Friday, February 19, 2016

Forsaken Mission Prizes - Basilisk Turret and Hydroxide Barrels

Since the last column was all about UAVs, including the new one, this one will round out the review of the new Forsaken Mission prizes.   Both of the other new prizes are for base defense - the Basilisk Turret and the Hydroxide Coated Barrels.

Basilisk Turret

With a range of 105, this turret is best on the front lines of your base defense and it will outrange all ship-borne weapons.  Make sure it is far enough away from other turrets that it won't get splashed or retargeted while your attackers are on their way in.  Its damage isn't that great but with a damage type of Corrosive, the only defense is Siege Deflection. It does have quick reload, so armoring up this turret may help it to survive just a little bit longer to fire an additional shot or two.

Be warned - hulls with Siege Deflection will basically be able to ignore this turret, since the 2380 damage will be divided among 10 projectiles, meaning each only does 238 damage, and any hull with built-in Siege Deflection we've seen so far has 300 or more points of it.  This will cut the damage to "minimum". We haven't been told by Kixeye what that minimum damage is, but my bet is that it's around 50.

With the capability to do submerged damage, this turret can also replace your Gargoyles to deter subs - just make sure you have a ship with thermal to spot them.

Overall this seems to have the potential to be a very effective turret for your front lines - even 10 shots of minimum damage is better than a turret that doesn't fire at all, right?

Hydroxide Coated Barrels

This turret special is like Barrel System - it is only effective for Multi Shot weapons, which means Scatterguns.  You can use this effectively on ONLY the Draconian Scattergun and the Basilisk Turret.  

But on those turrets, this will be quite an effective special.  As we learned with the Barrel System, increasing the Multi Shot will increase the damage output of the turret because each additional shot does the same damage as the original shots.  So with the Basilisk, the multi shot causes 12 shots doing 238 damage each instead of 10.  This increases the damage output by 20%... but wait there's more!  Instead of 238 damage, the 30% Corrosive Damage bonus means that each of those 12 shots does 238 x 1.3 = 309.4 damage each.  This means that the 20% from the extra shots and the 30% damage compound, causing an overall damage increase of 56% (not just 50% if the percentages were added).  With the Draconian Scattergun, the multishot is also 10, so the damage increase percentage is the same.


The following chart compares some of the new turret options paired with some possible special choices.

The limited turrets do quite well when compared to their non-limited siblings, but the question I think many players will be asking is - should they use Frostbite or Basilisk Turrets?  

Although the straight DPS of the Frostbite is higher, especially with Eruption Pyre, the 60% - 70% resistance we routinely find on high-end baser fleets will equalize that gap.  The Frostbite will still do more damage per projectile, which is better against Siege Deflection, but the Basilisk will be firing more often with a higher spread, which will be more effective against a moving fleet and probably more effective against the very high Deflection values we expect to see (since more projectiles at minimum damage should do more damage than fewer projectiles).

Fire Support X is a poor alternative to Eruption Pyre, with reduced damage and not much better reload to make up for it.  It also takes more power & lacks the splash boost.

So it's very difficult to make a recommendation as to which is better.  It is likely that some fleets will be more vulnerable to one type or another of these turrets.  I will probably be adding both to my base over time.

For the Scattergun Turrets, Eruption Pyre used to be the best option for enhancing their damage output, but we can see that the Hydroxide Barrels is better. But hey... combining both on a L6 turret might not be too bad either.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

New Airstrike D100-R UAV and UAV/Hull Combos

When the new D100-S UAV Bomber and the Drac UAV Carrier were released, they came with some new statistics - Swarm Time Cap and Chain Count. It looked like that Swarm Time Cap on the Drac Carrier would have the result that putting any other UAV besides the Drac Bomber on the Drac carrier would result in really poor performance.

