Friday, February 27, 2015

Warbird Carrier and Arena Changes

The Forsaken Arena tournament is here (started already), and I'm falling a little behind on the blog...

For those of you who really want timely information, I have been a weekly participant in the Battle Pirates Crib Hangout show on Wednesdays (7 PM US EST, Midnight UK time).  I generally use the charts from the blog on the show.  Like the Facebook page at for announcements and other great info from a great group of players.

I'm not going to go into much detail on the Arena changes or the whole prize list, but you can get Kixeye's summary here:

Or watch the Battle Pirates Crib show here:

Warbird Carrier:

The limited Warbird Carrier hull is the top prize in the Elite bracket, and anyone who finishes in the top half of their prize group will win at least one Warbird blueprint (this is a change from the initial announcement, where only the top 65 of 250 would win one) .  This hull is similar to the Harlock's Atlas Carrier, with the UAV launch overrides, but it has slightly more speed and a fourth special slot.  It also has a new ability: Remote Targeting Evade.

StatisticWarbird CarrierHarlock's AtlasAtlasLightning R5
Weapon Slots8887 (5 UAV)
Armor Slots4442
Special Slots4334
Max Weight14,24514,24514,2456,200
Base Armor6,0956,0956,0951,493
Combat Speed12111114
Turn Speed15151530
Ballistic Defense0%0%0%0%
Explosive Defense20%30%0%0%
Penetrative Defense50%50%50%40%
Concussive Defense0%0%0%0%
Radioactive Defense20%40%20%0%
UAV Damage50%60%30%40%
Ballistic Range00020%
Ballistic Reload00060%
OtherRemote Evade 62.5%, UAV Launch OverrideUAV Launch Override
Repair Modifier100%100%100%100%
Hull Build Time w/off?4d 22h 42m4d 22h 42m4d 22h 42m
Total U needed000146,477

Remote Targeting Evade (RTE) is described as:
"...making indirect fire weapons miss more often. This stat scales based on the Remote Targeting range of a ship firing on it. Ships like the Proto-Mastodon, the standard Mastodon, and the Reaver Hades ship found in Reaver targets during the events should hit Warbird Carrier fewer times, depending on the range that the projectile has to travel."
What it seems like will happen is that when you are fired upon by a ship like a Mastodon using remote targeting, the RTE will kick in and provide an extra evade bonus.  The assumptions that I am making are: 

  • RTE, described as "up to" 62.5% will be at that maximum 62.5% when the enemy is at the outer limit of their remote targeting range.  As they close in, then the RTE bonus will be reduced until it hits zero at the "standard" weapon range.
  • The RTE bonus will stack with the Carrier's normal evade multiplicatively, just like any other evade special.  So a 50% RTE bonus with a 50% ship evade will result in a 75% final evade.
  • Bullseye Brigade and Disciples of Skullduggery rogue crews will override the RTE just like any other evade.
When building this ship, the 4th special slot is really welcomed.  For Atlas/Harlock builds, the dilemma is always that you want to use an Engine, Armor, Evade, and Powercell special, but only have three slots.  The 4th slot allows all four of those specials to be used.

I think the best uses of this hull - especially if you only win one or two prints - will be in Base Guarding and in the Forsaken Arena.  

In the Arena, this can be used as a lead ship for Mastodons, and builds should focus on resistance rather than evade (since so many players use Bullseye).  One more thought - if you are serious about the Arena, you are usually using repair insurance, so the extra repair time from a Reaver Bulkhead won't matter and the extra armor will help you live a lot longer.

As a Base Guard, Dragonflies might be more usable to lower enemy accuracy, but Hornets will maximize your chances of a launch override.  No engine special is generally needed, so Evade Upgrade or Shielded Electronics would be good choices.

Thoughts on the Arena:

Some important changes to the Arena are:

  • You can get points even if you lose. If you do 50% damage to the other fleet, you will earn 50 points, even if you are completely sunk.
  • You have to sink the other fleet to win.  Dropping a Bunker Buster on the enemy and hiding for 5 minutes will not get you a win, it will only get you a point or two.
  • You get one free repair every 24 hours.  Use it.
  • There is a self-destruct button.  If you don't mind giving the other player the "win" points, you can use the self-destruct button to end a match.  This may be useful if you are running a Rogue Crew and thus you want to end the match quickly and start another one to get as many matches as possible with the crew. You will still earn the points from doing damage.

I think these changes, along with the much wider prize pool, are really good - they encourage more players to play in the arena.  My previous attitude was that since I didn't have the fleet to do really well, or the time to sit by the computer all weekend, I didn't have a chance at the top ten in my pool and so there was no point in trying.  With the partial points in a loss, and the need to only reach the top half of players to earn a Warbird, I'm going to be playing in this tournament a lot more than I was.  Looking at my prize pool, I think lots of other players agree and have given it a try... I was at #236 this morning (having played zero matches).

