Monday, July 13, 2015

Fusion Cruiser and Antipode Launcher D98U

The Dark Tide event is coming.  I think it was originally name Dark Water, but Kixeye quickly realized that they would confuse all the old farts that like to talk about "black water days", so they tweaked the name a little.  Me - I'm such an old fart that I like to talk about the days when talking about black water days was fun.  So there.

Anyway we've had a bit of official data come out about this raid along with some obfuscation.  There was a forum post off the Wishlist that was making the rounds today, it included Borba's Goresaber and a Reaver short range rocket defense turret along with a complete prize list including a sector store.  As far as I can tell, that post had no basis in reality.

Kixeye Tips & Tricks:
What we do know is what came out in Kixeye's Tips & Tricks post:

This explains a couple interesting things:
- Campaign structure will be similar to previous campaigns, but...
- ALL campaigns will be available to ALL levels

Assuming difficulty is similar to previous campaigns, this will allow high level non-coiner players to grind through Strike (or even Recon) campaigns to earn points more slowly than Siege / Elite campaigns.  I think the players this really helps the most are the players that just crossed level 60 and experience the huge jump in difficulty from Strike to Siege campaigns.

This post also describes the mechanics for rescuing Forsaken ships to earn "Forsaken Rescue Points".  The FRPs can be redeemed for an Elite Mercenaries crew.

Free the ships marked with "!"

Earn points towards the Elite Mercenaries

Use the Elite Mercenaries to help you in the Raid (or maybe some other time...)

My Frosty Crusader fleet is drooling.

I had actually been saving up a bunch of Fearless Blitzers that I want to burn up during the raid (and 2 Grease Monkeys).  We'll see what I end up using.

Speaking of drooling, lets get to the new prizes.

Fusion Cruiser
Kixeye's rotating wheel of weapon love has come back around to launchers this month.  The Fusion Cruiser is launcher-optimized with built in reload, range, and supercharge bonuses.

This info didn't come from an official raid briefing thread, but DOOMROOSTER is posting this stuff, so I believe it:

How does it stack up to other launcher ships?

I did make the assumption that the build time posted in the thread (by DOOM) was the no officer build time (since it matches the current Greta/Nuclear Cruiser exactly).  I also noticed that we couldn't see if there is a repair modifier.  All other Forsaken ships have had 100% repair modifier (or lower), but we don't know what this one will be for sure.

So it stacks up pretty good.  Although it doesn't have the speed of the Interceptor/Hellblazer, it has decent speed, good defenses, and the reload/range/supercharge bonuses will make this ship an offensive powerhouse that has enough defense to hold up in a fight.  (especially when paired with new launchers...)  Although the Greta & Nuclear Cruisers match the reload, they don't match the range bonus or the supercharge.  

Really the best description of this hull is the "Crusader for Launchers".  Compared to the Crusader, it has the same speed & turn, the 8/4/4 configuration, slightly better defense/evade, slightly less built-in armor, much less cargo capacity, and serious offensive enhancement for launchers instead of ballistics.

A few more notes on building these...
- Don't use Gauss Supercharger on this hull, since the x1.5 from Gauss will only get you to x3.5 charge, not x4.5.  It won't be worth the weight or special slot. 
- Like Crusader builds, one Reaver Bulkhead will be an efficient way to increase your armor points with reasonable weight & build time.  More bulkhead than that will probably leave you vulnerable.
- Also like Crusader builds, I expect to see lots of 3 FC + flagship fleets, probably with a Frosty, but it might be harder to match speeds without the +20% speed bonus from the Nuclear Accelerator commonly used on Crusaders (one could use speed upgrade as a 4th special).  A 4 ship FC + blank HLNC might also be a fleet we see a lot of.  However with D98-U, shockwaves will come fast so maybe the HLNC won't be too much of an enhancement.

Antipode Launcher D98-U

(from wikipedia) Antipode: In geography, the antipodes (/ænˈtɪpədz/; from Greek: ἀντίποδες,[1] from anti- "opposed" and pous "foot") of any place on Earth is the point on the Earth's surface which is diametrically opposite to it.

I'm not sure what that has to do with this launcher weapon...

