Thursday, May 28, 2015

Another look at the Aegis

"Dear players, this month's Forsaken Tournament has been delayed because planned new content is not yet ready.  We at Kixeye are committed to bringing you a high quality gaming experience, and the planned items were not yet up to our quality standards.  Look for our June Work In Progress post to see the latest info on what is planned for future events and tournaments."

Would that be so bad?  Check out the poll on the right sidebar and let me know what you think.

Kixeye, feel free to borrow/modify the above text and use it whenever you feel ready to grow up.

Two more notes related the the Forsaken Arena Tournament:

I'm sorry that my last article had incorrect information, but Kixeye doesn't give me any info any earlier or of any higher quality than anyone else.

The Aegis blueprint information has been updated twice since it was announced, once to add a field effect that provides defensive and anti-fire patch capability, and again to add additional countermeasure capabilities, and also to swap the 4 weapon / 6 armor slot configuration for a 6 weapon / 4 armor slot configuration.  Here is the latest iteration:

As a defensive ship, this hull at least starts to make sense, and the reasoning behind the 9+ day hull build time is becoming clear.  Can the Aegis be "Defender of the Fleet" for you?

A couple more updates:
- Yes: The Aegis field will stack with itself or any other defensive bonus
- Yes: The Aegis field affects its own ship
- No: The Aegis field will not trigger resonance battery
Since the Aegis field affects itself, I have updated the defensive resistance values in the charts below from the initial publishing.

The closest comparison to this hull would be the Frostburn Interceptor, for its field capabilities, but I also looked to the BC R10 as another comparison.  I'm not going to do a "bare hull" statistics comparison, but instead I'll look at builds of these ships that I've seen used, and compare how they look with an Aegis.

The most popular high end build I've seen for Frostburns uses it as a defensive tank only, usually with a single Cutlass 1 to provide spotting for ships with Remote Targeting.  The Aegis can be built like this as well, however it has only 3 special slots, so using a missile would require SFB to be taking up a special slot, or use of Strike System which would leave it with very poor turn capability (12).  I used a single launcher instead.

Huggy hasn't added the new hull yet, so I'm using some Reaver hulls to stand in for the Aegis....!70MI01R1R401R5B1S68170L0000000000000006M01R1R1R405B1S684W00000000000ZZ0ZZ0ZZdB

All comparison stats below are with components at R0.  For build times, I am assuming the 9 day+ build time shown in the forum is the "no officer" build time, since the Hellblazer has the identical statistic:

Weight (Shipyard 2)3,5494,184
Combat Speed24.020.8
Turn Speed44.026.4
Ballistic Defense53%60%
Explosive Defense53%72%
Penetrative Defense53%72%
Concussive Defense40%40%
Radioactive Defense62%68%
Build Time w/off15d 4h19d 2h
Repair Modifier100%100%
Stun/Slow Resist0%50%
Spotting Range96.291.0
Sonar Range8050
Thermal Range9080
Field EffectFire Extinguish, Slow, BypassFire Extinguish, 40% Resistance
Field Range6540

The weight could be closer if you give up the spotting capability, but with lower resistances, evade, armor, and speed, the higher build time of the Aegis is not justified when trying to use it as a lead tank ship or as a Mastodon spotter.  Stick with the Frostburn.  With the Aegis field improving the Aegis' own defenses, it is sort of a tough call as to which ship will be more effective.  The higher Frostburn Evade will make up for its lower ballistic & radioactive defense (against Javelin and Launchers), and against missiles I'll call it about even.  The higher resistances will really help against splash weapons that ignore evade.  You'll need to decide if the resistances are worth the weight & speed. 

Less common, but one of my favorite uses for a Battlecruiser is for a countermeasure escort ship.  I have one similar to the build below (and another similar, but with Hailstorms).  The Phalanx version is useful to bring against PvE targets like strongholds, and certain Reaver targets (heavy UAV) in the last few raids.!60H6A0U0U0U2B1V0C1B1B1B1B06M00U0U0U0U2B1V0C1B1B1B1B1B1B05CA0U0U0U2B1V0C1B1B1B1B1B1B000ZZ0ZZdB

StatisticBC R10AegisVindicator R10
Weight (Shipyard 2)2,8954,2394,034
Combat Speed20.820.824.0
Turn Speed20.012.030.0
Ballistic Defense40%40%0%
Explosive Defense20%58%35%
Penetrative Defense57%72%57%
Concussive Defense40%40%0%
Radioactive Defense30%58%50%
Build Time w/off5d 15h14d 21h11d 8h
Repair Modifier100%100%100%
Stun/Slow Resist0%50%40%
Sonar Range65500
Thermal Range75800
Phalanx Accuracy108%96%108%

For a countermeaure ship, the Aegis brings its field to defend your fleet. Although it is not as accurate with countermeasures as the Battlecruiser or Vindicator, the field adds a strong defense that you may not have previously had, and the Aegis boost does make it much more durable.

