Thursday, August 27, 2015

How many Banshees?

I'm going to talk a bit about the newest hull prize in the FAT - the Banshee sub.

It's like a Spectre, but with that "new standard" 8/4/4 slot configuration.  We haven't seen anything like that on a sub before.  The compare chart looks like:

(as always, thanks to for the unlisted stats)

This sub is definitely a base prep specialist - I think it's a bit slow for FvF.  Base prep with subs has been difficult lately, subs usually can't sneak into a base when a thermal imaging ship is used.  The Banshee is built with enough armor, armor slots, and resistance that it can take some hits as it enters bases and still make it.  To clarify its submerged defense - it has increased defense against penetrative, concussive, and radioactive defense while submerged.  But the weapon still has to be able to hit underwater to do any damage.  So its 60% submerged radioactive defense doesn't mean launchers will do some reduced damage against submerged Banshees - they will still do no damage.  But the Banshee will have 60% resistance against a fire pool that would normally damage the Banshee underwater.  So if you really want to prep some guards - load em up with armor and make a run for it.  Welcome to the land of the multi-day repair bill...

Also note that the weapon slots are underwater only.  No Deluge or Downpours on these.

So first - what to do with the 4 specials?  I'd avoid the combo specials like Magnus or Stealth System and just go for the basics... Engine3 or Speed5, Cat3, Bat3, and probably Concussion Warhead.  You could also try an Evade or Resistance as your fourth special - you have plenty of weight to work with.  For weapons 8 Assault Torpedo B are obvious, but you could do the Siege Z if you are feeling confident in your stealth.

Of course, the big complaint about these subs is that they are a limited hull prize in the Forsaken Arena Tournament.  Only players who get the #1 spot in their group, or those who get #2-10 with over 10000 points will be able to build 4 hulls.  So how useful are fewer Banshees?  I'll compare to Spectres.  My R5 Spectre build that I still use (never found time for Nighthawks) is 6 B torps, Magnus Drive, Battery 3, 2 D2S and 1 D2V armor.  

I'll try the most basic Banshee build I described above - 8 B torps, Speed 5, Bat3, Cat3, Concuss3, 2xD2S and 2x D2V.

See them in Huggys:!50ZZ02U00L15152O1D4H4H4H4H4H4H0ZZ06Y00L0L1515341D1G1A4H4H4H4H4H4H4H4H0ZZdB

With no component retros, the Banshee has slightly lower visible range (higher base range, but more cloaking), more speed (29 submerged / 24 vs. 21.5 for Spectre), and much more dive time (133 sec vs 84).

The Spectre wins on build time - 6 days 8 hours vs. 10 days 9 hours for the Banshee.

But lets look at DPS.... the Spectre R5 has a net 10% accuracy bonus (+20 from hull, -10 from Magnus), and the Banshee has a +30% (all from hull).  The Banshee also has a built in 60% concussive damage bonus and 33% bonus from the special.

So lets compare DPS:

("Single Hull DPS" multiplies the weapon DPS by 6 on the Spectre & 8 on the Banshee)

So by the DPS, a single Banshee is just as effective as 3 Spectres (even ignoring the longer dive time & higher speed).  A fleet of 2 Banshees outdoes a full fleet of Spectres (and builds faster too).  Just remember rank matters... it might take a while for you to rank your Banshees high enough to catch up to your legendary subs.

So will that make you feel better about winning two in the FAT?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rant Update and New FM prizes

My last article - WTF Kixeye, got a lot of views and a lot of responses.  Thanks for your support.  

The update on Kixeye's response is:

I messaged CM Doomrooster and eventually got a response.  I would have preferred to publish the exact exchange, but he asked me not to.  There really wasn't anything proprietary, incendiary, or shocking in the exchange, and I would think he would rather have his exact words published instead of my summary.  But we can't really understand a lot of Kixeye's behavior, can we?

He started off saying he could not speak about the difficulty increase, and I tried to follow up and press some more:

Doomrooster (essentially) repeated the same responses, with a little bit of clarification that the subsequent reduction in difficulty (not the initial increase) was supposed to increase engagement, and again said that he could not discuss any further.

Doomrooster's response was that he had not given permission for me to publish his responses in a public forum.  I have decided to respect his wish here, and hopefully he feels I have not misrepresented the content of his responses.