So a while back, there was a post from Laredo that explained how the new Bomber UAV, the Drac Carrier, and the UAV Battery special all worked together, and also how other UAVs would work with those new statistics.  Here it is below:

The confusion from the use of the UAV Battery with the Bomber UAV on hulls other than the Draconian Carrier stems from the fact that the Draconian Carrier has two stats that are new for UAVs. The Draconian Carrier has both a "Swarm Time Cap" and a "Chain Count" built into the hull. The result of these two stats is that any UAV equipped to the hull will only swarm around a target for the time indicated by the "Swarm Time Cap", which is one second in this case, and will chain to a new target after the "Swarm Time Cap" time has expired. The amount of times that a UAV under these conditions will chain is dictated by the "Chain Count" stat. A Draconian Carrier has a "Chain Count" of two. This is also a cap, making it so that any UAV equipped to the Draconian Carrier will only ever chain twice. This "Chain Count" can be increased by specials, the only example of this being the UAV Battery, so far. 
A UAV fired by a Draconian Carrier equipped with the UAV Battery will move to a target, fire on it for one second, chain to a new target, fire on that for one second, move to one more target, fire on it for one second, then, finally, return to the Carrier.
This differs from other Carrier hulls. In the case of a UAV fired by any hull that does not have the "Swarm Time Cap" stat, UAVs will not chain, unless the hull is equipped with a special that increases the "Swarm Range", such as is the case with the UAV Powercell. If the hull has a "Swarm Range" bonus attached, UAVs will then chain to new targets when the target they are firing on is destroyed. The amount of times they can chain is only dictated now by their "Swarm Time". If a UAV can destroy its target in 1 second, and it has a "Swarm Time" of 30 seconds, and there are 30 target within the chaining range of each other, then the UAV will chain 30 times. Adding "Chain Count" to a UAV under these conditions doesn't actually do anything, as the effective "Chain Count" for a UAV is unlimited, up to the end of its "Swarm Time".
When it comes to the Bomber UAV, it only has a "Swarm Time" of 1 second. In effect, the Bomber UAV never has time to chain to a new target: the "Swarm Time" expires shortly after it reaches its first target.
The only time that the Bomber UAV will chain is when it is paired with a load out that has a "Swarm Time Cap" and "Chain Count". When those two stats are added in, the "Swarm Time" built into the Bomber UAV is overridden and it swarms and chains based on the "Swarm Time Cap" and "Chain Count". Every UAV equipped to the Draconian Carrier will swarm for the same amount of time and chain the same number of times, as dictated by these stats.

When I read this post, I didn't understand it well, but I understood it well enough to realize that I didn't previously understand how all the Drac/Non-Drac combinations would work.  So I'm going to try to work it all through.  One assumption I'm going to have to make is that when Laredo said Swarm Range, he actually meant Chaining Range (he referenced the UAV Powercell as adding Swarm Range, so I think we're good there).

Edit: And it seems I still didn't understand this on the first read - for Chain Count, a "hop" is a chain, so with a Chain Count of 2 you can hit 3 targets, (not two like I thought on first release).  Thanks again to my quick thinking, intelligent readers.  I'm working on a table update.

We also have a new UAV released in this week's Forsaken Mission - the Airstrike UAV D100-R.  

This new UAV has the same range, reload, and swarm characteristics as the D100-S, but it does nearly double the explosive damage against ships.  It also adds damage resistance and armor to the ship using these.  Its drawbacks are the very low damage against buildings, no flak evasion, and lack of splash (so it only affects a single target).

Its build time is 8h 49m per UAV, which in the same neighborhood as other UAVs... although the Locust build is starting to seem a little long.

I'll try to play some mix & match to see what combinations of UAV, hull, and special are the most effective..

So here's the relevant statistics for the other items:

Drac UAV Carrier
Chain Count: 2
Swarm Time Cap: 1.0
Chaining Range: 10
UAV Damage: +60%

Harlock Atlas Carrier
UAV Damage: +60%

Locust UAV
Reload Time: 4.0
UAV Swarm Duration 12.0
UAV Swarm Reload: 0.8 (16 shots)
Damage: 84 Explosive + 33 Radioactive (117)
Build Time: 16h 42m

Bomber UAV D100-S
Reload Time: 12.0
UAV Swarm Duration: 1.0
UAV Swarm Reload: 1.0 (2 shots)
Damage: 960 Explosive
Build Time: 9h 12m

UAV Powercells
Weapon Weight: +11%
Chaining Range: 30
UAV Damage: +20%

UAV Battery
Weapon Weight: +11%
Chain Count: +1
UAV Splash: +31%

So looking at the various combos: 

Drac Carrier with Drac UAV:
UAV will fire twice at the first target, once at the beginning and once at the end of its swarm time. UAVs will chain twice to second and third targets and fire again on each, then to a fourth if UAV Battery is installed.

Harlock Atlas with Drac UAV:
Without the Swarm Time Cap statistic, the D100-S/R cannot hop, even if the UAV Battery is installed.  Therefore the UAV will fire twice at its target & be done.

