I am not appreciating the new items this week - the last batch of three new items has only been in the Forsaken Mission for two weeks. And I don't have the D104-S yet. Which is really good. I'l have the new launcher comparison out this weekend.
The Negotiator Mortar also came and went from the lower tiers pretty quickly... so there is that, but at least the Impulse Launcher U stayed in Tier 3 - if you don't have any Launchers yet, that is a big step up from almost any other weapon you are likely to have available.
So this week we have a new and improved Chaingun (in tiers 2 - 4), and two more flavors of Turret Armor (both in Tier 4).
Zynthonite Reinforcements D4-X, D4-R
To go along with the previously introduced D4-M Turret Armor, we have similar armors that differ only in the type of damage resistance given. D4-X adds explosive resistance and D4-R adds radioactive resistance. Otherwise they have the same statistcs as the D4-M I previously analyzed here.
My conclusion for these doesn't change... I think these are only useful if you stack two of them on a Level 5 turret, and even so... maybe not great, since that will use a lot of power & limit your weapon options. In general, stick with DU3.
We have been given a new and improved chaingun. You might not mount it on your own ships right away, but I have a hunch that we might be seeing some of these floating around somewhere in a week or so....
The new guns have improvements in radioactive damage, reload time, range, and ballistic armor bypass, but you pay for it with more weight and build time.
I'll compare it to the old Chainguns, Assault Cannon Z, and Torrent Missile 3
|Bypass Chaingun 1 with HB3||Chaingun 1|
|Bypass Chaingun 2 with HB3||Chaingun 2|
|Bypass Chaingun 3 with HB3||Chaingun 3|
|Assault Cannon X with HB3||Torrent Missile 3 w/SFB3|
|Weight +Special (Shipyard 2)||474||317||714||634||1,075||950||320||665|
|Build Time (w Off)||7h4m||6h33m||12h33m||10h28m||20h55m||17h26m||20h50m||17h26m|
Damage per weight is improved over the previous chainguns, except for the Level 1 weapon. These numbers are run against a target with no resistances, so the Bypass will give some advantage against real targets. From these charts, you can see that the higher level guns are more efficient and also don't have an increased build time (per weight). So if using the new chainguns, it is better to use the larger versions and leave slots open. Compared to the Assault Cannon Z, these are slightly less weight-efficient, but since they are heavier, Chainguns can make better use of total fleet weight. Chainguns will also build faster per ton. Compared to Torrents, they have slightly less range, but make up for it with more damage.
One thing to think about for these weapons - although the reload time has vastly improved to 7.5 seconds, there is also the time it will take to fire the 30 shots in the salvo, which is 5.8 seconds (0.2 seconds between shots). No reload bonuses will affect that time, so bonuses from rank & specials will have diminishing returns. I don't like these weapons enough to do the math, but I could imagine that at high rank, the normal chainguns could end up with more DPS/ton than the bypass versions (since they are lighter). I'll add these to the DPS calculator and you can figure it out for yourself.
The improved range of these guns is a big consideration too. Although missiles, even Torrent Missiles, have more range than the Bypass Chaingun, some hulls will give an additional range bonus beyond the 50% range bonus possible through Hardened Barrel 3.
On hulls with a 10% range bonus (Stingray, Vindicator, BCX, Jug), HB3 gives a range of 80, and with 20% range bonus (Zoe's Stingray, SCX, Dread R5, ...) the range can get up to 85, which is comparable to many missiles. On a Goliath, Rampart, or SCX R5 the range can get up to 95, which will outrange Launchers and almost match UAVs. Previously only Thud Cannons (which just aren't big enough to matter) could get ranges like that.
I don't think these weapons are good enough to rescue ballistics from obscurity. But I think some players who have SCX R5 might really enjoy them, and players who still rely on ballistics for base defense will see some improvement with these.
In the longer term, I'm thinking about what was done with missiles recently... we saw the Assault Missile Z and the Achilles Missile B, both of which were OK but had serious flaws, before we got the Siege Missile Z. The Bypass Chaingun's major flaw is its long time to fire its salvo... If Kixeye's attention is turning back to ballistics, we might see some other improved ballistic weapons coming soon.