Now, I feel a little bad for him - my assumption is that he doesn't make Kixeye's policy, but he has to follow it.  Like I said above, I would really have preferred to speak with someone about it and try to understand if there was something going on besides "players aren't coining enough".  I WANT to hear their side of the story.  Without it, it is becoming more and more clear to me that Kixeye does not care what we THINK, they only care what we DO.  Please remember that short-sighted view the next time you are considering opening your wallet for this game.

I'm still willing to talk with anyone at Kixeye that is allowed to actually speak with me.

So... on to the new Forsaken Chore Mission Prizes.  We have two new prizes in Tier 3 and three new prizes in the Elite Tier.  With the 3 mission - 1 raid cycle, this means that players who only do the Elite Tier once per week will not earn Ship Build tokens from the mission on this cycle.  The focus of many of these prizes continues to be on Missile technology.

Disruption Missile D53-D

Why is this one called a D53 (like Assault Missiles), and not a D52 (like the Harrier Missile), when it is clearly similar to a Harrier missile?  Those wacky Draconians... OK moving on.

This missile has the same Damage/Reload/Accuracy/Bypass statistics as the Harrier Missile, but it adds the slowdown capability (5% per hit up to 35%) at the expense of more build time and more weight.

Some players may consider the Harrier a waste now that this more capable missile has been introduced, but with the extra weight, the best way to use these Disruption missiles is in conjunction with the Harrier.  7 hits is enough to max-out the slow effect... with the high accuracy and the likelihood that you will be using Laser or Guided Missile System as well... 15 is the max per fleet that you would likely need even against very high evade targets.  I may even plan to use fewer.

However, if you don't have the Harrier, the Disruption Missile is the next most efficient in DPS/hton, so it isn't a bad option.  One more advantage of the Disprution (and Harrier) missiles is that they have a faster projectile speed than previous missiles.  Siege & Strike Missiles have a projectile speed of 110, and the Harrier/Disruption have a speed of 180 (I haven't been able to confirm the Disruption speed yet).  This means that they will reach (and kill) their target sooner than other missiles.

One more topic to discuss is the Bypass statistic.  The Strike B and the Achilles have some bypass which I usually ignored.  The Harrier and Disruption have 40% bypass which is making me start to pay attention.  Bypass reduces the defense percentage of your target by the bypass percentage.  So a target with Penetrative Defense of 60% has that defense reduced to (60% * (1 - 40%)) = 36% against the Harrier Missile, and then instead of 40% of the damage getting through, 64% of the damage gets through, and so your effective DPS is increased by over 1.5x.  The chart below shows the effect of 20%, 40%, and 49.5% (new missiles with Bypass Missile at R15) bypass on DPS as resistance increases:

Speed System 4 & Speed System 5
Of course, the week after I recommend that anyone who doesn't have Speed System 3 yet should pick it up in the raid... Kixeye releases better versions in the FM.  I am comforted by the idea that most players who did not yet have Speed 3 are probably unable to reach Elite Tier and also probably have a lot of items left in Tier 3 making Speed 4 an uncertain proposition... right guys?

Although the additional speed and evade from these higher level speed systems could have been expected, the other big improvement on these is that there is no accuracy penalty.  Lets see how they stack up:

The build time for these newer systems also remains relatively reasonable.  Other than the slight 1% weight increase, these have no significant drawback.  Players using Speed 3 would be well advised to refit these onto their ships as soon as received.  If the weight is a problem, weapon tweaks would be the first place to look, since the accuracy "increase" will add to your DPS (for accuracy-based weapons) anyway.  With the recent emphasis on speed for newer hulls and specials, I think every little bit you have will help in upcoming events.

Compound Engine Systems retrofit also applies to these new engines.  That was already one of my favorite "Advanced" retrofits so even though it is one of the more expensive ones, it is probably worth investing Uranium into it.

Guided Missile System
This new special combines Solid Fuel Booster 3 with Laser 2.5:

This is particularly useful on the missile hulls which do not incorporate retargeting, such as the Rhino or Mastodon.  Especially for those players who might not have a lot of hulls, I see some using the Mastodon as a "front-line" ship, and opening an extra special slot (or replacing Strike Sys + Laser with Speed Sys 4/5 + Guided Missile System) will be really helpful on those builds.  To compare it with the previous options:


The total weight (19%) of GMS is less than combining the previous Laser + SFB options (22%).  For those players who were not using Laser, just SFB, the accuracy increase will make it worth the increased weight due to the increased effective DPS against targets with good evade.

