Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Raid Prize Analysis - The Reckoning

The video has been posted for the next raid - The Reckoning (great album).


(update - it looks like the video was taken down... I didn't get screenshots, but all the info below is based on notes I took from the video.  It's possible the information will be changed before the raid starts)

There wasn't much about the raid format itself in this video - I expect it to be very similar to the previous raid.  My only prediction (with no evidence to back it up) will be that there will be some wrinkles to make subs less effective.  You can see the tips I provided for the last raid (Tempest) at:

The other raid tidbit from the video is that Swag suggested that UAVs would be effective.  My Harlock fleet will be ready minus a few armor pieces, so they will be my backup plan in case the Cat Specs aren't as effective this time.

The more interesting bits from the video are the information on all of the prizes.  They are: Siege Torpedo D65-Z, Nighthawk Submarine, Phantom Nighthawk, and the Viper Interdictor.  I'll take a look at each and compare them to existing items to let you know some initial impressions:

Siege Torpedo D65-Z 
With the weapon rebalance, Siege Torpedos got a nice range boost, but I still recommended using the Assault Torpedo B because of the +5% Combat Speed boost on that weapon.  Now with the Siege Torpedo Z, Kixeye has one-upped the B torpedo with a 6% Combat Speed boost.  Let's put all the stats side by side with some existing torpedos:

Siege ZSiege CAssault B
Bldg Damage706705420
Bonus Damage1321260
Reload Time5.005.006.00
Bonus Armor01000
Fleet DPS82.675.652.5
Fleet DPS/hton20.718.923.9
Build Time (w Off)?16h 52.5m8h 45m
Speed Bonus6%0%5%

(note they showed Siege Torps at R5 on the raid video, so I had to back off the 12.2% damage bonus)
(UPDATE: Assault Torp B DPS changed from 43.5 to 52.5)
(UPDATE: Siege Torp Z DPS changed from 84.4 to 82.6, DPS/hton changed from 21.1 to 20.7)

What's to notice on the new weapon?  
  • Damage per weight is very close to the Assault B.  But on Spectres, Reapers, and (soon) the Nighthawk, loading up with Assault Torpedos often results in weight capacity left over (wasted).  The much higher DPS per weapon (more than double!) will really make the Z torps most effective on the heavier subs.
  • The Radioactive bonus damage is less desirable than straight Concussive damage, since many top Hulls are carrying some radioactive resistance at this point.  But I'm not complaining.
  • You don't get the bonus armor like on other Siege Torpedos - again, not a dealbreaker.
  • Build time for the existing Siege Torpedos are just about twice than the Assault (since the rebalance), which is a similar ratio as the weight.  I would expect the Siege Torpedo Z to have a longer build time than the existing Siege Torps, but we'll have to wait and see.
  • For the two primary missions this torpedo may be useful at - FvF and Base Prep - speed is critical and I think these new torpedos will shine.  The main tradeoff is the 10% reduced weapon range.  For stealthy spectres, I suspect the range difference won't be too bad.  For base prep I would take the speed over range every time as well.  The one area I would be careful about using these would be on Battery Spectres for dredge fleet prep.  The detection range of the Reaver ships is fairly close to the Assault Torpedo range, so having to get closer may be a problem.  We'll have to wait and see how they do in the water.
Nighthawk Submarine
Last week, when we learned the names of the new prizes, I had a suspicion that one of our sub hulls would become obsolete.  I was wrong... I think 2 sub hulls just became obsolete.

StatisticNighthawkPhantom NighthawkBarracuda R5Spectre R5Reaper R5
Weapon Slots77667
Armor Slots33134
Special Slots33323
Max Weight6,1257,1151,9704,8006,865
Base Armor1,7451,8456001,2002,250
Combat Speed11/16.511/16.5161014
Turn Speed1515202525
Ballistic Defense20%/40%30%/50%0%0%20%
Explosive Defense20%/40%30%/50%0%10%20%
Penetrative Defense20%/40%30%/50%10%0%20%
Radioactive Defense0%/20%0%/20%0%0%0%
Repair Modifier300%300%400%300%200%
Concussive Damage0%0%0%19.9%0
Building Damage0%0%0%0%50%
Hull Build Time5d 10h8d 3h2d 16.8h1d 3h4d 16.1h

The x / y numbers for the Nighthawk represent surfaced/submerged statistics.

So what's to notice on the comparison:
  • The slot configuration and Max Weight of the Nighthawk will allow its builds to look much like the most effective Reaper builds.  Load it up with the new Siege Torpedo Z, Cat Drive, Battery, and Engine.  
  • About the speed - when submerged, the accurate way to describe submerged speed would be 11 with a 50% speed modifier, not 16.5 as I show in the table.  The reason this is important is that combat speed bonuses will be applied to the base speed of 11.  So if I build a Cuda with Engine 3 and 6 Assault Torpedo B (actually tricky to fit), the combat speed will be 16 * 110% = 33.6.  The Nighthawk with Engine and 7 Siege Z torpedos will be 11 * 122% = 24.4 surfaced and 11 * 172% = 29.9 submerged.  Add 3 V armor, and you can get it to 31.6 submerged.  So the Nighthawk can be fast, but not quite as fast as the Cuda.  With the speed drop when surfaced, you may even need to get a little further away than with a Cuda against fast fleets to avoid being shot at.
  • The extra resistance when submerged is nice - these subs may be fairly durable if built for it.  
  • Build times are going to be long - similar to a Reaper.
So overall, this hull will be nearly as fast as a Barracuda, and do more than twice the damage.  The Nighthawk will be a great FvF hull.  Its utility for other missions will depend on its submerged time.

