Saturday, December 19, 2015

New FM Prizes: Phalanx 4, ES 4, Oil Slick, & UAV Battery

New week, new FM Prizes.

Despite having about 10,000 readers of this blog (and I appreciate all of you), this week I had that moment where my kid is better known on the Internet than I am.
And in a good way.

So moving on to the new Forsaken Mission Prizes (and we have 4 this week - we'll see if we have 3 or 4 FM opportunities between the next raid), I'll give them all a once over.

Phalanx 4
I love using countermeasures and countermeasure ships.  Good Phalanx coverage is critical to doing the Forsaken Mission for low damage, so I was looking forward to seeing what these Phalanx 4 would look like.  

It's certainly a lot heavier than the previous Phalanx, But it has more shots per salvo, higher accuracy, higher missile defense bonus, and lower reload time than the previous options.  I compared them all in the table below (no retro, Shipyard 1):

Hits / sec is the expected number of non-evading missiles/UAVs hit per second (assuming enough shots come in to force continuous fire), and hps/kton is that number divided by the weapon weight multiplied by 1000.  The Phalanx 4 certainly comes in able to shoot down more missiles and do it just as efficiently as the Phalanx 3.  With weapons having lower weight these days, having the countermeasures be concentrated in fewer weapon slots opens up more build options too.

The other consideration for this weapon is the higher accuracy.  Since each incoming missile only gets one shot from a Phalanx a higher accuracy is important for any case where the incoming missile count is NOT enough to saturate the defenses.

Although the extra 5% accuracy seems like just a little it is actually important - looking at the case where there is no evade and no bonuses, the difference is that 40% of the missiles get through a Phalanx 3, but 35% get through a Phalanx 4, which is a 12.5% reduction in damage.  If you have accuracy bonuses, the difference is magnified - accuracy bonuses work as a percentage of base accuracy, so on an Aegis (+20%) with full Alliance bonus (+20%), the Phalanx 3 accuracy would be 84% (16% of missiles get through), but the Phalanx 4 would be 91% (9% get through), resulting in a 44% reduction in damage.  Of course against blades the difference would be lower because of the 80% flax evasion.

The real drawback of the Phalanx 4 is its build time.  With players still waiting for Kixeye to deliver on their promise of build time reductions, having this weapon take nearly twice as long to build as a Phalanx 3 (1 day 2 hours vs 14 hours) is NOT a step in the right direction.  So the new counter is worth building, but you're going to have to be willing to suck up the build time.

Explosive System 4:
This new special is more than just an improvement on Explosive System 3 (which would have gotten a big ho hum from players), it also incorporates a projectile speed improvement.

The stats of this new special are as good as (or better than) the best of any other in the category.  The weight is a little bit more and the build time is not outrageous considering the capability you get.

The obvious candidates for this special are mortars and rockets, but Scatterguns and Scythe/Death Scythe missiles will also greatly benefit from it.  In fact, any weapon type will benefit from the projectile speed (as no weapon type is given), but it might be a hard sell for this special to find a place on a ship for that reason only.

One more place where this special could be used is on a Proto-Nemesis, where the missiles are given splash by the hull.  Just remember that this will not give splash to weapons that don't have it, since +50% from zero is still zero.

UAV Battery 
Kixeye was helpful enough to let us know that a new UAV-related special would be out for this Forsaken Mission post-raid, and it is the UAV Battery.  

The Battery affects the new "Chain Count" mechanic, which allows UAVs to hop to another target (within their chaining range) once their initial swarm is completed.  The new Drac UAV Carrier gives UAVs a Chain Count of 2, but all other UAV ships have a Chain Count of 1.  This actually means that the UAV Battery has a higher percentage effect on the non Drac Carrier ships, since going from 1 hop to 2 will double UAV damage output, but going from 2 hops to 3 will only add 50%.  At 11% added weight, the Battery seems worth it in either case, but....
One important thing to consider when using the Battery is the Chaining Range.  If the UAV has no Chaining Range, it won't be able to complete a hop (unless the target ships are perfectly stacked, which seems unlikely).  

Sources of Chaining Range are:
UAV Drac Carrier: 10
Scarab UAV: 4
UAV Powercells: 30

If you aren't using one of those Chaining sources, then don't bother with the UAV Battery.

It certainly seems that the best use of these is for Bombers on the Drac Carrier.  If you are trying to improve your Locusts on Valkyries, you will have to use the UAV Powercells and the UAV Battery to get the second hop, which will take 2 of your 4 special slots.  Also with extending the chaining of non-Bomber UAVs, the additional damage will be occurring much later than when you launched the UAV, so you will be taking lots of incoming fire before all that damage happens (back-loaded damage).

UGGGGGH I got this wrong (except "best use for Bombers is on a Drac Carrier") - if you are coming back here for reference, ignore all that stuff.  
Read this forum post:  
I may have to come back to this topic in a later post.

Watch out for the (long) 2+ day build time with this special.  Those long specials can be a big driver of fleet build times.

Oil Slick:

This base tactical module will cause (surface) ships to speed up but not turn as well.  It seems like the idea is to make them beach against corners.  It can be mounted on Oil Rigs that are level 10 (level 9?) or higher, or your dock (don't do that).

I haven't seen this in action yet so I don't know how well it will work, but the obvious ship this seems intended to defend against is the Heavy Cruiser, which is fast but poor at turning.  

If trying this special out, I would suggest you put it in a 90 degree bend corner, since if it isn't, then the ship just ends up blowing through your base even more quickly.  One thing to watch out for is that you may give enemies a target that would allow retargeting missiles to hit turrets that they wouldn't be able to normally reach.  

UPDATE:  In the forum, Kixeye has confirmed that the Frosty & Aegis fields negate the oil slick effect.  I think that most fleets that this MIGHT be effective against are using one of those ships.  Thanks to a reader for pointing me in that direction.

Although the humor of watching people slip and slide is pretty good, I think it's even funnier to watch em get hit in the nuts.  So I think I'll be allocating my building time to things like upgrading my turrets and buildings, rather than building this special.