Tips on the Arena:
I'm not a top player in the arena, so I may not be the very best source, but here's what I see from a general sense:

  • Use a crew.  Bullseye Brigade with Mastodons is very common.  Most of my enemies are using crews.
  • Frostburns & Mastodons are great.  Carriers have seemed useful as well. Mixed fleets are common, and some players are dropping a sub into fleets as a "second strike" weapon.
  • Rank helps. My Mastodons are around 45% rank bonus.  I've lost some matches simply by being outranked.
  • Split up. Pinch happens.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Retrofit Pack 15, Proto-Mastodon, and Repair Specialists

The content keeps coming....

Retrofit Pack 15 - Kodiak, Nighthawk, Interceptor V2-C, Interceptor V2-H

When this retrofit pack was announced, I think one of the most common opinions I heard was "These hulls are pretty recent and good still... why are they getting retrofits?"

The other constraint on these hulls was that they each had a corresponding limited hull, so any enhancements to speed or turn would have resulted in a mismatched fleet in battle.  These retrofit enhancements ended up pretty mild overall.  Let's take a look:

The Kodiak, which is already very good when taking fire, is getting better at defending:

I really like the armor abilities bonus in general, so the 25% is welcome, although lower than that on other hulls.  150,000 total Uranium is needed to get to R5.

The Nighthawk is also getting better at defending at R2, R4, and R5.  This improves its ability for prepping, when you want to surface and survive a few salvos of fire and move on to another guard.

More damage is always good too.  200,000 total Uranium is needed to get to R5.

Interceptor V2-H:

These enhancements made me think that these might be a little better in Dredges, especially with the extra Missile Damage, and maybe also in Drac targets.

125,000 total Uranium is needed to get to R5.

Interceptor V2-C:

With the extra anti-missile accuracy and Evade, I definitely think these are going to be better against Dracs.

Just like V2-H, 125,000 total Uranium is needed to get to R5.

Overall, these retrofits are worth doing if you use the hull, but they don't really bring anything super desirable or any new capability.

For the V2-C R5, you might want to see if retrofitting Evade Armor will have more benefit than spending 75,000 Uranium for 10% Evade.  It will depend on your current retrofit level and your armor loadout... use Huggy's Shipyard to check.

After looking at all these hulls, I thought I'd do a comparison chart on the missile hulls. With various combinations of reload and damage bonus, the question often comes up - which does the most damage?  The bottom three rows of this chart show the weapon DPS for each hull, using the reload and damage bonuses only (no alliance bonus) against a zero resistance target.

StatisticInt V2H R5Interceptor V2HKodiak R5KodiakMastodonMCX R10Mercury R10
Weapon Slots8810101066
Armor Slots4455543
Special Slots4444433
Max Weight6,5486,5489,0009,00012,3008,6956,920
Base Armor4,9544,9546,5056,5053,5522,9652,665
Combat Speed15151111111215
Turn Speed20201313131522
Ballistic Defense20%20%30%30%20%35%0%
Explosive Defense30%20%40%30%20%30%0%
Penetrative Defense40%20%40%40%40%60%40%
Concussive Defense40%40%0%0%0%0%0%
Radioactive Defense20%20%20%20%20%30%40%
Penetrating Reload90%90%100%100%120%150%30%
Penetrating Damage25%0%0%0%0%0%60%
Building Damage0%0%100%60%0%0%0%
Anti Mort Range0%0%50%50%0%0%0%
Flak Evade30%30%30%30%30%30%0%
OtherUnreactive, Thermal ImgUnreactive, Thermal ImgAnti-Mort Acc +20%, Armor Ability +25%-Remote Targeting--
Repair Modifier100%100%100%100%100%100%100%
Hull Build Time w/off4d 23h 54m4d 23h 54m5d 16h 15m5d 16h 15m5d 16h 15m4d 20h 38m1d 3h
Total U needed125,0000150,00000375,00075,000Basic DPS
Siege Z Ship DPS457.3384.9405.2405.2445.7506.5382.2202.6
Torr 3 Ship DPS287.6242.7251.3251.3267.8290.6266.2150.0
Strike B Ship DPS66.553.

MCX R10 with its 150% reload bonus is the DPS master, but the V2-H R5 looks pretty good too.  The Kodiak retrofit did not come with any ship damage enhancements, just the building damage increase.

For some more commentary on the retrofits (and the rest of the topics I'm about to discuss), check out this week's Battle Pirates Crib live show:

Snowfall Campaign and Proto-Mastodon:

Kixeye has released a new campaign called "Snowfall" - with a new limited hull as the mastery prize - the Proto-Mastodon.  And just in case it was holding you back, you can start campaigns at lower levels... this one unlocks at Level 48.

