Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Forsaken Mission Items - Crossbow 3, Napalm Missile, and UAV Powercell

With this week's Forsaken Mission, Kixeye has made a significant change - they have added a 4th Tier at 4,500,000 points (and left the other three tier levels the same).  

No new items have been introduced on the first three tiers, but three new items have been added for Tier 4: the Crossbow 3, Napalm Missile, and UAV Powercells.  I'll discuss the three new items in this article.

See the Kixeye Forum thread at: https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/456827

Crossbow 3

The Forsaken technology Crossbow 3 is a 1400 ton version of the recently introduced Crossbow gun, which previously came in 500 ton (Crossbow 1) and 800 ton (Crossbow 2) sizes.  The latest description and evaluation I have of the Crossbow gun is at the front of my last article.  The heavier version of this gun does not fix its limitations, even if it will take up fewer weapon slots.  So I look at this gun the same way as I look at the other two - not enough damage per weight to be very useful - its DPS per 100 tons is just slightly lower than the Crossbow 2.

WeaponBase RangeFleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hTWall DPS/hT
Crossbow 1495.514.453.7
Crossbow 2495.414.253.0
Crossbow 3495.414.152.6

Quick Update: PriceIsWrong from Battle Vortex pointed out that the decay percentage on the Crossbow 3 is 20% as opposed to 40% for the smaller versions.  This may make it more attractive, but I do not understand yet if that percentage is a decay per target or a max decay.  I'll keep poking at this to try to understand.

Napalm Missile

The Reaver Napalm Missile is a new Base Defense turret that will lay down fire trails like some of the Reaver ships we've been seeing in the last two Raids and in the Dredges.  


Its basic statistics (damage/spread/splash/reload) are identical to the Brimstone, with the exception that it does a bit more radioactive damage:

The difference in effect is that the Napalm Missile is described to drop burning napalm along its flight path, where the Brimstone has to detonate enemy ships to create a burning patch.  I haven't seen it in action yet, but I would also expect that the damage of the Napalm is spread among multiple warheads that fall in a line, instead of falling in a circle around the target like the Brimstone.

The other big difference is the range - the Napalm has 84 range, which puts it in the same class as other frontline channel weapons instead of something placed on the center island.

The Napalm is described as a Missile-type weapon - so the Scramjet Engine (range), Thermobaric Casing (damage) and the Fire Support M (Range + Damage) specials should be usable to enhance its effects.

As a front-line weapon, I thought about where this might be helpful in base defense, as opposed to a Cerberus, Disruptor, or a Vulture.  With the base range of 84, it will be be able to trade fire with Siege/Shock Mortars (range 84) and most Siege Missiles if not driven perfectly (range 85.8 w/SFB3, range 82.5 with Strike3), but probably not Launchers (range 91).  

However, one of the major reasons Launcher-armed base attacks have been so effective is that the attackers don't have to stop long enough to let Mortar/Halo/Brimstone fire land when killing Cerbs or even Disruptors (and nobody stops for a Vulture, right?)  If an attacker plows forward at a Napalm Launcher, the Napalm is sure to get off at least one shot, and then the attacker will be driving into the splash zone of the burst, and then into the flame patches.  Blitz fleets will also have to drive into the Splash/Fire zones that this weapon creates.  

One point of warning - the last raid, it seemed that the Reaver napalm patches really weren't doing much damage to ships.  It remains to be seen how damaging those really will be.

QUICK UPDATE: A Video has been posted... Not a tremendous amount of damage from the fire or the hit, but if you look at individual Brimstone hits, those don't do a whole lot either.

To use this new weapon effectively, consider the geometry of your channel versus the attacking ships.  You will want to use this in locations where the attackers are driving towards the turret, instead of across its path.  See figures below, and keep in mind that the extra Napalm range compared to a Cerb will result in one more "tile" of range:


Bad Geometry for Napalm Turret


Better Geometry for Napalm Turret

At least without having seen these in action, these may be worth replacing any short range turret in your base where the layout is favorable.  I would recommend the Fire Support M or Scramjet to use with these to ensure you are shooting at all attacker types.

UAV Powercells

The UAV Powercells are a new special that affect the Hornet (and presumably any future) UAV weapons.  They add 19% UAV damage for an addition of 11% weapon weight, and also add the "chaining" ability.  

Looking at just the damage per weight with this special, there is an improvement in the DPS/hton metric.  The other benefit is that the damage per shot improves (from 66 to 78.5), which will make the best means of defending against UAVs - penetrative plate - less effective.  

For example, a ship with 50% missile resistance and one Penetrative Plate 3 (-14) would have the damage from a UAV hit knocked down from 66 to 66 * 0.5 - 14 = 19, giving an effective resistance percentage of 71.3%.  With UAV Powercells, the damage would now be knocked down from 78.5 to 25.3 which makes the effective resistance percentage now 67.2%.  Not a huge difference, but still a benefit which makes your effective damage bonus 33% instead of just 19%.

The Chaining ability sounds nice, but perhaps not useful in many situations.  For Base Prep/Hits, the targets are fairly spread out, so the amount of wasted UAV shots isn't that large, although this may allow UAVs to retarget from one turret to the next if they are spaced with less than 5 walls between them (2 walls is 20 center-center distance, 4 walls is 28).  UAV Chaining may be most useful for fleet vs fleet or anti-drone situations, where there are more closely packed targets with less health.  

Currently, not many specials enhance UAVs - Siege Targeting is the only one that comes to mind.  When building an Atlas Carrier for base defense, there really aren't many other choices for the 3rd upgrade (Heavy Plating and Guidance Scrambler would be my first two choices).  I would suggest the following:
Siege Targeting 2 is used instead of the UAV Powercells - it adds 12% weapon weight instead of 11%, so that ship build is likely showing around 40 tons too heavy.

Conclusion

The new mission tier also adds more uranium, which is nice for many of us.  At first look, it seems the UAV Powercells and the Napalm Turret have a lot of potential to be useful.  So get on the ball for Tier 4 - you don't want to get behind now, do you?