Saturday, February 7, 2015

Quick Tip on Zombie Fleets

One correction - if you saw my last article on the new FM items, I did a comparison on the Fallout Armor, and tried to make an estimate of relative weights.  A reader pointed out that the Fallout Armor weight is computed on Total Weight, not Armor Weight, and I updated the article.  If you didn't see that correction, you might want to go back & take a quick look.

Most players know how to use zombie fleets.  For those who don't, a zombie fleet is a fleet where each ship is repaired just a little bit in order to be able to launch and send the fleet into combat.  This is used when you want to use ships that have more health than instant repair fleets (which I covered recently).  This can be very effective with subs like Spectres, Barracudas, or Nighthawks, where even if the enemy sees you, they sometimes won't be able to damage you.  It can also be effective with Mastodons, with a long range instant repair ship up front to spot.

But the problem is that if you don't repair your ships quite enough, when you try to engage a target you will get a popup message that says that your ships need more repair.

I used to think that the minimum that you needed to repair your ships was 1% of their health in order to engage.  Other players would tell me that they would repair until they saw a little sliver of green.  Today, when using zombie Spectres to work on the Going Rogue campaign, I found the answer was slightly different.  I was using Spectres with Magnus Drive, Battery 3, 6 Assault Torpedo B, 2 D2-S, and 1 D2-V armor.  The health of each ship is 3450, so 1% health is 35.  My flagship was a Corvette with health 29.  What I found was that when I repaired the four ships to 37, 25, 25, and 14 health, I could not engage the enemy.  But I swapped my flagship for a Marauder with 330 health, launched again, and found I could engage.  

I started to form a new theory that whether or not you were allowed to engage depended on the total fleet health, not the health of each ship.  For the next engagement, I used the Marauder again, only repaired the Spectres to 2 health each, and found I was still able to engage.  

So then I guessed that the threshold for engagement was 1% of total fleet health, not 1% of each ship.  To test that I used a Frigate with health 90.  I did a little math, and found my total health was:

3450 x 4 + 90 = 13890, so to repair 1% of the fleet, the total health between the four ships would have to be at least 139.  I repaired 3 spectres to 2 health each, and had the frigate repaired for 90 health, which meant I had 96 total fleet health so far.  That meant that I needed 43 health on the 4th spectre in order to engage.  I repaired the spectre to 42 health , launched, and found I could NOT engage.  I docked, repaired it to 44, launched, and engaged sccessfully.

When using a zombie fleet, your total fleet health has to be 1% of the fully repaired fleet health in order to engage.

For 4 Spectres with 3 pieces of D2 armor (3450 health), that means you need a flagship with at least 136 health so that any amount of repairs on the subs allows you to engage.

For 4 Nighthawks with 3 pieces of D2 armor (3995 health), that means you need a flagship with at least 158 health so that any amount of repairs on the subs allows you to engage.

For other fleets, you'll just have to do the math yourself.  If you aren't sure about how much health you can have on a hull and still be instant repair, go back & look at my article on the subject.

I found that my zombie subs have done really well on the first and third engagements of the Going Rogue campaign so far (haven't done the fourth yet).  On the second, I am using the subs to clear out the two Barracudas before a surface fleet engages the rest.  Assault B torpedos will just barely outrange the thermal imaging on those Mercurys, but you have to drive well - of course with my new tip, you only need to repair each sub for 3 seconds to get it back to the fight even if you mess it up.  

Zombie subs should allow you to get through all four levels of this weekend's campaign without too much trouble... save those Grease Monkeys for the raid to cut your repair costs in half!