Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Siege Missile Z vs. Impulse Launcher U

Recently, when a new hull was released, we all sorta sounded like Louie:

(Yeah the video is poor quality, but I couldn't find a better one.  Just watch it or you won't get the joke...) 

Except instead of the thing with the balls, it was "I WANNA PUT LAUNCHERS ON IT!"

But with the Siege Missile Z release .... is it like Louie's mayonnaise?

Since a lot of mid-level players could have recently won U launchers, Z missiles, and Interceptors... let's compare some Interceptor builds:!70M600V0V0V0V5B0C0R1V3E3E003E194U4U4U0M600V0V0V0V5B0C651V4P4P004P1A4P4P4P0ZZ0ZZ0ZZdB

Note the build times per ship:
U Launcher build: 13 days, 5 hours
Z Missile build: 9 days, 17 hours

That's a huge advantage in build time for the Missile build.

These builds are targeted for a 5 ship fleet with Dock 11, and aren't particularly heavily armored or defended, but should be a decent all around build.  A dedicated weekly mission fleet should have more Phalanx, and a baser fleet should have more armor, but you get the idea (I'm not saying to go out and build either one of these ships, but they are just builds for comparison).  I used the 4th special slot for a weapon special - Laser Targeting for the Missile build and Gauss for the Launchers - a defensive special might be another option.  Although the Laser will put accuracy over 100%, and in particular isn't often needed on hulls with built-in retargetable, against evading targets it will come in handy.

I'll start the comparison with basic Fleet and Building DPS calculations, then also look at a couple "real world" targets (grabbed from Whiteout - thanks to the BP Information blog).

Weapon Summary:
Missile Build
15 Siege Missile Z, 15 Strike Missile L, 90% Reload Bonus, 60% Accuracy Bonus from LT3 

Launcher Build
30 U launchers, 1.5x Supercharge from Gauss

Alliance Gunner Bonus: 20% Accuracy Bonus, 10% Reload Bonus 
Rank Bonus: 45% Reload Bonus

Targets (thanks to for the stats):
Interceptor V2-C (from Siege #3)
 Evade: 52%
 Missile Defense: 46%
 Nuclear Defense: 40%
 Penetrative Damage: -64

Kodiak (from Siege #1)
 Evade: 10%
 Missile Defense: 73%
 Nuclear Defense: 20%
 Penetrative Damage: -64
(Note - this combo would completely negate Strike Missile damage.  I assumed 1% minimum damage gets through)

DPS Against Target
TargetU LauncherU Launcher with GaussSiege Z/Strike LSiege Z/Strike L with Laser 3
Basic Fleet5,696.67,465.312,412.115,140.9

There are a few interesting lessons to be learned from this chart... 

First of all... Overall, the Siege Missile Z is a more effective weapon on Missile hulls than the Impulse Launchers.  The exception above is against the Kodiak which has a very high missile defense percentage and high plate resistance combined with a relatively low nuclear defense percentage.  Even there the difference is less than 20%.

Laser Targeting is a useful special against high evade targets.  Old-school players generally say that adding Laser Targeting to a hull with built-in retargeting is a waste of a special.  But recently, when hulls keep coming with 4 special slots and targets can routinely have evades of 40% or more, that old-school advice might not be so accurate any more.  Even against the basic fleet target (zero evade), Laser Targeting provided a 20% damage boost.  Against the high evade target, the damage boost was close to 50%.  Another option would be Enhanced Warhead, which would do an additional 33% damage against all targets (including buildings) for slightly more weight.  

The Building damage of the Siege Missile Z might just come in handy.  A Level 5 turret with two DU3 armor plates will have 58,400 health.  30 Impulse Launcher U will take over 10 seconds to kill that turret, compared to less than 2.5 seconds for the Siege Missile Z build.  Even a Level 4 turret with one DU3 plate will have 32,000 health.  In this blog recently, I've been dismissing building damage as irrelevant, with the statement that any of these weapons have "enough building damage".  We just might need to start paying attention again.  I also attempted a "new" dredge with my 32 U launcher fleet, and it took quite a while to kill each turret... more building damage will help there too.

I also noticed that the computed Shockwave frequency when using the U launchers without Gauss against the 52% evade Interceptor was just under 5 seconds.  With the "unreactive" ability, this is pretty close to the 6 second time where the Interceptor hull will start "shedding" the charge buildup.  This is why I always recommend Strike System instead of Speed System on launcher builds - the launcher accuracy is critical in FvF.

Shockwave damage is great, and Missile retargeting isn't as good (especially since missiles won't fly across the whole screen anymore).  It's tough to quantify that, so as usual the "best" choice depends on how a weapon will be used.  Also, many of you will notice that I chose the U launcher for comparison instead of the more effective F launcher (S launcher is only more effective at very high reload so don't put those on missile hulls).  Going back to my F vs. U article, the F launcher has about 32% more DPS per ton than the U launcher.  That would close the gap a bit, but doesn't change the conclusion.  The build time advantage for the Siege Z missiles is also significant - 3.5 days per ship.