Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Brimstone - Pre Raid Tips & What to Get

The Brimstone Raid is starting on Thursday, February 12.  Based on the info we know, I'll do my best to provide a few tips and ideas before the raid starts.

The event briefing is here:
The Raid video is here:
Robot's Tips and Tricks post is here:

There are also a couple important items from the weekly release:
  • The bug that inverted bypass percentages is supposedly fixed - so D51-B missiles won't be quite so amazing anymore.
  • The Frostburn field will now put out the Wendigo cryo field - so the Frostburn is now an even more important part of beating bases with Wendigos.
  • Fallout Armor weight is now based on Armor weight, not Total weight.  (I put my article back to the way it was when I first wrote it)
This raid should be fairly similar to the previous Hellgate raid.  I expect that the points for the world map targets will be tweaked a bit so that there isn't a "47" that pays much better than the others.  Kixeye has also announced that there will be a Mothership world map target which is like previous motherships we've seen that use a built-in relay to warp in Reaver ships.

Some general tips based on Hellgate:
  • Spread fleets seemed to do better, since most of the Reaver weapons do splash.  Mastodons were particularly valuable when keeping ships spread out.
  • Some players found Enforcers and Goliaths to be very cost-effective - the 50% repair modifier is nice, and the slow speed doesn't make too much of a difference since most ships can't outrun Reavers anyway.
  • For Motherships, you will likely want to get to the Mothership ASAP, and not get distracted by the warped-in ships.  Just kill them on the way there.
  • Subs will work sometimes - look for ships without thermal detection or without weapons that will damage underwater.
  • If a world map target turns out to be more valuable/desirable than the others, it will get scarce.  This happens because as players hit one specific type of target, it is replaced by any of the world map target types.  You'll need to work with your alliance/sector to hit all types of targets if you want to keep the "good" ones flowing.
  • When trying to team up, it was often difficult because there was a long delay in allowing the second player to join in.  Some advice that worked last time is for the first player to wait out the countdown timer before joining the battle.  Co-op may not be possible for Strike and Siege campaigns this time... Only Elite (and Siege) are shown as a co-op this time in the event window.  We'll see.
Rogue Crews:
If you completed the Going Rogue campaign last weekend, you have a Grease Monkeys crew available to use.  If you aren't coining at all, then that crew (that cuts repair time in half) really isn't very valuable to you, since you can basically only use it to cut off 1.5 hours of repair time, and it also behaves like Midnight Marauders while active.

If you are coining, then you can use this crew to cut your coined repairs in half, so it can be quite valuable for the coiners.  For me, I generally start out raids with some experimentation to find out which fleets seem to work best.  I try to hit a variety of targets with a variety of fleets, starting with targets I think will be easy and work my way up to more difficult targets.  This way i can minimize coining while figuring out my strategy.  Then later on in the raid, I tend to hit my groove (or grind) and just keep hitting away at what I think are the best targets.  Since most of a player's raid spend will be in the "grind" phase (unless they figure out how to do it for free):
  • Wait until you have your raid strategy figured out before using the Grease Monkeys crew.
  • Don't use the crew until you have damaged fleets to repair.
  • Make sure you have the full 90 minutes to play while the crew is active.
  • If you use multiple fleets, rotate all the damaged ships through the fleet slot with the crew so all your repairs take advantage.
Other crews you may have won are also worth using:
  • Deadeye Destroyers increases DPS a bit (15%).
  • Midnight Marauders will also increase fleet stats as you take damage.  The tricky part with this crew is that ships that take different amounts of damage will get different speeds, and start spreading out.  In base hits, this often works against you since you are usually sailing toward what is giving you damage, so the damaged ship starts taking even more damage. Against Reavers on the open water, this may help since you are often sailing away from them, so a damaged ship will go faster & take LESS damage, thus spreading the damage around.
  • Sea Serpents helps Evade and Maneuverability.  Sail at right angles to the fast ships to take advantage of their poor turn ability and get away from them.
  • Bulleye Brigade benefits (100% accuracy) are well known to most players with missile fleets.  This might be nice for ships with Bypass Chaingun as well.

Three new Prizes have been released: 

Grimshine's Wrath:
This hull is based on the Hellhound, but it has a 100% missile reload boost, 50% missile reload boost to the fleet, a launch override that makes incendiary missiles, and two overload effects.
- The first effect is a Grimshine's Berserker-style weapons overload with an instant triple salvo and 30% combat speed boost, every 1500 armor points (no defensive boost)
- The second effect is called the Alpha Strike, which has a large damage burst that causes explosive damage, radioactive damage, and stun at a range of 60, as well as a secondary field that causes another 200 points of radioactive damage per second over a shorter range of 22.

The incendiary missiles aren't explained in any detail, but I assume they will make radioactive fire fields when they land.