Let's talk about a high risk/high reward build... If you have a four ship fleet (even if you have a limited flagship), you might be able to insert the Aegis if you keep it light.  When you equip it with a Thud 1, no armor, Speed System 3, Guidance Scrambler 3, and D5X Compound, the combo would weigh 87 tons.  If it can keep up with (but slightly behind) the rest of your fleet, you can use that 40% protection to great advantage... just don't get your Aegis shot at.  This design is probably not useful when you expect to be playing against a "live" player who would target the Aegis (or against a base with any defenses that use Priority Targeting/Smart Warheads).  But it is at least a relatively quick build - under 10 days.!706M0000000005B1S0C0000010000000ZZ0ZZ0ZZ0ZZdB

For matching speeds of various fleets, look at combining lower versions of Speed System, Engine Upgrade, Reaver Scout Engine, and/or Heavy Plating to get the speed you are looking for.  Try to keep your speed slightly lower than the rest of your fleet.  Don't forget to include retrofit levels when trying to match speeds in Huggy's.  

For example, if you are running Crusaders or SCX, you have a base hull speed of 13, which is the same as the Aegis.  Adding Speed System 3 and Nuclear Accelerators gives you an 80% speed boost (unretrofitted total).  Engine 3 would match that 80% speed boost, but if your Compound Engine Systems are retrofitted to R10, and your (regular) engine system is R2 (for example), the Crusader ends up at 25.43 speed and the Aegis would be at 23.99.  Using Speed 3 + 4 B torpedos gives 24.92 (probably close enough), but another option would be Magnus Drive (which retrofits with Compound Engine Systems), giving a perfect speed match at 25.43 (although leaving lower turn speed).

From the comparisons, we can see that it really doesn't do the "lead tank" job as well as a Frostburn, and it doesn't do the "countermeasure ship" job as efficiently as a R10 Battlecruiser.  So if I had this hull, how would I actually build it?

I would try to take advantage of the field defense effect, but keep it protected by running it with high armor and behind my other ships.  If I were to try to build it to go with my 3 Crusaders in that role (instead of my Frostburn), I might end up with something like:!706M0400W401R1S5B681B4H1B4H1B4HP6G01R1R1R40685B1S6A23232323514L0000P6G01R1R1R40685B1S6A23232323514L0000P6G01R1R1R40685B1S6A23232323514L00000ZZdB

You'll have to pretend that Bypass 3 is actually 3 D63-B torpedos to get the speed close to, but slower than the Crusaders.  I put the armor combo on there (2 Bulkhead, 1 D5-E, 1xD4E) to try to keep my total armor higher than the Crusaders (for Priority/Smart weapons).  So then the question is.. would I want to devote almost 21 days of shipyard time for that ship to get the 40% defense field?  To protect 3 Crusaders that took 23+ days each to build, yeah maybe.

One more twist to think about is that the "friendly" Aegis field should serve to activate a Resonance Battery (a Frostburn field is "hostile" and will not activate your own RB).  That special is used rarely, since the RB bonus usually isn't worth the weight of the field used to activate it.  A fleet designed to take advantage of this could be effective as well.

My take on the Aegis is that it won't make any of your other ships obsolete.  It certainly won't stand on its own.  But when built right, it might help another fleet survive a lot longer.  Good luck pirates!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Forsaken Tournament Changes & Aegis Hull

(quick update - it looks like they might have updated the Aegis description for some new capabilities... I'll try to catch up.

Update 2: The additional ability for the Aegis is a friendly field with 40 range that gives Fire Extinguishing (like Frostburn) and a 40% defense boost (all damage types) to your ships.  This is really good.  I'll update the article soon... sorry for publishing with incomplete info!

