Friday, March 13, 2015

Apocalypse - One day in

The Apocalypse is here.  I hope you've stocked up on supplies.

If you think this raid is not about skills and tactics, you just haven't figured out the necessary skills and tactics.  The damage I took in my first run-through of a campaign was double the damage of my fifth run-through.

Strike Campaign:
My lower level base is getting close to "levelling out" of this campaign, but I'll keep sharing Strike tips in the blog as long as I can do that campaign.  (and maybe start another base after that...)

The first four engagements in Strike are open water, and the fifth is a "Reaverfied" Level 40 Stronghold.  Some ships are moving at the start of the engagement, others wait until you come into range to trigger.



I think this looks really cool.   

This campaign is do-able with the instant repair BB-As that I've been using (and talking about) for quite a while.  A key tactic when using instant repair ships against Reavers is to spread them out.  You don't want splash from throwers or death explosions affecting all your ships simultaneously.  If you can get stacked up and ready, you can keep 4 ships moving and just stop your 5th ship as a sacrifice to keep the others healthy.

My Siege Missile R10 Mercury fleet was also able to run through this campaign without needing repair until the end.  I would return to base after each engagement to instant repair where I could (which was often).  Since the Siege Z hits so hard, I was able to keep my Mercury ships stacked up because the Reavers wouldn't have time to build a big thrower field before dying.

The Hulks in this campaign are equipped with 4 Locust UAVs per ship.  Bring enough countermeasures to shoot most of these down, as any Locusts that get through will leave you with quite a bit of damage.  (2 Phalanx 2 or 4 Hail B in the fleet would be a start)

This campaign gives a bit over 1.2 million points per runthrough.  When I used my instant repair ships, I was resource-positive, and it took about an hour to complete.  When I used my R10 Siege Missile Z Mercuries, it took half an hour, and I was left with 2.5 hours of repair on the fleet.

Siege Campaign:
The Siege Campaign is similar in structure to the Strike - there are four open water battles followed by a fifth engagement that looks like a "Reaverfied" 55 Stronghold. 

As I ran through this campaign a couple times, I got better at understanding how the ships would move, turn, and pursue.  this was critical with the fleet I used, as I was using a Cryo-armed Frostburn with 2 Zombie Mastodons.  If I didn't drive correctly, my Mastodons would be killed and my Frosty would be left without fire support (it did surprisingly well on its own sometimes).  

I also tried a Grimzerk - Harlock fleet, and a Wrath lead instead of my Frosty.  The Frosty was by far the cheapest way for me to run through the campaign.  I think the slowdown field and possibly the punch of my cryos made the difference.

On the fifth engagement, with the large number of napalm and mortar turrets, I had trouble protecting zombie Mastodons from all splash, so I had to put 1 coin of repair in them in order to survive.  I treated that target like a high end Draconian Stronghold - make a circuit to clear the outside walls, then go for the center.  However, the center island turrets (except possibly the Javelins) have a large minimum range.  So once the outside is clear, you can charge the center and sit right against the island to pick off the turrets while you chat in comms. 

The first time I tried this target, I didn't use the Mastodons, I used stacked interceptors which took much more damage. SPREAD OUT!

Thoughts on Rogue Crews - Use them!  I discussed it on Wednesday's Battle Pirates Crib Hangout, but any crew may be able to help.  I used a Deadeye Destroyers on one of my runthroughs and found that it really cut my damage.  Although the 15% critical chance only raises your DPS by 15%, I think that being able to kill targets faster helped to prevent them from ganging up on my fleet, so the effect was compounded.

Elite Campaign:

This target is the "Reaverfied" level 65 stronghold you see in the raid video.  

There are 4 Hulks and 4 Hellhounds orbiting the base, all in range of the wall turrets.  I tried this, found it extremely difficult, and went back to Siege.  Maybe I needed some better tactics.

EDIT:
Like I said at the top of this article... if you're having too much trouble with a target, maybe you need better tactics.

Some of my readers commented on their Elite strategies, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I started with my Highlander NC with 2 Hellstrikes.  I kept the HLNC on the outside (Rad defense only) and ran the two Hells up the chute into the base and around the island in different directions toward the opposite side, then turned around and came back to finish all the turrets off.  The Hulks orbiting the outside got a few cannon shots in but that's about it from the ships.  Killing the turrets was worth about 2.3 million points & I lost the Hells before they could escape back to the outside.  (11 coins) .  Then I tried a Grimzerk-Harlock to kill the ships - I mostly stood still as they came around.  They didn't do too great but took out more than half before dying, then I used the Frostburn and Mastodons to finish them off (worked better with a similar strategy, but I sailed back & forth a bit to avoid mortars).  For 4.5 Million total points, I think I could get this target down to the same points/coin ratio as the Siege Campaign with a little practice.

For killing the ships I didn't quite have the right combo... My Mastodons put out much more damage than the Harlocks, but my Grimshine Berzerker has the Countermeasures that my Frostburn doesn't (needed for UAVs & Chaos Morts).  

Anyway, I think that was a great example of needing the right strategy to be able to take on a target - as I pointed out, the ships were difficult to kill while covered by all the turrets, so some players came up with the strategy of killing it inside-out.  Thanks for all the comments readers!

World Map Targets:
The Level 25 - 47 targets are a similar concept as last raid; Reaver ships are scattered on the map.  In all of the targets except the 47, the ships all start out active.  In the 47, only the 3 Hellhounds were active at the start.  It may be possible to pick those off with subs, but the other ships have thermal, so to clear the 47 you will need a surface fleet.

In general, I'm hearing that the 43 is the "sweet spot" for difficulty vs points, but you might have to experiment to find your own preference.  Cryo enforcers are working well in these.

The Mothership target (75) is pretty stacked with escorts from the start and will also warp in additional ships right away.  Beware this target if you are using ships you don't want to lose.

Overall:
A cool looking raid, and if you are not going for the Unshackled Hellhound(s), it is doable without too much pain and suffering.  As an upper level player, Crusader + Arbalest isn't much of a stretch.  For my mid-level account, Kodiak + D4-R is what I'll be going for.

I've seen a couple videos with the prizes featured:

Santana with the Arbalest mounted on Hellhounds:

You can certainly see it piercing walls, although the success he had with them may be more about the amount of punishment his Hounds can take rather than the destructiveness of the weapon.  

And this one shows the Combustion Trigger:

Sorry it's a poor quality video - it does show the explosion effect & the fire pool.  You can also notice that the trigger is not shown on the rigs that carry it.  I would say that the fire pool lasts long enough that it seems that the attacker had to either choose to drive through the pool, or stop and take the mortar fire.