Also note that this new Special is already in the Retrofit Lab under "Missile Systems" giving increased Accuracy bonus on retrofit.

Interception System

This special is really interesting.  It is sort of like Nuclear Accelerators for missiles or launchers, where it gives a Weapon + a Speed boost... but it is less critical.  For Ballistics, you absolutely need the range boost, so using Nuclear Accelerators is a no-brainer over Hardened Barrels.  For Launchers, although a Fusion or Gauss special is really nice, it isn't quite as critical.  For Missiles, using Enhanced Warheads isn't all that common, except on "Fire-Support" Mastodons.  Here's how it stacks up:

Against the Fusion Charger, it gives the same Supercharge with less weight & less build time.  It loses the Shockwave damage bonus, but gives that extra speed... I'd certainly want it for any open water ships over the Fusion Charger, leaving the Fusion Charger as most valuable only for base guards.  Since Launcher builds don't need a range special, this Interception System will certainly be earning a place on many Fusion Cruiser / V2-C builds.

For Missile Ships, the key to using this is having the special slot available... if you've got it, then the special is a nice addition.  With 5 special slots available, the Rhino will be a hull where this is used quite frequently.  Given the very high inherent combat speed of the Rhino, some players were even talking about using this and leaving off the engine special in order to use special slots for other tasks.  This would result in a 19.2 combat speed... which isn't terrible but is still a bit slow compared to many newer hull builds.

As far as I can tell, this one is not in the Retrofit lab (not even under Compound Engine like Nuclear Accelerators), so you might want to keep that in mind if you are comparing it to Gauss (under Launcher Systems) or Enhanced Warhead (under Missile Systems).

It seems the rotating wheel of weapon love has stayed on Missile for a little longer.  If you planned a Rhino build during the Raid, you will want to rethink it based on these items.  My original plan was to build a fleet with a Grim Wrath lead, 2 Rhinos with a mix of Siege Z and Harrier missiles, and an Aegis.

Now, with the new items giving the Rhino a higher speed, the Wrath just can't match the speed. The unreactive capability of the Rhino makes it nearly impossible to get a shockwave on it.  My new build plan is to use an empty Savage Kodiak for the missile reload boost, 3 Rhinos, and an Aegis (now with Reaver Scout Engine so it can keep up).!50M000000000000000000550100000000000000000006V01R1R1W0V1R685B6D343552525252525252525252525253535306V01R1R1W0V1R685B6D343552525252525252525252525253535306V01R1R1W0V1R685B6D343552525252525252525252525253535306M01R1R0M0M2B0O5Z011B1B1B1B1BdB

I'm using 3 Disruption Missiles per Rhino for a total of 9.  This fleet may not have enough armor points to beat high end bases, but 33 combat speed!?!  Awww yeah!  (lower quality link for non-US)

The new "Sea of Flames" campaign is out too... but that will have to wait for another post.  In short, the Templar is only a little bit better than a Crusader... I wouldn't go scrapping all mine for that new hull.  But if you are missing items from the first two prize packs, you should think about trying to go get those.  Raids are a great time to do that at half repair.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

WTF Kixeye?!?

I said I wouldn't be able to write any more about this event, but I can't let this go.

I tried to hit the raid pretty hard early.  I did quite a few elites, and found that Kix had made a couple tweaks to make them more challenging, but they were still "doable" in a reasonable fashion.  

Last night I got on since I had a bit of time to do another Elite, and I noticed that prepping the ships which used to give me about 3 coins of repair.. instead  killed about half my fleet for about 9 coins repair. Then turrets which i used to be able to kill with 2 arbalest salvos took 6 salvos.  And I died in the elite right around the Hades, where I used to be able to kill the whole thing.  

I was communicating with xnih from darkalliance - I grabbed the downloaded data to compare and it looked the same (in terms of ship / turret HP & resistance) but clearly our eyes are correct.  Many other people had posted or commented on the forums with similar experiences to mine.  This happens just about every raid, where people post that the raid damage has been turned up, but I usually don't believe it or experience it for myself.

I assumed that Kixeye screwed something up when they deployed the change to the Borbas (another screwup - good job giving us a no-skill required nuclear bomb there), and accidentally turned up the damage.  I tend to believe incompetence over conspiracy with Kixeye - I've commented on their atrocious configuration management before. 

Today on the forums we see this:

So Kixeye has said.. "Yes we turned up the damage because a few people were doing really well."

