Thursday, April 2, 2015

Uranium Management

Uranium is needed for Retrofits, Outpost 6, and Level 11 buildings.

Uranium has been difficult to get in this game... or HAS IT?

I recently saw a Level 49 player begging in comms for someone to prep a Level 62 dredge for him... he said he "needed" the uranium.  I asked him what he needed it for and got no response.  But someone was nice enough to do it... and then complained in comms that he got a 14.5 hour repair for that.  Ridiculous.

In this article I'm going to talk about Uranium Management.  The goal is that each player should understand how to best spend the Uranium they have coming in so that they don't run out, and so that they get the best benefits from the Uranium they spend.

So first off, the most reliable source of Uranium is the Weekly Forsaken Mission.  At Tier 3 you get 10k Uranium per week, and at Tier 4, you get 25k Uranium per week.  

Early on, you should focus on being able to beat Tier 3 - with light fleets and grinding away at strongholds 27 through 40, this should be achievable within just a few weeks of starting the game. 

For low levels, the best uses of Uranium are to upgrade to OP6 and Dock 11, and getting some of their earlier ships to R5 and then R10.  Battlecruiser is my favorite multi-role ship for early players (with the exception of instant repair capability), but other players might make use of the BCX, Battleship, or Vindicator.  Retrofit what you use the most.

Weekly Uranium Budget: 10k (Forsaken mission Tier 3) = 10,000 Uranium / week

UraniumNo officer Time (days)Uranium / weekUranium / day
Outpost 625,19518.089,7571,394
Dock 1119,95510.0013,9691,996
BC R1 - R51,2407.241,199171
BC-X R1 - R512,5738.5410,3091,473
Battleship R1 - R512,57310.028,7871,255
Vindicator R1 - R5146,47716.6861,4848,783

So the Vindicator retrofit is a bit expensive for a low-end player, and the Dock 11 upgrade will take a little bit of saving, but otherwise, these low-end uranium upgrades are priced fairly appropriately.  In reality, the way this would work is that 3 weeks of Tier 3 FMs would allow you to start Outpost 6, then you'd save enough in the meantime to be able to start Dock 11 when that is completed.

Mercury is probably the next useful stepping stone, and is available from the first prize pack in the Hunt the Nemesis campaign.  Upgrading the Merc & BC hulls to R10, along with an initial wave of component upgrades should be your next focus.  Tier 4 of the Forsaken Mission should be achievable when you are thinking about this stuff.  Hopefully you can build up a fleet that can beat Level 65 strongholds with a few hours repair (use a fleet with long range weapons & high evade, then 1 or more ships loaded with Phalanx & Countermeasures special).. or can beat Level 40s with minimal repairs.

Weekly uranium budget: 25k (Forsaken Mission Tier 4) = 25,000 Uranium / week

UraniumNo officer Time (days)Uranium / weekUranium / day
Mercury R1 - R5014.5600
BC R6 - R1075,00016.5031,8184,545
Mercury R6 - R1075,00016.5031,8184,545
Compound Engine R1 - R590,0005.00126,00018,000
Engine Systems R1 - R532,0005.0044,8006,400
Maneuverability Sys R1 - R550,0005.0070,00010,000
Lightweight Armor R1 - R575,0005.00105,00015,000
Compound Defense Sys R1 - R550,0005.0070,00010,000

This group of upgrades will drain more uranium than the mid-level players weekly Uranium budget, although you can save some Uranium up while working on the first five Mercury upgrades.

I compared various options in the retrofit lab in an article a while back...

Although there are new retrofit options since then, and the costs have changed a bit, I think the basic message is mostly unchanged.  

To get the best benefit per retrofit level, retrofit hulls you use, then weapons, then specials, then armor.

There are a few twists to that general rule.  Retrofitting weapons very early on might not be the best long term investment, since you may not be using the same weapons on your later fleets.  This is why I'm recommending your early component retros be things like Engines and E armor that you will be using on potentially every ship you build.  The other twist is that the costs for components can vary quite a bit, so doing a few levels of one component might have a better benefit and similar cost to one level of a different component.  

Soon, some supplement is going to be needed, and Drac Bases should be the next source.  A well built fleet that can beat a Level 65 stronghold should be able to beat a Drac Base, and that would be the next way to increase Uranium intake.  The Mercury fleet I use for strongholds and Drac Bases can also beat Level 51-53 dredges, but I get more Uranium and less repair from hitting the Drac.  

Beating 2 Drac Bases per week (solo but not 100%) gives the following Uranium budget:

Weekly uranium budget: 25k (Forsaken Mission Tier 4) + 2 x 3k (2 Drac Bases beaten per week) = 31,000 Uranium / week

Players who can beat the Level 61-63 dredges have a higher Uranium intake - for example, a player might be able to beat 3 dredges per drop for another 27k Uranium twice per week.

Weekly uranium budget: 25k (Forsaken Mission Tier 4) + 3 x 2 x 9k (3 Dredges twice per week) = 79,000 Uranium / week

Let's see how some other ship upgrades work out:

UraniumNo officer Time (days)Uranium / weekUranium / day
Interceptor V2-H R1 - R5125,00026.0033,6544,808
Kodiak R1 - R5148,20026.0039,9005,700
Atlas Carrier R1 - R5217,55616.6891,32013,046
MCX R1 - R5148,20016.6762,2288,890
MCX R6 - R10300,00039.0053,8467,692
SCX R1 - R5100,00016.6741,9905,999
SCX R6 - R10250,00039.0044,8726,410
Triton R1 - R5016.6800

These are generally all within the uranium budgets of players who can supplement with some Drac bases or Dredges (Atlas being the exception).  Eventually, you'll have to work all this out for yourself, and plan your budget.  My source for all the hull retrofit times and costs is:

Later component retrofits at R6 and up are more expensive... and will bust most players' weekly Uranium budgets if they keep at them, but at that point in the game, you should be able to manage your own Uranium and prioritize your spend.

I wanted to do this article because I was getting nearly maxed out on Uranium while working on my V2-H retrofits (I ended up doing some components to spend U faster), and I wanted to poke some holes in the prevailing sentiment of "uranium scarcity".  I also was sort of annoyed by low levels demanding help with dredges in comms.  

If you can't afford the retrofits you are looking at, you're probably not spending your Uranium on the right things.  

Some players spend a lot of Uranium on Rogue Crews or the Arena, so consider that in your budget.  

The other big variable is coining... if you start coining the retrofits, then you'll have to bring in more Uranium to keep up with that... so if you can't bring in the Uranium to keep your Retrofit Lab fed, it might not be worth coining speedups there.  Don't coin retrofits when you lab will be sitting idle due to a lack of Uranium... if so, coin for dredges or drac bases instead.  Think about it.