Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Battle Pirates for Noobs, Part 2 - the BB-A

One correction from my last article - it looks like the shipyard build time in the Armor Games platform is the "with officer" time.  However, the repair time is still the "no officer" time.

So I'm a couple more days in on the new Armor Games account, and I'm starting to get a clearer picture of what I need to be doing to be ready for when my bubble drops.

Base Upgrading:
The most important thing to keep busy during your first week of "bubble" time is your construction (building upgrades).  I want to have Outpost level 4, and my Turrets (bases) to level 3, by the time my bubble drops.  I also want guns on my turrets - hopefully level 3.  To support that, I'm getting my Naval Yard and 3 Warehouses to Level 7.  As soon as the Naval Yard hit level 7, I researched Titanium 3, to enable my turrets to be upgraded to level 3.

At first, you want to research everything.  Around Level 5 of your labs, start being more selective in your research, and think about what you will be wanting to use in the near term, and what you won't. 

Plan your researches and upgrades to use your time wisely.  As they start taking longer, do the quick ones while you'll be playing a lot.  Do the longer ones while you're offline.  Very soon, they will all be longer ones.

One more good part of getting the Naval Lab to Level 7 - that enables you to be able to build the Retrofit Lab.  The Retrofit Lab allows you to research improvements to your "prize" hulls, and those improvements are applied retroactively to the ones you've built.  Speed, cargo capacity, and cannon reload rate are some of the bonuses you get from retrofitting the Battle Barge A.  This should be a priority.  

Fleets:
After building (see the last article for details on these builds):
  • Thud Marauders (for Campaign 1 & weekly mission)
  • Rapier Longships (for Campaign 2)
  • Havok3 Eng1 Predators (for Salvage)
I'm going to be focusing on the Battle Barge A that I won from the first Campaign for a little while.  I will be building a missile fleet and a cannon fleet of these, to be used for weekly missions, raids, and campaigns.

Last article I showed pictures of the ship building interface in-game.  This time I will introduce a very valuable tool - Huggy's Shipyard.  This allows you to plan out builds while your in-game shipyard is busy.  Links can be copied and shared so you can see other people's builds.

The missile fleet uses the Strike Missile L that I won in the first campaign:

http://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!3036004040G003E3E3E3E036004040G003E3E3E3E036004040G003E3E3E3E036004040G003E3E3E3E036004040G003E3E3E3E

All my BB-As will be using the Engine upgrade.  Speed is very important for just about every fleet, and the speed is worth the accuracy loss.  A key concept to keep in mind for any battle in this game is that you want to get your fleet into its optimum weapon range and keep it there.  The more speed you have, the more quickly you can do this.  In a ship vs. ship battle, if your fleet is faster than the other fleet, you are more likely to be able to do that while your opponent can't.

I left the second special slot blank to let me add Solid Fuel Booster 2 (SFB) when I get it.  Hulls of the Battle Barge size and larger can be refit.  Adding items in an empty slot as refit takes the same time as it would to build them from scratch.  If adding items in a slot already used, the removal time is 20% of the removed item's build time.  My Advanced Lab is a little behind my others so I will be a few days away from adding that special - it will help these missile ships out a lot, but I didn't want to take the time to build SFB1.  Also notice you'll need Dock level 6 to launch a fleet of 5 of these ships.

I have a few options for the cannon fleet: Thuds, Rippers, or the Impact-N (also won from campaign #1).  When comparing weapons, I usually consider two important metrics: 

  • Damage per second (DPS) - the expected value of damage done per second against a non-evading, non-resisting target
  • DPS per hundred tons (DPS/hton) - DPS divided by the weapon weight, and multiplied by 100 (makes the number easier to compare).  

When ships are being built up to their weight limit, DPS/hton is the most important metric to use, since you need to use that weight as efficiently as possible.  For this build, you'll see that the ship is not at its full weight, so DPS is more important because you want to know the most damage that can be done using the four weapon slots.  I decided to compare my weapon options including the special I would most likely use.  Since the Ripper and Impact have a relatively short range of 43, I decided Hardened Barrel (HB) 1 would be my best option for the range increase.  For the Thud, I used Auto Loader (AL) 1 for an increased fire rate.  The DPS numbers are different against fleets and buildings for two reasons.  The first reason is that weapons are 100% accurate against buildings.  The second is that weapons sometimes have different damage amounts for fleet and building targets.


Thud 4 with AL1Ripper 3 with HB1Impact-N with HB1
Range49.053.853.8
Damage150184194
Bldg Damage263322582
Bonus Damage000
Salvo131
Cycle Time1.801.703.00
Accuracy70%70%100%
Weight (Shipyard 1)7412495
Bonus Armor000
Fleet DPS58.475.864.7
Fleet DPS/hton79.161.267.9
Building DPS146.0189.4194.0
Building DPS/hton197.8153.0203.8
Build time (4 + special)3h 42m11h 44m5h 26m

From the chart, the Rippers have the highest fleet DPS, and the Impact-N has the highest building DPS.  The Thuds are the most weight efficient at doing damage, but with weight not being the important factor here, Thuds are the least powerful choice.  With the HB special, the Rippers and the Impact Cannons also provide more range.  The Thuds could be used with HB instead of AL to get even more range, but then they would do less damage (with slower reload).  The other factor to consider is the build time - the Rippers take significantly longer to build than the other weapons.  My favorite choice here is the Impact-N - I'm willing to give up a little DPS in order to get my fleet in the water faster, since I don't expect this to be a great fleet for the majority of my game.  But each weapon has its merits, so you'll have to look at the numbers and make your own decision.  

By the way, there was a weapons update a couple months ago where a lot of weapon statistics changed - before the weapons update, the Impact Cannon was completely worthless - worse than the Thud 4 in every way.  So other players in the game might tell you that you shouldn't use the Impact Cannon... but they might be giving advice based on the "old" numbers.

Link to all three ship builds:
http://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!3036004040G0Z30303030036004040G0Z0F0F0F0F036004040G0Z040404040ZZ0ZZ

You could fit heavier armor on those builds - Steel or D1-C (also won from campaign #1) are good choices as well, but adding more armor points results in losing instant repair capability during raids.  Armor wins battles though, so it might make a difference if you are willing to suck up the repair time.

At 12-20 hours each for loaded BB-A, building these will take me through the time when my bubble drops.  After that I plan to work on a fleet of Leviathan A to hit bases.  You could build a mortar fleet with the BB-A for bases... but I'm not sure that's a great use of shipyard time when the Leviathan A is so readily available.

Do you see a theme here?  The items you win from campaigns are VERY USEFUL.  Do the campaigns.  Win the items.  Use them.

I promised help with base defense, but this article is long enough...  Next time.