Saturday, October 11, 2014

New Retrofit Options Part 2 - Base Turrets

After the monster Part 1 (ship-based items) of looking at retrofit lab options, I'm going to look at part 2 (turret-based items).  After thinking a bit about how to organize this article, I think I'm going to go back to last month's Base Turret Roundup article, and use those groupings of turrets.


That article used the following groupings:
  • Front Line: These generally do high damage, but are outranged by most weapons on Base Fleets,  Their main purpose is to force attacking fleets to stop. 
  • Center Island Aimed: These long range turrets are made to do damage to incoming fleets whether they are moving or stopped.  They also generally have a minimum range, so placing them on the front lines leaves them vulnerable to blitzing.
  • Center Island Splash: These long range turrets do splash damage, but usually require the attacking fleet to be stopped in order to land on target.  Like Aimed turrets, these also have a minimum range, but also can be more effective near minimum range because they will have a lower flight time.
  • Medium Range: These are the "tweeners" that can outrange base fleets, but don't have a very long range like the center island turrets.  They are often found on front lines, but could be placed further back in certain base designs.
  • Defensive: These turrets protect the base by shooting down incoming projectiles
Just to start off this article, base defense has so many permutations these days, I think it will be difficult to make any solid recommendations.  Each player will need to look at the equipment used in his or her base and decide where the best payoff will be.  At the end, I'll try to identify any standout groups that might be the first candidates for upgrade.

Front Line Turrets

The available retrofit groupings for these weapons are:
  • Front Line Cannon (Howitzer, Disruptor, Coaxial) - improve fire rate
  • Front Line Deterrence (Cerberus, Gargoyle) - improve splash
The available retrofit groupings for specials commonly used in front line turrets are: 
  • Defense Platforms (Reactive, Ablative, Layered) - improve defense
  • Shielded Platforms (Pinch Resist, Insulated Panels C/M/X, Lead Panels) - improve Stun Resistance and Radioactive Defense
  • Compound Defense Platforms (Panels A/B/C/D/E) - improve defense
  • Frontline Platforms (Frontline Platform CX, MC, XM) - improve defense

Since the primary purpose for these turrets is to survive, upgrading the defense specials should be your best enhancement.  However, most of the defense improvements are for the conventional defense, so mortars, missiles, and launcher defense will be improved while launcher defense will not.  Shielded Platforms can be used to enhance Radioactive Defense (if Lead Panels are used) and Stun resistance (if Pinch Resist panels are used) so that might be one to consider if you use both of those specials in your defense.

The weapon upgrades are decent, but if those weapons are firing, your attacker is probably in trouble anyway, so the retrofit might not make much of a difference.  One exception is that the splash improvement on Gargoyles might help prevent subs from running them.

Center Island Aimed

The available retrofits for Center Island aimed weapons are:

  • Fire Support Missile (Sentinel, Executioner, Deadeye... also Vulture) - improve Damage
  • Fire Support Cannon (Harpoon, Javelin) - Improve Damage

In my original Base Defense Roundup article, the Executioner & the Deadeye weren't released yet.  Also the Vulture falls into the Medium Range category (I'll get to it in a few)

The available retrofit groupings for specials commonly used in Center Island Aimed turrets are: 

  • Missile Platforms (Thermobaric, Scramjet, Fire Support M) - Improve Damage & Range
  • Cannon Platforms (DU Shells, Ballistic Platform) - Improve Ballistic Accuracy and Damage


For Sentinels, usually the special used is one of the three in the Missile Platform list, but for the Executioner Turrets, Priority Targeting is a common choice, because it provides the best DPS increase against fleets with high evade.  Since no retrofit currently affects Priority Targeting, retrofitting the weapon is the clear choice for Center Island Missile users.  Even for Sentinel users, the improvement to damage from retrofitting the weapon is better than the improvement to the damage bonus from retrofitting the special.

For Cannon platforms, the retrofit to DU Shells will affect both accuracy and damage, and the retrofit to the weapon affects only the damage.  I'll run the DPS numbers for both a Javelin and a Harpoon equipped with DU Shells 3, against a fleet with 40% resistance (all damage types) and 40% evade (not a real fleet, but something in the neighborhood).

Javelin with DU Shells 3 against fleet with 40% (all types) resistance and 40% evade:
No retrofit: Damage after resist: 1652.4 Accuracy after evade: 84% DPS = 115.7
Javelin at R1: Damage after resist: 1696.1 Accuracy after evade: 84% DPS = 118.7
DU Shells at R1: Damage after resist: 1667.0 Accuracy after evade: 84.7% DPS = 117.7

Javelin with DU Shells 3 against fleet with 40% (all types) resistance and 40% evade:
No retrofit: Damage after resist: 1296.0 Accuracy after evade: 67.2% DPS = 87.1
Javelin at R1: Damage after resist: 1334.9 Accuracy after evade: 67.2% DPS = 89.7
DU Shells at R1: Damage after resist: 1309.0 Accuracy after evade: 67.8% DPS = 88.7

For the Javelin and the Harpoon, the Weapon upgrade gives a better DPS improvement.  