The Snowfall campaign is structured similarly to the other campaigns with mastery prizes. 12 hours for 5 engagements to get the first Prize Pack, 6 hours for 6 engagements to get the second Prize Pack, and 1 hours for 7 engagements to get 1 blueprint for the Mastery prize.  Multiple Mastery blueprints are needed to build multiple hulls.  

The engagements for this campaign are taken from the Arctic series of raids.  I'm not going to go in detail through each encounter, but they are briefly described as follows:

Encounter 1: Open Water Fleet - Kodiaks
Encounter 2: Open Water Fleet - Proto-Nemesis
Encounter 3: L Base
Encounter 4: Split Pads
Encounter 5: U Base
Encounter 6: Big Triple Base
Encounter 7: Kraken

The descriptions are how I think of them, and hopefully they will be memory joggers for those of you who have been through the Arctic raids.  I have seen playthough videos on You Tube, so if you want to see more detail, find one.

Each of the Encounters (except the Kraken) has certain targets designated as Priority, and just like during the raids, killing all of the Priority Targets will end the Encounter.  Some of the later encounters can be lengthy, so take advantage of this where you can.

In addition, many players find the Kraken quite difficult, since the Kraken sub never surfaces and has very good resistances and evade.  Thermal Detection is very helpful, and so is Bullseye Brigade with missiles.  Players who use Poseidon Depth Charges on a fast fleet have reported good success against Krakens.

The Proto-Mastodon adds a few stat buffs to the original Mastodon design and also adds a Cryo Missile override launch - it creates splash damage and a cryo field.  The stats compare as follows:

Weapon Slots1010
Armor Slots55
Special Slots44
Max Weight12,30012,300
Base Armor4,5363,552
Combat Speed1111
Turn Speed1813
Ballistic Defense30%20%
Explosive Defense30%20%
Penetrative Defense40%40%
Concussive Defense0%0%
Radioactive Defense30%20%
Penetrating Reload130%120%
Penetrating Damage0%0%
Building Damage25%0%
Anti Mort Range0%0%
Flak Evade30%30%
OtherRemote Targeting, Cryo Launch OverrideRemote Targeting
Repair Modifier100%100%
Hull Build Time w/off5d 16h 15m5d 16h 15m
Siege Z Ship DPS465.9445.7
Torr 3 Ship DPS275.6267.8
Strike B Ship DPS64.461.6

The new Proto-Mastodon is a very desirable hull - it is equal to or better than the regular Mastodon in every way.

Also for players that don't have it yet - the Strike Cruiser X is available in Prize Pack 1.  With the R3 Ballistic Reload bonus (100%), R5 Ballistic Range bonus (40%), and the R7 Ballistic Damage Bonus (50%), the SCX can be quite capable with ballistics, especially the Bypass Chaingun.
Repair Specialist:
This is a new feature Kixeye has announced.  

Their official announcement is here:

The "Vote on which hull comes first" thread is here:

And the discussion thread with much moaning (and not the good kind) is here:

All of this has not been completely explained yet, but I'll try to summarize what we have been told from CM/Moderator sources:

  • Repair Specialists will be released for specific hulls in packs, similar to retrofit packs.
  • The first pack will be released on March 3
  • When you unlock the Repair Specialist for a hull type, the repair modifier will be modified based on the ship's rank.  Higher rank ships will repair faster.
  • The amount of repair reduction is not stated, but may be different on different hulls.
  • Repair Specialists will NOT require gold to unlock.  
  • Resources that will be needed (Oil/Energy/Metal/Zyn, Uranium, Time) to unlock Repair Specialists has not been stated.
  • Repair Specialists will be in the Intelligence Lab.
One thing I'm concerned about from the last item - if these repair specialists are in the Intelligence Lab, then you may need to have your Intelligence Lab at a certain Level in order to access/unlock them.  When the Outpost max level was increased to 6, and the Lab max levels were increased to 11, I thought that it was curious that the Intelligence Lab could be increased to Level 11 with no apparent benefit from doing so.  It may be possible that in order to unlock the Repair Specialists for the higher-end hulls, you may need a Level 11 Intelligence Lab.  In order to upgrade the Intel Lab to 11, the Naval, Weapons, and Advanced Lab must all be Level 11.  In case you haven't done these yet (I haven't), upgrading all 4 labs from Level 10 to 11 will take over 15 days and 3,320 Uranium.  March 3 is under 13 days away...
Disclaimer: If you spend the Time, Resources, & Uranium to upgrade these labs... they might continue to be useless.

Some players are criticizing this upcoming change already, some are praising it.  I think that we don't have enough information yet to evaluate.  Rank is already very valuable for the reload bonus, and this change will make it even more valuable.  Many players have been asking for a reduction in repair times, and we will be getting a mechanism for exactly that.  I'll be cautiously optimistic for now.

Stay tuned - when more solid information is released I'll get on it.