Friday, September 5, 2014

D5-E Analysis, a DPS Calculator, and Random Thoughts

I haven't done a post for a little while, and I wanted to post what I'm thinking about some of the upcoming game changes, and also some more thoughts for the little guys.

Some serious high-end gameplay changes are coming, including Outpost 6, upgraded Dock (fleet weight), and additional armor / special options on base buildings and turrets.  I have two main thoughts on this:

- With more customization options, bases can have more variety and players will be putting more thought into them, instead of copying a picture of someone else's base.
- With more fleet weight and bases being "harder", fleet build times and fleet repair times will be going up (more armor points and more damage).  This is going to make the game more expensive (for coiners), or slow down gameplay frequency (for non-coiners).  

Recent impacts on Build and Repair Times:  When Will Harbin was on Battle Vortex, he said they were looking at ways to reduce build and repair times.  

Some ways build and repair have gone down recently are:
reduced build times on Forsaken researched equipment, 
repair modifiers of 75% and 50% being put in place for many hulls, particularly Enforcer & Goliath, and... that's about it.  

Build and repair times are going up with:
- Compound Plate 4 and D5-E are making more armor points available in a fleet
- New hulls tend to have longer build times. 
- The speed of new content release is preventing players from improving "old" hulls because they are trying to build new ones to keep up with the cutting edge of in-game technology.
- Limited hulls in Raid events force players to get more points to win these prizes.  Players who missed out on Grimshine's Berserker, Harlock's Atlas Carrier, and the Viper Interdictor are missing out on some key capabilities.

Analysis of D5-E:
My last post on the new Forsaken Mission equipment didn't address the new D5-E armor.  D5E armor gives a 10% evade increase, instead of the 7.5% from D2-E, D3-E, and D4-E. 

D5-ED4-ECompound Plate 4
Armor Points (AP)22501,750.02285
Weight (with SY2)489389388
Build Time with Officer (min)2,484.01,555.21,522.5
AP / Ton4.604.505.88
Build Time / Ton5.084.003.92
Build Time / AP1.100.890.67

D5-E is a little bit more weight efficient (armor points per ton) than other Draconian armor, but not as efficient as Compound Plate.  Unfortunately, building in the extra capability of D5-E will cost you a lot of build time. You can see the increased build time per ton and build time per armor point.  Compound Plate 4 is a good deal for build time, but D5-E is not. 

This is kind of unfortunate - my previous favorite armor configurations usually combined some Compound Plate 4 with smaller (D2) Drac armors.  This gave a nice mix of resistance or evade (since the lower drac armor usually gave the same resistance as the higher), and armor points (best from the compound).  Now you might want to mix in D5-E for maximizing evade, but the build time will be going up for that.  Compound Plate 2 is not such a good deal for build time, and it also has reduced resistances, so flipping my previous mix isn't a good solution. I've also been thinking more about adding radioactive resistance.  Armor configuration has always been an art... use my Survival Time Calculator to compare different armor configurations against various weapons.

I wouldn't be surprised to see other D5 armors coming out in future Forsaken missions.

Speaking of ship builds:  Until we know what the new maximum fleet weight is, it would be a good idea to hold off on new fleet builds (put Magnus Drive on your Spectres or something... I'm refitting an old MCX fleet with Torrents since I didn't get Magnus yet).  The new fleet weight might be a number that easily lets you slot in a new ship (for example, adding 6887 tons would let you add an identical 5th ship to 4 ship fleets), or it might not.  Build hulls with just a few weapons and rank them for now... I expect the change to be coming in the next couple weeks.

And Campaign Limited Hulls:  Greta's Nuclear Cruiser has been released in the new Fractured Empires campaign.  The early verdict on Greta's NC is similar to the verdict on the other Campaign Limited hulls - if you don't have a fleet of the basic ship type, winning the campaign version is probably better than going after the hull in the raid, then spending Uranium to retrofit it.  But if you have a fleet of the basic type that you like, winning then building the limited version will be a marginal upgrade.  With Greta's Nuclear Cruiser specifically, you get about 700 more armor points and 5% more reload, along with the Cryo overloads.  The Cryo overload might be best in FvF, since it will slow down ships that are chasing you.

I'm also saving up Uranium, just in case the new base goodies need it.

I've seen a lot of questions lately about U vs. F vs. S launchers:
I still stand by my initial verdict that F are better than U, and U are better than S.  As reload bonuses increase, the lower salvo weapons (S) will increase DPS faster than high salvo weapons (F).  My numbers showed that the S wouldn't catch up to the F even at very high reload bonuses.  I've been working on a general DPS calculator that you could use for any weapon, and I'll insert it below.  The default settings are for U, F, and S launchers for weapons 1, 2, and 3, but by editing the weapon statistics, you can use this calculator to compute DPS for any aimed weapon you'd like (set the shockwave damage to zero for most non-overload weapons).  You can also use this calculator to see if a fleet configuration has enough launchers to make shockwaves against evading targets.  For example, with the statistics below, the S launcher is just barely making shockwaves (look at Fleet Overload per second).  If the target's evade goes up to 19%, it will not be able to make shockwaves at all against that target.

UPDATE (19 Sep 14): I updated the calculator with a change to how rank bonuses are applied.  I separated the rank bonus from the other (hull, special, alliance) bonuses.  With this change, the calculations show that the S launcher will do more DPS than the F launcher when highly ranked.  If you don't believe it, just add all the reload bonuses and enter them into a single line.


And for the Little Guys:
I still think the campaigns are the key to doing well in the early game.  Do them, get the prizes, and use them.  I'm looking forward to hitting Level 35 and going after the Mauler, Shockwave-L and the Hailstorm A in Death Grip.

Also, Laser Targeting works great with Strike Missiles... even better than Solid Fuel Booster on the little hulls against the little targets.  I think it has to do with the quick fire rate, you always have missiles in the air.  I got lucky enough to win Battle Cruisers in the Forsaken Mission - I'm building BCs with Strike A, SFB2, LT2 and Engine 1.  Cutlass 3 would be OK too, with more range, but they are a lot heavier and my dock isn't up to it yet.  I may never build a Seawolf.