Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Mission Items - D92-S, Gauss Supercharge, Drac R Armor

First off, if you missed last night's rant, it is below.  I'm not mad, just disappointed.

Second - How do you like the new banner?  I ordered it through  I had a few options -  Let me know which you like best in the poll.

Banner #1:

 Banner #2:

Banner #3 (Clear background picks up the water background):
The old Banner:

 And now, on to the new Forsaken Mission Items:

D92-S Impulse Launcher
Some of you who just spent some points in the last raid to pick up an Impulse Launcher weapon may be dismayed to see the new D92-S launcher as a Tier 4 prize in the Forsaken Mission.  Spoiler alert: Don't be dismayed, the S isn't as good.  

Let's do the stat compare: 
Bldg Dam809721,350
Reload Time2.502.506.00
Shock Damage7,8647,8647,864
Charge Bonusx1x1x8
Bonus Armor150300150

The big differences with the S are its one shot salvo, slower reload rate, lower accuracy, and 8x Charge Bonus.  The Charge Bonus means that it will create a shockwave with 8x fewer hits than the other launcher types.

I used the calculator from my last article on D92-F vs D92-U to compare the DPS/hton of this new weapon.  When using the calculator, I changed the "hits to shockwave" number from 120 to 15 to reflect 8x fewer bhits required to make a shockwave.

Here's the results (25 U launchers, 13 F launchers, 18 S launchers, all weights about 12750 tons):
Reload Bonus
Accuracy Bonus
total DPS/hton
D92-F Margin over U
D92-S Margin over U

What does it mean?  For dealing damage to fleets, the D92-S is the least effective launcher.  Kixeye said that the S launcher is helped more at high reloads, but even at very high reloads, the S does not catch up to the U in effectiveness.  Because the accuracy doesn't come into play, for dealing damage to buildings, the D92-S is the most effective launcher (when reload bonus is above 50% or so).  

Here's the thing... have you ever wished that launchers did more building damage?  Me neither... I'd still pick the F version, every time.

Gauss Supercharge: 
Very simply, the Gauss Supercharger is supposed to multiply the shockwave charge by 1.5, meaning that you only need 80 hits instead of 120 to make a shockwave with F or U launchers, and 10 hits with an S.  

I'll ran the same kind of numbers with an F launcher with the Gauss - due to the 14% weight penalty, a D92-F launcher with Gauss equipped would weigh 1105.8 tons, so I compared 11 launchers with Gauss instead of 13 without.

Instead of publishing the table, here's the scoop:
Against Fleets, the Gauss Supercharge special increases your DPS/hton by 8.6%
Against Buildings, the Gauss Supercharge special increases your DPS/hton by 4.3%

That isn't much when you are talking about using up a special slot.  But in some situations, perhaps when you are firing at a clustered up fleet, and you have a ship with 4 special slots, and you really want to make a shockwave as quickly as possible, this may be worth using.  Can anyone think of such a situation??? Ahem... enforceronbasedefense  ... ahem.

Draconian R Armor:
We finally got it... lead panels for our ships.  These armors operate just like the Draconian Penetrative, Explosive, or Ballistic defense armors (M, X, C), but defend against radioactive damage.  Each plate gives a 10% resistance against its particular damage type.  Use them if you want to, but keep in mind that Evade armor will give you 7% evade against the launchers.  This is less than 10%, but when using evade armor, the shockwave will not build as quickly... But when using Anti-Radioactive armor, the shockwave will not do as much damage.  Decisions decisions.  As a general rule, if you have a ships with low radioactive defense, but high evade, the R armor will be better.  If you have ships that already have a high radioactive defense but low evade, then the E armor will be better.  You also may want to keep in mind other non-aimed sources of radioactive damage such as Infernos, Chaos Mortars, and Fire Pools from Incendiary Shells - E armor won't help at all on those.  I don't have a solid recommendation on this one, but it is another tool in the ship-building toolkit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dear Kixeye....

Dear Kixeye,

I am a professional software engineer who works on safety-critical systems.  I have generally been willing to forgive the errors and glitches in the game because I know how difficult it can be to make a complex, real-time system.  Although a video game is not safety-critical, I think Battle Pirates is mission critical to you, since you are dependent on that game for your income.

However, your recent mistakes relating to dredge uranium amounts and F launcher build times go way beyond errors and glitches.  They are beyond simple misses in verification.  These aren't Flash issues. You put the wrong numbers out the door and had no clue you were doing it.

