Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dark Tide - Raid Info & What to Get

If you read Monday's article on the Fusion Cruiser and the D98-U early - I did forget to paste in the side-by-side hull comparison chart, so if you are interested and you missed it, scroll down and take another look.

Official Raid Info:

Overall, the raid is similar in structure to the last one, with three tiered campaigns + Elite campaign, map targets, and a Sector Bar.  The big difference is that all of the campaigns are going to be available to all player levels.  This will be a big benefit to the high level non-coiner players, who should be able to grind out Strike Campaigns at a much lower cost than Siege.

One other important detail is that the Elite Campaign is non-abortable.  This was true last raid as well, but it has been specifically announced this time.  If you don't think you can finish an Elite, don't start one, because you might be stuck begging someone else to finish it for you.  Kixeye also says in their post that there will be an expiration timer, so you might not be locked out of all campaigns for the rest of the raid (previous expiration timers counted down to expire at the end of the raid).  They also say that you can have multiple campaigns active - last time that seemed to work from the campaign window, but I didn't seem to be able to actually attack the second campaign I launched, so I was stuck attacking the Elite one only.  

It also seems like they have reduced the variety in map targets (23, 43, 65, and 90) - if the composition of the specific target numbers is the same, then it looks like they will be moving toward fleets only.  I thought the base-type targets took to long to complete anyway. 

I guess the 85s have disappeared?  

I think it's going to be more difficult to open the sector bar this time. The diversity of target choice has gone down, and some of the weaker Level 60+ players who resorted to hitting 40-level targets for raid points will be hitting Strike Campaigns instead.

Reaver Assault Platforms will be available again to drop Hellstars and Proto-Nemeses, but the respawn has changed.  Now they will respawn every 6 hours - starting on day 2.  This will give players more chances to try them.  The new Elite crew earnable from this raid (see Monday's post or the Kixeye Tips post) will probably be very useful for those Crusader drivers hitting 90s.  The announcement will now be a ships per hour meter, instead of a chat announcement.  That actually sounds a little more useful to a data-oriented guy like me, and will (hopefully) cut down on the chat spam followed by snarky comments.

The Sector Bar structure also looks similar to previous raids.  The only stat buff this time will be a 10% speed increase at 40% points.  80% points opens the sector store.  70% / 90% completion gets 5% / 15% point bonuses, and 100% opens the Reaver Assault Platforms.

What to Get:

The new hull and weapon are detailed in Monday's article.  If you've read it, you know that the new items should be the top priority for any player.

Prize recommendations - 
Green is "All players probably want this"
Yellow is "Maybe get it"
Red is "Probably useless"

24 hour Ship Build (2.75M) (limit 4)
12 hour Ship Build (1.4M) (limit 5)
1 hour Ship Build (120k) (limit 12)

These are yellow because their usefulness depends on how much it costs you to get them.  The largest tokens are the best deal in terms of benefit/point.  These point levels and limits are the same as last time, allowing a player to spend up to 19,440,000 points to earn one week of ship build speed-up.  You will be subject to token capacity limits so you will need to spend tokens before buying multiples of the same type.

Tier 5: 
Fusion Cruiser (12.5M):  This hull will give any launcher a big enhancement with Range, Reload, and Supercharge bonuses, but the new D98-U will especially benefit.  This hull is like the Crusader for Launchers.

D98-U Antipode Launcher (5.5M): This launcher has a longer base range or 94, and also a quicker, larger shockwave.  it also adds an "Auxiliary Shockwave" at half charge which debuffs radioactive resistance.  This will be a great upgrade compared to any launcher, but will work especially well on the new Fusion Cruiser.

Sector Store:
Reaver Bulkhead (5M): You don't want to build a ship with all Reaver Bulkhead Armor, but mixing one into a build will seriously up the armor points without too bad of an increase in weight or build time.  If you've been unlucky in the Forsaken Mission so far, you may want to get this one.

Grimshine's Berserker (25M): This limited flagship hull gives a triple salvo and a defense bonus when it takes overload damage.  This one may be an alternative to the Frostburn as an effective flagship for a Fusion Cruiser fleet.  There may be some targets that can stand up to the normal amount of fire from FCs, but surely not a triple salvo!

Warbird Carrier (12.5M): This limited hull (limit 2 in this raid) is another 4 special carrier hull, like the Valkyrie available from the recently completed Forsaken Wallet War.   The Warbird, at speed 12, is slower than the Valkyrie and doesn't have the anti-sub capability, but it also gives special override UAVs and a nice damage bonus.  It can be used effectively in both base defense or in open water.  12.5 million points each is a bit expensive ... but possibly worth it if you have a use in mind.

Impulse Launcher D92-S (4.5M): With the release of the D98-U (for just 1 million points more), I don't see any situation where you would rather use this launcher.