Update 3: There was another update that added countermeasure accuracy to the hull.  I'm going to do a new article on the Aegis instead of updating this one - I'll include a couple builds that I compare to the alternatives.)

The Forsaken Arena Tournament is described here: 

I'm not going to repeat all the prize lists. There are ship build tokens added to the bracket (normal / elite) prizes, and ship repair tokens added to the prizes from racking up wins.  Grease Monkeys is still a prize at 50 wins. Check out the Kixeye post for details.

If you are on track to win a ship build token (or any other token that you already have), make sure you are not maxed out on your tokens.  Each token has a maximum number of tokens that you can hold.  You will see this in your token list.  For example, in the picture below, I can hold 7 more 1 hour ship build tokens (5 / 12), but no more 12 hour ship build tokens (1 / 1).  If I were on track to win a 12 hour ship build token, I would want to spend the one I have before winning another.  I have heard of a few players "losing" tokens in this manner.

Changes to the Arena Tournament

When using Repair Insurance, there is no Uranium back from a win.

Under the previous system, a 100% win rate resulted in a 120% Uranium return.  Which means that the average player, with a 50% win rate, would have expected a 60% uranium return.  So that player would see their uranium costs go from 40% of their Repair Insurance Uranium cost to 100% of their Repair Insurance Uranium Cost... a 2.5x increase to the average player.  A worse than average player would see their Uranium costs go up less, since they win less. A better then average player would see their Uranium costs go up even more than 2.5x (a player that would win 5/6 of their matches used to break even).

And just in case you were wondering, the Uranium Prize pool is unchanged (10% of insurance cost goes in the pot).

If players opt to use Repair Insurance, they will also gain a 2x bonus to Veterancy Experience Points during matches. However, if a player opts not to purchase Repair insurance, they will gain a 2x bonus to Tournament points instead.

So a player who risks their fleet will get double tournament points.  My only observation here is that if a player plans to coin arena repairs, that can get very expensive very quickly.

The Aegis Hull:

In classical mythology, the Aegis was a powerful and fearsome shield used by Athena.  In real life, the Aegis Combat System is an electronically scanned array radar system along with defensive (like the Phalanx anti-missile gun) and offensive weapons used by the US Navy (and more recently other allied navies).

In Battle Pirates, the Aegis is a useless piece of junk.

This hull has no offensive bonuses other than the improved anti-mortar range.  It has a high max weight and lots of armor slots, but only 3 special and 4 weapon slots.  Its resistances are OK (missing ballistic), but its evade starts at zero.  

I just don't understand what this hull would be useful for.  With its armor slots and weight, it might be usable as a tank, but its low resistances compared to the Reaver hulls would limit it there (at least it doesn't have a 150% repair bonus).  As a countermeasure ship, it doesn't have enough weapon slots - I'd rather use a retrofitted Battlecruiser with its accuracy bonus (or a retrofitted Vindicator with more weapons slots and an accuracy bonus). As a sub spotter, it has thermal imaging but it isn't particularly fast or able to stand up to torpedo fire.  With any sort of weapon, I'd rather use a hull that buffed that weapon.  What makes this hull worth over 9 days to build (empty)???

Now there is also a variant ship model for the Aegis available at 250 wins, and I think it looks decent.  I generally respect the whale coiners - they support the game with their wallets... Who am I to argue how someone wants to spend their disposable income?  But to get 250 wins, a player will probably need to use their full warehouse capacity of Uranium (at least).  Basically if I see someone running around with a skinned Aegis I will know that they spent their butt off for junk.

(Sorry - this all needs revision since the blueprint has been updated twice.  Look for another article coming soon.)

I certainly don't plan to participate much in this Forsaken Arena tournament (I'll get in a bracket and maybe use my free matches) - but it has gotten more expensive, and the prize is just not worth it.  I'll save my Uranium for retrofits, and I recommend you do the same.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Retros & Ashes to Ashes

With the game update after the Perdition raid, there were no fixes, but two new pieces of content: New retrofits and a new campaign.

New Retrofits: 
Kixeye has released retrofits on 4 limited hulls: Greta's Nuclear Cruiser, Vassago's Interdictor, Harlock's Triton, and Zoe's Stingray.  In case you missed them, those four hulls are all available from campaigns.   They also each have a repair specialist available (for not too much Uranium), which makes them each a little bit more attractive as a "daily driver."

