Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Riptide - Pre-raid advice

This is a bit of a tricky situation... Some info on the raid has been posted, but there are still some key bits of information that are not clear.  The usefulness of the prizes will depend on how some of the statistics and mechanics shake out... but I'll try to share what I know, and I'll try to be very clear at distinguishing between FACTS and GUESSES.

Raid structure:

Official post from Kixeye:  https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/459383
Merged discussion thread: https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/459388

Fact: 3 Sets: A, B, C with increasing bonuses for set completion, and bonuses are not capped (although they do have a max value).
Fact: 3 Target Types: Reaver Swarm, Drac Assault, and Clash!
Reasonable Guess: Each set will have a mix of the three target types.
Wild Guess: 2 Reaver fleets, 2 Drac fleets, and one Clash per set???

Strategy thoughts (based on guesses):  Since you will need to be able to take on all three target types in order to get bonuses, you will need to have a fleet (or fleets) capable of this.  Overall in these "Set" raids, it has been best to find which set you can hit with a reasonable amount of damage for the fleets you have (and the coins you are willing to spend).  You may find that you will have three different fleet setups, each optimized for the different target types.

One note from CM Robot in the discussion thread is:
I would say that in Drac Targets Microwave Dampener is your friend. Against the Reavers the Engine Disruptor / Ballistic or Torpedo option will still work.
Anti-Reaver Strategy
I would imagine the Reaver fleets will be similar to the Reaver fleets we've been seeing in the last three raids, and using similar tactics will produce similar results.  Hopefully by now you have some sort of Engine Disrupter ship paired with ballistic, rocket, or torpedo ships.  For the last two Reaver raids, I was able to do quite well on B sets while spending very little coin with the following Vanguard/Hellstrike fleet:


(sorry BP Outpost - I can't make a fleet right now without running into your pay screen.  I understand you have server costs... but you have competition too)

The large number of hailstorms on the Vanguard really helped when approaching the mothership in 45s.  If you don't have Vanguards, an arbiter can also do well - just be sure to match the speeds between your Field ship and your Weapon ships.  If you can't match perfectly, build the field ship to be faster than the hitters, since the hitters are usually more able to soak damage, and you don't want the Reaver ships to be stuck at the edge of your field and out of range of your hitter weapons.  If you don't have an Engine Disrupter ship by now, you really should get on that - an ED3 arb can take less than 3 days to build if you keep the armor light.

In the last raids, I also used my ECM & Cat Drive Spectres to take out the Hulk (large ship) targets where I could, and Battery Spectres (no ECM needed) to take out the Napalm ship in 44s.  See my spectre article for those builds.

An alternate strategy I've seen work quite well against Reaver fleets is Assault Torp B equipped spectres and Crypt Keepers rogue crew being used to completely take out Reavers.  If you have the fleets and the Uranium, this may still work well.

Anti-Drac Strategy
To suggest strategies pre-raid on the Drac fleets, I'll draw on some OLD raids... I think Robot's comment about the Microwave Dampener being your friend is interesting.  Many raids ago, we had to fight Typhoons that spewed out drones.  Against these targets, Microwave Dampeners did a nice job of cutting the damage from those drones, a rocket or shockwave-equipped ship did a nice job of killing the drones, and finishing out the fleet with ballistics or torps was a good plan to take out the Typhoon and its escorts.  Engine Disrupters also hold off siege drones / piranha drones nicely, so that may be another option.

An old video of a Typhoon hit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqBFKdfzYwM

The other previous raid format that might apply is the "Drac Hunt" where we had to fight Draconian Military Fleets containing large numbers of Draconian ships.  These fleets were best tackled with maneuverable, long-range ships that could isolate parts of the enemy fleet and take them out, rather than attempt the whole Military Fleet at once and get surrounded.  

Old video of Drac Hunt mil fleets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eARGg8Pmn8s
(I don't necessarily condone the target-stealing endorsed in that video, but he uses decent fleets & tactics for the hits, so it is worth watching)

I just started a refit on an old MD3 arb to match it to my Hellstrikes before this raid... it will be ready on Thursday morning.  I may want more range & thus use MCX instead of Hells, but we'll just have to see.


That arb has a perfect speed match with my Hellstrikes, and GS3 to deal with aimed weapons.  Hopefully I'll be able to outrun Drac explosives. 

Clash! Strategy
With just a single screenshot to draw on, all we really know is that it will mix Drac and Reaver targets, and they won't necessarily prioritize the player as a target - they will shoot at each other too.  Perhaps drones or subs could be used to take advantage of this... drones may cause chaos while they shoot at each other, and perhaps a decoy sub could be used to draw the enemies closer to each other, but I think making any concrete suggestions as to how to take on these types of targets would be premature.