Drac Carrier with Locust UAV:
With the Chain Count & Swarm Time cap, the Locust will "hop" to 3 total targets, but the swarm time cap will limit it to just two shots per target, which limits the damage the Locust can do.  UAV Battery will allow a fourth hop.

Harlock Atlas with Locust UAV:
This is the old behavior we are used to, with the long swarm time around a single target, chaining to another if the target dies.  The UAV Battery is no help here.

I charted up the behavior with the various combos, and computed the damage done in each case.

(Chart is fixed to add the extra target when Chaining)

The DPS numbers don't account for splash damage against other targets, so the D100-S could be more effective in practice.  With the Drac UAVs, I've also made the assumption that there are other targets to hop to. 

More observations:

- The new D100-R could be very effective against single targets.  Its high damage per shot gives it a better chance to overcome deflection. This probably makes the D100-R the best choice for use in a guard, although if your enemy is kind enough to stack up that might not be the case, and flak will be much more effective against these UAVs than the D100-S (with their 60% flak evade).  (Edit: I forgot to mention the lack of submerged damage on the new D100-R, so keep that in mind too.)

- The D100-R's poor building damage & lack of splash means you will want to stick with the D100-S for base hits, Forsaken Missions, and future raids like Hostile Takeover.

- With just Powercells, the Locust / Harlock's Atlas combo is about as effective as the D100-S / Drac Carrier.  But there are a few other factors - More specials and deflection on the Carrier, as well as the fact that the D100-S will deal its full damage sooner, mean that the D100-S will usually "feel" more effective.  
(not even true with the right number of chaining hits)

- If you have to choose one, the UAV Battery is more helpful than the UAV Powercells for Drac UAVs on the Drac Carrier.  (Note: a reader pointed out that without Powercells, your chaining range is only 10, so without the Powercells you might not get those hops that the DPS implies... making Battery non-useful by itself).

- The UAV Battery is useless when there is no chaining (non-Drac carriers).

- Mixing Drac UAVs with non-Drac carrier hulls probably isn't a good idea.  Neither of the Drac UAVs on a Harlock's Atlas look quite as good as using the Locust, unless you can guarantee going up against stacked fleets (with the D100-S), or maybe against high deflection ships (with the D100-R).  One of the reasons I wanted to do this analysis is I wanted to see how well I might do refitting a Harlock's Atlas with the Drac UAV for use in guard.  The better range of the Drac UAVs is also a factor, but I still don't think I'll do it.

Mixing non-Drac UAVs with the Drac UAV carrier hull is a pretty bad idea.  The Drac Carrier's Swarm Time Cap really limits usefulness of the previous generation of UAVs on that hull.

Well that's about it for this article.  Although the new Airstrike UAV D100-R can hit really hard, it has a pretty narrow set of uses. 

I'll get to the other new Forsaken Mission prizes (Basilisk Scattergun turret & Hydroxide Coated Barrels) and compare them to other options like the Limited Scattergun & the Frostbite in a later article.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Hostile Takeover - One Day In

So we have a new raid target type... and a lot of players are finding it pretty difficult.  It shouldn't be really surprising, the first raid where there is a new target is introduced is usually pretty hard.

I'll start with breaking down the Draconian Stronghold targets.  

First of all, the "intel modal" that pops up from each target is sort of silly.  Every single target has "Primary Damage: Penetrative, Secondary Damage: Explosive, Weakness: Explosive".  Kixeye, if you're going to go to the trouble to put this together, maybe there should be a little diversity?

Each of these targets has a series of platforms that contain a few types of turrets: Coldsnap, Drac Coax, Mortar, and Missile.  The platforms are also protected by Torpedo Towers (with super thermal), Guardians with very long range mortars, and Mastodons with missiles.  You will also find some mines, which apparently serve as spotters for the ships to use remote targeting.

One interesting point on these targets is that countermeasures work well against much of the incoming fire.  Even the Missiles which look like regular Executioners, can be shot down by Phalanx, which doesn't work against Executioners.  Although the Mastodon missiles seem to be Blades with flak evade, and mortars in the higher targets are thick enough to overwhelm many Gale/Hail defenses, I've found is that the real danger in these targets is the Coldsnap rocket turrets.  Those fast rockets will cause splash damage to a whole fleet as well as reduce their defenses by disabling Aegis fields.