Greta's Nuclear Cruiser:

First typo - unretrofitted Radioactive Reload is 80%. R4 and R5 are each pretty good for this hull. However at R5, this hull will still have its intrinsic weaknesses of "average" combat speed and 3 specials.  Uranium costs are a bit high for R5 as well.

Vassago's Interdictor:

Radioactive Defense at R3, and the Weight / Speed / Evade increase at R5 can make this one a decent general purpose hull.  Thermal Imaging at R4 (along with the R5 speed) puts this one back in the conversation as a potential sub-hunter.  The Ballistic Damage at R2 is a bit puzzling, as it doesn't have any other ballistic buffs (particularly range) that would make this an attractive ballistic hull.  Having only 4 non-torpedo weapon slots are this hull's biggest weakness.

Harlock's Triton:

Second typo: No Ballistic Defense reduction at R4.  I like all of these buffs.  The biggest drawbacks to using this hull as a countermeasures escort are (were) its low speed and maneuverability.  R1 and R5 address those issues, and although with a base speed of 12 it won't be mistaken for an Interceptor, 12 is at least respectable.  I would have liked to see an accuracy buff for countermeasures, but oh well.

Zoe's Stingray

R4 and R5 are really nice buffs here, and the total Uranium cost is pretty reasonable.  For players that missed out on the Crusader, the SCX used to be the only other (open water) hull that had the same 40% ballistic range buff.  With the speed and radioactive defense, this hull becomes a very attractive alternative.   Its speed with Speed System 3 and Nuclear Accelerators will be above 30 (with no component retrofits).  I'd still rather have my Crusader fleet, but I would prefer to avoid fighting these with just about any fleet.!704J01R1R685B6A1S2323002351232304J01R1R685B6A1S2323002351232304J01R1R685B6A1S2323002351232304J01R1R685B6A1S232300235123230ZZdB

Ashes to Ashes campaign: 
This campaign wasn't hinted at in the May WIP, but here it is.  The prize packs have lots of fire/radioactive tech, and the mastery prize is the new Hellblazer Hull.

Prize Pack 1 has:
Brimstone Missile
D2-R Armor
Inferno Rockets

The Brimstone (although better than the Halo) is a bit obsolete - it has really been eclipsed by the Apocalypse Mortar.  As rockets go, Infernos are a good choice despite their long build time.  D2-R might be useful for light fleets, although the larger R armor pieces have better radioactive resist.

Prize Pack 2 has: 
Napalm Missile
D3-R Armor
Hellstrike Hull
Blaze Thrower

Yes, if you just spent 5.5 million raid points for the Napalm turret in Perdition, you got screwed.  Nobody likes to hear "I told you so", but I did have that turret in RED on my Perdition "what to get" list (not because I knew it was coming out this week... just that I didn't think it was worthwhile) .  D3-R might be useful for managing weight and build time while adding some radioactive resist.  The Hellstrike hull has a few uses still, especially as a tank if you don't have the Hellhound.  It is also the best hull for Rockets if you really want a rocket fleet (and you don't particularly).  The Blaze Thrower is decent for FvF, even though you don't see it much. It may be very useful on the Mastery prize though... the new limited hull: the HELLBLAZER. 

As the blueprint description says, this will be a very capable ship for Throwers with its +60% Thrower damage and +120% radioactive reload.  The other weapon that comes to mind would be S launchers... with the reload and +30% Projectile Speed launchers will land more quickly.  The other launchers would not be nearly as good - with their higher salvo they wouldn't be as able to take advantage of the reload bonus, and their lighter weight might be a problem when considering only 6 weapon slots.

A few drawbacks: At 7400 tons max weight, a 4 ship fleet would not quite max out the dock weight, so a 5 ship fleet would be best, but that will drive up the build time.  4 ships with a blank Highlander Nuclear Cruiser could also be quite effective.  Turn speed is weak, so Speed System should be the best engine option.  The repair modifier is 125%, which is lower than the 150% that most reaver hulls have, but not the 100% we would prefer.

Here's an S launcher build to think about:!70KU0000000001S00550000000000000019PN001R0U1R1R0U0U0U1V0O685H4X4X4X4X001APN001R0U1R1R0U0U0U1V0O685H4X4X4X4X001APN001R0U1R1R0U0U0U1V0O685H4X4X4X4X001APN001R0U1R1R0U0U0U1V0O685H4X4X4X4X001AdB

16 S launchers means that you will get one shockwave per salvo against buildings/turrets.  I used the Strike System + Thruster combo to keep my accuracy and get turn speed.  If 14,750 armor isn't enough for you, try using a Reaver Bulkhead and switching more of the D5E for D2E.