Please read up on basic software engineering:

Kixeye, you need to get your internal capabilities and processes up to the basic requirements of a professional software organization.

-The BP Professor

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Guide to Ranking

Weapons Updates are live:
If you missed my series analyzing the changes, or if you want to take another look, the links are:

Ballistics and Torpedos:
Mortars and Rockets:

And now on to ranking your fleets:

With the changes to the ranking system, I've heard a lot of questions about how the VXP system works.  I'll put this article together with some reference material on rank, VXP, and then follow it up with some strategies for ranking your fleets efficiently.

Rank Bonuses:
The new rank has 25 levels of advancement.  With each level, a bonus is given to Reload Time and to Turn Speed.  Each ship gets a yellow icon to denote its rank.  

I'm not going to post all the pictures & levels here - a good list of all the ranks is at:

What I will describe here is that there are diminishing returns as you continue to level up.  
Rank LevelsDescriptionIconBonus for rank up
0 - 4RecruitChevrons+5%
5 - 9HunterStars+4%
10 - 14EliteShield+3%
15 - 19VeteranStar on Shield+2%
20 - 24SpecialistAnchor+1%

As shown in the table above, the lower levels give you more of a bonus when you rank, and as rank increases the bonus drops.  At Rank 25, your bonus maxes out at 75%. In addition, the number of VXP required to gain a rank increases as rank increases.  See the wiki page I linked above for some data on that - it varies per hull.

Getting VXP:
To increase in levels, ships have to earn VXP from battles.  All battles will give VXP, but it always has seemed like base hits give less VXP than I expected - so I'm not sure these rules apply to base hits.  Raid, weekly, and dredge targets do seem to follow the rules I will describe below.

The Salty Dogs rogue crew (Common) gives double VXP while active.  Double all the numbers you see here if you have a Salty Dogs active.  They are obviously nice to use while ranking ships, but I'm not going to mention them again in this article.

  • In a battle, each ship is awarded VXP independently.
  • The formula for VXP earned is based on the ship's total armor points.  
  • For dealing damage in a battle, each ship can earn up to 10 VXP based on the formula below
  • For receiving damage in a battle, each ship can earn up to 10 VXP based on the formula below
A = ship armor rating
D = damage dished out
H = damage taken (hits)

VXP earned = D/A * 10 (limit 10) + H/A * 10 (limit 10)

So that's a maximum of 20 VXP per ship per battle if you sink, 10 VXP per ship per battle if you don't take a scratch.

VXP is awarded and stored as a decimal number, not an integer, so sometimes you will see rounding artifacts across a few battles.

Strategies for getting VXP: 
I start my shipbuilding process thinking about how I will rank the fleet.  In this article, I will use my Harlock Carrier build as an example.  The build I want to end up with is 4 of these:

I might tweak this build a little more (one more Hornet instead of a Dragonfly, allowing more armor or a heavier countermeasure), but you get the idea.

This build takes just over 2 weeks per ship, and will be a 4 ship fleet.  I have started each build with:

which only takes about 8 days per ship, and has only 6095 armor points instead of the full 14200 when done.

This lets me do a few things:
- Less build time means I get the ships in the water earlier and can start the ranking process sooner.
- Lower armor points per ship means it can gain rank faster from lower level targets (remember A above?)
- No engine means that a decoy spectre can get out ahead of it more quickly on auto.

So as I have built these ships, I put them in a fleet with a Decoy Spectre and a Navigation Array arbiter.  With just 1 Harlock built, I could take level 40 salvage with no damage, and with 2 built I could take a level 51 with no damage.  With 3 I can take a Level 71 with no damage (usually) if the ships are arranged properly (Arb in slot 1, sub in slot 3 or 4).   In general, when ranking up new ships, I start trying to auto small salvage, watching the battle the first few times to see what happens, and then work my way up if I am successful.

Once my 4th Harlock is built, I will put the first one (with the most VXP) in refit, to either finish the build, or possibly just add a few more pieces.  I will keep my ships rotating through the shipyard until all 4 are complete.   This will take the exact same amount of shipyard time as a straight build, but I get more time to play with my fleet as the ships are building, and the partial builds are easier to rank.  

