Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hellgate - Pre raid tips & what to get

First off - if you missed the revision to the statistics of the Magma Thrower and Hellhound prizes, go back and take a second look at the charts in the last article.  I think I'm going to start waiting until after the Tuesday Maintenance update before publishing any stats... I really hate spreading incorrect info, and then having to publicize a revision so we all aren't confused.

Secondly - when I publish articles based on leaked/unofficial data, Kixeye will close & bury the forum post for that article.  I don't blame them.  But if the Kixeye forum is how you find my posts, consider another method.  See the "How to Keep up With the BP Professor" page for a few different ways to follow this blog - the newest is through the feed at the Battle Pirates Crib - give them a like.  If I ever have shorter thoughts about the game that aren't worthy of a full blog post, I'll be sharing them there too.  If you run a Battle Pirates-related (or any other type I guess) Facebook group, and would like me to post a notice in your group when new articles go up - just let me know.

Forum Posts you should read:

Robot's Tips & Tricks:

Hellgate Event Briefing:

Raid video:

Closest thing to a Magma Thrower FAQ I've found:

(The most important things I've seen in that post so far are that Radioactive Reload bonuses do affect the throwers, and so do splash bonuses.  No word on underwater damage yet)

Discussion on when the Hellhound is slowed & when it isn't:

Overall, if a Kixeye Forum Mod or Community Manager could spare the time, official FAQs on these new items would be appreciated.  

On the Raid Structure
The overall raid structure looks to be a repeat of last time - World map targets for points (but no Krakens) and two different campaigns available to each player.  One campaign is level-based (Recon/Strike/Siege), and the other is the same for all player levels (Elite).  The level-based campaign will have a series of targets, and the Elite is a single large target.  The Recon campaign will be leftover Draconian Arctic bases, and the other campaigns will all be Reaver FvF targets.

Two player co-op is available for campaigns (except Recon), but one of the players must be the player who launched the campaign (this is a change).  The launching player is the one who gets the bonus.

Since we are facing an enemy we haven't seen in a while, I expect the Reavers to have some new tricks.  Read the Tips & Tricks post for detail on the enemies we expect to face and their weaponry.  I'm guessing this raid is going to look pretty hard right out of the gate, but last time we faced the Reavers, there were some tactics that worked well:

- Use Slowdown fields to help in two ways: Keep the Reavers at range so that their short-range weaponry can't be used and you have more time to outrun mortars, and slow the Reaver ships to let splash-based weaponry work.  In the old Reaver raids, I used MCX paired with an Engine Disruptor Vanguard, or Hellstrikes paired with an Engine Disruptor Arbiter.  Frostburn Cryo fields will help this raid.  I'm not sure I'd count on my old MCX being all that useful this time, but I may pair that Vanguard with my Carriers & see how it goes.  The Hellstrikes may also be useful.  When pairing a field ship with others, make sure that the Arb/Vanguard/Frosty is as fast as or a little bit faster than the ships it is escorting - you don't want your field ship to sink first.  I also prefer countermeasures as weaponry on the field ship to blunt missile & mortar fire.

If you don't have one already, an Arbiter with Thud 1, Engine 3, and Engine Disruptor 1 (-40% speed field) can be built in a bit over a day... consider starting one now.  It's even close to instant repair (962 health) during raids if you don't armor it.  Remember to match your speed to whatever ships you would use it with - don't just take my build.  If you really just can't get that ship done, consider building one for the next raid.

- Subs might work.  It was getting more and more difficult to use subs over the course of previous Reaver raids, but there may be situations where high stealth subs may be effective... not too many Reavers have Thermal Detection.  Zombie repair of subs is a good tactic to try as well - if you lose them, repair each one for a minute or less & try again.  Maybe even use an engine disruptor with your subs?  Robot's tips post warned of depth charges, so this might also be a completely useless tactic, depending on the range of those weapons and the amount of Reaver detection capability.

- Look for Activation/Even the Odds.  Sometimes, Reaver targets consist of fields of ships that sit still until you approach within a certain range.  (See the Boiling Seas campaign for an example). If that is the case in this raid, try to activate only a small group at a time and kill it before engaging another group.  Even if all or some ships are active at the start, look for ways to engage and kill smaller groups at a time.  Find some videos on "new" dredges for examples of this if you are unclear on the tactics.

- Chip away. The points needed for the new items is low compared to the last two raids - 18 Million total.  That probably means that 3 runthroughs of the Siege or the Elite campaign are needed.  You have 4 days, so hit a target & take a break to repair - don't feel you need to finish on day 1.  Instant repair ships will be useful if you aren't in a rush.  You also may be able to pick of parts of the World Map Reaver fleets for some points.

- Team up.  Obviously if you are willing to just help someone for bonuses, go ahead.  But if you can find a player with similar capabilities, or a player that has a slowdown ship that is well matched to your fleet, you might consider teaming up and taking turns launching the campaign.  Instead of needing three campaigns, you'll probably have to do six total, but you might take less total damage doing it.  Just try to stay a little spread out because of splash damage from many Reaver weapons.

The prizes in each tier have been announced... I'll give my opinions on each prize in order of how much I like them.  UAVs are missing, which is disappointing considering the Atlas has been the prize on the Mission Tier 4 for a couple weeks, and only the Scarab UAV has been available through Missions for quite a while before that.  You can buy up to two prizes per tier in this event.