One would think that either - these people were cheating and should be banned, or they have found a way to play the game that the designers didn't think of.  It's happened before, and Kixeye has always either eaten the problem or directly fixed the problem.  Previous raids where you could maneuver off the screen come to mind...

But between the layoff and now this, I can not think anything else but that this game's days are numbered, and Kixeye is taking the short term view.   They seem to be attempting to extract every dime possible before it closes the doors.  A company taking the long view would suck it up, eat their losses for this issue, and not upset what should be their core players - those who are working their way through this raid, paying (probably) 10-20 coins per Elite campaign, because those are the players who get hurt by this change the most.

So this is an open invitation to DOOMROOSTER, WILL HARBIN, or anyone else in between at Kixeye.  Let's talk.  Tell me I'm wrong.  Explain yourselves.  Let's talk via phone, email, Hangouts, or the carrier of your choice.

I'll be pretty much unavailable through Tuesday, but I'm sure we can find some time soon.  Doomrooster knows how to reach me, but just in case....

Doxy Player ID: 403129  aka "The BP Professor"

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Last Stand - What to get

For more Raid info, see:
Kixeye Raid Briefing at:

Kixeye Prize List at:

The Wednesday Battle Pirates Crib show at:

Or just grab our slides at:

Just as a reminder, this is going to be the last article I publish on the Last Stand raid.  I have lots of personal goings on this weekend/next week & I will be unable to publish a "One Day In" article.

One thought on this Raid: Stock up on rockets. I'm thinking mostly a mix of long pinch for turrets & quick pinch for ships.  For the damage rockets (Daisy Cutter, Bunker Buster), they will only be useful if you've researched the XL versions.  But with the pinches, we will see how often those Reavers shield THEIR electronics.  If you don't have 25 rockets in your launch pad, you should be building more rockets.  Medium Quick Pinches build very fast and are still very useful against ships compared to their larger counterparts.

I've been able to do a couple Elites, and they look mostly like the previous Elite with a few tweaks:
- You can't go around the bottom to prep the two Reaver Scouts.
- The Hades on the right has moved further in so you can't prep it from the outside either.
- The Scouts on top are smarter - they won't get stuck on the center island when you trigger them.

(and I tried a Medium Quick pinch on the Hades as I approached the Hulk... it didn't stun for very long.)

For some overall layout info, you might want to look at last Month's raid tips:

This "what to get" article presents me with some interesting issues.

1. This is a hull raid, but not a weapon raid.  Your "best" choice of hull will strongly depend on what weapons you have available to put on it. You should also consider what you want your next fleet to do, as some hulls are better suited for base hitting, others for dredges, and others for Drac targets.  If you are a player who has been hurt by the recent change to the Forsaken Missions, then you should think about a fleet that can do the 85s (high evade, good speed / range / building damage, countermeasures).

2. The new prizes (particularly the Rhino hull and Harrier missile) have relative build times that are a lot shorter than previous items that aren't as capable.  Although they have come down a lot in points, it is difficult to recommend hulls like the Triton, Nuke Cruiser, and the DNX, just because of their long build time relative to their capability.  This may be a trend that continues, seeing as the Artemis also had a significantly shortened build time compared to the (not as good) V2-H, and even the D98-U launcher has a very short build time relative to its capability.

Issue #2 in particular will strongly influence my red/yellow/green recommendations, but overall, this may not be the best time to "stock up" on hulls, since you will probably see better values (for build time) coming over the next few months.

In the list here, you will be able to redeem as many prizes as you want with two exceptions: 

- Token purchases are limited to 15x 1 hour, 9x 12 hour, and 6x 24 hour.  You will be subject to the token limits, so you will often need to spend tokens (especially 12 & 24 hour) before you can buy more.

- Limited hulls are shown as:
Valkyrie Carrier (12.5M each Limit 4 Max 10):
This means that the for the Valkyrie, you must spend 12.5 million points for each limited hull blueprint you wish to build.  There is a limit of 4 prints that you can buy in this raid, and you cannot own more than 10 prints total for that hull.

My color coding for prizes is:
Green  Most players should want this prize.
Yellow  You may want to buy this prize if you have a plan for using it, but consider "green" prizes first.
Red  I'm not sure why this prize would be worth the points it costs.

