Friday, February 13, 2015

Brimstone - One day in

Well Brimstone has arrived.  Points can be hard to come by.

First of all, we are going have to come up with some new shorthand for the Grimshine Berserker, since "Grimshine" won't be good enough to tell whether we are talking about the Wrath or the Berserker.  I'm going to use GB & GW in this article, even though GB can be confused with gunboat.  I'll take other suggestions in the comments.

I'll try to run through the target options quickly, since the targets are mostly the same as we've seen before.

Strike Campaign:
For Mid-Levels, the Strike Campaign is tougher to do with (long-range) instant repair ships than last time, but still possible.  The Scouts carry Chainguns and Throwers which have fast-travelling shots that can really cut the lifetime of your ships.  Even if you plan to do this campaign with conventional ships, you may want to soften them up with a couple runs of instant repair ships to take out the little drone-sized ships.  My Siege Z armed R10 Mercurys can do 3-4 engagements of this campaign before needing repair.  One tactic I am using with those ships is to have one ship "peel off" and draw fire as they approach a target - this minimizes splash to my fleet but can be tricky to keep all ships in range simultaneously..

Siege Campaign:
For High-Levels, the Siege campaign is definitely difficult.  I'm hearing of players having some success with Grimshine Berserker/Harlock Carrier fleets, and also Cryo-armed Enforcers (likely using Compound, not Evade armor).

With my GB still under construction, I don't have that option, so I am using my Frostburn Interceptor with two zombie Mastodons.  With my fleet, the key is to command the Mastodons somewhere safe, then drive the Frosty to "block" ships from targeting the Mastodons.  Each trip results in a 3 coin repair on the Frosty, and a couple seconds repair on the Mastodons.  Each target can be beaten in 1 - 3 trips, and it is very dependent on how long I can keep my Mastodons alive... although the Frostburn does OK by itself when there are just a few ships left too.

The fleet is assembled from ships I've talked about in earlier articles, but the build link is:!60MI00U0U0U0U1S655B684W4W4W4W4W4W4W4W0MC00000000000170L0R1S0L00003E4U3E4U4U4U4U0MC00000000000170L0R1S0L4U4U3E4U3E4U4U4U4U0ZZ0ZZdB

This fleet is well short of max weight, but this fleet was built to have room for a Jugg X (which I don't think will help me in this raid due to its emphasis on evade and its slower speed).  One more thing about this fleet - I use the Cut 1 on the Mastodons so they can remote target for themselves.  Having that extra range missile makes remote targeting a little misleading, since the yellow ring I see when driving these ships indicates the Cutlass range, not the Siege Missile range.

That fleet can do Siege campaigns for 27 - 30 coins, taking 30 - 40 minutes of time, for a gain of around 3.65 million points.  Players using the GB/Harlock combo can get similar results.

I've tried a couple crews - the Deadeye Destroyers didn't help significantly, but the Midnight Marauders did, bringing my cost down to 22 coins - the extra speed really helped when the Frosty was on its own and trying to outrun some of the larger ships with their mortars and rockets.  Grease Monkeys did great too - they have the Marauder's ability as well as the half repair cost.  I haven't used my Bullseye Brigade or Skullduggery crews yet, but I'm not too confident they will help much - my missiles (with Laser) are already very accurate against the Reavers.  Maybe even some of the crews that buff speed at the start of a battle might help (Gearheads, Fearless Blitzers), since they will help the Mastodons get more spread out at the battle's start.

Some players are also just getting points from the first engagement and restarting.  No bonuses are earned that way, but if you have a fleet that can do that first fight efficiently it may work for you.

A few other things I tried - The Arbiter/Hellstrike R10 was a disaster.  My Harlock Carriers without the GB did OK, but were a lot less cost effective than the Frosty/Mast combo.

Elite Campaign:
I tried my fleet a few times in the Elite - I couldn't keep the Mastodons alive long enough to be very effective... this engagement has a lot of Reavers coming at you from all directions.

World Map:
The world map targets pay out approximately as follows:
25: 30k 
41: 60k
43: 88k
45: 120k
47: 250k
75: over 2 Million

The 47 can be done with cloaked subs & careful driving - I found it too tedious with my Magnus Spectres, but players with Nighthawks may have better luck.  The other targets I tried were not worth the damage for the points payout.

The Mothership on the 75 apparently warps in large ships - handle with care.  I have seen a video with R10 Deluge Reapers (probably with retrofitted stealth) doing the motherships.

Many players don't have the fleets or the coin for this raid (or maybe they're just kind of fed up) and they are choosing to sit this one out.  For my part... after one or two engagements... my first draft of this article was:


But after messing around a bit, I'm sort of enjoying the challenge - having to decide where to send my Mastodons, how to block with the Frosty, and choosing which ships to target makes this a decent test of skill.  It's a shame that there are no easier paths for high level players to take, and no good prizes in the lower tiers.

I decided that the GW is within my reach for a reasonable amount of coin (especially since I basically sat out last month)... so I'm going for it and the Apocalypse Mortar too (I hear the build is just over 6 days which is shorter than I expected). 

I still think the Infernal Core is garbage.

"The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his."
- George S. Patton

One more note - this raid is definitely more expensive than the Arctic series - I was doing those campaigns for 15-18 coins per run.  Despite the fact that I don't mind this raid too much, and I'm really looking forward to the Wrath, I'm disappointed that it seems Kixeye hasn't listened to its players.  Instead of making the raids less extreme and slowing power creep, they seem to have doubled down -- making this raid even harder and increasing the power creep.  

If you are unclear on the term "power creep", this video was recently linked from Bangtidy's Facebook page, and I think it very accurately describes the phenomenon going on in BP.

As always - play your game - do the raid or don't do the raid.  Just go have some fun!