Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hello Armor Games - Battle Pirates for Noobs

Within the last week, Kixeye has expanded its platform offerings to include Armor Games.  This was hinted at by Will Harbin when he appeared on the Battle Vortex show.

I started an account on Armor Games just to get a feel for the early game these days, and give some advice to these new players.  Of course, I think a significant portion of the accounts that I saw in chat were alts, so we'll see what this actually does for the player base.

I noticed two significant differences in the Armor Games account:
  • You start with the blueprint for the Armored Marauder, as well as one armored marauder to use.  This blueprint differs from the regular marauder in that it has 5% resistance to Ballistic, Explosive, and Penetrative weapons (regular has 0%), but it has 0% evade, where the regular marauder has 10% evade.  Although the blueprint looks nice, I'd stick with building the regular marauder.  10% evade will help you more than 5% weapon resist early on.
  • No officers.  For the new players, officers may be assigned to various tasks, like ship builds or repair, and they give a 10% time bonus when assigned.  You receive officers by recruiting new players.  In the Armor Games account, the officers button is missing from the Great hall.
Due to the disadvantage of having no officers, I would suggest that new players who really like this game might want to think about restarting an account on  Build and repair times are very important in this game, and you'll want the 10% bonuses throughout your Battle Pirates "career".  Especially with this disadvantage, I don't think I'll be playing this new account very seriously, and probably quit by level 40.

And now onto the advice for noobs...

What to do to start - your first two fleets:
Key to this game is having the fleets to carry out the activities you'll need to accomplish.  The Campaigns actually guide you in this area.  The two fleets you'll want to start with are a cannon blitz fleet and a missile kiting fleet.

The Cannon Blitz fleet that you can build relatively quickly looks like this:

 A fleet of these Longships is capable of beating the "Down the Barrel" campaign.

If you don't have the scrambler, you can leave the special slot empty.  You could also build a full fleet of these with the engine upgrade, but you probably won't have that when you start building, and you want your fleet to match. By the time you get engine, you'll probably be building bigger ships (marauders at least).

And the Missile Kiting fleet looks like this:

(use a Rapier 2 if you have it. you could also build this on a Longship platform, but it will take longer.)

A fleet of these is capable of beating the "Long Shot" campaign.  (although you'll only want to do it once with this fleet - it's really slow because the Rapier 1 does so little damage).  Just keep driving in large circles so you are in range and the enemy is not. A good rule of thumb is that you should try to keep the edge of your white range circle under the back end of the enemy ship.  Use the up arrow to select your whole fleet, and stack them up (by clicking on a single point) before engaging.

Larger hulls with Rapiers will be able to beat this campaign more quickly, and when you can start using the Strike Missile you win from the first time through, you will be more effective still.

Being able to beat those two campaigns is important because after the third win, you will get access to the Battle Barge A (Down the Barrel) and the Leviathan A (Long Shot).  These are great hulls to use early in the game, and better than the researched versions.

In general, your tech capability changes very quickly in the early game.  Hulls at the Battle Barge level and above can be refitted, but smaller ones can't.  So plan a build and stick with it to build a full fleet.  Don't forget to keep upgrading your dock so you can launch a full fleet of your heavier ships.

How to Get Resources
You can beg in comms for other players to open up salvage for you.  This is annoying and will move you along the path of being a player who can't fend for himself.

The campaigns give good resources, and you might want to hold off on beating the campaign completely - when you beat the first mission in each campaign you'll find that you have 500% of your fleet cargo capacity, which is a lot of resources.  You can beat the battle, then abort the campaign and repeat as much as you want.

Once you get to level 5 of Naval Lab and Weapons Lab, you'll want to build the following fleet:

With practice, this fleet of Predator subs can beat salvages up through level 51, so then you'll be able to get all the resources you need.  (Once you beat the salvage fleet with the subs, send other fleets with more cargo capacity to collect the resources).  Level 17 and up salvages give blueprints which you will want to get, in order to be able to access better weapons and armor to put on your ships.

Weekly Forsaken Mission
The Weekly Forsaken Mission is another important way to be able to access equipment and hulls you will want to use.  As you beat Military Strongholds on the map, you will earn points.  When you earn enough points to reach a tier, you will be randomly assigned a prize from that tier.

On day 1 of playing you should be able to get to Tier 1 of the Weekly mission, with just a few hours of playing time.

The Longship fleet I showed above can beat Level 5 and Level 9 Military Strongholds, and repair is instant.  Marauders with Thud 4, Iron 4, and Engine 1 special can beat Level 14 as well, and can do it on auto (just click attack and you don't even have to join the battle).  You should watch a few times to be sure your fleet is doing it right.  The Longships can auto Level 5 strongholds - if you have a few fleets going on auto simultaneously, you can earn points more quickly.

Although you never seem to get the prize you really want (I wanted Torrent 1 and got Ballistic Plate 1), you'll get what you need eventually.

Instant fleet repairs
In Battle Pirates, anything that would take less than 5 minutes can be sped up for free.  Your early fleets can be completely repaired in less than 5 minutes, but bigger fleets, such as the marauder fleet I talked about above, would take more than 5 minutes to completely repair.

However, you can remove ships from your fleet so that the repair takes less than five minutes, and instant repair each ship individually.  Ship repair time is based on armor points - 1 armor point takes 1 second to repair.  So the limit on armor points for instant repair is 300 points of armor when you have a fleet with a 100% repair modifier.  Ships like Longships and Marauders have a 50% repair modifier, so they repair twice as fast.  They can have up to 600 points of armor and still repair instantly.  Consider instant repair capability when you plan your early fleet builds.  The Battle Barge A cannot be built for instant repair, but during monthly events (raids), repair time is halved, so building a BB-A with just under 800 armor points is a good plan for later.

Base defense
Don't worry about this in the first couple days, since you have a one week "bubble" giving you protection from attacks.  Keep researching base defense weapons, and build and upgrade your turrets as you can (but don't put weapons on them yet). Once you get closer to the time when your bubble will drop, add the best weapons you can.  I'll go into more detail on base defense in a later article. 

I hope this article helps you new pirates - if you have some questions, leave them in the comments below and I'll try to answer them, either as a response or in a future article.  I plan to do a couple more articles aimed at the noobs.