Tier 5: 
Borbas' Goresaber (40M each Limit 1 Max 1): Although the basic stats on this hull aren't that much better than the regular Goresaber, and there is no field effect, the overload that stuns everything on the map will be a neat trick.  At 40 million points, you'll have to work for it, and there might be some limited hulls that I'd rather have if I didn't have them already (like Frostburn + Aegis). 

Rhino (12.5M): This missile hull is likely to be a rockstar, and might be the fastest way to get to a fleet that can beat high end Drac targets, even if you can't pick up the latest missile (but you should if you can).

Tier 4: 
Harrier Missile D52-R (7.5M): This missile with its long range, light weight, and high damage will be best on hulls with lots of weapon slots.   Rhino will be best, but Mastodons, V2-H, or Artemis will also be well suited to packing a load of these.

Crusader (10M): This hull has been king of the PvE targets for quite a while, although you'll really want to pair it with Arbalest for best effect.  Without Arbalests, some Bypass Chaingun 3 might be alright, but without those weapons you might want to look at other prizes.

Valkyrie Carrier (12.5M each Limit 4 Max 10):  This high speed carrier is probably the best choice if you are looking to build a fleet of carriers from scratch, but as a limited hull it will come at a high price to build a full fleet.  With speed 16, it will be easy to match with a mixed fleet of Artemis and Rhino.  
(Remember when most new ships had speed 11?  Is 16 the new 11?)

Goresaber (12.5M):  The best rocket hull out there, but it really isn't that great at PvE targets, and most good bases can stop most Goresaber fleets.  This might change with Borbas' but the flagship might be even more effective with other hulls to fill the fleet.

Hellhound (9M): Expensive to build and operate, but still quite effective for speeding through a base.

Harlock's Atlas Carrier (8M each Limit 10 Max 10): Best in base defense.  With only 3 specials this hull is a bit dated for work on the open seas.

Behemoth (10M): If you want this for defense, you'll be better off with a Omega Behemoth, or maybe just go for the Goliath and spend your points elsewhere.  If you have the D98-U launcher, you'd rather use an Enforcer anyway.

Novastorm (10M): Between the 150% repair modifier and the long flight time of mortars, this just can't be a high priority pickup.

Nash's Lightning Carrier (7M each Limit 10 Max 10): Couldn't really decide whether it was a UAV hull with a bit of ballistics, or a ballistic hull with a bit of UAV.  Obsoleted by the Valkyrie, also not a priority.  

Tier 3:
Juggernaut X (2.5M): Once retrofitted to R5, this hull can get its evade into the high 80s without working too hard.  Can be useful as a Tank/Spotter ship, or load it out with launchers or ballistics.

Viper (4M each Limit 10 Max 10): The king of sonar ships, this one is very useful for spotting against reapers in base defense, or can be kitted out for anti-sub duties in the open water (although I'd rather have an Artemis for that).

Enforcer (6.5M): If you've got D98-U launchers, this hull is the top of the line for base defense (right now). Kixeye has told us that the campaign coming next week will have a base defense hull as its top prize.

Nighthawk (4.5M): This is the top of the line sub - the previews for the new faction (coming next month?) show a sub-like ship.  It's tough to say whether that means you should get Nighthawks to counter them, or wait and see whether we will get new underwater prizes.

Shielded Electronics 3 (3M): This will be very useful for countering the stun from those pesky Borbas Goresabers.  I do find it difficult to justify use of the special slot for this, but many top-end players do, especially in base guards.

Speed System 3 (2M): This is a very useful all-around engine special.  Many players will have this already but if you don't, you should pick it up.

Mastodon (5.5M): This ship, and all of the ships in yellow in this tier, are pretty good at what they do - right now. They are the most vulnerable (in my opinion) to being made undesirable by quicker building alternatives.  If you have the best weapons to use on this hull (Harrier, Siege Z, Strike B), but nothing to put that weapon on, you might want to consider it if you really can't get the points for the Rhino.

Kodiak (5M): See what I said for the Mastodon... The Kodiak has better defenses & built-in retargeting, but you lose the remote targeting.

Interceptor V2-C (3.75M): This hull is really nice for launchers (especially if you got the D98-U but not the Fusion Cruiser), but I've just never made it my top priority.  I do also like it for countermeasures with its 15% Phalanx accuracy bonus.

Interceptor V2-H (3.25M): Another decent missile hull - obsoleted by the Artemis, but not everyone won enough of those to build a full fleet.