This chart is getting too busy to be really useful... but I'm going to show it anyway.

Wow.  The basic statistics are slightly better than the regular Hellhound, except for the lack of turret/field resistances, but the overloads are really what you are getting this ship for.

As a lead for Mastodons (or Kodiaks) this ship will be brutal.  It could even lead V2H fleets if constructed to go fast enough.  Torrents (to put out as many incendiary missiles as possible), Siege Battery, and Reaver Bulkhead come to mind as equipment for this hull.  This hull will be very usable and effective even for those who didn't get or build Hellhounds.

Apocalypse Mortar:

This base defense mortar looks pretty powerful - like a scaled up Meteor Mortar.  The stats are compared below:

Apocalypse MortarMeteor MortarBrimstone MissileVictory Mortar 4Victory Mortar 5
Range65 - 16065 - 12540-13555-12255-122
Bonus Damage150025122400
Reload Time15.
Equiv. Accuracy100.00%88.89%100.00%44.44%44.44%
DPS vs. Stationary Target481 + pool56 + pool112126160
Power Margin Turret 48.19%269%84%287%203%
Power Margin Turret 516.96%298%99%318%228%

The issue with any mortar is that a fleet that can keep moving will not be damaged by them.  So to be able to use this weapon effectively, you will need to be sure that your base has some stopping points - any Level 4 turret won't do it these days, you need a Level 5 turret loaded with armor.  Even so... the damage is tremendous compared to any other Center Island Splash Weapon... if I saw these coming at me, I might charge a Cerb rather than take all that splash damage and then sit in the 300 DPS fire pool.

This weapon uses 3420 power, so it will fit in a Level 4 turret with enough margin for a special that adds 8% power.  If on a Level 5 turret, a special that adds 16% power can be used.  

Specials you could use with an Apocalypse on a  Level 4 Turret:
  • Slide Loader 2: 125% Reload, -55% Damage
  • Pinch Resist Panel 2: 35% Stun Resist
  • Level 1 C/M/X Defense Panels: 20% C/M/X Defense
  • Lead Panel 1: 30% Stun Resist, 30% Rad Defense

Specials you could use with an Apocalypse on a Level 5 Turret:
  • Frontline Platform X-M: 15% Reload, 40% Missile Defense
  • Pinch Resist Panel 3: 50% Stun Resist
  • Level 2 C/M/X Defense Panels: 35% C/M/X Defense
  • Lead Panel 2: 40% Stun Resist, 40% Rad Defense
  • Insulated Panel C/M/X: 40% Stun Resist, 40% C/M/X Defense

If the damage of the fire pools is not reduced, the Slide Loader will be a great option for this weapon. Alternately one of the Pinch Resists would be another effective option.

The Fire Support X special, that combines a projectile speed boost with a slide loader boost will not fit on this weapon because it has a 25% damage boost.  If you have the Fuel-Air Munitions field that can be effective as well.

Infernal Core:

This new Reaver engine special is similar to the Unstable Core 3, except it is slightly heavier (UC3 is 600 tons + 11% Total Weight), and seems to have a more powerful explosion when destroyed.   Both the Infernal Core and the Unstable Core 3 give the same speed boost/accuracy nerf as the Engine Upgrade 3 with different weight (Engine 3 gives +14% total weight).  (sorry no chart - just not worth it without knowing the details of the "Death Weapon").

I don't know of a source where the Unstable Core was well explained (with numbers giviing range and amount of damage), and this new Infernal Core isn't well explained on the blueprint.  It looks like the "Death Weapon" damage is based on damage taken, so that leads me to assume that ships with higher health will do more damage when they die.  Possibly the "Death Weapon Charge" statistic of 100% means that the damage done is equal to 100% of the ship's health with a max of 30,000 damage.  If you watch the video - at 1:00 in a Jugg X triggers the explosion.  Although there is a cool explosion effect and the screen shakes a bit, the actual damage done to the nearby Reaver Scout is pretty small... and a JuggX should have a lot of health.

Some players used to use the Unstable Core on instant repair ships in order to deal out additional damage on death.  If the Infernal Core's death weapon only does damage equal to the ship's health, then it probably isn't worth using in that role.  The strength of the fire field may make a difference - will it be the usual 100 DPS field or a 300 DPS field?  We'll have to wait and see.

Prize Recommendations:

Tier 5: 
Grimshine's Wrath: This will be a very powerful hull, and if you can get the points and are willing to take the time or coin to build it... it will be a very powerful addition to your arsenal.  As a limited hull, it also has the advantage of only needing to be built once, instead of requiring a whole fleet.  I'm sure the raw hull build time will be at least as long as the Grimshine's Berzerker (12d 13h with officer) so keep that in mind.
Apocalypse Mortar: Although this base defense weapon has some potential, I think for it to be really effective, players will need to design their bases around its capabilities. Established players that have a decent defense based around Javelins and Executioners will likely not want to bother.  I would expect the build time on this weapon to be in the 10 - 12 day range like many other top-end weapons.  But... some players that have a Brimstone left behind in their base to keep fleets honest (like me) might want to replace it with an Apocalyse - the DPS is pretty huge and the range is good.

