Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New FM Prizes - A better Cadmium?

Kixeye has stuck to their usual cycle and so we have new Forsaken Mission prizes now that the raid is complete.  Once again, some of those prizes are really useful for a raid prize... so you whales who have coined Heavy Cruiser builds already already might want to take notice of that pattern.

Magnus Drive 2

This is an improvement on the original Magnus Drive special, with better speed, cloaking, and accuracy for nearly the same weight and build time.

To compare the options:

Magnus Drive was just about a necessity on Spectres. With only 2 specials, there was no way to get speed, cloaking, and a dive time boost without it (don't use a battery if you're in that situation).  For subs with 3 specials like Nighthawks & Barracudas, it was less critical, as players would generally use Speed System, Cat Drive, and Battery.  On Tiger Sharks with 4 specials, it really wasn't needed at all, as players even had that 4th special to work with.

But now that Magnus has improved cloaking AND the highest speed available of any non-range reducing engine... Magnus Drive 2 might be desirable on any sub.   

Check out my two options here for Styx-based Tiger Sharks:!B00D000005Z5519030ZZ0NA015151515341D6D1GC100C100C1C10000C1C10NA015151515411D6D0OC100C100C1C10000C1C10ZZdC

On the original build I used Speed V, Cat 3 & Bat 3, with Interception System for increasing my corrosive damage stacks and my speed.  6 Styx Torpedos fit on this build.  I have enough weight left over for a few other torps (a Charon or some Assault B), but I left them off for the purpose of this comparison.

Switching Speed V & Cat Drive for Magnus & Ion Thruster, I improve my submerged combat speed from 32 to 36 and improve my turn speed.  This comes at the cost of a cloak reduction from 91 to 80, the 5% accuracy reduction, and an extra 27 hours of build time.  The new build is also lighter, but adding another Styx torp still puts me 4 tons over the weight limit (with shipyard 3).
(my numbers are based on my current retrofits, yours may vary)

Building a Tiger Shark was tough enough with all the options available, now we have one more option in the mix with Magnus Drive 2.

Barrel Loader

This special increases the number of shots fired from a multishot weapon (no it does not give multishot to a non-multishot weapon).  Right now that is only scatterguns for ship weapons, but we might see others in the future.

The question players had upon release was whether the increased number of shots increased the damage output from the weapon, or whether it just spread the same damage over more shots.  The answee we received via the forum mod Laredo was that the actual damage output was increased - each pellet will do the same amount of damage after multishot is applied.

This chart shows the DPS increase on each type of Scattergun assuming that the expected DPS increases linearly with the number of pellets.  The two "regular" scatterguns have the same DPS increase because each fires 5 as their multishot, then the Heavy fires 15.  All of the Scatterguns get a 40% increase for the 19% weight cost of the Barrel 3 special.  For the light scatterguns, the Barrel 2 makes no sense since it gives the same benefit as the lighter Barrel 1.  Any of these combinations is worth using (from a DPS/ weight perspective) if you are willing to use up the special slot.  I've seen too many HC builds using Hull Streamlining... at least put Barrel 1 on instead.

One more thought I have on the Barrel Loader with Cobra Scatterguns... Since those have the Corrosive DoT damage, the DPS might not scale linearly for that weapon.  There are two factors going on... with the DoT damage, the stack does a set amount of damage - it doesn't tail off with range like other splash damage.  So if that extra shot from the loader causes a second hit where you got only one hit before... then your damage doubles.  The flip side of that is that it might cause you to hit the DoT maximum stack more quickly, so that extra shot could also be wasted.  Answering that question precisely would take more simulation than I'm willing to do... so good luck.

CS Spekkio posted on the Kixeye forums about the barrel loader, and in that post, he implies that the weapon does its entire damage for each projectile fired in the multi-shot. 

Thanks to a video posted by Andrew Knowles...
we can see that is incorrect, and also see the benefit of the Barrel Loader. In the video, he took a single Heavy Cruiser with 3 Heavy Scatterguns, and fired at the Dreadnaughts in a 75.  He did this once with Barrel Loader, and once without it.

Math to follow:
One of those Dreads in the video has 42216 health.

A Heavy Scatter is listed at 6600 blueprint damage, which means that each gun does up to 3300 damage to ships (the double damage on blueprint thing), and he's got 3. (and was driving carefully so the D81-M were out of range). 

So he does 9900 damage per shot without the barrel special (ignoring some reduction from spread). 4 shots wouldn't be enough to kill that dread (39600 damage), but 5 is.

He would do 9900x1.4 = 13680 per shot with the barrel special. 3 shots wouldn't be enough to kill that dread (41580 damage), but 4 is.

With the Barrel Special you can see that 4 shots kill the dread. Without it, 5 shots were required.

If the weapon did full damage per projectile (as Spekkio wrote), then it would be doing 15x more damage, and killing everything with one shot.

So to summarize - The listed damage for a Scattergun is divided among the pellets fired in the multishot.  If you use Barrel Loader on a Scattergun with multishot, then you fire more pellets but each one still does the same amount of damage, which increases the damage output of the weapon.

