Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Forsaken Mission gear - Solar Panels, Armor Piercing Shells, D5-M, & Coldsnap

Following the usual post raid cycle, Kixeye has released four new items for this week's Forsaken Mission.

Cadmium Solar Panels

These add 200 power to your base.  Clearly the best way to add power is to upgrade your Outpost, but once you hit Level 7 you might be stuck at the 85,000 power limit.

With 18 turrets at Level 5 (4,000 max power each), you can only use 72,000 power total, so 13,000 power is plenty for various tactical fields.
At Level 6, turret max power goes up to 6,400, so with 5 of those turrets, you can use up to 84,000 power in the turrets, and you might start maxing out your base power.  

The these Solar Panels are turret specials.  You will need to give up special slots on some turrets in order to get more power (for others?).   But really 200 power per panel isn't a huge deal - it might get you that extra bit you need for a field, but you'll need to build 12 to get enough power to move a maxed L5 turret to a maxed L6 turret, so I don't see these as a huge impact.

Armor Piercing Shells

Arbalest vs. Railgun... players seem so desperate for one to be better than the other.  With the weapon rebalance most of the weapons' efficiencies have become very close to each other, so there isn't a real good answer.  I lean towards the Arbalest with its higher building damage & higher damage per shot.  Also using a heavier weapon frees up weapon slots for things like D33-DR Disruption Cannons or D30-R Impact Cannons (which got real light in the rebalance).

Either way, this Armor Piercing Shells special is an OK deal.  35% damage for 14% weight is decent, and it enhances your piercing abilities by reducing the decay.  But when you add it to the Punisher with its 100% built in damage bonus, the relative benefit is lower, because the damage bonuses add (not multiply).  The 35% bonus becomes more like a 17% increase in damage, which isn't so good for 14% weight.  (By the way, this sort of math happens with other damage increase specials when stacked with a hull damage bonus... like Strike Warheads on a Rhino.)

So is it the best deal?  Let's look at a chart:

Looking at the raw DPS/hton numbers, the Armor Piercing Shells is isn't as good a deal as the Autoloader 3.  But there is another consideration - against deflection the damage reduction might swing things back to favoring the higher damage of the Armor Piercing Shells.

So if I look at this Punisher fleet as a target:!B06M01R1R0U252B0O5Z1B1B1B1B1B1B0NH0251R25345Y6A680U232323514Q4Q4Q4Q4Q4Q0NH0251R25345Y6A680U232323514Q4Q4Q4Q4Q4Q0NH0251R25345Y6A680U232323514Q4Q4Q4Q4Q4Q0NH0251R25345Y6A680U232323514Q4Q4Q4Q4Q4QdC

Some design notes on this fleet:

  • I like the Arbalest better - only 3 per ship seems low, but I have the Autoloader.
  • DR cannon slows enemies in open water.
  • Impact Cannon D30-R provides even more resistance and does good damage / weight.  (these seem to be overlooked in a lot of builds I'm seeing with empty slots & extra weight)
  • The Aegis is a ship I can reuse - I only have one Harlock Aegis & I don't think I would prioritize protecting this fleet over my Rhinos.
  • Using the Heavy Plate slows the Punishers down so the Aegis has a prayer of keeping up.
So I end up with a target that has 90% resistance against ballistic & missiles, 78% evade, and 500 siege/assault deflection. Heh heh heh.. I'm not sure what this fleet will be really good at, but it will be good at avoiding damage.

I was going to run some numbers here, but when looking at the Arbalest damage reduced by 90%, even the 3607 damage with AP shells comes up to be less than the Deflection of the Punisher (361 vs. 500).  So you'd have to hope for some kind of minimum pass-through damage (which we've never gotten a good answer from Kixeye about).  In that case, the higher auto-loader fire rate probably helps.  Against Carriers and Heavy Cruisers with less extreme resistance, then you'd start to have a chance to make a difference. My Drac Carrier design has 78% resistances, 76.4% evade & 450 deflection.

Now you see a slight edge for the Armor Piercing Shells.  So the "best choice" is all situational.  Stop asking for builds.

Zynthonite D5-M Armor

When D5-M was announced in the WIP, the deflection was mentioned, but the missile resistance was not... many people were confused by the D5-M designation on an armor with no missile resistance.  Well it has missile resistance and it is called D5-M.  

With 15% missile resistance and a relatively small amount of deflection, I consider this armor usable but maybe not a "use everywhere" sort of thing. Compared to D5-E, you have the same weight, armor points, and build time.  The Missile Resistance (+15%) is higher than the Evade Bonus (+10%). (Both can be increased with retrofit)

One more consideration for this armor is the reduced repair time.  This armor has the "40% repair reduction" compared to the 20% reduction of D5-E.  This is because the D5-M is a single resistance armor.  

When adding armors, I like to balance my evade with my weapon resistance - because "Kixeye math", adding 10% more evade at 80% evade doesn't help a whole lot, but adding 10% (or 15%) missile resistance at 40% missile resist helps a whole lot more.  Of course, it only helps against missiles, and not so much against ballistics or torpedos.... and then you have to think about bypass on incoming fire (bypass affects resist but not evade), and deflection.

For deflection, 20 seems mild, but I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers (if you know what I mean).  It is a bigger enhancement for hulls that have deflection already, since the extra deflection will be a bigger percentage of the remaining incoming damage.

One more consideration - Armor Abilities (like on the retrofitted Juggernaut X or Kodiak) do not affect the deflection on this armor.

Coldsnap Rocket Turret

Some of the Limited turrets have been good (Wendigo, Scattergun) and some haven't (Dead-eye Ballista).  What's this one?

I'm not even going to analyze the damage from this one .  It will do some damage (less damage than a Gargoyle & longer reload) but I don't care.  The big deal is the Coldsnap ability that disables tactical fields & overloads for 5 seconds.  In the WIP, they talked about overloads, and we were interested.  But fields make all the difference... because of Aegis.  Many base attacking fleets are hard to kill because of the extra 40 - 45% resistance from the Aegis/Harlock Aegis.  Combine that with some deflection and it's even worse.  The field is disabled for 5 seconds, and the weapon's reload time is 9 seconds.  But if the rocket is given a special that gives it nearly 100% reload or better, then the result will be that it reloads faster than the effect wears off.  Eruption Pyre would be my first choice, since that special also increases splash and projectile speed.  Slide Loader 2 or 3 would also give enough reload to have the same effect, but not increase the splash/speed of the projectiles.  Slide Loader 2 can be added to this weapon and still fit within a Level 4 turret.  Using Slide Loader 3 or Eruption Pyre will require a Level 5 turret.

The range of this turret is 140, which is a moderately long range... just a little bit longer than the Wendigo's range of 131.  Combining this weapon's effect with the Wendigo will be a real killer, since many fleets ignore Wendigo's ice effects via the Aegis or Frosty field.  If the Coldsnap disables the field, then the Wendigo applies the speed reduction and bypass effects, fleets could be a real sitting duck for Apoc mortars (or any other weapon).

Base design will be even more interesting.  Since the Wendigo placement usually ends up in a front corner, there may not be a good way to combine that with the Coldsnap.

Another consideration is that one type of countermeasure can shoot down rockets - the Trident missile.  Although Tridents don't have nearly the range of Blades or Harriers, they can be effective when used on Remote Targeting hulls, so some players might try the Trident to neutralize the Coldsnap.  We will have to wait and see whether that works...  You will need at least 10 Tridents to even have a shot at stopping all of the rockets in the Coldsnap salvo, and if even one gets through... it will be enough.