If using the ballistic platform special (Ballistic Accuracy and Stun Resist), the math will certainly work out that upgrading the weapon gives more DPS benefit.

Center Island Splash


The available retrofit groupings for these weapons are:
  • MIRV Missile (Halo, Arc, Brimstone) - improve Range
  • Mortar Turret (Harpoon, Javelin) - Improve Fire Rate

The available retrofit groupings for specials commonly used in Center Island Splash turrets are: 
  • Missile Platforms (Thermobaric, Scramjet, Fire Support M) - Improve Damage & Range
  • Explosives Platforms (Slide Loader, Fire Support X) - Improve Explosive Reload, Damage, and Projectile Speed.
For the missile-type weapons, I always feel I have "enough" range on those, so I would tend to recommend the special upgrade.  However, if looking to improve range on these, upgrading the weapon will get you more range than upgrading the special.

For the Mortar weapons, it gets interesting.  The Slide Loader 3 gives a 200% increase to reload and a -66% damage modifier. (this works out to more shells with no change to weapon damage when fitted). Similarly, the Fire Support X gives a 150% increase to reload with a -50% damage modifier (net increase in damage) along with the 30% projectile speed increase.  The Explosive Platform retrofit will affect all of those statistics, but the Mortar Turret retrofit only affects the fire rate. In addition, since the reload modifier for the special is greater than 100%, it should be affected MORE than the weapon.  

I'll run DPS numbers on a Victory Mortar 4 with Slide Loader 3 and a Meteor Mortar with Fire Support X, Accuracy = splash / (3/8 Spread) , no resistance, and no accounting for a moving target.  

On the math... since the retrofitting specials results in the modifications being multiplied by the bonus, For Explosive Systems, the +damage percentage of the retrofit is multiplied by the - damage modifier of the special resulting in the damage being decreased.  I have asked CM Robot if the retrofit works like this, but I have not gotten a response.

Victory Mortar 4 with Slide Loader 3:
No retrofit:  Damage: 1020 Cycle Time: 3.63 DPS = 124.8
Mortar R1: Damage: 1020 Cycle Time: 3.54 DPS = 128.2
Explosives R1: Damage: 960.6 Cycle Time: 3.57 DPS = 119.7

Meteor Mortar 4 with Fire Support X:
No retrofit:  Damage: 628 Cycle Time: 8.00 DPS = 69.7
Mortar R1: Damage: 628 Cycle Time: 7.77 DPS = 71.8
Explosives R1: Damage: 609 Cycle Time: 7.86 DPS = 68.8

So the way the math works out is that the Explosive Systems reduction in damage does not compensate for the increase in firing rate, resulting in a LOWER DPS when retrofit.  Avoid the Explosive Systems retrofit, unless we hear that it doesn't work the way I think it does.

Medium Range

The available retrofit groupings for these weapons are:

  • Fire Support Missile (Sentinel (w/Thermobaric), Vulture (w/Scramjet)) - Improve Damage
  • Napalm (w Scramjet) is not in the retrofit lab.

The available retrofit groupings for specials commonly used in medium range turrets are: 

  • Missile Platform - Improve Missile Damage and Missile Range

For Napalm users, the only option would be to retrofit the Missile Platform.  For the Sentinel, the weapon upgrade will give more damage than the special upgrade.  For Vulture users, each player will need to decide whether the additional range or the additional damage would help more.  If the additional range allows the turret to fire an additional shot before being destroyed, then the range would help more, but otherwise the damage upgrade is the better choice.

Defensive

The available retrofit groupings for these weapons are:

  • Countermeasure Turret (Bombard, Flak, Coaxial Secondary) - Improve Range

The available retrofit groupings for specials commonly used in medium range turrets are:

  • Countermeasure Platform (Enhanced Propulsion, Bombard Platform, Countermeasure Targeting) - Improve Bombard Rocket Range, Countermeasure Range, Anti-Missile Range

First off, the "Coaxial Secondary" should refer to the Coaxial in defensive mode, so it looks like Kixeye brought this back.  "Coaxial Turret" is still present in the Front Line Cannon Turret retrofit.  No improvement is available for the Flak Gun Barrage Rack.

For all of these turrets, upgrading the weapon will give more of a range boost than upgrading the special.  The Countermeasure targeting special gives only a 15% range boost, so 3% of 15% is negligible.

Summary

I thought about looking at this in more detail, and trying to determine the optimal upgrade path for a Javelin with DU Shells 3, because the increasing Uranium cost and decreasing percentages of improvement would probably mean that a DU Shells retrofit might help more than a Javelin retrofit before the Javelin hits R10.  However I decided that the optimal path was too dependent on the target characteristics such as evade and ballistic/penetrative resistance, so any recommendation would be wrong most of the time.  You'll have to use your judgement once you get a few upgrades under your belt.

But as an overall rule, the result for best turret effectiveness is similar to the result for ship weapons - upgrade the turret before upgrading the special.  As an exception for front line turrets, upgrading the defensive special will be the best for base defense, since their role is to survive as long as possible.

Coming soon ... a raid preview - We've seen pictures and a description of the special capabilities of the Whiteout hull prizes (check out Battle Vortex).  When we get some actual statistics I'll do my usual comparison and analysis.