Tier 5:
Magma Thrower - This is the first of a new weapon type - Thrower.  The thrower class seems to be the new and improved ballistic type weapon (low weight, high radioactive damage, low range) in the way launchers improved on missiles.  Its flamethrower effect looks really cool, and the splash will be deadly to stacked targets.  But it has a fairly long build time (almost 21 hours each) given its light weight, so a thrower-armed ship will be a long build.  A build time nearer the 13 hours 46 minutes that Siege Missile Z or D104-N weapons take would have felt a little more in line with recent top end weaponry.
Hellhound - This new Reaver hull has very high damage and field resistances as well as an overload ability, and also a damage optimization for the new thrower weapons.  Its very long build time (12.5 days) will turn off a lot of players.

Tier 4: 
Reaver Scout Engine: Good in special situations, might be easier to get through Fractured Empires Prize Pack 2, but maybe not... (anti-Typhoon & anti-Sub encounters might be tricky for many players, even with instant repair ships)  
Javelin: Good for center island defense, but might be easier to get through the Boiling Seas campaign Prize Pack 2.
Brimstone Missile: This base defense weapon might help you if attackers stop in your base.  Most don't.  It may also help a bit if you find attackers spreading out to hit you. 
Inferno Rockets: Good rockets, particularly on Hellstrikes, but a bit heavy.
D4-C, D4-X armor: Decent armor choices if you want to specialize in certain damage protections.
Maelstrom V: I'd rather use Infernos.
Siege Cannon Z: Although this Siege Cannon gives a speed boost and also has splash,  I'd rather use a Magma Thrower. 
D4-U armor: Not so decent choice for protection, the longer build and relatively low resistance percentages make this a worse choice than the alternatives (like dedicated C/M/X protection armor).  D5-U doesn't have these drawbacks with better resistances and a build time in line with other D5 armor.

Tier 3: 
Mercury: This hull is probably the best "value" hull in the game at only 1.5 days to build. At R10, it is a great missile carrier and is decent with launchers as well.  Might be easier to get through Hunt the Nemesis Pack 1 though.
D3-C, D3-X armor: Decent armor choices if you want to specialize in certain damage protections.  D3 armor in general is a nice balance between protection, weight, and build time for mid-range hulls.
Assault Disrupter D33-D: This cannon that also slows enemies may be useful in this Reaver cycle, but it is a long build (1 day 6.8 hours)
Siege Rockets D95-S: Very heavy but also powerful... I'd still rather use Infernos, but not a terrible option (especially with rank/reload boosts) if you can't get those.
Siege Cannon W: This Siege Cannon is specialized for breaking walls and gives a speed boost.  I'd rather use a Magma Thrower. 
Poseidon Depth Charge 3: Some players used these very successfully against Krakens, but this isn't a commonly used weapon - fast subs can outrun the shells.  Krakens aren't showing up this time.
Shredder 3, Reaver Chaingun 3: If you want old school ballistics, these are obsolete compared to the Bypass Chaingun available in missions (in terms of fleet DPS/hton and in build time).  Shredders are particularly long builds, but they do a ton of damage against buildings - if that is important to you for ballistics (it usually isn't).

Tier 2: 
D2-C, D2-X armor: Decent armor choices if you want to specialize in a certain damage protection.  But D2-E is available from Shell the Shore Pack 2, and usually preferable on the light hulls where D2 armor is best.
Battle Cruiser X: This hull has ballistic bonuses - with the Battlecruiser getting R10 and being available on Tier 1 of missions recently, and ballistics being eclipsed by throwers, I'm not sure why you'd build this hull.
Speed System 2: Really just an interim special until you can get Speed System 3.  Also available through Eye of the Storm Pack 2, but that's not an easy campaign for low levels (Typhoons!).
Reaver Chaingun 2, Shredder 2: See what I wrote on Tier 3.

Tier 1: 
Battle Cruiser:  Great bumps at R10, but this has been available on Tier 1 of missions recently.  If there is some reason you don't have this yet, you might as well pick it up.
D1-C, D1-X armor: Decent armor choices if you want to specialize in a certain damage protection.  I tend to use these if I have a free armor slot & want the resistance, since the actual armor points (and weight) is low.  For example you could stack a bunch of these & get good resistance on a Rampart as a quick build.
Speed System 1:  Just a 10% speed up, so not really worth using ever.  Also available through Eye of the Storm Pack 1, but that's not an easy campaign for low levels (Typhoons!).
Reaver Chaingun 1, Shredder 1: See what I wrote on Tier 3.

So overall - even if you are a mid to low coiner, Magma Throwers are probably worth having in your toolkit if you can make it through one Siege Campaign, but if you don't see yourself committing the shipyard time to build Hellhounds, you might want to prioritize the regular campaigns over the raid campaigns if you are interested in any of the prizes below.

Top campaign prizes:

Mercury, Phalanx 1: Hunt the Nemesis 1
Javelin, Countermeasure Equipment 2: Boiling Seas 2
Meteor Mortar, Reaver Scout Engine, Launcher D92-U: Fractured Empires 2
Battle Barge A:  Down the Barrel 3 (use for instant repair raid ship)
D2-E Armor: Shell the Shore 2
Disruptor Turret, Phalanx 2: Hunt the Nemesis 2
Goliath: Boiling Seas 1
Greta's Nuclear Cruiser: Fractured Empires Mastery
Harlock's Triton: Hunt the Nemesis Mastery

Good Luck in Hellgate... I'll post again about one day in with anything else I've learned.