My fleet which uses a Punisher tank with Gales, three Rhinos with a mix of "new" missiles, and a Harlock's Aegis with Phalanx can get pretty heavily damaged mostly from the Coldsnaps in these targets.  The Punisher holds up pretty well with its high deflection, but the other ships, even with Explosive Defense in the high 60's, are getting pretty damaged by these.  It would be interesting to see what a fleet with Tridents could do - whether the Coldsnaps are countered effectively or not.

(Quick Note - CM & Mods have said that Coldsnaps cannot be shot down by Tridents)

More notes on the specific target sets: 

C Set: 78,845 points with 75k bonus (for high level player)
Good fleets can do this for instant repair, but the points are low.

B Set: 739,180 points with 500k bonus (for high level player)
The super thermal shows up here, so forget about subs.  The Mastodons are mostly missing from these targets, and a reasonable number of Hail/Gale defenses can hold off the mortars.
A Set:  2,917,009 points with 1.5M bonus
Although they held up on the 80, on the 83 my anti-mortar defenses (8 Gale 1, no CM special) became overwhelmed & my fleet took a real pounding.  

Key to all these targets (when using missile fleets) is to use your targeting (shift-click).  You want to take down the protective building ASAP, but you don't need many hits to do it.  After that, most players will want to take out the Coldsnaps, then the Mortars - you'll have to figure out if those are also the most dangerous turrets to you (without Phalanx the Missiles might be your primary target).  You'll also have to get a feel for how long each turret & ship can survive under your fleet's fire - you can usually just target the protector buildings & torp towers for only a volley or two, but the turrets & ships can last for a while under fire.

Overall, I found that the Drac Strongholds were pretty expensive for me to do.  My first A set cost 30 coins of repair, although I think I could do it in about 10-20 with some more practice, and the B set took 9 coins.  Both sets were paying out under 100k points per coin, which really isn't very good if I'm going for all the prizes and tokens (I wouldn't have done the raid at that price).

Since the strongholds are giving me trouble, I took a look at the Mega Hulls.  Elite "type" targets usually aren't my preferred target, because the points/coin ratio usually just isn't as good for me.  But this Mega Hull felt more like targets in the previous raid style, so I thought I'd give them a shot.

When I came in for the first time, I noticed the splash missile target area, and how it left a pathway to each of the power platforms when coming in from a compass point (North/South/East/West).  So I decided to prep the target by sending my fleet in along these safe pathways.  

The power platforms still have a dangerous mix of turrets on them - Coldsnaps, Mortars, Missiles, and a Coax.  I found that the best way to approach these is to spread the tank very far apart from the rest of the ships - well outside the Aegis field but still closer to the platform (the Aegis gets disabled anyway). The wide spread of ships will keep the rocket splash from damaging the other non-tanks.  Once the Platform is down I will also trigger the ships to each side of it - again keeping my tank closest to the enemy, but now covering it with the Aegis.  Although these are the same types of ships we have kited successfully in previous raids, I sit still because the splash coverage doesn't give us much maneuvering room.  If you have them, Scatter / Deluge subs can also safely come down this pathway and hit the platforms.  Although you will be seen, you won't be fired on.

Click on each picture for a full-size screenshot.

(an example of how I approach each platform - on this one my rhinos were a bit wide & I triggered the ships too early)

Once all four platforms are down, I send the tank around one side of a platform and the rest of my fleet around the other.  I have plenty of time (with all four plats down) to get around & through the splash missile coverage zone.  I keep my tank closer to the Mega at all times so that it draws the UAV bomber fire.  Continuing to keep them spread apart prevents the UAV splash from affecting my other ships.  The Mega does take a while to kill this time, so just keep firing & be patient.  If you have a quick pinch - it can be used on the Mega to reduce your damage a little bit.

(You can see the Punisher coming around through the Splash Zone & the Rhinos coming around in the other direction.  You can also see how the safe pathways through the splash zone are aligned with the compass points.)

(Final positioning - I drove the Punisher back into the Aegis field for protection against the UAVs.  After killing the Mega I'll drive up & kill the top platform from the inside)

So killing the whole target will get you 3 million points, and well constructed & driven fleets are doing it for 4 coins - my very best runs (with no crew) have come in with a 2 coin repair on the Punisher and instant repair on everything else.

