Monday, December 29, 2014

R10 Hellstrike vs. R5 Juggernaut X

First a note about rank & reload....
I've been using the old school 1 / (1 + rank bonus) formula to calculate reloads for a long time, but I've been convinced that is wrong.

See threads at: https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/comment/4292981

and: https://www.kixeye.com/forum/discussion/503010

It looks like rank is actually different from reload bonuses, so applied as reload time * (1 - rank %) / (1 + sum of reload bonus %).  This changes a lot of stuff, particularly the "N vs. S" launcher question.  Rank becomes much more valuable, and so do weapons with low salvo numbers.  I think I owe you all an update, and it is coming.

Now on to Hellstrikes:
The R10 Hellstrike got a bit of an extra boost (or a boost that was supposed to be there all along, and just hidden by poor QA) when Kixeye added a +30% Armor Ability improvement to R10 in the shipyard.  In fact, I thought 200,000 Uranium was a bit steep for only a +40% radioactive defense, and my initial thoughts on the Hellstrike retrofit were that the players that still used them will like them a little better, but there was no fundamental difference in capability.  The extra armor ability may make the difference in how these ships can be used, so I'll take another look and see if a high evade blitz fleet or a tank (both of which can be done successfully with JuggX) is more viable.

LIGHT TANK:
I'll start with the "light" tank I've been using in the last couple raids, and build a Hellstrike on the same concept:

http://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!50II50V0V0V0V0V0V0V0V0C1S5B1A1A1A1A090JUA0V0V0V0V0V0V0C1S5B5P1A1A1A1A091A1A0ZZ0ZZ0ZZdA

To see the ships, just follow the Huggy's link, but as a description, I loaded each ship with D3-E armor, 1 Diplomat 1, Phalanx 2, Speed System 3, Scrambler 3, D5X, and Evade upgrade (Hellstrike only).

A comparison of the stats: 
StatisticJuggernaut X R5Hellstrike R10
Weight4,1814,189
Armor13,83513,050
Combat Speed19.222.4
Turn Speed44.026.4
Evade83.2%82.5%
Ballistic Defense67%60%
Explosive Defense50%67%
Penetrative Defense56%66%
Concussive Defense0%0%
Radioactive Defense40%40%
Build Time w/off9d20h22m11d22h01m
Repair Modifier100%150%

The JuggX has slightly better Evade and build time, but the Hellstrike has better speed and conventional resistances.  This comparison came out a lot closer than I thought.  One other tweak for this Hellstrike build could be replacing the D5X with Heavy Plating 3, which would further improve the conventional resistances at the expense of speed and weight.  However, the speed would stay higher than a fleet with base combat speed 11 and speed system 3, allowing it to stay useful as a tank.  The repair modifier of 150% on the Hellstrike is also a drawback, especially for a ship designed to soak damage.  Also remember that the JuggX will need a lot less uranium to retrofit than the Hellstrike R10 (which will need 5 warehouses to hold enough U).

As a tank, I think I'd give the edge to the Jugg X... with a little more evade, less repair time and less build time.

LAUNCHER FLEET:
The other big use of the Jugg X is as a high evade blitz fleet, equipped with launchers of course.  Some players refit their Hellstrikes with launchers and also were able to use them effectively.  I'll outfit a 3 ship fleet of each with Cryo launchers for comparison:

 First the Jugg X:



And the Hellstrike:

Both builds are at: 
http://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!50II51R1R1R1Q1R1R1R1Q5H681V4X4X4X4X4W0ZZ0JUA1R1R1R1Q1R1R5H681V0O4X4X4X4X4W4W4W0ZZ0ZZdB

I decided to mix S and N cryo launchers - as I said in my article analyzing them, I wanted to be sure that my initial salvo would trigger a cryo overload, and a fleet with 15 S launchers would be one hit short.  

For the extra two weapon slots in the Hellstrike, I decided to add more N launchers for better anti-ship capability, but there would be plenty of options to use those slots differently, including Cryo S launchers, Phalanx, or even (light) rockets.  I added the Ion Thrusters in the 4th special slot of the Hellstrike for both the evade and the turn capabilities - when comparing Ion Thrusters to Evade Upgrade, the weight is the same, and the Evade bonus is close - 12% vs. 15%.

