Hellgate is here and there have been a lot of ideas going around... I'll review what I said before the raid, and highlight a few other ideas I've seen:
First a review of what I said before the raid:
- Use Slowdown Fields: WOOOPS. The Engine Disrupter is pretty useless in this raid. The Reaver weapons pretty much outrange that field, and their ships tend to orbit rather than charge. The Frostburn field is useful for damping out the magma fires, but it is no guarantee of victory either.
- Subs might work: Yes they work sometimes. Some Reavers have thermal and some don't. A common tactic being used is to hit a target with surface ships - once any ships with thermal imaging (usually scouts) are gone, subs can be used. Stealthed subs are not see at max torp range.. probably closer to a range of 60 or so. With good driving, subs can finish off many targets. Magma Throwers don't damage underwater subs, but if the ships close in enough, they also have rockets or other depth charges that will damage underwater subs. Take advantage of their poor turning by fleeing at a 90 degree angle, not straight away from them.
- Look for Activation / Even the Odds: Nope and Nope. The Reavers are all active at the start of each encounter, so activation doesn't apply. Although concentrating fire on a single target is still a good idea, it is very diffcult to isolate any piece of the swarm. More important is to keep ships spread out. This way, the magma, rocket, and mortar splash doesn't damage all ships as badly. One thing I do is that when I start a battle, I give each ship a move and fire target before clicking the "Lets Go" button. That way the ships are already spreading out as the battle starts.
- Chip Away: Depends. The Siege campaign and World Map targets are just too tough for any instant repair fleets I've seen. For a player below level 60, the Strike campaign targets are generally the same layout, but with weaker ships. For my lower level base, my instant repair BB-As with strike missiles (which just hit legendary rank) were the key to this campaign. Each trip with these ships could take out about one ship, which meant that I was resource positive and also doing enough damage that each target didn't take forever. The biggest threat to your instant repair ships are each other. It is key to spread them out (see the tactic I described above) so that they don't all explode when the first ship dies. I used my Siege Z armed Mercurys to finish off the last 2-3 ships in a target for fairly light damage.
- Team Up: Difficult. The issue is that it takes a long time for the second player to enter. This seems consistent to all players/campaigns, so I'm not sure if this is on purpose by Kixeye. The player who launches the campaign will need to survive for a bit on their own. I haven't been able to verify this, but I've seen one comment saying that if the first player doesn't click "let's go", then the wait time to start the battle means that the other player can get in at the start as well.
- World Map 47: This target, with 2 Scouts and a Hulk, pays out nearly 700k points. Some players are doing this target with surface ships to take out the Scouts, and then bringing subs to kill the Hulk. If using this tactic, be sure that your surface fleet is fast enough to stay away from the Hulk and retreat after the Scouts are killed. My speed 18 carriers needed to keep one sacrifice back to allow the others to get away.
The other problem with the 47s is that they are becoming scarce. There is a simple reason for this, and it isn't a Kixeye conspiracy. When players hit only 47s on the map, the target that spawns to replace it might be a 25, 41, 43, 45, or 47. So if a target proves more popular than the others, its availability declines. The same effect happened with the Krakens in previous raids.
- World Map 45: Since this target has no ships with thermal, it can be completed with subs. again, you'll need to drive carefully to ensure the enemy doesn't get too close.
- Best Fleets: I think the best fleets for this raid are those that can spread out the best. One example of this would be a couple Mastodons with a maneuverable tank/spotter. I had better luck (for example) with 1 D104-N Frostburn, 2 D55-Z V2-H, and 1 D55-Z Mastodon than I did with an all interceptor fleet (Frosty + 4 V2H). I only have 1 Mastodon to bring unfortunately. I hear about all kinds of fleets doing well in certain situations, but I think radioactive resistance is a must - so you're going to need something modern, or at least something with Radioactive Coating. The reavers are probably going to be with us for a while, so keep this in mind when building your next few ships.
Well, I think my pre-raid advice wasn't super. I'll repeat my initial prize advice though - unless you really think you are going to spend the coin / time to build the Hellound, skip it and go for the Magma Thrower only.
On the Hellhound - I saw a copy of some communication with Kixeye customer support that the Turret Defense on the Hellhound does NOT stack at all with Siege Battery, so a Hellhound equipped with Siege Battery 3 only has 40% turret defense. If you are building Hellhounds - be wary of this and check the statistics in your shipyard before proceeding.