Draconian Scattergun Turret

We have a new "backupLimited Turret prize in the Elite Tier.  The Dead-Eye Ballista was considered a bust by many, but this one looks to be a little more promising.  With 105 range, I don't think you could use it like a Wendigo, but instead you would put it on your front line.  My front line right now consists of Pyroclasts and a couple Gargoyles.  Since this turret has the same submerged damage, I would use it to replace a Gargoyle for sub defense, instead of upgrading to a Gargoyle 2.  

Although the expected DPS is lower than the Gargoyles, I would expect the Drac Scattergun to fire more often and be more effective overall because of its higher shot velocity and its longer range.  Power is reasonable as well.  When you place this gun, be very careful of retargeting... Missiles can take out a line of turrets along the front line when they are clustered, so they could pick you off at a range higher than 105... I suggest making this turret the first turret in a group, so you are guaranteed to get its full effectiveness. 

Nobody will win this gun this week because they have to win all of the other Elite prizes first, but I guess we will see these in action next week...

Streamlined Cadmium Armor

When the first batch of Cadmium came out, I found that it really didn't help repair times because the lack of defensive bonuses on that armor meant that a ship using it would be more vulnerable to damage.  

This Cadmium is even larger than the Cadmium Delta we saw before, and although it doesn't give a defensive bonus, it gives speed bonuses.

To start out with I'll compare just the Armor points, build time, and weight.

In terms of efficiency, the Armor points per weight is good - better than previous Cadmium and better than Zynth armor, but still not as good as Reaver Bulkhead.  However, the real standout here is the low build time of this armor - at just 9 hours to build, where any other armor of this class is over a day (usually nearer 2 days), use of this armor can really shorten build times.  Of course, you are paying 30k Uranium per piece for that benefit.

But the question for many players is whether this armor can give an advantage.  First off... if we were still building 4 ship MCX fleets, with 3 specials and all evade armor, the answer would be a definite no.  However, fleet building has gotten more complex - with most high end fleets using mixed hull, and players having 4 - 5 special slots available.   

So I decided to look at my favorite fleet right now - my mixed Rhino fleet with an Aegis and options for a Prototype Hunter or Neptune to tank.  Since the Rhinos are using Speed System 5 and Interception System, the non-Rhino hulls needed some other speed boosting tech in order to keep up, since they each have some combination of slower base speed and lack of Interception System.

I used 2 pieces of V armor and Reaver Scout engine to get the speed I needed.  Very simply, I replaced the light V armor with the new Streamlined cadmium and replaced the D5-E with D2-E to keep my weight down.

Before & after is at this link:!906M01R1R0L0L2B0O5Z1B1B1B1B1B1B06M00U0U25252B0O5Z1B1B1B1B1B1B0ZZ0ZZ0ZZdC

With the Proto-Hunter, I originally used 3 Assault B torpedos to get the extra speed I needed, so I took off the torpedos and replaced 2 of my D2-E with Streamlined Cadmium.

Before & after is at this link:!90N600U0U0U0U2L6D35346F5454545454544H4H4H000N600U250U252L6D35346F545454545454000000000ZZ0ZZ0ZZdC

On the Neptune I used a Speed Upgrade to match the speed boost of Interception System.  I replaced the Speed Upgrade with an Evade Upgrade, then replaced 3 Evade Armors with Cadmium to get the speed back.  I reduced the other Evade armors to D2-E to try to get a bit of the weight back.

Before & after is at this link:!907000V0V0V0V0V0V0C5R2U346F25280000005555555755560007000U250U250U250C5P2U346F2528000000555555575556000ZZ0ZZ0ZZdC

I compiled the key before and after statistics in the following table:

(again, specific numbers may vary slightly based on retrofit levels)

For each build, the total Armor Points & Turn Speed went up, and Build Time went down.  Those benefits came at a cost of reduced Evade and increased weight.  Combat Speed was pretty close in each build, by design.  The key benefit was that the repair times were cut - the "Repair Speed Change" being negative denotes the percentage reduction in the time taken to repair each armor point.  The "Evadable Damage Increase" is the percentage of additional damage expected due to the lower evade score.  For the Aegis and the Neptune builds, the increase in damage is significantly less than the repair time reduction, so there is a net benefit to the player when using that ship.  For the case of the Proto-Hunter, the increase in expected damage is fairly close to the decrease in repair time, so there doesn't seem to be any benefit.  Note that for a new build (not a refit), using Streamlined Cadmium would help even on the Hunter build because you would end up with similar statistics for a lower build time.  In each build, you would have to deal with the extra weight.

So overall, it looks like this new armor can have a place on any build where you are looking to increase a ship's speed beyond what is possible with just the engine special.  Yes, you'll need the Uranium.  Builds aren't getting any simpler...

I put up a new poll this week - I am trying to get a sense of where my readers are at.  I may do a couple of these over the next few weeks.

The first poll is intended to find out where your shipyard is - I want to use the Shipyard level that appeals to the highest number of readers.

Please take a couple seconds to vote (once) in the poll at the upper right side of this page - Thanks!