Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Forsaken Mission items - Assault Missile Z, Magnus Drive, Gargoyle Turret

Now that we all had last week to catch up with the new Forsaken Mission items, Kixeye has released three new items:  The Assault Missile Z, the Magnus Drive special for subs, and the Gargoyle Turret for base defense.  I'll give each of them a once over... even a chart.

See the post on Kixeye here: https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/492613

Assault Missile D33-Z
Back when Seawolves ruled the seas, the Assault Missile used to be the premier anti-ship weapon.  I had this SW build - 2 Assault missiles, 3 Rippers.... I called it the "Spring Surprise". Now the Assault Missile is mostly an afterthought.  Even when MCX were the best ship around, Siege Missile MCX builds tended to do better against ships (particularly Drac ships in events) than Assault Missiles.  These days, Launchers and UAVs are the best long range weapons against ships.

There are two big questions when looking at this weapon:
  • Is it competitive with UAVs and Launchers?
  • Will it "rescue" the Kodiak hull?
The Chart: (sorry for the big chart - lots of weapons to compare to this time)

Assault Missile Z w/SFB3Achilles Missile B w/SFB3Cutlass 4 w/SFB3Assault Missile C w/SFB3Siege Missile F w/SFB3Torrent Missile 3 w/SFB3Impulse Launcher F (no special)Hornet UAV (no Special)
Range96.293.696.296.288.480.691.097.0
Damage2305006681504501,914648396
Bldg Damage3451,0006681509001,914972198
Bonus Damage75003714866900
Salvo111211691
Reload Time4.08.08.04.15.012.52.52.0
Accuracy75%60%50%75%60%90%70%100%
Weight +Special (Shipyard 2)6729528116721,344665970479
Bonus Armor05000015003000
Fleet DPS57.237.541.834.271.8186.0262.6198
Fleet DPS/hton8.53.95.15.15.328.027.141.3
Building DPS105.0125.083.545.6209.6206.6473.399.0
Building DPS/hton15.613.110.36.815.631.148.820.7
Build Time (w Off)?1d10h12m10h43m11h59m1d11h37m17h26m1d2h16m15h28m
Flak Evade0%0%0%0%25%0%n/a0%
Penetrative Bypass0%30%0%0%0%0%0%0%
(9/1 note: I had the reload time incorrect on the Cutlass 4.  This has been corrected along with the DPS.)

The Assault Missile Z is clearly a step up from the previous Assault Missiles, but that was expected.  It also compares favorably in efficiency to the Siege Missile (even against buildings).  The Achilles continues to look bad next to any other modern weapon (and even the Cutlass 4 post-update), and the Penetrative Bypass won't save it.  The Assault Z actually stacks up fairly closely to the Cutlass 4, which really says more about how much the Cutlass was improved with the weapon update. 

Next to the Launcher and the UAV, the Assault Missile Z still falls short - putting the Assault Z on  a hull with 100% reload will double the DPS, but you're still better off with the Launcher and UAV weapons.

If you're looking for a use for the Kodiaks, the Assault Missile Z is at least a decent option - all the weapon slots will come in handy when mounting 600 ton weapons. As a base prep weapon, the range will be nice, and it will probably be effective on the PvE Draconian targets.  The missile advantages of retargetability and underwater capability shouldn't be totally discounted either.  This missile would also be a nice fit for the Mercury or the Sea Scorpion A, although players depending on those hulls probably aren't reaching Tier 4 yet.

Magnus Drive:
This special combines a Speed upgrade with Cloaking capability.  The speed upgrade is the same as Engine 3, with a reduced accuracy penalty, and the cloak efficiency is 50% instead of 60%.  The biggest advantage is that the Magnus Drive only takes one special slot instead of two.
Magnus DriveEngine 3 + Cat Drive 3Speed System 3 + Cat Drive 3
Total Weight19%28%25%
Accuracy-10%-20%-15%
Combat Speed80%80%60%
Map Speed50%50%50%
Cloak Efficiency50%60%60%
Build Time w/Officer?19h 35m19h 35m
Special Slots122

This is clearly a great upgrade to use, unless you really think you will need the extra 10% cloaking efficiency.  Spectres will benefit from this the most, because they only have 2 special slots.  Nighthawk builds will be able to get more creative - most currently use Speed, Cat Drive, and Battery.  Now, with Magnus Drive and Battery, Nighthawks could add Concussive Warhead for more damage, Sonar to help in the underwater battles, or even another Speed Upgrade. Barracudas could be built similarly, but might have more of an issue with ship weight.

Gargoyle Turret:
This turret acts like a Cerberus, but does concussive damage, and will also damage submerged targets.

Compared to a Cerberus 4:
GargoyleCerberus 4
Range64.064.0
Damage7,7763,200
Submerged Dam3,8880
Salvo66
Cycle Time6.54.5
Spread45.080.0
Splash418
"Accuracy"23.70%60.00%
Fleet DPS283.6426.7
Damage TypeConcussiveExplosive

It is intended to destroy detected subs.  I have one major concern for this use - the very tight spread and low splash of the Gargoyle.  Subs moving at 20+ combat speed might have a chance of outrunning the projectiles from this turret, especially if moving in a straight line.   This is something we'll have to see in practice.

Right now the most reliable way to stop subs in a base is to use a Subsonic Cavitator on an Arbiter (or Vanguard) to force them to surface.  The addition of the Gargoyle gives players an option to use Sonar or Thermal Detection in conjunction with the Turret.  However, with Magnus Drive, Spectres and Nighthawks will be cloaked much more often, so I wouldn't trust using sonar in most situations, and it is likely that a player will need to use a Viper Interdictor (or some other future hull with Thermal Detection) with this turret.  Forcing the subs to turn around the outside of this turret while in detection range (just like when using a Subsonic Cavitator) might work better, and give the subs less chance of outrunning the projectiles.

I looked at specials to use with this turret.  The Fire Support Platform X adds 30% to projectile velocity, (as well as explosive reload increase and explosive damage decrease).  But, I'm not sure whether the projectile velocity increase will apply to this weapon - that is a Kixeye question.  No other turret specials affect Concussive turrets, so Insulated Panels (preventing a pinch) or some sort of defensive special would likely be best.

I was also hopeful that this turret would be good against blitzing base fleets like Hellstrikes that have high explosive damage resistance - most base attack fleets have zero concussive resistance.  However with the tight splash & low spread, I would be concerned about base fleets outrunning these projectiles as well.

Overall, I don't think this turret is a sure thing for sub defense.  It will need to be placed carefully, and used in conjunction with the right guard ship(s).  We'll also have to wait and see how easily fast fleets can outrun its projectiles.