Hellstrike (4M): Some players can argue that the Hellstrike R10 is just about as good as the Goresaber, but with the 150% repair modifier, I'm not sure I'd want to invest my points & build time on Hellstrikes.

Cryo Launcher D104-S (2.5M): It's tough to recommend any launcher beyond the D98-U.  This one is a longer build, deals less DPS at shorter range, and will give you fewer shockwaves.

Tier 1 & 2:
Spectre (700k): This sub is only a one day hull build, and hasn't been seen in quite a while.  although Nighthawks and Reapers are more capable, these subs make great decoys, and I still use mine quite a bit for prepping (OK not bases anymore). A fleet of 4 (6xB torp, Magnus, Battery, 3xD2 V or S) can be built in just 3.5 weeks.

Light Cruiser X (28k): The only super-cheap prize this raid, LCX can make nice instant repair ships for newer players.

Atlas (900k), Triton (800k), Interdictor (500k), Nuclear Cruiser (900k), Dreadnaught X (500k), Juggernaut (150k):  All of these hulls used to be great and the points are low, but at 4-5 days to build each bare hull, it is tough to recommend the time/coin investment it would take to build out a fleet of them.

Transport System 3 (500k): Do you really need to build a cargo fleet?

Sector Store:
This month, the sector store has just limited hulls.  It is tough to recommend against any of these, as they all have unique capabilities.  I ordered them by my perceived priority, highest on top.

Aegis (25M each Limit 1 Max 5):  This is available surprisingly soon after being available in the FAT only.  The Aegis is fantastically useful with its field that extinguishes fire/ice patches and provides your ships a 40% buff to all defenses (even Concussive).

Frostburn Interceptor (15M each Limit 2 Max 2): This hull has been the standard flagship for base hits and anti-dredge fleets for quite a while.  The Aegis does give you more flexibility with the fact that it is not a flagship, but the Frostburn can pack more offensive power as well.

Grimshine's Wrath (30M each Limit 1 Max 4): The Grim Wrath has an overload effect that does damage and stuns, but it is often too short range to be useful.  I'm recommending this for its all around capabilities to serve as a missile flagship for Rhinos.  The 50% missile reload buff and triple shot on overload will really supercharge missile fleets.  Some players also like this ship on base defense as a "stopper", because if players don't stop to kill it they will come in range of the overload.

Grimshine's Berserker (8M each Limit 2 Max 2): Although this hull is really old, don't overlook it. The speed buff, defense buff, and triple salvo on overload are really useful for a wide range of fleets.

Highlander's Nuclear Cruiser (8M each Limit 2 Max 2): These days, the best use of the HLNC is to build it "empty" and use it just for the radioactive reload / defense effects.

Savage Kodiak (10M each Limit 2 Max 2): With the missile reload / defense improvement, this may be useful for missile fleets, and the price is fairly reasonable.

Omega Behemoth (20M each Limit 1 Max 2): Good on base defense, particularly with Arbalests.  The field for Ballistic Reload / Defense is good, but we don't usually see it in open water action due to its slow speed.

Unshackled Hellhound (20M each Limit 2 Max 5): Gives the same command field radioactive buff as the Highlander NC, but more expensive to build.  The longer range (100) Alpha Strike is also nice.  This is very useful as a flagship for a Hellhound fleet, but there are often better flagship choices for most other fleets.

Dante's Novastorm (20M each Limit 1 Max 5): This Novastorm flagship gives 50% tactical field resistance and 50% mortar reload to all ships in the fleet - this is generally useful as a flag to Mortar fleets only.

Skin Store: 
Atlas / Crusader / Goresaber skins (5M each):  Pretty much a vanity item, but some player do like to skin ships to differentiate different builds.

Token Store: 
Tokens: Get them if they are worth it to you, and you have the time to get the points.  With the higher limits, you can get up to 11 days 3 hours speed-up for 30.9 million points.

Good luck in the raid Pirates!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Last Stand Prizes - Borbas' Goresaber, Rhino & Harrier Missile

It's going to be a busy 7 days in the Professor's Ivory Tower... lots of personal events (good stuff... no worries) going on this weekend and early next week.  I'm going to try to knock out this article and a "What to Get" article and then hope I have enough time to do the raid.  

I will not be going through the raid format in an article.  We are in for a 6 day raid with a hull store.  There is a new level 95 "boss" target too, if you like that sort of thing.

