Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Crunching the Weapon Revisions - Part 1: Ballistics & Torpedos

Kixeye's CM Robot announced on the Kixeye Forums that the statistics for many research and blueprint weapons are going to be revised.  These changes are not implemented yet.  I don't know the schedule for the release of these gameplay changes, but I have started to crunch the numbers in preparation. Although I've run all the numbers, I'm going to break up the analysis into a few pieces because there is too much commentary to shove into a single article.  At the end of the series, I'll post my thoughts on what is going on, and what I think this means for the game.

The original post:  https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/470482

One day later: Post has been revised.... Article is updated.

For each article, I'll start off with a chart.  I'll show the old range, DPS, and DPS/hton numbers (fleet and building), then the new numbers.  I will also show some modified ranges & DPS/hton numbers for weapons that commonly get boosts (like HB for ballistics), to facilitate comparison across weapon classes.  For the charts, any revised statistics will be highlighted in green, and if I think those revisions are a big deal (make a difference in the weapon's usability), I will highlight in Blue.  If the name is highlighted, the build time for that weapon has been reduced, using the same green/blue coding.

So first the Ballistics Chart (updated):

So let's just rundown the weapon types:
Thud:  A little range boost keeps these the longest range ballistic weapon out there.  No damage boost means these don't even look as good as they used to.  They were always a little light to do damage against bigger targets.  Changed: Now no change to Thuds.
Ripper:  Rippers get a nice range boost but they stay the shortest range ballistic.  The small ones are very efficient, but the bigger ones still aren't too enticing.
Shredder:  A big damage boost along with the little range boost makes these intriguing again... although they always got a knock for poor accuracy, their increased damage output makes up for it, and they are extremely deadly against buildings.  Weekly missions, with their ships that don't have too high evade mixed with turret targets, might be a great use for these.
Impact Cannon: The new Impact R gets no change, but a small range boost, and all the other Impact Cannons get a range and damage boost.  Impact Cannon are now a viable alternative to Thuds, where before I'd always pick a Thud 4 over any Impact Cannon.
Assault Cannon/Disrupter: The range boost is great, and the boost to building damage isn't bad.  only the A Cannon version gets a damage boost - the DPS penalty for the extra armor points isn't as bad anymore, and might be the most attractive version (except the Disrupter) unless you are going for instant repair. 
Siege Cannon:  The biggest change is the decreased build time - all the versions except for Z are down to 28 hours from over 48.  Z got a smaller build time reduction.  Siege Cannons also get a range bump, and the X and L get more damage.  I don't think they are fundamentally more useful, but if you want them for a speed boost, the build time is not quite as outrageous.
Chaingun:  These get a small range boost, but are now equal to Shredders and Assault Cannon range, instead of longer range.  These get a damage boost making them less weakened by plate defenses, and their DPS boost brings them closer to Assault Cannons.  The best part of Chainguns has been that the big Chainguns let you use up the weight capacity of ships, where using just smaller guns like Assault Cannons might leave some weight on the table.  With the matched range, mixing Chainguns and Assault Cannons to tailor weight is an even better idea.
Crossbow:  Damage is doubled, which is a good thing.  Build time on all but the smallest is unchanged, which is not a good thing.  I'm still not sure these got enough of a buff to be useful, especially in comparison to other ballistics. 

And the Torpedo Chart (no change but I colored the Vortex M blue):

Vortex Torpedo:  With more range, these now stack up well against Havok torpedos - the M now does more DPS than a Havok 4 (quicker build too), and I always liked the T on decoy subs.  These still aren't an alternative to Assault or Siege Torps - DPS is what matters on most subs (except the occasional Barracuda), not DPS per hton.
Assault Torpedo (R, V, X):  The non-B torpedos get a damage bump, and a build time decrease.  The gap between these and the B torp is less, but you'd still rather have a B.
Siege Torpedo:  These get a big build time decrease and a big range increase.  They do significantly more damage than the B torps, but I still can't justify picking them over Bs - the speed boost is just too valuable.
Havok Torpedo: Not much change here - A little damage bump on 2 & 3, and a little build decrease on the 4.  Go look at Vortex Torpedos...

Overall - a lot of the weapons that were useless before might be useful at certain tech levels or certain situations.  Vortex Torpedos and Impact Cannons are the top two examples of this - there will be another HUGE example when I get to mortars.  I think the overall theme here is that the gap in capability between the top (prize) weapons, the findable blueprint weapons and the research weapons has been reduced.  You'll see this in the other weapon types as well.  

Next time... Missiles