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!