If you want more detail on the raid format:
Read the Kixeye forum article at:

See the Kixeye Prize List at:

Watch the Wednesday Battle Pirates Crib show at:

Or just grab our slides at:

There will be no Kixeye video.  I would like a video apology from Will Harbin explaining.

There will also be a Friday Battle Pirates Crib community show where the team is sure to share some tips, so look for the links in your favorite public Battle Pirates Facebook group.

I will NOT be able to do a "One Day In" article like I usually do.  Sorry and good luck.

I recently predicted the rotating wheel of weapon love would stop on "Missile" soon (in the revised Artemis article) and I was correct.  So I'll start with the missile prizes:

Rhino Hull

You'd think with all the statistics on the blueprint above, I would start with something like the offensive capabilities, or 5 special slots (OK I sort of just did).  But the most amazing statistic on this hull is the build time: under 2.5 days with officer.  With a 3 day hull build the Artemis was pretty good, but this one is really amazing.  This data was pulled directly from the game, not announced by Kixeye, so it may be subject to change.  But if that build time stays accurate... this hull might does replace the Mercury as my new choice of "best value" hull.

With the huge number of weapon slots and 50% remote targeting range, this hull obsoletes the Mastodon (even though the Mast has a longer remote range).  But with 5 specials and its strong defenses, a group of these might just give the Proto-Nemesis and even the Hellstar a run for its money.  Lets see how that stacks up:

These hulls really do blow away the Mastodons with better defense, more slots, and better reload.  The ProtoNemesis and Hellstar still look better with their high defenses, but their huge repair time cancels that out if you really want to use those huge prize hulls.  Lack of Flak Evade may be a problem, especially when pairing with the Harrier Missile (also without flak evade).

But don't forget about the Rhino's very high combat speed & Unreactive capability either.  Even though Mastodons are best kept away from a fight, I see no reason why the Rhino couldn't be built to be a "front-line" ship, and just spread out as desired in a specific combat situation (against Antipode Launchers for example).  With remote targeting, the weapons will all fire like the ships are stacked, even when the ships are somewhat spread out. I pretty much like all the stats on this ship - the sonar & thermal really aren't up to par for sub hunting, but the alternative is to have none, so it isn't too bad.  The sonar may be useful for mines at the very least.  Don't forget to add Laser as one of your specials so you have retargeting.

Harrier Missile D52-R

This new missile weighs twice as much as a Strike Missile, but has extended range, more damage and a high penetrative bypass.  Note that the blueprint is shown with Bypass Missile retrofit level 15, the Penetrative Bypass is 40% without retrofit.

Let's see how the stats stack up:

Some missiles are just obsolete.  Look at the Assault Missile Z... the new Harrier has more range, damage, accuracy and the Penetrative Bypass, for 1/3 the weight and 1/9 the build time.  And don't forget to hate on the Achilles... 2 shots from a Harrier will take the same amount of time, have more accuracy, more bypass, and more damage for 1/4 the weight & 1/12 the build time.

And on my weighted DPS/Range/Build time chart:

(bubble size corresponds to build time per weight)

The general problem with light missiles like the Harrier is that you need a lot of weapon slots to use them effectively in a fleet.  With the release of the 15-weapon fast-building Rhino, the pairing is obvious.

This missile is more expensive than previous missiles, but seems like it will be worth the points.  With the way the bypass formulas work, I expect retrofits to be effective as well if this one falls into the retrofit lab Bypass Missile category.

And then we have the new limited flagship...
Borbas' Goresaber

The stats compared to the regular Goresaber are:

This is a slight upgrade over the regular Goresaber, but the big deal is the stun overload which affects the entire map.  Although it is only a 5 second stun (reducible by special), and takes 5800 damage to trigger the overload, it can certainly gain you an advantage.

I can see this ship being useful as a flagship for many fleets, not just a matched rocket fleet.  With its armor ability bonus and basic defenses, using this as a spotter ship for Rhinos or Mastodons is a clear possibility. Its offensive potential may be wasted in base defense, but stunning incoming attackers would be a great advantage too.

One more note - the Turret Defense statistic shows as "20%", not "+20%".  So Kixeye logic tells us that the Siege Battery Turret Defense will NOT stack with the built-in Borbas Turret Defense.  That's not to say that using Siege Battery 3 to boost the Turret Defense to 40% would be useless, but it is a lesser benefit than it would be on other ships.