A couple other oddball build ideas: 
- If you don't have Enforcers, load a Hellblazer with S launchers and use in base defense.  They'll be easier to rank than Enforcers anyway.
- Build Hellblazers with mortars (Speed bonus), and use them like blitz Hellhounds.  Hint: you have 7 armor slots to work with.  Don't leave any empty.

One more reminder - Since I am suggesting S launchers with this hull, remember that using the Gauss Supercharger special with the S launcher is a bad idea, since you only get the extra 0.5 charge added to the x5 / x8 charge of the S launchers.  That little bit is not worth using the special slot or the weight.  N, U, or F launchers will benefit more from Gauss... details are in my last launcher roundup.

For the campaign itself, each of the (up to) seven encounters is a group of Reaver ships (no bases / platforms).  (what do you call a group of Reaver ships?  Fleet?  Warhost? Murder?) Without giving a play-by-play, it is a difficult campaign, with the seventh encounter being an absolute ZOO.  

I saw this video runthrough from Death Machine, if you would like to get a preview before attempting it:

When Launchers first came out, Launcher-armed Stingrays were surprisingly effective despite their low armor.  Now, you can build a fleet like that, but not have the low armor.  So... beware.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Perdition - One day in

Perdition has begun and it's like deja vu all over again.

The world map targets are pretty much the same, except for the level 43 / 45 map targets.  Strike and Siege campaigns are the same. I'll bet Recon is the same.

World Map Targets:
The level 23, 61, and 65 targets are the same as last month, but the raid point payouts are a bit lower (but they were upped from the very start of this raid).  Last time, it seemed like the difficulty was either very easy (23, 25, and 43) or very hard (45 and up).

This time, I would say the difficulty is more like you would expect from the target's level, with 20s being easy, 40s being moderate, and 60s being hard.

The other significant change is that you can choose your approach to these targets depending on your entry point.  You may be able to use this to your advantage, but it depends on your fleet and driving strategy.  Just make sure you don't enter right on top of your enemies; you always want a little space to get your fleet positioned.

23 Fleet target: 8,526 raid points, 10 sector points
4 drones, 1 scout.  

These start out moving.

25 Platform target: 12,989 raid points, 15 sector points
2x3 Drones, 2 Scouts, Platforms with Mortars, Napalm, and Rockets

43 Fleet target: 56,100 raid points, 100 sector points
6 Drones, 4 Scouts.  

These ships have infernal core, so be careful about letting them close.

45 Platform target: 115,315 raid points, 150 sector points
4 Drones, 3 Scouts, 
Platform with Javs, Rockets, 1 Apoc Mortar

61 Platform target: 253,800 raid points, 400 sector points
Shroud Hulk with 2 Hades, 1 Scout, Platforms with long range Napalm, Mortars, Javelins, and Rockets

Just like last time, a 2 hit strategy should work well on these.  First hit with an anti-ship fleet like Frost / Mastodons, and bring a instant repair ship to draw out the shrouded ship and its escorts.  Then use Crusaders or Hellstrikes to take out the turrets, with a HLNC to improve radioactive resistance.

65 Fleet target: 383,247 raid points, 600 sector points
3 Scout, 3 Hounds, 2 Hulks
These activate in 2 separate groups.  Choose your point of entry to try to keep the ships separated when they activate.  Using countermeasures against the mortars and UAVs on the Hulks would help out a lot.

85 Hellstar Nexus:  500,000 raid Points, 2,500 sector points.
1 Hellstar, 3 Platforms with Rockets, Javelins, and Napalm
Read the briefing and remember the shroud rotation pattern. Frosty Crusaders seem to be the thing for these...  I've seen quite a few videos of this target already, and they all used that combo.

Here's one:

For me, the points per damage on any of the world map targets doesn't seem as good as the campaigns, but if you figure out a way to beat one of these targets easily, that might be different for your situation.

For Siege and Strike campaigns, the breakdowns are in last month's article.  Points from the Siege campaign seem to have been lowered a bit - from about 500k per run to about 400k per run (not including the 700k bonus).  Siege campaign points seem about the same (3.7 Million).

