I can get them in the water quickly, rank them up, and think more about my build (and sometimes take advantage of new hulls and specials).

Liam99 posted a "Fear" NC build recently in the Battle Vortex page, and there were also some good comments against that post (thanks to Renato & Nelson in particular), and I think I've finally settled on my build.  I'll discuss my thought process, and post the build at the end.

My build was driven by my requirements - 
System requirements - Top priority is to hit bases, but second priority is to be able to take on Drac Base/Forsaken Mission targets.  
Ship requirements - Load up on the launchers, but I have conflicting requirements too - for the base hit mission, the most effective NC fleets I've seen don't have much (if any) countermeasures and simply drive without stopping.  For the anti-Drac mission, I want a fair amount of Phalanx, and also to be able to put in a decoy sub.

So when thinking about the fleet architecture, I considered whether a 4 ship or a 5 ship fleet would be best.  
For hitting bases, I considered the choices fairly even - more total armor for a 5 ship fleet, but more armor per ship on the 4 ship, and the capability to throw in a SFF to haul cargo.  
For the Drac base mission, a 5 ship fleet would have to leave one of its ships at home to bring a decoy sub, and it really wouldn't have much countermeasures either.  For the 4 ship fleet, I could insert the decoy into the fifth ship slot if I had enough weight available, but that fleet would have even fewer countermeasures.
The solution I chose for the CM problem is to replace one of the fleet ships with a countermeasure ship.  Now the choice between a 5 ship & a 4 ship NC fleet becomes clear - the 5 ship NC fleet would be down to 3 NCs, meaning only 15-18 launchers depending on the build.  The 4 ship fleet would also be down to 3 NCs, but they would have 24 launchers between them, so I chose the 4 ship fleet.  

My plan is to build 3 identical NCs, along with the High-Lander Nuke Cruiser to be the flag for that fleet, then build a Spectre decoy that is just faster than the NCs, and build a Triton Countermeasure ship that will have speed/turn less than or equal to the NCs.  

So here's my build (fleet design), showing the Drac base configuration.  The Base Hit Configuration has a 4th NC instead of the Triton and Spectre.  The NCs have the same equipment as the High-Lander, but weigh slightly less because they have less built-in armor.



Some of the thoughts behind the design details - 
  • The NC speed is 17.6, the Spectre is 18.0, and the Triton is 17.5, which are just about exactly the types of numbers I was looking for.
  • The Turn armor on the Triton brings it almost up to the NC turn capability (13 vs. 15).  
  • The NCs and Triton are using Strike System instead of Speed to avoid the loss of accuracy on launchers (and countermeasures).  Even though more turn would be nice, I'm trusting the experience of those players who have been using these Nuke Cruisers for a while.  I considered a Turn Armor plate instead of one of the Evade plates to help turn a little.
  • The UAV on the Triton will keep it behind the NCs when they are all move to a target - a Launcher would cause it to stack with the NCs, which means that it would get shot at more often (especially since it turns slower), and the Triton just isn't as tough.  (its armor is devoted to Speed/Turn, a special slot is used up for Countermeasures) 
  • The Armor configuration is a personal choice - Liam used the M, and C armors on his NCs, Renato used some Penetrative Plate to stand up to UAVs.  My choice gives me decent all-around resistance - I played with a few different configurations in the Survival Time Calculator, and I liked my results, although I really liked Renato's UAV resistance, and I may swap a CP4 for a Pen3, and then increase the D2E to D3E...
  • For the Countermeasure choice, 5 Phalanx 3 with CM3 should be enough to blunt drac base fire when my sub isn't decoying, and the 3 Hail C and one Hail B should be enough for the DNX in Drac bases, and most of the mortar fire in 55 & 65 Mission Strongholds (but I still won't stop).
Well there's my build... coming soon to a base near you?

One more note: I have updated my "Fleet Reference" page, which collects all of the builds I've posted in my articles to date.  Check it out if you are interested - and I'll take suggestions on how to organize it better.

Next week: I'll look into the practice of using countermeasure ships in more detail.