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.