HP per salvage:
This matters because this limits how much damage you can do, and thus how much VXP you can get.  If there is less HP in the salvage than you have on your fleet, you will never get 10 VXP per battle. This info is from an old post on xnih's blog.

17: 2024 HP
23: 5399 HP
31: 6297 HP
40: 13417 HP
51: 34490 HP
71: 59740 HP (approximate - guessing from another post here and here)  

UPDATE: Check a new post by xnih which gives values for all salv fleets, including Elites:

As an example of how to use this list - one of my half built Harlocks with 6095 armor will get 10 VXP from killing a 31 (or higher) salvage by itself, but just under 9 VXP from a 23.  Three of my half-built Harlocks (18285 HP total) will be able to get 10 VXP each from a 51, but not a 40 (assuming they each do similar amounts of damage).  Three of my Harlocks when fully built (42600 HP total) will not get 10 VXP each from a 51, but will only get around 8 VXP each.

Helper ships for ranking:

Decoy Spectre: The simplest build for this is a spectre with Havok 1, Reaver Scout Engine 3, Battery 3.  This ship will get out in front of your ships, be seen, and draw fire.  When your ships have no engine upgrade, there is enough separation that mortars (usually) won't touch you.  I always watch my first few auto battles to be sure.  If you use a regular Engine3 on the decoy, you often wont get far enough away quickly enough to let the ships avoid mortar fire.  You may need some anti-mortar in this case.

Navigation Array Arbiter: Unfortunately, a ship with no engine upgrade will be slow on the map.  My Arbiter build has just the Nav Array 3 module, Engine 3, and a Phalanx 1.  It took under 2 days to build.  Using the Phalanx instead of an offensive weapon means that the ship will not move when the battle starts, so it stays out of weapon range.  Engine 3 is needed to keep its own map speed up - you could use Hull Streamlining instead to save some build time.

Countermeasure Ship: Often, the decoy is enough to keep your fleet safe while ranking it on auto.  If not, you could add a countermeasure ship to intercept incoming fire.  Salvages don't have a lot of mortars or missiles, so the requirements here aren't too extreme.  A Triton with its extra range is the best hull to use.  If that's not available, the Mercury makes a nice countermeasure platform and builds quickly.  On the build, you will want: 
- Countermeasure 3 special: ensure your countermeasures have maximum range and effectiveness.
- 1 weapon with similar range to the ships you are ranking.  I used to use a Negotiator 1 on my CM ships, which is light, with nice range and a quick build time.  1 Launcher or 1 UAV could also be used for range, but would take longer to build, and vulture more VXP from the ships you are trying to rank.
 - Then load up with as much phalanx and Hailstorms as you are willing to pack in.  I've used 2 Hail B and 3 Phalanx 3 on a Mercury with some success (I used to use that ship in Weekly Missions), but I would rather have more Hails for this special purpose.

Dead Superfortress:  Carry cargo if you have the space.

Obviously, if you use all of the "helper" ships, you don't have much room for the ships you are ranking - what you need in the fleet depends on what you are ranking.  For ships with long range weapons, just the Decoy Spectre is sufficient, and the Nav Array Arbiter will speed things up.  For ballistic ships, you may need to use countermeasures, get more creative, or actually drive them.

Some other ships you may be ranking: 

Countermeasure ships: Ranking ships that only have countermeasures is difficult, because they don't deal damage.  If you don't want to sink them over and over, do an initial build with Thud 4s and Cannon System, then refit over those items once the ship is ranked to your satisfaction.

Submarines: With less armor, and no need for a decoy, these can usually be built all at once, and ranked with the Nav Array Arb as the flagship.   The arbiter does double duty - pulling the enemy in to be killed more quickly, and also to speed the fleet on the map.  

Enforcers: With low map speed, the Navigation Array Arb will really help.  In a combat, the very slow speed might result in trouble on auto if the sub gets in range too quickly, and the enforcer doesn't close in before the sub surfaces.  You'll have to try a few things out, and be ready to pull your sub back if you need to.  A countermeasure ship might be a better option than a decoy.