We seem to have a very powerful group of new prizes being released.  In addition, this raid has a hull store for previous hulls, and also a token store.  With just the new prizes, tokens, and a couple limited pickups, point targets for many players could be well over 100 million.  We will see how difficult this raid turns out to be... I know I'm glad I've saved 2 Grease Monkeys.

The other thing I am noticing is that the recent hulls released, despite their high "power", seem to be dropping in terms of hull build time.  The Rhino at 2.5 days, the Artemis at 3 days, and the Valkyrie Carrier at 5 days  seem to be very good deals compared to the alternatives (compare to the Mastodon, V2-H, or the Warbird Carrier all at 5 days).  If we see this trend continue, using the hull store to pick up old hulls may be a bad idea, since the newer hulls will build faster AND be more useful.  I'll take that into account when I make my red/yellow/green recommendations on what to get.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Rogue Crew Changes

I think most players are aware of the Rogue Crew changes - if you didn't see it in the Wednesday Battle Pirates Crib show, or the Kixeye Forums, or one of the many Facebook groups, you probably saw an in-game pop-up directing you to claim a free crew from the store.

In a nutshell, the crews have been tweaked into 4 classes of crew: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Legendary.  Some new crews have been added, and others have been duplicated in different classes where they have different bonuses or durations for the different classes.

The "Rogue Crew Rarities" post on the Kixeye forums is probably the best place to get a rundown on all the crews in each category:
(The Common version of Deadeye Destroyers has been removed)

You can now hold up to 50 crews in inventory. Your inventory looks different too (a bit better in my opinion), but some tooltips on the crew name/capability would be nice.

The Crew Store has been changed significantly.  We now can claim one free basic crew per day from the store, but after that it is more expensive (than it was before) to get any sort of crew.  The roll types along with Kixeye's mostly meaningless description of frequency are:  

I say mostly meaningless, because the only description above that has any meaning is "None".  How can we compare "Very Low" to "Medium"?  What is "Better" better than?  Which is more: "Good" or "High"?

Overall, players have reacted very negatively to the changes, and Kixeye has made some tweaks since initial release (see "Increased" & "Decreased" on the chart above).  I don't think these change many players' overall opinions.

Yesterday, since i was full of Uranium and about to finish the Forsaken Mission Elite Tier, I decided to spend 40,000 Uranium on "Advanced" rogue crews and record what I got (40 Advanced rolls, no re-rolls).  I hope this will get us a better understanding of what we can expect without spending gold.  The results were:

Even though one of the changes Kixeye posted was:  
The Uranium cost for the Advanced roll has been reduced to 1000 Uranium (800 for a re-roll) and increased the chances of rolling Rare (2 star) crews. 
... I received no rare crews in 40 Advanced rolls.  My statistics are a bit rusty, but for example, if the chance of getting a rare crew was 2.5%, I would have had a 50/50 chance of getting a rare crew in those 40 rolls.  I think it is likely that the chance of getting a rare crew on an Advanced roll is below 5%, and in general you can probably expect an approximately even split between Common and Uncommon crews (my first 7 rolls were Uncommon, and that streak seemed to throw the results... this is why you need more trials to draw real conclusions).  After all, Kixeye did use the same vague adjective to describe the frequency of Common and Uncommon in Advanced rolls...

Although the crews were not evenly distributed inside each rarity type, I wouldn't draw any conclusions from that.  You wouldn't expect a perfect distribution in any real world trial.  I did appreciate the extra Uncommon Sea Serpents, but not so much all those Lucky Bastards.

So my advice about these crews:
  • Don't spend gold if you don't think it's worth it to you.  
  • With 6 Legendary, 7 Rare, and 14 Uncommon crews, rolling for any particular crew will get real expensive real fast. 
  • If you are full of Uranium, spend it on Advanced crews.  
  • Claim your free daily crew.  
  • If you have crews, USE THEM.  For example, the +24% evade from Advanced Sea Serpents cut a lot of damage from the 85 Stronghold.
  • Salty Dogs becoming Rare really sucks.  Rank is very important for weapon effectiveness. (no advice here, just empathy)
Rockets have also changed, along with being able to store more of them... I'll try to write up those changes in the next couple days.  My quick advice on Rockets: build more of them, use more of them.   And don't forget you need to use the "Load Out" button to actually have a rocket available in combat.

Also, PainTrain from the BPC show put together some surveys to collect player opinion, compile & get it to Kixeye.  Please participate:

Survey 1: Engagement and FM -
Survey 2: Rogue Crews -