Video from someone who is using a similar technique:

This is may be your best way to get points for an alli mate.  This target is co-op, but only the first person who enters will get the 1.5 million point bonus (and if someone comes in while you are dipping in & out, they get the bonus since they have been in longer).  So if you want to help someone out, they can enter the target with any fleet, sit still at the edge (out of splash zone), and let you kill the target with the technique I described above.  You will get just under 1.5 million points, while your buddy gets the bonus.  If doing this, you have to be very careful to enter at the compass point directions (North, South, East, or West), since the second person to enter will have their fleet moving a bit before it is under control.

I also checked out the Scourge Uranium Targets (around the relays) this afternoon.  Early on they weren't paying out Uranium, but I think that's fixed now.  I just popped in each one with my Styx Tigers & found: 

40: 3 Vipers:  Easy.  Pays out 2,500 Uranium.

60: 6 Vipers, 2 Daggers: I didn't stay in this one, since the Daggers tend to mess up my subs.

80: 5 Vipers, 4 Goblins: Pays out 14,000 Uranium.  No problem with the Tigers.  The Goblins have thermal but Scourge Torpedoes easily outrange it.  I was even careless to get spotted once and they still didn't do much damage while I was submerged. 

Just remember these don't pay out any raid points.

Well, I'll leave you with this thought - if you can't do this raid then I still don't think the mortar prizes are that great, so this may not be a terrible one to skip.  But if you have a high deflection hull, you need to get on building those, because I expect we will keep seeing these target types for a while.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hostile Takeover - what to get?

The only reason I didn't title this one "Are Mortars Back?" is that I wanted you readers to know what this would be my usual pre-raid article.  

The reason for that question is that there were a lot of build time reductions that went along with Tuesday's release.  Many of them were mortar-related.  They included some really large build time reductions on hulls - the Dreadnought X is down to 6 hours, the Novastorm is 1 day 18 hours, the Triton is 12 hours and the Juggernaut X is down to 2 days 12 hours.  The Novastorm also had its 150% repair modifier reduced to 100%, which is quite welcome.

Many mortars had build time reductions, so that the previous 1.5+ day build time on many heavy mortars is now down to half a day or less.   Specials like Explosive System, Siege Targeting, and Siege Battery also had reductions.  If you haven't seen the full list - I suggest you go over the Kixeye release notes here.

But does making mortars a better deal make them more attractive?  Fundamentally, a Novastorm loaded with Siege B or Pandemonium Mortars is no more effective than it was 2 months after its release, although it is lighter & will repair quicker - and you could improve them a bit with Explosive System 4.   Using mortars in FvF will still be a problem, since you are more likely to be outranged by missiles, launchers or ballistics, and faster ships will have an easier time outrunning shells.

It may be that the best way to take advantage of the new quicker building hulls is to load them with weapons other than mortars.  The Dreadnought X, with its 8/4/4 configuration, might be the new "best value" ship out there (taking the crown from the Mercury).  Launchers or even Missiles might be viable loadouts when you have the 4 specials to work with.  The Triton is owned by many players since it has been available in the Forsaken Mission lower tiers for a while.  With only 3 special slots, it might not be as flexible as the DNX, but certainly might be "worth building" again.  Clearly the Juggernaut X can be a useful tank for those who don't have a better option (one with high deflection numbers).

I'll continue by looking at the new prizes, and comparing them to what we already may have.


This hull gives remote targeting capability to mortars, with a large 100% range bonus.  The defenses are good in some areas, but missing in others... I'd call them "focused".  And then the other notable feature of this hull is its relatively slow speed & turn rate compared to other recent hulls.

When I think about it, I'd look at this hull as similar to the Mastodon when it first came out.  Its defenses and speed are not where you want them to be for this ship to sit in the front & take fire, especially when considering mortar flight time.  Back when Mastodons were new, Frostburn Interceptors were the best tank choice, and today the deflection hulls will be the best choices to pair with (and spot for) Citadels.  I am particularly fond of the Punisher in this role, even though the Neptune has slightly higher Siege Deflection.  (Draconian Carrier and Heavy Cruiser are your other best choices for those of you who have been hiding under Drac Bases for the last few months.)  Just like pairing the faster Frostburn with slower Mastodons took some driving skill, pairing Citadels with any of those (much faster) spotters will also take some driving skill.

The hull comparison looks like this:

The limited hull build times are not modified to match the regular versions, so they look pretty bad in comparison.  Don't overlook the anti-mortar evade on the Novastorm.  One area the Citadel falls short on compared to the other mortar hulls, is that it lacks a splash & spread bonus.  Splash is a key component to mortar effectiveness, so we will have to see what kind of penalty that works out to in practice.