Tier 4:
Infernal Core:  This will have some uses, but I don't see this as must-have tech.  When someone uses it on you effectively... you'll be dead but so will they, so get over it.
D4-C, D4-X Armor:  These armors are not available from blueprint drops any more, so they may be worth picking up if you don't have them yet.. although I usually prefer D4-E to these armors.  C armor might be more valuable in conjunction with the Fallout Armor special.
Inferno Rockets: These came up recently in the Forsaken Mission Tier 3... look for something else to spend your points on unless you have an immediate need for a rocket fleet and also a rocket hull to use them on.
Javelin, Reaver Scout Engine: Both of these are available via campaigns, so consider that before spending points on these (worthwhile) items.
Maelstrom V: I'd pick Infernos over these, every time.  Pass.
Siege Cannon Z: I'd rather have a Blaze Thrower.  Pass.
D4-U: The D4-U armor is a bad deal when you look at the resistances and the build time.  Pass.

Tier 3: 
Vindicator: This hull was a decent ballistic hull, and many players also used this hull quite successfully with Launchers when it was first released.  I wouldn't build this as a ballistic hull these days.  One random thought: Kixeye has tended to re-release hulls, then put them into retrofit a month or two later (Jugg X & MCX are recent examples).  Although the Vindicator isn't on the list for this month, maybe this hull is headed for an R10 soon?  With Thrower or Radioactive weapon enhancements?  Please?
D3-C Armor: D3 armor in general has a nice build time compared to the armor points you get.  I like D3-E the best, but C armor might be more valuable in conjunction with the Fallout Armor special (that does not have Ballistic Defense).
Unstable Core 3:  This one occasionally has its use on instant repair ships (Sea Wolf).
Assault Disruptor D33-D: This assault cannon with slowdown effects comes in handy on various builds, and is probably worth having in your toolkit.
Poseidon Depth Charge 3: Useful against Krakens and other slow subs.  Not sure how often you'll see those.
Reaver Chaingun 3: Not awful, but definitely inferior to the Bypass Chainguns which have been available from the Forsaken Missions.
Siege Cannon W, Siege Rocket S: You'd rather have Throwers or Infernos... not worth the points or build time in the long term.  Pass.
Shredder Cannon 3: Deals out nice damage, but still not worth the build time.  Pass.

Tier 2: 
Unstable Core 2:  Like Engine 2, but with a boom.  Collectors only.
Battlecruiser X: Recent Mission prize, ballistic hull...  you'd probably rather use the R10 BC in most situations.  Pass.  (maybe we'll see R10 on this one too though?)
D2-C Armor: Blueprint Drop... go hit some salvage. Pass.
Speed System 2: You can get this from the campaign, and you don't need this long-term anyway.  Pass.
Reaver Chaingun 2: Get the superior Bypass Chaingun from the Mission.  Pass.
Shredder Cannon 2: Deals out nice damage, but still not worth the build time.  Pass.

Tier 1: 
Battlecruiser: If you've missed this hull somehow (it's been on Tier 1 of the Forsaken Mission) you should definitely pick it up.
D1-X Armor: I like D1 armor to throw in for a quick build sometimes... pick it up.
Unstable Core 1:  Like Engine 1, but with a boom.  Collectors only.
Speed System 1: You can get this from the campaign, and you don't need this long-term anyway.  Pass.
Reaver Chaingun 1: Get the superior Bypass Chaingun from the Mission.  Pass.
Shredder Cannon 1: Deals out nice damage, but still not worth the build time.  Pass.

Besides the very powerful Grimshine's Wrath, I think this prize list generally sucks from top to bottom.... Between Campaigns and Forsaken Missions, a lot of it is redundant.  To be just a little more constructive here, items that should have been on the prize list include:
  • Hornet UAV (instead of Maelstrom or Inferno)
  • D3-E Armor (instead of D3-C)
  • Speed System 3 (Speed 1 is on Tier 1, Speed 2 is on Tier 2, where's Speed 3?)
  • Spectre or Barracuda (no hull on Tier 4?)
  • Thresher (another choice for Tier 4 if Forsaken subs are gone forever and Kixeye is pushing rockets)
  • Light Cruiser X (instead of BCX)
  • Light Cruiser (instead of BC)
Is it that tough to recycle prizes that players want?  Well, for those of you who have priorities other than this raid... you're not gonna miss a whole lot.  Have a nice Valentines's Day!