Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Weapon Rebalance

Well, Kixeye said it was coming and here it is... or at least part of it.

I don't see the point of a weapon rebalance without the build time adjustments that are needed.  I am also really not sure why Kixeye put this out in the release just before a raid.  It feels rushed.  The weirdest part is that there were a few weapons that had their build times reduced with this, but most were unchanged.  There are some really weird artifacts in this release, and I have no idea if it is intentional or not.

My plan here is to go through the weapons by class, show the new DPS/Range"bubble chart" for the class, and try to describe what I think are the most important changes.  

I have made a change to my chart format.  (so read below)
X axis = weapon range (with special)
Y axis = DPS/hton (meaning damage per second per 100 tons of weight).  This is like the weapon efficiency
Bubble Size = proportional to DPS (diameter, not area)

So weapons to the upper right are more effective because they do more weight per ton, and can do it at longer range.  Weapons with a bigger bubble hit harder per weapon.  Raw DPS as a statistic is much more important now that many weapons are lighter.  Using a light, efficient weapon will just mean that your light fleet doesn't hit very hard.

I used to make the bubble size based on build time per ton, so the big bubbles were weapons that took longer to put on your fleet.  With the rebalance, some build times were shortened, but some weren't.  With the generally lighter weight weapons, some build times got really out of whack and made the charts pretty useless at showing that statistic.

To try and make these plots SORT OF real-world, I compute damage, weight, and range numbers based on the weapons being mounted on a hull that is suited to the use of that weapon, with appropriate specials mounted, at 45% rank, and against a target with 45% evade.  The specific hull & specials used are listed on the chart.  

Also in each weapon section, I used the Kixeye data, but calculated the percentage differences in damage & weight.  You can see the biggest changes by color.

Missiles:
I used to split this category into "Heavy Missiles" and "Light Missiles".  The Blade broke that classification, and now that most of the "heavy" missiles are now "light" I've decided to combine all the missiles into one chart.



So I'll start with the good... Kixeye drastically reduced weight while bumping up the damage on the old Draconian & research missile weapons.  So now there are a lot of missiles in the same efficiency neighborhood as Harriers and Blades (all around 200-300 DPS/hton).  Even the Achilles has joined the party.  Harrier and Disrupter damage increased as well, so you have a real choice to make between the Bypass on the lighter Harriers versus the Flak Evade on the heavier Blades.  The Trident also had its damage drastically increased (look at that huge bubble way up there on the left), so that it may be a consideration if you can deal with the lower range (maybe using Remote Targeting?).

But the bad?  With the build time staying the same on those "old Drac" weapons, the time to fill a fleet with those weapons would be outrageous - you're paying a lot more build time for the same amount of efficiency. Until build times are changed, it would be very difficult to suggest that a player start building with those Siege/Strike/Assault missiles.  For now, stick with the Blade/Harrier/Disrupter family, or newer players should possibly try out Cutlass.  If build times are fixed, then the story may change, and the Siege/Assault/Achilles Missiles may also be viable "Step-up" missiles.  Torrent had their stats improved, but they stil fall behind with rank, and the Deluge/Downpour missiles are unchanged.




Ballistics:
Same story as with Missiles - The Heavy/Light distinction wasn't useful anymore, so I combined them all into one chart.



There is a much bigger DPS spread here, with a lot of the mainline ballistics in the 50-200 DPS/hton range, but some of the smaller ballistics being much more efficient.  Still you won't get away with an effective Thud 4 build until you get a ship with 100 weapon slots.

One weapon of note here is the Siege Cannon S.  Its weight & build time was drastically reduced, making it a light, quick way to get a ship's speed up.  For example, if you want to match a Drac Carrier to tank/spot for some Rhinos with Interception System, a bunch of S cannons will get the Carrier (with 13 base speed) up to match the Rhinos without resorting to Reaver Scout Engine (and halving your range).

Crossbows are getting competitive with Arbalests, making up for their short range with good DPS/hton, but their prohibitive build time has not been fixed.



Launchers:

The new launcher chart is still dominated by the D98U:


Although the older launchers have had their weight reduced and/or their damage increased, the D98U is still the clear king.  Note that these charts do assume that you are getting shockwaves on a non-unreactive target.  Their actual DPS/hton of 500+ stacks up nicely against the other weapon classes we've seen so far, but they are handicapped a bit by the need to do shockwaves to reach that potential DPS, and they also have (relatively) slow travelling shots compared to missiles or ballistics.



Scatterguns:
No changes here, but I figured you'd want to see it anyway.  DPS/weight is surprisingly low compared to other weapon classes, but those are big weapons.





Rockets: 

S rockets got a big weight cut - remember that these DPS numbers are based on fleet damage, so Siege Rockets will be doubled & Assault Rockets will be halved.

Maelstrom V got a big damage bump but it still doesn't put out as much hurt as the quicker firing Dragonfires.

But yes, an Assault Rocket S will do just as much damage (at lighter weight) than a Dragonfire (against a non-moving ship).  It doesn't have the range though...



UAVs


Yes, the Locust can hit harder than the Drac Bomber, but it doesn't have the splash and it takes longer to do all of its damage.  The Dragonfly got a big efficiency boost with its weight drop.  As a class, UAV DPS/hton is in the missile neighborhood.



Throwers:

The Blaze did get a little lighter.  Yes these weapons make a cool fireball, and can hit multiple targets, but their raw damage just isn't there to make up for the short range. 



Mortars:
 

Even the old Peacemaker & Diplomat are in teh same neighborhood as other mortars now, but I think the big non-news here is that their DPS/hton is still not nearly high enough to make up for their long flight time.


Torpedoes:



Damage was always more important than DPS/hton for most sub builds, but the heavy Styx changed that.  But since its DPS/hton is good compared to most other torps, the highest overall damage option is generally to max out your weight with Styx.  

Assault Torpedos got a lot lighter, making Cuda builds easier.

If you notice that the overall torpedo DPS/hton is significantly lower than missiles, you'll understand why I'm not too concerned about the torpedo loadout on those mixed Torp/Missile hulls like the Protohunter & Interdictor.  Most of your damage will be from the missiles anyway.



Depth Charges:


I know you weren't anxiously awaiting this chart, but Poseidons get an efficiency boost from their weight drop.  Piranhas didn't change much, but they can still deal out more hurt per weapon because of their larger size.



Overall:
I'm not totally sure what to make of this change yet.  The "old" top weapons are still the top weapons, so I don't see (or suggest) high-end players make a big change based on this rebalance.  For lower end players without all the toys, there certainly are more options, but it is really tough to make recommendations without knowing what will happen to build times.  Once we get the whole picture, maybe some more of the "value weapons" will pop out at us.

I guess the big think is not to overreact to this change.  Kicking off big builds to try to take advantage of some old wepon that got a big buff might not be your best idea right now, since the build times are all up in the air.