Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Forsaken Mission Prizes - Nuclear Accelerators, Earthshaker Cannon, Eruption Pyre

The Kixeye update for today contained a lot of new content.  The long awaited repair specialist is here, and so are new some new Reaver tech items for the Forsaken Mission.

I'm not going to go into too much detail on the Repair Specialist in this article.  My quick impression is that it is fairly underwhelming - for example, the V2-H gets a 25% repair bonus once reaching Legendary rank.  This is appreciated, but even 25% is somewhat mild.  Even worse than that, the Repair bonus one step down, at Specialist 1 (70% rank bonus) is only 15%.  Many players won't sniff the 25% repair bonus; they will be at 10% or less, which really won't make much of a difference.  

Reaching Legendary rank takes a lot of time or a lot of coin.  My V2-H, which I have spent some time ranking, but haven't ranked compulsively, are in the Elite ranks, so they only get a 7.5% bonus.  I will also say that coining Legendary rank just to get a 25% repair reduction will have a VERY LONG payback threshold... 

So overall, I wanted to be positive about the repair specialists, but the repair reduction is not enough to make a difference in how people will be using their ships and playing this game.  So it's a fail.

I also see that the repair specialists do not require any particular rank in the Naval Lab... so I hope you didn't waste too much time with Lab upgrades. I definitely wasted the last two weeks, so come attack my base soon before my Apocalypse Mortar gets built.

Speaking of Apocalypse Mortars... one of the new Forsaken Mission items might pair quite nicely with one... the Eruption Pyre.

(Build times in this article are pulled from the Unofficial BP Information blog)  

Eruption Pyre:
As released, the power consumption of the Apocalypse Mortar resulted in many turret specials being unusable even with a Level 5 turret platform.  The previous "best choice" was the Slide Loader 2 (+8% power consumption, Explosive Reload +125%, Explosive Damage - 55%), and that was usable with either Turret Platform 4 or Turret Platform 5.

The Eruption Pyre becomes a choice when you put the Apocalypse Mortar on a Level 5 Turret Platform:
The special options for the Apocalypse Mortar now break down as follows:
Apocalypse MortarWith
Eruption Pyre
Slide Loader 2
Frontline X-M
Range65 - 16065 - 16065 - 16065 - 160
Bonus Damage1500150015001500
Reload Time15.06.56.713.0
Equiv. Accuracy100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%
DPS vs. Stationary Target481885578550
Power Margin Turret 48.19%-6.74%0.17%-4.26%
Power Margin Turret 516.96%0.83%8.30%3.50%
Other300 DPS fire pool+30% Projectile Speed+40% Missile Defense
Build Time (w/Officer)5d 7h 58m22h 34m6h 42m11h 17m

The Eruption Pyre is clearly the best choice for mortar turret special.  With a better Reload and lower Damage penalty than the Slide Loader 2, an EP-equipped Apocalypse has tremendous damage potential, and the increased splash and projectile speed will result in better damage done against moving targets.

If using Victory Mortars or Meteor Mortars, the other offensive Special option available is the Fire Support Platform X, which gives the same +30% Projectile Speed, a higher +150% Explosive Reload, but a -50% Explosive Damage reduction at a cost of +25% power.  Slide Loader 3 gives +200% Explosive Reload at a cost of -66% Explosive Damage at a cost of +20% power.  I would take the higher damage, splash bonus, and lower power of the Eruption Pyre... wouldn't you?

Nuclear Accelerators:
At a glance I thought this new tech was like Strike System for Ballistics.  But then I realized it didn't have enough Combat Speed to let you leave out an Engine Special.   Let's hope you can stack an Engine Special with this...

Unlike the engine or ballistic options, this seems to come in only one size (no 1, 2, 3 like most engine or ballistic specials) 

The other options for Ballistics compare as follows:
Nuclear AcceleratorsHardened
Barrels 3
System 3
Autoloader 3No Special
Weapon Weight55%60%89%60%0%
Combat Speed20%0%0%0%0%
Ballistic Range50%50%35%0%0%
Ballistic Accuracy40%0%0%0%0%
Ballistic Reload0%0%75%110%0%
Total Build Time w/Officer9h 51m10h 45m10h 45m10h 18m-
Bypass CG 3 DPS456.9326.4430.4463.2326.4
Bypass CG 3 DPS/hton43.930.433.943.148.6

So this is really like Hardened Barrels, but better.  It gives the same range as HB3, but at lower weight and adds on the Speed and Ballistic Accuracy bonuses.  Although the build time will likely be longer, the Nuclear Accelerator special will always give better performance than HB3.

I think players who use SCX with Bypass Chainguns should really be salivating at this... oh yeah, and you Goliath users too.  Autoloaders are less useful on the Chainguns with their long salvo time.  Cannon System's range penalty compared to HB/NA makes it not very helpful in most situations.  Be sure to confirm the build time - I expected this one to be over a day, not shorter than HB3.

Earthshaker Cannon:
This new Reaver cannon seems to be intended as a new & improved Siege Cannon.

How does it stack up?

Earthshaker CannonSiege Cannon ZBypass Chaingun 2
Max Range47.043.050.0
Bldg Damage1,9509622620
Bonus Damage3251751310
Reload Time4.04.57.5
Weight (Shipyard 2)480350446
Bonus Armor50000
Fleet DPS88.646.7206.8
Fleet DPS/hton18.513.346.4
Building DPS517.0252.7295.5
Building DPS/hton107.772.266.3
Build Time (w Off)1d 15h 47m1d 15h 47m12h 34m
OtherSplash 6,
Speed +5%,
Fire Field
Splash 4,
Speed +5%
27% Ballistic Bypass

(DPS numbers do not account for splash or fire)

In comparison - it gives the speed bonus and even better splash than the Draconian Siege Cannon Z.  The fire field strength is not shown in our blueprint preview, so that also is not considered in DPS above.  Although its anti-ship DPS is computed to be lower than the (similar weight) Bypass Chaingun 2, that does not account for the splash (even when the shot misses) or the fire fields.  

With NA or HB3 on a 20% range bonus ship, the total range becomes 79.9, and on a SCX or Goliath with 40% range bonus it is 89.3.
So we have decent range, splash damage, fire fields... yeah this is a usable weapon for Ballistic Hulls.  Just add the new Nuclear Accelerator... and you got yourself a meal.  Watch out for Reavers sporting this combo in the next raid... try to spread out if it shows up.

Overall, this content drop in the Forsaken Missions looks pretty powerful.  The re-release of the Vindicator in the previous raid may have been for players to have a ship available to take advantage of the new Reaver ballistics.  Even if you don't plan to use these items, they are equal to or better than their previous equivalents in just about any category of comparison. All three are in Tier 4 of the Forsaken Mission this week... don't miss out (all the Tier 4 items are fairly useful this week).  Again, I would watch out for the build times - they seem really good right now and we've known Kixeye to change them... double check before you start builds.