A couple more tips to speed things up:
- Clean up after yourself.  Just send out a fleet or two to pick up after you've opened a few - you don't have to leave cargo fleets laying around.  This lets the ships respawn in the area you are working, instead of having to travel the map.  Offering the res to your neighbors works fine too.
- Join the battle right away and then leave, even if you are autoing.  There is usually a 20 second countdown timer before the battle starts.  Joining lets the battle start right away so it finishes sooner.  Even the occasional lockup or crash won't hurt when you do that, as long as you are on auto.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tempest - Quick tips on A set

Yes, I tried my strategy that I used on the B set on the A set (only once so far).  I was pleased with the results, and although it won't be super quick, I think I will be able to complete this raid for very little coin.

Non-Reaper targets - 61, 63, 64, 65: The SW/Pred combo for getting the targets to prep themselves continued to work, with 1 - 5 tries needed.  The 65 was trickiest to prep - on my first try I gave up and used subs on the Dracs, then a NC fleet on the Mothership.   On my second try I got the Dracs to kill off the Mothership, so my subs took care of the rest with no damage.  On the 64 with the Typhoon, the drones wouldn't spot my sub, so they drove in circles in the center with everything else.  Once I had picked off all the ships except the Typhoon and the Drones (the Typhoon did spot my subs outside my torpedo range), I sent my 1 ED Vanguard 2 Hellstrike fleet and took out the Typhoon with less than 1 hour of repair.

Reaper target 62:  The Siege Missile MCX / Sonar BC combo worked well here too - slightly less than 2 hrs repair on my first try.  Some other people report good success using just Cat Drive Subs.

and just for reference:

Throwaway "Prep" Fleet:!70080060H03170E0F0F3F3F8050000H11110ZZ0ZZ0ZZ

Cat Drive Spectre Fleet:!70H00000G0182U51515151G1S4H4H4H4H4H4H82U51515151G1S4H4H4H4H4H4H82U51515151G1S4H4H4H4H4H4H82U51515151G1S4H4H4H4H4H4H

Vanguard/Hellstrike fleet:!004U00L0L0L0L0L5R2B1S19194L4L4L4L4M4M4M04060JU51K1E1E0U0U0U5E1S2L5N000000A019A0A00JU51K1E1E0U0U0U5E1S2L5N000000A019A0A00ZZ0ZZ

MCX/BC Sonar Fleet:!75J650V100V0V5B171S1A4L3L3L4M3L5J650V100V0V5B171S1A4L3L3L4M3L5J650V100V0V5B171S4L4M3L3L4M3L5J650V100V0V5B171S4L4L3L3L4M3L0H650O0O0O1S0C1402020202

This takes some skill and practice.  Luckily your subs don't have to be fully repaired to give it another try (just repair them to 1% if you need practice), and remember to kill off your flagship on your sub fleet before entering a target...

Good luck and try not to hate on Kix too much - it's nonproductive and unhealthy.

Tempest - Quick tips on B set

At first glance, this raid is hard... and it is.  But I have been able to play a little bit and completed 3 B sets so far, and have spent hardly anything, so I'll share a quick bit about what I've found on how to do the B set.

41, 42, 43, 45: I use the same strategy for all of these targets.  I enter with a 2 ship fleet - 1 instant repair Seawolf and 1 Predator.  The Predator is the 2 Havok 4, Engine 1 build all new players should use to open salvage.  I have 4 fleets set up like that.  I enter the target, and try to survive with the sub until one side or the other is dead.  In the 42 it takes quite a few tries, but it is key to make sure all of those Reaver hulks are dead.  In the 45 I've found sending the predator South works best, and usually it can get away on the second try.  After that, I send in my Cat drive Spectre fleet, and take out the enemies.  The 43 is trickiest, because the Reaver hulks with the long range cannon will damage your subs.  I've repaired my subs to zombie levels usually, but on the 43 you'll need 1 coin of repair each to stand up to the fire when you surface.  Stealthy Barracudas or Reapers may work here as well.

44: This target has Reaper subs and ECM Destroyers - I use a 4 ship Siege Missile SFB3 MCX fleet with 1 R5 Battlecruiser with Sonar as a spotter.  Many of the Reapers can be seen at range, a few can't.  The reapers don't usually stay under ECM cover, so those targets can be kept for last.  Careful driving helps since the range of the torpedos is 78 vs 86 for my siege missiles.  Targeting the stealthy reapers when they surface also helps to reduce damage.  I take 35 - 60 minutes damage in this target, and can generally repair my fleet while doing the rest of the B set.  I think Launcher or UAV-equipped vessels could also work here instead of the MCX (as long as you have a spotter) since you can damage visible underwater reapers... the longer range might make up for the lack of retargeting.