Although surface/submerge times weren't given in the video, unverified info on forums suggests:  Nighthawk: 48 sec under / 14 sec surface

Compared to (base time without Battery):
Barracuda: 28 sec under / 10 sec surface
Reaper: 35 sec under / 15 sec surface
Spectre: 60 sec under / 12 sec surface

Update: This forum thread - https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/483387 has some info from a Mod & Robot implying that the 48 /14 is the correct number.

If that's true, a comparison of how far subs should be able to go submerged in a base prep situation (full Z torps, Engine 3, Battery 3, V armor): 
Spectre: 23.1 * (60 * 1.39) secs = 1927
Nighthawk: 31.6 * (48 *1.39) secs = 2108

Now.. if the data on the forums, which may have been backed out of the video, is 48 seconds under WITH Battery 3 already installed, then the submerge time would be only 35 seconds (the same as a Reaper), and so the Nighthawk would be much less effective than the Spectre in base prep.  

So a Nighthawk may also be more effective than a Spectre for Base guard prep - adding a Speed Upgrade as the third special would let it go even farther, or using Cat Drive might negate some sub detection defenders.  But remember that a Subsonic Cavitator arb will force subs to the surface whether detected or not.

So goodbye Barracuda, goodbye Spectre.  Your only advantage over the Nighthawk is your build time.

Phantom Nighthawk (Limited Max 1)- Bonus Capabilities

The Phantom Nighthawk adds some more wrinkles.  Its larger weight capacity and slightly higher resistances are nice, but there are two major features.

One is its status as a flagship hull, meaning that it will allow 5 ship sub fleets, which provides a big advantage over any existing sub fleet.

The other big attraction is its ability to cloak on the world map.  The exact wording on the blueprint shown in the video is: "This cutting-edge variant of the Nighthawk is capable of leading a submarine fleet.  This unique flagship will make sub-only fleets cloak on the world map under most circumstances."

So it should be able to cloak Spectre and Reaper fleets as well as Nighthawks, but not surface fleets.

Just off the top of my head, fun targets for sneak attack will be:
  • Ships waiting to ninja a base hitter
  • Base hitters that think they are clear outside
  • Ships salvaging
  • Ships picking up salvage
  • Ships entering / leaving a tower
  • Ships doing the weekly mission (especially if autoing lower level targets)
  • Ships doing a raid
  • Ships hitting/prepping dredges (allowing someone else to come in for the steal)
But there's a big problem here - the victims... I don't editorialize much, but I am very concerned that these Phantom fleets will end up being another way that the "haves" can grief the "have-nots", and make it harder to do the weekly 'chores' that are critical for those "have-nots" to feel like they are even keeping up.  

Kixeye said "most circumstances."  There's a couple scenarios I'm worried about that will really put a damper on gameplay even for the top players - can Phantoms create invisible guards on alliance bases?  Can an invisible fleet hide under its owner's base? Will they show up on radar?  

From the forums, a mod said: 
The Phantom sub will be completely visible on the world map when actively guarding a base (set explicitly as a guard on your own or an alliance member's base) or when in close proximity to your own base. It will also be visible when engaged in any battle.

If visible only when stopped (invisible only when moving), a lot of my concerns would be lessened... at least you will know when someone is waiting for you.  
Update: This is definitely not the case.

We'll see how this works out.

Phantoms will be a lot of fun to own I'm sure, but I'm worried about their overall effect on the player base at large.

Viper Interdictor - (Limited max 5)

I hope you didn't spend a lot of time or gold going after Vassago's Interdictor in the campaigns... Vassago's Interdictor has some enhancements for sub hunting, but the Viper blows it away...

StatisticViper InterdictorVassago InterdictorInterdictor R5Interdictor
Weapon Slots7777
Armor Slots2222
Special Slots3333
Max Weight5,2455,2455,2455,245
Base Armor2,3721,8651,8651,865
Combat Speed14141414
Turn Speed20202015
Ballistic Defense20%30%30%10%
Explosive Defense10%10%10%10%
Penetrative Defense20%30%30%10%
Concussive Defense50%40%40%30%
Radioactive Defense0%0%0%0%
Concussive Damage39%39.9%30%0%
Sonar Range80655025
Thermal Range80000

What to notice on the comparison:
  • The advantages of the Vassago Inderdictor over the R5 version are the improved sonar range and the extra 9.9% Concussive damage.  Now the Viper has arrived, giving up a little bit of resistance and 0.9% damage, but gets the Thermal Imaging with a range of 80.  All subs will be seen by the Viper while outside of torpedo range.  65 Base Sonar range with the Vassago still wasn't enough to see heavily cloaked subs before getting shot up.  I see no reason to go after the Vassago any more, unless you don't earn enough Vipers to build a full fleet.
  • Build time is unknown since the video showed refit mode.
  • Not much else to report on the Viper... more base armor, less conventional resistance, more concussive resistance.
The Viper Interdictor is the sub-killer everyone has wanted. Even if you can only earn one Viper, pairing that ship with any other hulls (even unretrofitted Interdictors or MCX) that are able to hit underwater subs will allow a surface fleet to make short work of subs, unless those subs are heavily armored.  

Let's hope we don't see too many of these Vipers in the raid targets... Good luck everyone - happy hunting!