General Raid Strategy Tips

  • Remember that this is a six day raid - to get a bunch of prizes, you will need a bunch of points.  Use as much of the time as you can and take advantage of your off-line time for repairs.  Six days is 144 hours, or the equivalent of 288 coins.  Could you do a raid with 288 coins?
  • Don't ask for help on day 1... I think even the big players will be busy for quite a while getting 65 million points or so.
  • Find the targets that give you the best reward/repair ratio for the time you have, but I think C targets won't be worth the playtime if you are really going for the top prizes.  (unless you have a separate fleet that can auto them).
  • If you have different fleets for each target type, you can 'stack' targets, and then catch up later on different target types to collect your bonus (or at least you could for the last few raids of this type).  So if you have your anti-drac fleet deployed, hit a bunch of drac targets while you are repairing your anti-reaver fleet.  Then swap your fleets and catch up to collect your bonuses.  
  • You may even be able to team up with someone else - if you have a good anti-drac fleet and your buddy has a good anti-reaver fleet, you might be able to prep fleets for each other.  Unknown: Will there be a retreat button?
  • Prioritize your prizes, but if you aren't sure how many points you will be going for, don't spend any points until you are done so that you can make the best decisions.  Pick prizes based on their suitability for the missions you want to accomplish (be requirements-based).
  • New raid formats usually seem very difficult at the beginning.  If you think this one is really tough, wait a day or so and see what sort of tips you can pick up from other players.  I usually start with easy targets to get my feet wet (and hopefully not my fleet wet) and work my way up.  They can also be a little buggy or unstable at the start too, so be careful there. 

The Prizes:

Screenshots have been posted of the prizes, but they do not provide complete statistics - since we can't scroll the screenshots.

Chaos Mortar:
Fact: We can't see the whole list of damage, but Robot posted that there is an additional 215 Radioactive Damage.  
Guesses: There could also be other damage or bonuses that we can't see.  Extra armor points are likely, and other bonuses to ship statistics are possible.  There may also be some sort of explosive trigger, like the inferno rocket or the shockwave effect.
Raid weapons are usually good, and so you may want to get this one just based on history.  You likely won't see this weapon as a prize again anytime soon. 

Compared to other mortars - its DPS per ton looks like:

Base RangeFleet DPS/hTBld DPS/hT
Shock L40-845.23.9
Shock Q40-847.25.4
Assault M50-849.33.3
Assault X50-8811.14.3
Siege S60-844.66.4
Siege B60-846.112.2

This is sort of a middle of the road mortar, not as good as Assault X against fleets, and not as good as the Siege B against bases. Its balance may actually make this very good for Drac Base/Forsaken Missions.  The biggest red flag on it is the range - 82 is a little short, although Siege Missiles with Strike System3 have a similar range (82.5) - this is do-able for base hits, but you'll have to be careful around Howys.   The short range may also make this undesirable to use in your base guard ships. A reasonably fast projectile speed/low arc could make this very deadly in FvF, especially as you get closer to that minimum range.  

Berserker Hull:

Fact: The Overload capability allows the Berserker to instantly reload and fire a triple salvo every time it receives a total of 1,500 points of damage, then get enhanced resistance for nine seconds.
Guesses: Looking at that scrollbar, there is plenty of room for additional hull bonuses or capabilities.  We don't know its innate bonuses besides its conventional resistances, but it likely has some sort of mortar enhancements, given Kixeye's history of releasing raid hulls that match raid weapons.  We'll have to wait and see if the bonuses relate to splash, spread, fire rate, projectile speed, or something else.
Update: Radioactive Defense: 20%, Building Damage: 70% 

This roid-ed up Mauler has the slot layout of a Guardian, but one extra special.  With all of the slots available (especially 4 specials!), this should be a very flexible hull for players to use, even if not mortar-equipped.  With the update, we've learned there is no specific mortar buff, so this hull could be fitted with mortars, missiles, or ballistics as preferred.

The Overload capability is also interesting - allowing an instant triple weapon salvo every time 1500 points of damage is taken.  This ability seems very useful in any sort of difficult combat situation, but especially powerful if used on a ship in a base guard.  Make sure it is equipped with a weapon that will match ranges with base attackers if used in a guard.

Grimshine's Berserker Hull:

Fact: Players will only be allowed to build one of these limited ships.
Guesses: There will be bonuses similar to the regular Berserker, only better
Update: Radioactive Defense: 30%, Building Damage: 100% 
Unknown: Will the overload boost effect mean that all ships fire when Grimshine's ship overloads, or will each ship get its own overload ability each 1500 points of damage?  I think it is the first one.
Still totally worth it for only one of these... this hull with its combat speed of 11 will be very easy to match with other Berserkers or even other ships like Nuke Cruisers or MCX.  The overload effect will do crushing damage to whatever is targeted. Pairing that ability with retargetable weapons (Siege or Torrent Missiles) will really cause Grimshine-led fleets to ummm.... shine?

High-Lander's Nuclear Cruiser:

Fact: Players will only be allowed to build one of these limited ships.
Fact: The field will NOT activate resonance batteries (recent edit to raid description)
Guesses: There will be additional bonuses that we can't see on this screenshot.  Innate radioactive reload and radioactive defense are nearly certain.
Update: Ballistic/Explosive/Missile Defense: 30%, Radioactive Defense: 40%, Radioactive Reload: 80%, Field gives Radioactive Defense: 50%, Radioactive Reload: 50% bonus to all ships in the fleet. 
Unknown: Will the radioactive reload/resistance field effect apply to any ship in the fleet with the HLNC, only radioactive weapon equipped ships, or only other Nuclear Cruisers?  The description "all ships in the fleet" implies the first one.

The reload and resist are nice bonuses you will be getting when building this ship - I'm not floored but I'll take it.  This ship could replace a single NC in any NC fleet with the same equipment, and make the fleet more destructive.  Faster reload will help trigger shockwaves more quickly against high evade ships.  The extra radioactive resist and fire rate might be particularly nice for taking on dredge fleets as well.

I'll try to post one or two days into the raid if I pick up any good strategy tips.