Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Instant Repair Ships

(I had this article all written, and then we got new Forsaken Mission content in today's update.  I'll put this one out just about as-is and get to the new equipment analysis by Thursday. It also looks like we're about to get into the Raid Cycle... Kixeye's Tips & Tricks Post is expected Feb 5 and the Brimstone Raid will start on Feb 12.)

For this article, I'm going to talk about some fleets that can come in handy in a few different situations, especially if you have more time than coin... instant repair fleets.  

Since the last 5 minutes of a repair can be sped up instantly for free, ships that take less than that time to repair can be very useful - throwing them at difficult targets over and over again will allow players to weaken and eventually destroy targets that they wouldn't be able to beat otherwise.

In recent raids, the targets for the level 60+ players have really been too difficult for instant repair ships to make a dent.  But "Strike" and "Recon" level targets have been doable with well-built instant repair ships.  Campaigns can also be (mostly) done with instant repair ships (especially during half-repair raids), although probably not within an hour to make the mastery level.

The other fun thing about these ships is that they generally take only 1 - 3 days each to build, so a little experimentation won't set anyone back too far.

Repair Times:
The basic repair time for a ship is that one point of armor repairs each second, so in 5 minutes (300 seconds) 300 points of armor can be repaired.  But there are a few twists:

If you have an officer applied to "Master Fixer", ship repairs are 10% faster, so 330 points of armor will repair in 5 minutes.  

Hulls with a "Repair Modifier" statistic may repair faster or slower than normal.  The repair modifier is equal to the Actual Repair Time divided by the Unmodified Repair Time.  Hulls with a lower repair modifier repair faster.

During Raid/Events repair time is cut in half.

Hulls:

The chart below shows the hulls that can be used as instant repair.  Hulls in the top (always) portion can also be used as instant repair during raids with double the health.


HULLS THAT CAN ALWAYS BE INSTANT REPAIRED
HullRepair Modifier Base HealthMax Health
(No/With officer)
Max Ship Wt.
Gunboat50%10600/66031
Skirmisher50%27600/66082
Longship50%72600/660216
Marauder50%190600/660570
Corvette75%14400/44036
Frigate75%40400/440100
Destroyer75%164400/440431
Destroyer X75%142400/440431
Light Cruiser75%342400/4401042
Light Cruiser X75%320400/4401042
ADDITIONAL HULLS THAT CAN BE INSTANT REPAIRED DURING RAID
HullRepair Modifier Base HealthMax Health
(No/With officer)
Max Ship Wt.
Predator Sub300%120200/220416
Stalker200%250300/3302200
Arbiter75%562800/88012000
Battle Barge75%466800/8801397
Battle Barge A75%535800/8801397
Sea Wolf100%550600/6602300


Some considerations on hulls for instant repair ships are:
  • Number of Special Slots - you will usually want speed as one of your specials, and probably a weapon special as well.  The only hull listed above that has three special slots is the Sea Wolf.
  • Number of Weapon Slots/Max Weight - most of your weight will be weapons.  You want to get the most punch you can in your limited lifetime.  Although the Arbiter has a lot of weight to work with, it only has one weapon slot and using a field module will add armor to push you over the instant repair threshold.
  • Built-in Evade/Resist - this can help you live a little bit longer.  The Penetrating Reload bonus on the LCX is nothing to sneeze at either.

Weapons:

I compiled a list of weapons that are light (ish) and best in class for damage.  These are probably the weapons that you would consider for use in instant repair builds.  Note that I list straight DPS, not DPS per weight, since you really care more about how much damage you can pack in your slots, not using a maximum weight most efficiently.  I'm also showing DPS at zero rank.  Keep in mind that instant repair ships can rank up really quick when using them a lot, so 1 salvo weapons might also have an advantage.  I also showed a couple launchers in the list, for reasons I will explain later.  The launcher DPS does not include any Shockwave damage.


Weapons to consider for Instant Repair Ships
WeaponRangeWeight (Dock 1)Build Time (w/off)Ship DPSBuilding DPSArmor
Thud 4496205m30.074.90
Impact Cannon N438014m64.7194.00
Impact Cannon R491003h 51m39.7238.050
Ripper 34310458m67.8168.90
Ripper 4432494h 21m73.9215.30
Shredder 34728417h 26m89.5503.20
Assalut Cannon X/P451507h 02m73.5102.940
Assault Cannon Z4520018h 45m110.0154.1100
Reaver Chain 1471985h 54m81.2116.00
Bypass Chain 1472967h 04m124.1177.30
Magma Thrower6832020h 56m188.6377.20
Cutlass 27416150m17.024.30
Strike Missile N651201h 00m42.093.30
Strike Missile L681201h 00m35.2117.30
Strike Missile B721203h 39m28.093.30
Torrent 1621985h 54m59.966.50
Diplomat 1851051m5.65.60
Shockwave L853501h 44m25.031.20
Shockwave Q853502h 49m27.834.80
Hydra Rocket 35712010m 25.925.90
Hydra Rocket 45718220m34.734.70
Maelstrom 1628210m31.531.50
Maelstrom 26217224m37.837.80
Firestorm N5710025m45.968.80
Firestorm A5910025m38.457.60
Firestorm S592002h 08m64.064.00
Vortex Torpedo M756055m28.731.90
Vortex Torpedo Z75601h 20m47.163.70
Havok Torpedo 3758028m20.826.00
Havok Torpedo 4751601h 23m28.135.10
Assault Torpedo X752206h 05m43.558.00
Assault Torpedo B782208h 45m52.570.00
Impulse Launcher U9151413h 47m36.125.8150
Impulse Launcher S917001d 2h 16m75.0225.0150
Cryo Launcher S917001d 2h 16m101.7305.0200