With no limit to the number of tier bonuses you can receive - hopefully these strategies will help you get what you want.  I may try these strategies on the A set soon too... Good luck pirates!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Damage Compared - D92-U vs. D92-F

In yesterday's analysis of the new prizes, I showed the lower salvo number of the D92-U means that a reload bonus helps the U more than the F.  What I wasn't sure of is whether having more shockwaves created by the U would balance out the greater base DPS of the F.  So I built a calculator and came up with an answer.  

I made some assumptions here... the key assumption is that with either launcher type, you need 120 hits within a 10 second period to trigger a shockwave.  (from the Battle Pirates Wiki) I also assumed a 0.1 second delay between shots within a salvo. The other simplification I made is that no hits or damage is wasted (no overkill, no firing at dead targets).  

For my calculator inputs, I take into account three general areas:  the Weapon, Attacker, and Defender.

Weapon: I use the statistics from the game, and also document the assumption that you need 120 hits in a  10 second period to start generating shockwaves.  If you want to try other assumptions or statistics, go ahead.

Attacker: In this area, the number of launchers used, the attacker's reload bonus, and the attacker's accuracy bonus (or penalty) should be entered.

Defender: In this area, select "Y" for a ship target, or a "N" for a building target.  The evade and Radioactive Defense percentages should be entered as well.

The outputs are as follows:

Net Accuracy (NA): This is the percentage of shots that are expected to hit, given the target type, accuracy, accuracy bonus, and evade.  NA = Accuracy * ( 1 + Accuracy Bonus) * (1 - Evade)
Net Reload Time (NRT): This is the total time between the end of one salvo to the start of the next salvo.  NRT = Reload Time / (1 + Reload Bonus)
Net Damage Per Hit (NDPH): This account for the target type, salvo number, and resistance.  NDPH = (Damage * (1-Defense)) / Salvo
Number of Launchers (NL): (from the attacker area)
Launcher Weight (LW): Number of launchers times weight per launcher - lets you compare total weight.
Hits per Second (HPS): Average number of shots expected to hit the target per second HPS = NL * (NA * salvo) / (NRT + salvo delay * (salvo -1))
HPS/hton: (HPS / total weapon weight) * 100
No Shock Damage Per Second (NSDPS): The weapon DPS without any shockwaves.  NSDPS = HPS * NDPH
NSDPS/hton: (NSDPS / total weapon weight) * 100
Shockwaves per second (SHpS): Given the number of hits per second, the average number of shockwaves generated per second.  If the average time to generate a shockwave is longer than the Shockwave Threshold time (10 seconds), this number goes to zero.  SHpS = HPS / Hits to shockwave (unless less than 1 / Shockwave Threshold Time)
SHpS/hton: (SHpS / total weapon weight) * 100
Shock DPS: DPS from the shockwaves only. Shock DPS = SHpS * Shockwave Damage * (1 - Defense)
Shock DPS/hton: (Shock DPS / total weapon weight) * 100
Total DPS: No Shock DPS + Shock DPS
Total DPS/hton: (Total DPS / total weapon weight) * 100

So here's some example scenarios with enough launchers to ensure shockwaves:

Reload Bonus
Accuracy Bonus
total DPS/hton
D92-UD92-FD92F DPS Margin

The first three columns show the relevant statistics on the attacker or defender, then the next two columns show the DPS/hton for the D92-U and the D92-F, and then the last column shows the percentage more DPS/hton done by the D92-F.

So, for any scenarios where shockwaves are being triggered, the D92-F ALWAYS does more damage per weight than the D92-U.  Of course, if shockwaves are NOT being triggered, it is obvious that the D92-F will be doing more damage, because of its much higher base damage.

The only other factor to take into consideration is whether there are loadouts where using D92-U will trigger shockwaves where an equal weight of the D92-F won't.  I'm going to skip the big table and say... yes there are situations like that, but there aren't many.  This calculator will tell you a shockwave threshold, but it isn't quite accurate because the nature of salvo fire.  For example, if you have 8 D92-F firing at a target with 100% net accuracy, you will trigger the first shockwave after 3.9 seconds (during the second salvo), even though you will trigger a shockwave every 5.5 seconds on average. 

So... play with the calculator below, if you try to compute the number of launchers you will need to trigger a shockwave, you'll end up with at least as many as you need.