Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Whiteout - Prize analysis and generic tips

The Whiteout raid starts on Thursday.  

Kixeye has posted the prize list, target format, and blueprints for new items here:  https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/503088

The format is similar to the Frostbite (the last raid) with a few tweaks to the campaign.

The previous raid had a "Recon" campaign (with a low total payout) for levels 1-50, and a "Siege" campaign (with a higher payout) for 51+.  This raid has a "Recon" Campaign for levels 1-40, a "Strike" campaign for Levels 41-59, and a "Siege" campaign for Levels 60+.

The points for the Assault Elite campaign seems to have changed - last time the payout was approximately 6 million from hitting targets with a 1 million completion bonus.  This time the payout is described as 6 million total, with 3 million from the bonus (and thus 3 million from hitting targets).  This may mean that points earned from doing damage are decreased overall.  There is also the possibility that the target is smaller, but I doubt that (a raid format doesn't usually get easier as it is used again).

The big question for the mid-levels is: How difficult will the Strike Campaign be?  The Recon campaign was easy with instant repair fleets, but didn't pay out enough points for players to earn Tier 4 prizes without putting in a lot of seat time.  

Similar to Frostbite, there will also be a large "Elite" (used to be Assault) target for all levels, and "mid to high level" world map fleet targets.

Generic Tips:

  • Look for isolated groups of turrets or ships for getting easy points (like the subs or the "lower right cluster" in the Frostbite Assault Campaign - If using expendable waves of attacks, run a ship up front to suck up the first wave of fire, allowing the remaining ships to get closer and hopefully fire off more shots.
  • If not (and you have a 4 ship fleet) - add a gunboat for the same thing.
  • Keep notes about what fleets you used, what tactics, how many points you got, and how much damage you took for your first few run-throughs.  That will help you identify the best point/damage combinations.
  • Help someone out by doing campaigns at someone else's base.  Although the expected point payout for Assault is a bit more generous to the "helpee" this time, it is certainly a great way to help an alli mate out.
  • Last time, the Fleet targets were fairly difficult, and didn't give good points/damage payout.  This may change, but don't count on it.
  • If you don't like the prizes you think you'll be able to afford, do campaigns for half repair.

Robot's Tips and Tricks thread is here: https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/502474


Prize Analysis:  Siege Missile D55-Z (5.5 Million points)


EDIT: I Liked this missile before... then Kixeye buffed it.  These are the new stats:



I don't know about everyone else, but I guess I was a little surprised by the new missile release.  I'll stack it up against the competition:


Siege Missile Z w/SFB3Siege Missile F w/SFB3Assault Missile Z w/SFB3Achilles Missile B w/SFB3Cutlass 4 w/SFB3Deluge 3 with SFB3Downpour 3 with SFB3Impulse D92-F
Range88.488.496.293.635 - 96.224 - 100.124 - 84.591
Damage1088450230500668396236648
Bldg Damage21769003451,00066899472972
Bonus Damage359148750013007864 shockwave
Salvo11111119
Reload Time5.05.04.08.08.05.05.02.5
Accuracy70%60%75%60%50%95%70%70%
Weight +Special (Shipyard 2)11201,344672952811499.8666.4970
Bonus Armor150150050015000300
Fleet DPS202.671.857.237.541.899.933.0262.6
Fleet DPS/hton18.15.38.53.95.120.05.027.1
Building DPS507.0209.6105.0125.083.545.894.4473.3
Building DPS/hton45.315.615.613.110.39.214.248.8
Build Time (w Off)?1d 11h 37m1d 11h 34m1d 10h 12m10h 43m16h 19m16h 19m1d 2h 16m
Flak Evade40%25%0%0%050%34%0
Penetrative Bypass00%0%30%0%25%0%0
Pre-Fire Delay000000.750.750

You can see the Siege Missile Z has vastly increased damage, lighter weight, and better flak evasion than the Siege F.  Edit: The buff gave it even more damage, increased accuracy, and more armor points.

I've been down on missile fleets, because the DPS & range just don't stack up to launchers.  The Siege Z still doesn't get missiles caught up to launchers, but the Siege Missile Z at least gets missiles back into the conversation.    With the buff, this missile should perform better than launchers on missile-optimized hulls (FINALLY!)  .  This is easily the best missile released ever, against buildings or against fleets.  (Torrents just don't have the range... sorry).  If this missile were released instead of the Achilles, I might have been a bit more positive on the Kodiak.  I'm not going to go back and revisit Kodiak and Interceptor designs, but my suspicion is that with the Siege Z option, the launcher build for those hulls might not be the best choice any more.  (Now almost definitely)


Prize Analysis:  Mastodon Hull (12.5 Million points)



This missile hull has lots of slots, good defense, missile reload, and also gives a new capability: Remote Targeting.  I'll stack it up against the alternatives:


StatisticMastodonKodiakInterceptorMCX R5
Weapon Slots101086
Armor Slots5544
Special Slots4443
Max Weight12,3009,0006,5488,695
Base Armor3,5526,5054,9542,965
Combat Speed11111512
Turn Speed13132015
Evade-10%10%20%10%
Ballistic Defense20%30%20%35%
Explosive Defense20%30%20%20%
Penetrative Defense40%40%20%40%
Concussive Defense0%0%40%0%
Radioactive Defense20%20%20%0%
Penetrative Reload120%100%90%100%
Flak Evade %30%30%30%30%
Building Damage0%60%0%0%
Anti-Mortar Range0%50%0%0%
Retargetable?TRUETRUETRUE
Thermal Imaging Range00680
Sonar Range00320
Hull Build Time w/off?5d16h15m4d23h54m4d20h38m

It is fairly close to the Kodiak, with less defense, no building damage bonus, more max weight, and better missile reload.  Also surprisingly for a missile hull, the blueprint does not show that it has retargeting capability.  We may need to see if that is on purpose or not.