On the Strike Campaign, my Siege Z Mercuries are chewing through it (my build is similar to the one I posted pre-raid).  If I drive well, and use my R10 Battlecruisers with the 100% accurate CM ship for the UAV hulks, I can get through the entire campaign with all instant repairs.  If I plow straight through without switching fleets and instant repairs, I'll take about 1.5 hours of total damage.

On the Siege campaign, now that I have usable Crusaders, I found that my best strategy is still to use my Frosty / Mastodons for the first three targets, then switch to Frosty / Crusaders for the last two.  One more tip on this: on mission #5, if you come at the Shroud ship from the northeast instead of the (more obvious) southwest, you will be out of range of the shrouded turrets.  They look like Javelins, but really have range that is more like a Howitzer.  My total repairs for running through this campaign are down to 11 coins (without using Grease Monkeys).

For the Elite campaign, the generally accepted best strategy is to charge into the center with Frosty Crusaders and destroy the middle... then deal with the ships afterward.  My Frosty Crusader fleet is still too lightly armored and not high enough rank (still in star range) to pull that off.  Total points for the Elite, including the bonus, is around 4.3 Million.

Overall I think players are going to feel that this raid is about as difficult as the last one.  The sector bar is looking a little more difficult to open up, but that seems more like a function of which sectors I am in.

On the prizes, I'll just repeat myself...  The new prizes are good but not awesome must-haves.  However, the prizes on other tiers are great options for players that are looking to catch up.  The D51-B Strike Missile, D3-E armor, UAV Powercells, and D55-Z Siege Missile should be in every player's arsenal, and they haven't been available for a while.  Don't miss them.  I've been criticizing Kixeye's prize offerings in lower tiers for a while now, but I think this raid they did a pretty good job.  Just about every tier has a mix of weapons, armor, specials, and hulls, and each tier does have some attractive choices (sector store excepted).  That's how it should be... keep it up Kixeye!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Perdition - What to get & the Hellstar

Kixeye has released the raid briefing and the prize list.  They have also shown us the blueprint for the brand new HELLSTAR, which will be replacing the Protonemesis in an overpowered one-ship fleet near you.

The Briefing is at:
My article on the Behemoth and Scrambler prizes is at:

The structure of the Perdition raid is pretty similar to the last one.  Campaigns are similar to last time, with a Recon/Strike/Siege campaign available based on your level.  An Elite Campaign (single target) is also available to all players.  World Map targets in your sector can be hit for Raid Points and Sector Points.  Sector points advance the Sector Bar, which will do the following:

Stat Boosts: Combat Speed, Radiation Resistance, and Damage Output will be increased from the sector bar.

Point Multiplier: A 10% point multiplier will be applied to the raid points earned from Map targets or Campaign targets.  Campaign bonuses do NOT get the multiplier applied.

Sector Store Unlock: The sector store contains additional prizes.

Reaver Assault Platform Open:  When the sector bar is full, the Reaver Assault Platforms will be opened.  These platforms are similar to the ones in the previous raid, except the random prize is the Hellstar, not the Protonemesis.

The Hellstar Nexus is also going to be a worldmap target.  Read the tips and tricks post for more info on the Nexus:  

Reaver Assault Platforms:
These caused a bit of confusion and bad feelings last time.  Although Kixeye said that the distribution of these targets was based on the number of players in the sector (just like the sector bar point thresholds), some sectors with high sector bars had much fewer targets than neighboring sectors.  Let's hope the distribution is a little better this time.

There was also some confusion and unhappiness about the following rules.  I'll try to make them clear:
  • Assault Platforms DO NOT RESPAWN!
  • Assault Platforms DO NOT GIVE RAID POINTS!
  • You can only attack Assault Platforms in your sector
  • No level restrictions (last time there was suppose to be level restrictions, but there were not)
  • On victory, players who did 5% or more damage to the target get a chance at the Hellstar blueprint.  The number of players that will win a blueprint is zero, one, or possibly more from a single target.  It seems each player's "roll" is independent.
  • This is a co-op target, players may join and rejoin as spots are open.
  • Uranium and Resources are allocated to all participants upon victory. The split is based on the damage each player does.
These are difficult targets.  Before the last raid, I suggested that they might have "farmable" areas for Uranium.  I didn't find any.

The Hellstar:

This is the "new" Protonemesis, that addresses many of the issues that make the original Protonemesis obsolete.