Mastodon Model (5M):  This model isn't too objectionable like some of the other ones we've seen, but I think it looks too much like the Proto-Mastodon, leading to confusion.

Tier 4: 
Zynth Armor D4-R (3.5M): Radioactive Defense will be very important, and D5-R doesn't exist (yet).

Compound Plate IV (4.5M): Not an awful choice, but I think I prefer the specialized plates based on what I expect my build to be doing.  

Reaver Scout Engine (4.5M): Useful for decoy subs or perhaps drone carriers, this can be used well if you have the right build in mind.

Pandemonium Mortar (5.5M): The very high splash of this mortar makes them more useful than the higher (theoretical) DPS Searing Barrage Mortar.  I think a D98-U Shockwave will be doing even more damage though.

Mastodon (7.5M): I like these against Reavers, which we will be seeing for a few more months (at least).  If you can't beat the Kraken to get a Proto-Mast from Snowfall, this is an alternative.

Berserker (9M): Between the fact that their only real bonus comes from taking damage combined with their 150% repair modifier... I just have never been a Berserker fan.

Cryo Launcher D104-N (6M): These are probably the second-best launcher to put on Fusion Cruisers, but not even close to the D98-U in damage output.  Why would you spend more 0.5M more points for these?

Inferno Rockets (3.5M): With the release of longer-range, quicker-build Dragonfires, these don't seem to be worth it anymore, but maybe as a last resort if you won Goresabers without Dragonfires.

Magma Throwers (4M): Some people like these, but I think they are too short range to be really desirable.

Tier 3:
D5-X Compound Armor (2.2M): This is my favorite armor special, even though may players prefer one of the alloys.  This is lighter than alloy and I have focused my retrofit uranium on it.   I also think that weapon damage types have become more diverse, so you can't really count on being able to avoid any particular damage type in a fleet for raids, base hits, or FvF. 

Maelstrom Rockets V (2M): These have come down in price from 3.5M last month.  If you don't have Dragonfires for a rocket hull, this can be a decent alternative, but you will want Cluster Warheads and high rank with these.

Poseidon Depth Charge 3 (2M):  A bit specialized for sub-killing.  If you know you want these, then they are worth getting, but the Poseidon 2 might be a better value for points and build time.

Nuclear Cruiser (2M):  Oh dear how the once mighty Nuclear Cruiser has fallen.  If you really can't get the Fusion Cruiser, and you don't have the V2-C, but you can scrape together the 5.5M for D98-U, then get this hull and start it in retrofit.  But you really want the additional 10.5M for the FC.

 Unstable Core III (2.2M):  This might just be my preference, but I hate building ships just to blow them up. 

Reaver Chaingun 3 (1.85M):  No, you want the Bypass Chaingun if any chaingun.

Tier 2:
Hurricane (400k): If you want a cheap way to get a lot of Firebat Drones into the water, this is your hull.  Lots of Firebats MAY be an effective way to take down Fusion Cruiser fleets (or any launcher fleet), as I don't think you'll be able to build a shockwave on a drone before killing it.

Poseidon Depth Charge 2 (100k): At this price, it is tough to tell someone not to get these really capable sub-killers.

Compound Plate II (350k): The way Compound Plate scales, the bigger ones are more efficient for damage reduction and build time.  You just don't want to use this one.

Assault Rockets D93-S (400k): Meh.  Kinda heavy, not that good, long build.  If you're using these, you probably could use  non-S Assault rockets instead.  

Unstable Core II (200k):  This might just be my preference, but I hate building ships just to blow them up.  With the slower speed, you won't get in range anyway.

Strike System II (200k):  You're just not going to want to use this long-term, you want Strike System 3.

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.

Poseidon Depth Charge 1 (40k): Sure, pick these up, but I think PDC 2 are in the sweet spot for this weapon type.

Unstable Core I (30k):  This might just be my preference, but I hate building ships just to blow them up.  With the slower speed, you won't get in range anyway.

Firestorm Rockets D91-S (100k): At half the weight, I usually prefer one of the other Firestorm versions (N or L) whenever I am considering light rockets.

I have a very strong opinion that the new launcher and hull will be very powerful, and very powerful when used together.  Sometimes I advise players that if they don't think they can reach the hull, at least get the weapon.  In this case, you really want both.  Grind away on Strike or Recon if you have to... you shouldn't have to beg for help.  

Let me answer all questions of the form "Should I get X or Y?" right now...

Get the new ship and the new weapon.  Yes get them both.  

I should be able to post a "One day in" post on Friday like I usually do for raids... let me know in the comments if you want a detailed Strike walkthrough.  Well designed Mercuries and Battlecruisers should be able to blow through Strike.  Again, a countermeasure specialist ship helps immensely in that campaign because the large ships fire Locusts - shooting those down is key to cutting damage.