The unique capability of this hull is Remote Targeting, which allows an increased missile range against a target when another ship in the player's fleet is in range of that target. The Remote Targeting is specified at +75% range, which I am assuming applies to the weapon basic range (like other enhancements), not stacks with the SFB-modified range.  So this puts the total Remote Targeting range at 68 * (1+0.30) * (1+0.75) = 154.7 for Siege Missiles... or slightly farther for other missiles like Assault, Cutlass, or Achilles.  This isn't a huge range, but certainly much further than anything we have had before.

There is also a note in the forums, that when operating at extended range, there is a damage reduction.  Although not totally clear, it looks like the damage reduction is 60% when at max extended range. 

Ignoring the Remote Targeting, this hull is not quite as good as the Kodiak, since it won't be able to take as much punishment.  (3,000 less armor, 20% less evade, and 10% less Ballistic and Explosive Resist).  

So pick it up only if you think you can take advantage of the Remote Targeting... here's two ideas:

The (perhaps obvious) use of this fleet that comes to my head first, is to support a JugX on base hits.  With a single JugX taking fire, the Mastodons can rain missile fire down from a safer distance.  This could be used as a guard prep or as a main hit tactic.  The Bullseye Brigade rogue crew would be a great enhancement on this fleet if looking to take out guards.

Another (slightly less obvious) base prep option when using this missile would be to use a Mercury or Interceptor as the spotter hull with SFB3 and at least 1 Deluge missile in a hybrid weapon slot.  This could allow Mastodons to fire at any target within 100 range of the base edge.


Prize Analysis:  Avenger Hull (9 Million points, Limit 1)




This limited flagship hull is the first true generalist hull we've seen.  It provides fair reload bonuses to non-Launcher & non-UAV weapons, radioactive defense, and a good number of weapon slots.  It has a combat speed of 16, but it matches speed with the slowest ship in a fleet and thus should only take on the 16 combat speed when it is the slowest hull or when it is by itself. Its "Vengeance" capability works like the Midnight Marauders rogue crew - as the fleet takes damage, it will gain a bonus to Combat Speed, Weapon Damage, and Damage Resistance of up to 20%.  The reason I called it a "generalist" is that it could be built and effectively dropped into many different fleets given its reload bonus and its speed matching capability.

I don't think this hull is really comparable to any other hulls, so I didn't make a chart.  

To start, this hull could be used in 2 basic ways - as a true flagship hull to go with 4 other ships, or as a "shell" with just a single defensive weapon to sit back and provide its bonus.  

If building it to go with a fleet, one option would be to help sub hunters.  When I talked about the Interceptor hull, I was concerned that the interceptor didn't have enough speed to run down submerged Nighthawks.  In the case where the Interceptors are taking fire, they will start to increase their speed, helping them to catch up.  

As a shell, you could include it with a base guard or a base hitter, let it sit back and provide its Vengeance bonus.  Doing this for FvF might not work out as well.

One more thought - when building this hull, you could skimp on (or skip) the engine special because it only needs to be faster than the slowest ship in the fleet, doesn't need one for combat speed, but keep an eye on map and turn speed too.

Edit: A response from the mod on forums suggests that the Avenger will SPEED UP if it is the slowest ship, so possibly NO engine special is required. I'm still a little skeptical on that one.   https://community.kixeye.com/discussion/comment/4178318/#Comment_4178318

Edit 2: They totally backtracked on that - the Avenger will not speed up if it is the slowest ship in the fleet.

Although I'm not super-excited about this hull, there are probably many creative ways to use it that I haven't thought of.  I suggest picking it up... just in case.

Summary:

To learn more detail about the intricacies of the new ship abilities, see the Kixeye FAQ on them:  https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/503425

This raid seems like it will be just as player-friendly as the last one.  You will have plenty of options to choose a target, and plenty of options to work together with another player or just to sponge points off of someone.  The total points for all the new prizes is 27 million, which is lower than many recent raids.

The prizes are all pretty good but perhaps not great.  I think players who really think about the best ways to use these new hulls will reap the greatest rewards from them.. they certainly aren't items in the "point & click to win" class.

Update: The Siege Missile Z brings missiles back as a competitive weapon.  Pick that one up definitely. 

After the raid starts, I'll publish any tips or tricks I hear about, and also look over the prize list with points and give some "what to get" advice.  Since the prizes besides the new hulls look very similar to the last one, I don't expect my advice to change too much from last time.  If you do go back to that article, I ended up modifying my advice slightly... Low levels should try for:
Tier 3:  Assault Torpedo V (500k points)
Tier 2: Strike System 2 (200k points), Stealth Attack System 2 (175k points)
Tier 1: Vortex Torpedo T (30k points)