- It has 40% Radiation Resistance
- It has higher max weight (past Dock 11 weight)
- It has 150% Penetrative and Radioactive reload
- It has a Grimzerk-style Overload every 1500 damage, and a Wrath-style overload every 4500 damage
- It has Thermal Imaging with a range of 100
- It has a Random Launch Override (fire missile like a Wrath (Thanks Trogar!))
- It has remote targeting, and launches scouts to trigger its remote targeting.

Its weaknesses are:
- Slow combat speed
- 400% repair modifier
- No concussive resist

On concussive resist... subs won't be able to get into range without being seen (100 thermal), and any savvy player will recognize the lack of retargeting (underwater missiles) and make sure to use laser in their build (no point in sonic targeting with that thermal range) as a special.  So... good luck taking advantage of the low concussive resistance.

How would I build this?  I'm not going to go into an exact build, but I'd start by allocating the specials.  I'd go with Strike System, Fallout Armor, Agility System, and Laser Targeting.  My main weaponry would be Siege Missile Z, with a few Blaze Throwers included for anything getting close.  I would also use a Cut 1 for extending the range of the Siege Missile Z through remote targeting.  My armor would be a mix of C (to make up for no ballistic resist on Fallout) & E.  With the 400% repair modifier, I'm not sure I'd want to go with too much Reaver Bulkhead (maybe just 1).  For a 5th special, Speed Upgrade, Countermeasures (with some CM weapons mounted), Evade Upgrade, or Enhanced Warhead all come to mind.  If the Missiles actually get splash (as described in the blueprint description), High Explosive Shells may also be a good option.

Until we know a little more, be careful on your builds.  The Max Weight is listed at 32,500 tons, but your max fleet weight at Dock 11 is 31,756 tons.  I wouldn't try to build a ship that you can't launch.

What to Get:

Overall, I think this prize list is a lot better than last time... each tier has some prizes everyone should have, and some key items that have been missing for a while will be available.  The Sector Store is a bit disappointing, especially compared to some of the prizes in the regular tiers. You are limited to two prizes per tier.

Tier 5: 
Omega Behemoth (25M): This limited flagship with its ballistic reload and resist field will likely be worthwhile in a few roles - in base defense as a Goliath with more resistance, or as a blank flagship to buff a ballistic fleet (like Crusaders or SCX).  It also has sub spotting capability.

Behemoth (12.5M): This hull is somewhat better than a R10 Goliath for base defense, but not so much so that everyone should scrap their Golis.  I would prioritize the Omega over the regular Behemoth if you can't get enough points.

Sector Store:
D5-E Armor (5.5M): This armor is used on many top-end fleets - if you haven't earned it from the Forsaken mission yet, here is your chance.  Picking up items available in the Forsaken Missions got a little bit more attractive given the new availability of tokens upon completion of a tier.

D4-R Armor (3.5M): This armor is the top-end armor for adding radioactive defense.

Gargoyle Depth Charge (4M): Another FM Tier 4 prize that is very useful (for sub defense in bases), so you might want to pick this up if you haven't won it yet.

Assault Missile D53-Z (5M): The range on this one is tied for best of any missile, and its damage per weight isn't too bad considering that fact.  Its big drawback is that it does take a long time to build compared to the Siege Missile Z.

Napalm Turret (5.5M): Doesn't really do enough damage against modern fleets.  The Pyroclastic Turret pretty much made this one obsolete.

Atlas "Victory" Model (20M):  This is super expensive considering the fact that it is nothing but a paint job.  For collectors and University of Michigan fans only.

Tier 4:
Siege Missile D55-Z (4.5M): I consider this the best value (build time) weapon in the game.  Load up R10 Mercurys with these for a versatile, hard-hitting fleet that builds quickly.  This one hasn't come around for a while... grab these!

UAV Powercells (4.5M):  A very important special for carriers, especially if you use Locusts.  This one also hasn't been around in a while and I also highly recommend picking this one up.

Incendiary Shells (4M): Many mortar users like these, although Combustion System addresses the flight time which these don't.  But FIRE!  Searing Barrage Mortars and Pandemoniums along with the Novastorm means that mortars are getting a little bit of a revival.

Scrambler Cannon (5.5M): I wasn't super impressed with these, and for players missing any two of the three Tier 4 items above - I would get those first.  But this might have some use in Base Defense or some other situations.  It's always tough NOT to recommend the weapon prize in raids.