Stats comparison: 
StatisticJugg X R5Hellstrike R10
Weight9,63610,427
Armor21,98520,400
Combat Speed19.222.4
Turn Speed20.031.9
Evade79.8%79.5%
Ballistic Defense73%67%
Explosive Defense25%50%
Penetrative Defense56%62%
Concussive Defense0%0%
Radioactive Defense67%60%
Build Time w/off26d2h4m25d22h22m
Repair Modifier100%150%
Fleet S Launchers1212
Fleet N Launchers39

Which one do I like better?  I'm not sure...  The Jugg X has an edge on defense, with more armor, more radioactive resist, and a bit more evade.  The Hellstrike has more punch, more turn, more speed, and more missile defense.  If the evade is a big deal, using the Evade Upgrade on the Hellstrike tilts the evade edge in that direction.  If going from scratch, probably the lower Uranium cost to retrofit and lower repair time would tilt my preference for the Jugg X, but I think those Hellstrikes would be pretty fearsome as well.  The Hellstrike's extra N launchers and extra turn & speed would be really useful for FvF, especially as we expect Reavers to make a comeback.

HELLSTRIKE ROCKET BUILD:
Although not strictly a comparison with the JuggX, as one more option for the R10 Hellstrikes, I looked at a refit of my old Dock 10 design to take advantage of the extra weight, and stick with the Inferno Rockets.  One very specific thing I didn't mention in the first go around on the Hellstrike retrofit is that the increased range at R9 gives a solid advantage - by increasing Inferno Rocket range to 71, Hellstrike at R9 will outrange the Cerberus or Gargoyle defense turrets with their range of 64.  Gargoyles with their concussive damage have been considered an effective Hellstrike defense, but good drivers will now be able to stop outside their attack range.  Whether that is a good idea depends on the rest of the base defense.

The ship design for a 3 ship fleet (along with one ship from the old design) is here: 
http://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!50JUA0U1R1R0U0U1Q5N2L1S5B19A0A040A040400JUA0U1R1R0U0U1Q5N2L1S5B19A0A040A040400JUA0U1R1R0U0U1Q5N2L1S5B19A0A040A040400ZZ0JU50U1E1K0U0U1E5N2L1S5B19A0A000A00000dB




It would be a straightforward refit to add the D5E/D4R pieces over the Forsaken plate and add the additional rockets (to take advantage of Dock 11 weight).  Armor builds slow, so each ship would take about 5 days 16 hours to refit.  Replacing Agility System with Radioactive Coating would be another optimization, but it would take an additional 2 days 11 hours per ship.

Compare stats:
StatisticDock 10
Hellstrike R5
Dock 11
Hellstrike R10
Weight8,9009,994
Armor14,25015,250
Combat Speed20.822.4
Turn Speed26.426.4
Evade61.4%76.3%
Ballistic Defense66%66%
Explosive Defense71%71%
Penetrative Defense60%60%
Concussive Defense0%0%
Radioactive Defense0%48%
Build Time w/off22d3h37m23d22h47m
Repair Modifier150%150%

The bumps in Evade and Radioactive defense will make a big difference in hitting bases nowadays... if really serious about it, changing the AG3 to RC3 would improve the radioactive defense to 60%. 

SUMMARY:
Well, my initial take on the R10 Hellstrike (before announcement of the armor bonus) was that Hellstrike users would like it, but it wouldn't prompt a bunch of people to start building them all of a sudden.

I still think that, but I'm a bit less sure.  A refit of my old Hellstrikes looks a lot more tempting... although since the launcher refit would take almost as long as a new build, the rocket refit would be more likely.  If I were a player who had nothing to start with, I think I'd still go with a Jugg X build for most situations, but I wouldn't fault someone who preferred the Hellstrike.

Many high end base hitting fleets these days are using two "tank" ships along with two Mastodons.  Although none of the builds in this article would be quite right for a Hellstrike in that role, I could see an R10 Hellstrike being a part of one of those fleets as well (along with the Savage, Grim, Frosty, Berzerker or Jug X ships I've seen).

UPCOMING:
The one year anniversary of this blog is coming up, and I plan to take a look back at some of the articles I wrote, and determine if my opinions were any good or if they were full of sh*t.

I also have a plan to revisit the "noobs" series since my "low" level base hit level 50 recently,  and I want to do a ship armor roundup (as suggested by a reader), since I haven't done one since March.  But apparently I need to do an update to all the DPS stuff first, so that one's at the top of my list.