In the thread, DOOMROOSTER also posted that the Aux Shockwave takes 30 charges, and the full Shockwave takes 60.  

At a glance, this weapon looks powerful, but I'll stack it up against the other launchers:

(Woops - no Ballistic Bypass for D92!  I'm busy on the next article so I'm not going to make a new chart)

For the shockwave damage, I added the Auxillary and the Main Shockwave damage numbers, figuring you'll cause both over the 60 charge cycle.  (Aux at 30 and Main at 60, then repeat.  It may be possible that you get Aux at 30 & 60, then Main at 60, but my head hurts already.)

So it may look powerful, but when running the numbers we see it is REALLY powerful.  I was going to just combine the DPS numbers of the weapon damage and the shockwave, but I thought it was more impressive to show them separately, then combine them.  Both the weapon DPS and the Shockwave DPS are much larger than previous launchers.  You can see that the D98-U are expected to do over 3.5x as much damage (per weight) as the next closest launcher (the D104-N).

Those numbers were all run on a "zero bonus" case.  We all know that at higher reloads, the S launchers look better compared to the weapons with a higher salvo, so I'll reproduce the bubble charts for the launchers, but change my baseline ship to a Fusion Cruiser (with 45% reload bonus).

I included the data table since all of the launchers other than the Antipode look like they are sitting on top of each other in comparison.  The surprising part of this chart is that the S launchers did not catch up to the non-S launchers.  I had to stare at that a bit to undestand why, but the reason is that the x3 Supercharge on the Fusion Cruiser helps the U and N launchers much more than the S launchers.  I had to make some assumptions, but we've been told that the bonuses add, but start at one.  

The formula I used to add Supercharges is:  
Final Supercharge bonus = (Bonus1 - 1) + (Bonus2 - 1) + 1 

By that formula, U, F, and N launchers on a Fusion Cruiser get an x3 supercharge.
D104-S starts with x5, and with the x3 of the Fusion Cruiser ends up at x7 supercharge.
D92-S starts with x8, and with the x3 of the Fusion Cruiser ends up at x10 supercharge.
So the relative improvement of the S launchers is much less than the non-S launchers.

I'm sure people will want to see the Legendary case, so here it is:
The S launchers pass the non-S launchers with the high reload bonuses, but still aren't close to the Antipode Launcher.

If you are wondering about the "Bpw" number, that is build time / weight (in seconds per ton), so a lower number results in faster builds when using that weapon.  The Antipode, although it builds relatively fast at under 14 hours (with officer), its shipyard 2 bonus does make it a lighter weapon than the other launchers, so it has a relatively high Bpw number (although still better than S launchers).

Yeah... these are the launchers you are looking for.  No Jedi Mind Trick should convince you otherwise.

The other big effect these may have on the game is that having these high damage weapons on an offensive hull with over 98 range will mean that many bases will need redesign.  The previous rule of thumb was (approximately) that players needed 4 large (water) + 2-3 small (wall) tiles to keep snipers from reaching a turret.  This increase of offensive range from 96 (Hornet UAV) to 98.7 (FC + D98-U) will mean that another wall tile will be needed to keep buildings safe.

Are these items game-changers?  Let me put it this way:

Maybe you missed out on the Crusader and the Arbalest.  Maybe you won them but didn't build them.  If you fall into either of those categories, you are probably sad about it.  If you won and built them, you probably know someone who didn't, and you may hear (constantly) about how they wish they had an awesome Crusader fleet like that.  If you don't start building Fusion Cruisers with Antipode Launchers, that is how you will feel.  But sadder.    With the removal of level limits from the campaigns, most players really have no excuse to not get these... 15 Strike campaigns over 4 days shouldn't be that difficult.

Or maybe you'd like to see it this way:

(45% rank for all weapon classes, each weapon is mounted on a hull optimized for that weapon type, launcher hull updated from NC R5 to FC)
(Sometime, I should probably update this plot to add Dragonfire Rockets and use Goresaber as the Rocket reference hull)

The first time I made this sort of combo plot, I had to make a separate plot without the Locust UAV, because it kind of collapsed everything else.  Now the Antipode makes the Locust almost fall back into the pack with every other weapon.  Are these overpowered?  Yes they are. Deal with it.  Welcome to Battle Pirates.