Some considerations on weapons for instant repair ships are:
  • Salvo - 1 salvo weapons will have more of a DPS increase as they rank up.  Instant repair ships tend to rank quickly, since they are small hulls with low VXP thresholds.  Also dying a lot and being thrown at enemies over and over again helps, since they get 20 VXP per battle when they do some damage and then sink.  Weapons with very high salvo (Reaver weapons) have a different advantage, in that their damage is front loaded, so if a ship only lasts a few seconds in combat, a Chaingun is doing a great deal of its salvo damage in that short time.
  • Range - ranges listed are without any specials.  You'll want any range-boosting specials you can get, since you don't want your instant repair ships to sink before they even fire.
  • Armor - some weapons add armor points, which may be a disadvantage for instant repair ships where the total armor needs to stay below the five minute repair threshold.
  • Splash - Rockets, Mortars, and Magma Throwers do splash damage over an area.
Armor:
I'm not going to list out all the armors available, but instead give some general considerations.
  • Draconian armor is usually off the table, since D1-M, the smallest piece available, has 300 armor points.
  • Forget about Forsaken Plate
  • The best way to pick your armor is with a little experimentation in Huggy's.  Give yourself a headstart by subtracting the health (after weapons) from the Max Health for instant repair on that hull.  Try to choose the lowest tech level armor that gives you the armor points you want and that fits in the max weight (this minimizes build time). 
  • Always prioritize weapons over armor if you are running out of weight - instant repair ships aren't going to last long under fire anyway.

Basic Instant Repair Ship Ideas:
For non-raid situations, the ship choices are fairly limited.  Marauders are the most capable choice for researchable hulls, and the Destroyer X, along with the Light Cruiser (or LCX) are the most capable prize choices.  The DD-X was in the Forsaken Mission Tier 1 for a while, but we haven't seen the LC or LCX for a while.

Open this link in Huggy's if you'd like to follow along:  http://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!5004004070I04040400400A0A0I3C3C3C0H30040303163C3C0H500502173C3C3C4C0H5005021VA8A8A94CdB

Marauder Ship 1 (72 DPS, 49 Range ): Many players get started with Thud Marauders, which is a solid choice.  On some platforms like Armor Games and Kongregate players start with a slightly enhanced Marauder blueprint.  With only one special, you have to chose between Engine and Hardened Barrel, some players prefer HB.

Marauder Ship 2 (101 DPS, 65 Range): Once you get a Strike Missile (Strike N from campaign), notice that the Strike gives both more range and more DPS than the Thud (even without any range special).  This is going to be a theme for this article... in most situations, the Strike Missile will outdo comparably sized ballistics.

Destroyer X Ship 3 (84 DPS, 77 Range): Continuing on my Strike Missile kick - the DD-X has a base speed of 17 and 30% evade.  Put SFB2 or better on it and you have a fleet that can auto 27 strongholds.  Strike System 2 or better, if available, enhances this build.

Light Cruiser X Ship 4 (150+24 DPS, 84.5 / 75 Range): The LCX is a big enhancement over the LC, especially in the speed department which is important with only one special.  This build is pretty similar to the DD-X above, but has a little extra punch.

Light Cruiser X Ship 5 (252+24 DPS, 77.5 / 75 Range): With more weight available, the Torrent is an option for the LC/LCX, and even a Torrent 2 will fit along with 2 Torrent 1 and the Vortex M.  I would be sure that you have Strike System 3 or SFB 3 before investing time in this build. 
  
Raid Instant Repair Ship Ideas:
With the extra health to work with, the Sea Wolf and the Battle Barge-A are the prime hulls to work with for instant repair raid ships.  (The BB-A is easy enough to get from the campaign using the ships above, so don't even bother with the regular Battle Barge.)  An LCX could be built with more armor for raids as well, but with only one special slot, it falls behind in capability.

Between the BB-A and the Sea Wolf, the SW has one extra weapon slot, the third armor slot, and more max weight capability.  The BB-A has some retrofit enhancements as well as the lower repair modifier allowing it more health with instant repair.  The BB-A is available much more quickly to new players as well.

Huggy's link to these BB-A ideas: http://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!5036004040I1130303030036004040R0I3C3C3C3C036002020R1V3C3C3C4X036004040C0I00AHAHAH0ZZdB

BB-A Ship 1 (207 DPS (290 at R5), 65 Range): Putting ballistics on the BB-A is sort of an obvious choice, since the BB-A gets a reload bonus at R5.  Impact N don't seem that great, but with the extra weight of Hardened Barrel, Chainguns are too heavy (well... you could actually put a couple on), and Rippers or Assault Cannons add a lot of build time without adding much DPS.