Kodiak (7.5M): A good missile hull that can take a pounding.  Not as sexy as some of the newer Ballistic options, but along with the Siege Missile Z and Strike Missile B, this makes a great option for a lot of players.

Atlas Carrier (7.5M): Only get this if you really plan to build it, and you don't have access to the Lightning or Warbird carriers.  Make sure you have Hornets or Locusts as well as UAV Powercells to go with.

D4-M Armor (3.125M): Not a blueprint drop anymore, this might be useful in some situations.

D4-U Armor (4M): The D4-C, D4-M, D4-X combo will build faster and give better protection.  Just not worth it.

Explosive Plate Armor 3 (3.5M): Maybe useful in some limited situations, but not really an object of anyone's desire.

Tier 3:
D3-E Armor (1.9M): D3 Armor falls in a real nice sweet spot for weight, protection, and build time.  Two D3 armors will give the same weight and protection as a D2 and a D4 armor, but build in 17h 16m instead of 30h 14m.  This one has been MIA for a long time... pick it up.

Mercury (1.6M): Even though this hull is available from Tier 1 of the Hunt the Nemesis campaign... if you have any trouble getting it through those means, get it here.  Along with the Strike Missile B.

D3-M Armor (1.1M): See what I wrote above about the D3-E.  It's just D3-M is useful less often.

Achilles Missile D55-B (1M):  Yes, some players use these and like them... they do have good range.  But for the build time, I just couldn't ever recommend building a fleet with these over using the Strike Missile B or Assault Missile Z.  Siege Missile Z makes these look like garbage.

Siege Cannon D33-W (2.5M): Throwers are the new Siege Cannon.  Or even Earthshakers.  Don't buy these.

Reaver Chaingun 3 (1.85M):  Nope, you want the Bypass Chainguns, not these.

Tier 2:
Strike Missile D51-B (70k): These have been occasionally available in Tier 4 of the Forsaken Mission - these little guys have long range and a little bit of bypass.  The low reload time and relatively quick build makes these a lot of fun to use on hulls with reload bonuses and retargeting.  Kodiaks loaded with these are surprisingly effective (even after the bug fix).  At this cost, these are a must-have. 

D2-E (150k), D2-M Armor (125k): These are available from an early campaign (D2-E) or salvage drops (D2-M), so probably aren't worth the points.

Reaver Chaingun 2 (100k):  Nope, you want the Bypass Chainguns, not these.

Strike System 2 (200k): You won't want to be using this for very long.

Battlecruiser X (150k):  My opinion would change if this got some sort of retrofit to R10 with buffs that included more range and reload.

Tier 1:
Battlecruiser (60k): A solid starter hull, and with the R10 upgrades this is useful even to high level players.

D1-M (40k), D1-C (40k) Armor: These armors can be useful when you want to add resistance without adding a lot of weight.

Shredder Cannon 1 (30k): These aren't terrible, but not really the best ballistics.  Build time on shredders is a bit long for their capability.

Reaver Chaingun 1 (40k): Nope, you want the Bypass Chainguns, not these.

Strike System 1 (30k): For the super mild range and speed boosts, just stick with Engine and SFB until you get something better.

Although I consider the new prizes "pretty good but not must-have," and even suggested that this raid might be sort of skippable for mid-range players, there are some really good prizes you want to pick up in the lower tiers (if you don't have them).  For just under 12 million points, a player could get Siege Missile Z, UAV Powercells, D3-E, and Strike Missile B.  I think that's a pretty good haul (if you have some hulls to put that stuff on).  If you are lacking in hulls, Kodiak + Siege Missile Z + Strike Missile B is just over 12 million points, so that could also be an option.

For newer players, I've used a Mercury Fleet pretty close to this build for a long time (D2 armor and no strike missiles though)... it can do 2-3 Level 65 Strongholds before repair, solo a Drac base, breeze through Strike Campaigns, and beat a lot of player bases in the level 50-60 range.  The best part... 31 days to build it.

Good luck in the raid, and remember if Borbas wants to shake your hand... put on your oven mitts first.  And watch out for a knife in the ribs.  

For more raid tips, watch the Battle Pirates Crib YouTube show tonight.  I'll be away visiting Night Vale, but Pain, URF, Scotty, and Kris should have some good ideas for you.