Sunday, September 28, 2014

Outpost 6, etc.

On September 23, 2014, Kixeye released an update that might be the biggest since the game was released.  I'll try to help make sense of it.

Higher Building Levels 
The following things may be upgraded in your base:

Outpost 6: 16d 6h 27m
Dock 11: 3d 7h 12m
Turret 5: 10d 4h 41m

Weapons Lab 11: 3d 13h 16m

Naval Lab 11: 3d 13h 16m
Advanced Lab 11 4d 16h 19m
Intel Lab 11: 5d 0h 17m
Resource Generator Level 11: 1d 7h 40m

(times are with Construction Expert officer)

The useful upgrades (for high level players) are the first three.  If we include building and upgrading the additional 2 turrets available with Outpost 6, the total build time for Outpost, Dock, and Turrets is over 185 days, or 8,894 coins (give or take a few).  For those of you who wish to coin it, thank you for supporting the game and keeping the squeeze off of the rest of us.

Of course, that 185 days also assumes that you aren't putting any armor, tactical fields, or new specials on your turrets or buildings, and that you aren't building those Executioners, Gargoyles, or any other new turret weapons you've won.

I put the Weapons Lab 11 in its own group, since there are some new weapons available to be researched in that lab - Howitzer 5, Cerberus 5, and Victory Mortar 5.  The other Lab upgrades have no usefulness (yet).

Outpost 6 allows 2 more turrets, 5 more land squares, 30 more walls, and 2 more of each resource generator.  Enables Dock to 6, and Labs and Resource Generators to 11.

So what is the best use of your time?

Clearly Outpost 6 is the first upgrade, since it enables all the others.  Dock 6 should be done next, as having a bigger guard fleet weight will improve your defense potential just as much as another turret, and bigger fleets will also be very useful for everything else you do.  After those two upgrades, players will have to choose between constructing Tactical Fields, Turret Armor, Turrets, and Weapons.

(Edit: The Dock 11 upgrade increases the dock repair time from 2 hours to 4 hours... so be warned)

Building the two extra turrets to Level 4 quickly is probably a good idea, since they should only take 2 days each for the turret platform.  After that, putting a quick-build weapon on top like a Gargoyle might be best to get going on those turrets.  

Without recommending specific upgrades, I would upgrade such that specific choke points within the base are upgraded (instead of spreading upgrades around).  Group armor and upgraded turrets together in the field of fire of weapons & guards that deal a lot of damage, so attacking fleets are slowed the most at the point where your weapons are most effective.  Adding Fire Support fields that boost multiple turrets on the center island are also a good use of construction time for base defense.

All of these upgrades require uranium, so the already severe uranium demand will just keep going up.  I'm going to put in a pitch here AGAINST making uranium lootable.  I think that lootable uranium will only make the difference between the high end and low end players worse, and I can imagine a lot of players quitting if they get hit repeatedly for their uranium.  This will make them feel "locked-out" of even having a chance to catch up.

Max Fleet Weight (Dock 11):
With Dock 11, the maximum fleet weight increases from 27,548 to 31,756 tons.  This is a weight increase of 4,208 tons.  The maximum ships weights for even fleets is now:

Dock 11Dock 10
Max Fleet weight31,75627,548
5 Ship Fleet per ship6,3515,509
4 Ship Fleet per ship7,9396,887
3 Ship Fleet per ship10,5859,182

So you have three options to take advantage of the new maximum fleet weight:  Build new fleets, retrofit your old fleets, or add a new ship to 3 / 4 ship fleets.  I'll take a quick look at the third option.  

To take advantage of the 4,208 tons you get, you could build a "baby" version of the ships you are using, or you could add a specialist ship.  The two roles I thought of for specialists are Countermeasure or Tank.

For a Countermeasure Ship, you would like enough weapon slots, speed & turn to nearly match (but generally be a little less than) your main fleet, and one weapon with a longer range than the weapons on your main fleet. The Negotiator Mortar 1 used to be my favorite weapon for that, but with launchers and UAVs, those don't have enough range any more - you really need a UAV now for this.  This means than the Triton is probably the best ship for this, but other hulls that might work would be the Super Fortress or the Floating Fortress A.  Those will take less build time than the Triton.

A Super Fortress example is shown above.  If you wanted to use Anti-mortar instead, Countermeasure Loaders would be the better special (for higher anti-mortar accuracy) instead of Countermeasure Equipment.  Turn and Speed armor could be used to match maneuverability characteristics to the fleet (whatever it is) a little better if desired.  Strike System could be used for more accuracy, but at the cost of turn speed, which will hurt against raid & mission targets if you try to keep your fleet together.

If using a Triton, you have more armor and weapon slots to work with, so you could use more smaller countermeasure weapons (mix Phalanx and Hailstorms), and also take advantage of more Turn & Speed armor.

The link below provides some starting points for build ideas.!703050U0U0U0U2B1S1B1B1O1B1B1B03O50U0U0U2N1S4N4N4N4N1O4N04100R0R0L0L0L2N1S004M4M4M4M1A1A1O4M1A1A0ZZ0ZZ

For a Decoy ship, the new retrofitted Juggernaut X is a fantastic choice.  I used one of these very successfully in the Frostbite Event.  With this build, you want your speed to be equal to or faster than your main fleet, and you want your weapon to have shorter range.  My initial build used all Impact Cannon R, but I refit to the following & had more success:

The evade of this ship is 83.2% without any retrofits.  The Diplomat 1 is light and gives this ship enough "standoff" to allow you to select the whole fleet and just click on targets.  The Phalanx 2 give some missile resistance along with the missile shootdowns.  This ship is great fun to use and just over 9 days to build.

Retrofit Lab:
The other big change is that many new items (specials and weapons) have been added to the Retrofit Lab, including researchable (non-prize) items.  The Berzeker hull was also added to the Retro Lab.  Its changes are mostly additions to resistance and evade, which are nice but not a huge deal.  The Uranium cost is very high for the Berserker - over 150,000 Uranium is required at R5.

Overall, you should look at retrofitting weapons, specials, and armors that you use a lot.  

For this article, I'll just point out a few new highlights.  In a later article, I'll try to run through all the options for retrofit, and identify some good ones to consider (assuming you use that weapon/armor/special).

Impulse Launchers - increase Accuracy and Fire Rate - each stat will help you get a shockwave more quickly.

Fire Support Cannon Turret (Javelin & Harpoon) - increase Damage - that's what they are there to do.

Maneuverability Systems (Guidance Scrambler, Thrusters, Evade Upgrade) - increase Evade and Turn Speed - I always like more evade.  

Explosive Systems - increase splash, projectile speed, rocket reload - many, many specials are affected.  You're bound to find some you like to use.

Engine Systems - (Engine Upgrade, Speed Upgrade, Unstable Core, Reaver Scout Engine ) - increase speed - notable because the basic Engine Upgrades are now included

UAV Systems (UAV Powercells) - If you use Powercells and want a UAV boost, spend the Uranium here, not on the UAV weapon.

Evade Armor - not new, but now includes D5-E

UAVs - increase Swarm Duration - unless the increase in swarm duration crosses the threshold to allow another shot from the drone, this increase is of zero benefit.

Countermeasure Turret - increase Range - this isn't terrible, but be careful.  Although the picture looks like a Coaxial, the Coax Turret is not included in the list.

Plate Armors (all) - just not much of a benefit.

In Closing....  some players are discouraged with all the new items and the uranium cost.  I would just suggest you play at your own rate, prioritize what's important, and don't worry about the players that are coining it all.  Thank them for supporting the game so you don't have to, and remember that no one can hit you so hard that your repair button breaks.