BB-A Ship 2 (197 DPS, 68 Range): Adding Laser Targeting to the Strike Missiles gives retargeting, which actually works out well when a weapon is reloading as quickly as the Strikes.  I went to Strike L, since the Laser makes up for the low accuracy.  Hitting bases or campaign targets with weak turrets lined up in a row works out really well with Laser added.  Strike System over Engine is a great upgrade to this hull when available.

BB-A Ship 3 (169+100 DPS, 85 / 91 Range): Since the D104-S only adds 200 armor, it will fit on a BB-A with lighter armor than the other options.  Other launchers could fit, but don't have the punch of the D104-S.  A nice upgrade from ship 2 once the equipment is available... if you build the all-strike version and keep using it, it will hit Legendary rank.

BB-A Ship 4 (566 DPS, 68 Range): 3 Magma Throwers... I'd be interested to see how these do on the water.  The new Blaze Throwers with better range and less damage might also be a good option (377 DPS, 80 range) with 3 throwers - we'll have to see the complete blueprint to see if the weapon adds any armor to make it unusable for instant repair ships.

Huggy's link to these SW ideas: http://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!5008005111S0U30303030300080050B1S11AEA5AEA5A5008005170I0C0N0N0N0N0N008005170I0R3E3E3E3E3E0080050C1V0RA9A9A9A8A8dB

SW Ship 1 (577.2 DPS, 64.5 Range): Putting ballistics on SW is an old tactic... it can still work.  The extra special could be used for autoloader with low salvo weapons.  A mix of Rippers can work, or even the Impact Cannons will build quickly and take full advantage of the Autoloader.  Although Assault Cannons work from a weight perspective, loading up with those will cause the armor to exceed the instant repair threshold.

SW Ship 2 (418 DPS, 75 Range): With the long salvo, autoloader isn't such a great idea with the Chainguns - a mix of regular and bypass is used to max out the weight, and I used Scrambler 2 as the third special.  With extra evade and range, as well as the front-loaded damage, this ship might end up doing more damage in practice than Ship 1 that has a higher DPS rating.

SW Ship 3 (78 DPS, 96 Range):  Everybody wants a fleet of these to open salvage (unless you build this on a BC hull instead).  Cutlass 3 are... OK I guess.

SW Ship 4 (246 DPS, 88 Range):  Me, I like Strike Missiles - they hit harder than Cutlass.  And with all the Strikes in the air (reload 3 vs. 7), Laser makes more sense.

SW Ship 5 (465 DPS, 77 Range):  The Torrents should hit pretty hard... and are big enough to take advantage of the (relatively) high Max Weight of the SW hull. Again Laser is important with all the missiles that a torrent puts out.

A few more crazy ideas:

Huggy's link: http://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!5003000000009090050000I4C4C009000001G1V22224F4F0080050C0I5B1C1C1C1C1C009000001G0IACACACACdB

Longship Ship 1 (11 DPS, 85 Range): The whole fleet is instant repair - this one can come in handy for early campaigns when you don't want to wait for raids to do them.

Predator Ship 2 (39 DPS, 75 Range): Vortex M is better than Havok 4 - it builds faster, hits harder, and is lighter too.  Vortex Z, if you have it, is better than any non-siege torpedo except the Assault B.

Stalker Ship 3 (200 DPS, 96 Range): Yes the Stalker can be instant repair during raids.  I don't know if this build would be good enough to get a few Deluge shots off or not - it might be fun to try though.  Unfortunately, you have to choose Caterpillar Drive or Battery... Speed and Range are musts.  I added the V torps for more speed - I assume that they wouldn't be actually doing damage when using Deluge.

Seawolf Ship 4 (465 DPS, 18 Range): This one makes me think of an old Far Side cartoon - two spiders build a web at the bottom of a playground slide... one says to the other "If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings."  Heck - leave one Piranha off and go for Reaver Scout Engine... and of course this build isn't about DPS, it's the concussive damage of that initial burst.

Stalker Ship 5 (264 DPS, 71 Range): Maybe Battery isn't so important if you don't need to escape.

Arbiter (261 DPS, 75 Range): This one isn't in the Huggy's link, but I scanned my list for the single largest DPS weapon to fit in the single weapon slot on the Arbiter, and came up with the Bypass Chaingun 3.  Yes, you could build an Arb with a Bypass 3, HB3, Engine 3, and 2 Iron 4 armor pieces... but you could also put that same equipment on the BB-A R5 and get some better resistances, speed, and the ballistic reload bonus with a couple hours quicker build time.  It would be funny to see an instant repair fleet of arbs though... wouldn't it?

Closing: There's a lot of options out there for Instant Repair fleets... many of the designs I shared can be tweaked depending on what blueprints you have available. And I'm sure I missed a few good ideas.  Feel free to share your favorites in the comments (if you are willing).