Thursday, July 2, 2015

Forsaken Wallet War & Valkyrie Carrier

Opinion on the Tournament:

If you need detail on the tournament structure, you can


With all the negative commentary on this month's Forsaken Wallet War ... (Arena Tournament for those who aren't in the know), I really wanted to dislike it.  The maddening part is... it's really fun.  I'm still not willing to pay for my repairs though.  But here's the thing:  You know how when you've been working on a fleet build for 2 or 3 months, and then finally it's done.  And you launch it and it's SO AWESOME.  Well with the Toybox feature, you get to build and use a fleet right away.  It's great.  Except for repairing it.  

I understand that Kixeye has to make money, and they need to give us "opportunities" to coin.  But don't make us coin... make us want to coin.  If they were allowing Uranium for repair insurance, and instead charged for fleet refits (not full price but maybe some set amount in the 20 - 50 coin range), they would still have plenty of opportunities for players who really want to perfect their fleets to spend money to tweak them, but also be allowing free players to get in the Arena and have a shot.

Maybe next time Kixeye?

I've paid Uranium to open up a few fleet slots, and it is not too expensive:
Second slot: 2000 U
Third slot: 5000 U
Fourth slot: 7500 U
Fifth slot: 10000 U

You could think of it as each extra fleet slot gets you an extra battle.  Well... it's more expensive than Repair Insurance was, but I am pretty stocked on Uranium right now.

The scoring is the same as last time, which includes starting off with your arena rating / 10 for points. I'm not so sure that's "fair", but that's how it is.  I guess it prevents ties.

Battle Stories:
I have tried 4 different builds in the arena so far - I'm not going to share the exact build for each, but I'll share battle stories from my first half-day.

I started with a Phantom Nighthawk fleet, not even worrying about stealth, hoping to catch any players who didn't worry about sub defense.  I figure with no armor, it would be a relatively quick repair.  (under 4 hours)  When I came up against a fleet with an Aegis, I realized that just about every fleet would have some thermal (because you are really missing out without an Aegis), so that sub fleet would actually be fairly useless.

I next tried a fleet with a Grim Berzerker flag, 2 heavy Goresabers with 4 Dragonfires each, a Crusader loaded with DR disruptor cannons, and an Aegis.  I was hoping this fleet would use the Crusader to slow enemies that would then be picked off by rockets.  This fleet came up against a fleet of Monarchs loaded with Firebats, which turned and ran.  Although the rockets could kill the Firebats quickly, they would still be able to fire the throwers before they died.  I thought I'd be killed, but managed to corner the Monarchs with just a bit of life left & pulled out the win.  

The next fleet I tried was a fleet with 2 Crusaders (loaded with 8 Arbalest each), an empty Savage Kodiak, a Proto-Mastodon loaded with Buzzard Missiles and an Aegis.  This fleet also came up against a Monarch drone fleet and pulled out a win fairly quickly by chasing down the Monarchs.  (I might have emphasized speed in my build...)

Next I decided to join the drone crowd, and built a fleet with 5 Monarchs, each with a Firebat 3 Module, and some Locusts.  It came up against a pretty standard Frosty Crusader fleet.  It was doing pretty well at running away & killing my drones from out of their range, until I maneuvered one of my Monarchs in range to launch UAVs.  At that point he shifted fire to my Monarch, which allowed the Firebats in to open up with throwers, and it all went south for him after that.

All those battles were really fun and exciting (except the sub one).  IT'S A DAMN SHAME I'M NOT GONNA DO IT VERY OFTEN.  I think I'm going to stick with the Crusader-Mastodon fleet for a while.  (my 5th match against 4 Crusaders went real well).

My general build philosophy in this Tournament is to build with lots of weapons, high speed, and light armor.  I figure if I'm outclassed by a mismatch, using light armor will reduce my repair time, and having a heavy emphasis on weapons allows me to be sure to deal out damage if I end up in an even slugfest (or get a quicker kill in a mismatch favoring my fleet).  Speed emphasis means that I'm more likely to be able to choose the engagement range instead of allowing my opponent to do so.  One more tip (and I'm hesitant to share this one) - if you're going to use drones, spread out your drone carriers.

Valkyrie Carrier

  
This new prize hull is a high-speed, heavy UAV carrier that fires Special Pinch and Cavitator UAVs as overrides.  Fundamentally it makes the Nash Carrier obsolete.  Let's see how it stacks up against that & the Warbird...

 

Speed, UAV damage, and resistance are standouts, although low evade and no concussive resistance might make this hull a bit more vulnerable to subs than a player would hope (given the Cavitator capability). 

The Nash/Lightning is really more of a Stingray that can carry UAVs, and the Warbird is slower but can pack more armor.  The Valkyrie is really a powerful open water UAV hull, even without the anti-sub capabilities.  I like it.  I'm not going to coin for it.  

I think the problem that many players will have with this hull is that if you only win 1 or 2, it will be difficult to speed-match other ships with it to make a fleet, unless you specifically slow down the Valkyrie (which would negate one of its best qualities).  Although a little light on armor slots, base defense might be a decent use for this hull if you only win one (and don't have a Warbird or Harlock there already).

With the coin-friendly Forsaken Wallet War format, many players are skipping the event, and they are missing out on a good hull, but not on a must-have item.  If a lot of players take the "no-coin" attitude, then the brackets will have some scores that are not too high.  My recommendation is to get in a bracket, take a look at the scores, fight a match or two, and see how you do.  In my bracket (10 hours in), 1st place is currently around 4000 points, 2nd place is 1900, and 10th place is 934.  96th place has 200 points.  I don't know if these scores are typical, and yes, the top 10 are probably coining, but the overall scores are definitely not outrageous, the hull is not out of reach for a non-coiner (even if the top spot is).