Judgment Mortar
This mortar has a couple new features that set it apart.  It has a higher range than any previous mortar, but 90 is still not as far as other weapons like Missiles, UAVs, Ballistics, and Launchers.  It is claimed to have a higher projectile speed than previous mortars - which has been the biggest weakness of this weapon type.  And finally, the MIRV capability gives it a sort of resistance to countermeasures.  With one hit, the shell breaks up into three shells with lower total damage.  So really this shell takes 4 hits to shoot down, although its damage output is reduced with each hit.

What we really want to know about is projectile speed.  So let's see what mortars have what Projectile speeds:

78: Judgment 
65: Negotiator, Chaos, Pandemonium, Searing Barrage
60: Assault 
46: Diplomat
45: Shockwave 
40: Peacemaker
35: Siege (all levels/types in a class of mortar have the same projectile speed)

(and as always, thanks to the educated guesses from
So the new Judgment Mortar is only 20% faster than the previous fastest mortars.... I'm not sure these things are going to be that amazing.

For DPS, the new weapon comparison looks like this:

I changed the chart a bit - I used to use a 45% rank for computing DPS, but now with VXP weekend, I think using the 75% Legendary rank is more appropriate.  I also changed the reference ship to be a Citadel with Explosive System 4 - it used to be a Hellhound with Incendiary Shells.

There are some real notable points from this chart...
  • The Heavy mortars are all getting similar build times / weight... there aren't any "unfair" weapon build times like there still are for missiles and other weapon types (the worst ballistic build times have also been fixed this week, but I haven't taken a close look yet to evaluate the whole group).
  • DPS/hton still has a fair spread, and this chart is built looking at fleet damage.  Siege mortars will look even better and Assault mortars will look worse against buildings.  The shift to using Legendary Rank may be behind this, as the Siege & Assault Mortars have salvo 1.
  • Even with the DPS/hton spread, heavier weapons will generally have more damage output.
So although the Judgment looks like it is in the middle of the pack here, its higher range & projectile speed may make it more effective when used.  If using the Citadel, a mix of mortars with one Judgment and multiple mortars of other types will allow the ship to "self-spot" and effectively increase the range of all the mortars to 90, just like mixing a Harrier Missile with Tridents on a Rhino.

I'm starting to think that DPS isn't really the right metric to evaluate mortars.  What you are really looking for, instead for damage over time, is "How soon am I gonna kill that thing?"  So what you want is a high amount of damage from the first shot, and a high projectile speed.  

(note: I was going to compare against the Siege B... but that Projectile Speed.... WOOF!)

If I compare the Pandemonium and the Judgment Mortar, I see that the building damage per salvo from the Pandemonium is 5934 vs the Judgment with 6100, but the Pandemonium weighs less than the Judgment - so if you are weight-limited the Pandemonium might be a better choice, but the Judgment will be better if you are weapon slot-limited.  When playing around with Citadel builds, I'm seeing that whether you hit the ship's weight limit depends on the armor & special choices.  The Pandemonium also has higher splash but slower speed and more vulnerability to countermeasures.  

This situation is much like the Railgun release last month... although the Railgun has some advantages, there were a lot of situations where the Arbalest worked as well - if not better.  So choose your weapons carefully for the situation.  I expect to see this more and more often going forward, as (I hope) Kixeye doesn't want to break the weapon balance it implemented with the recent changes.  A new weapon with vastly more damage output than previous weapons of that type would put us back on the unsustainable cycle of "get the new weapon, everything else is garbage".  We don't want that.

Frostbite Turret

This rocket weapon turret is like a baby Coldsnap.  It has shorter range which requires that it be on the front lines in order to be effective, and it has a shorter suppression time with a longer reload.  

Since this is a front line turret, I think of it in the following way:  Its range is 105, which allows it to outrange any ship-based weapon.  When I compare it to my other non-limited frontline options, like the Pyroclast or the Gargoyle, I know this turret will get one salvo off (unless splashed or retargeted), which makes it more effective.  But unlike those weapons, it won't make an attacker stop, since there isn't a point to stopping.  But most turrets haven't been able to survive long enough to force an attacker to stop anyway.  

So I have two thoughts on whether to go after this:
If you have the Coldsnap:  This turret isn't really very necessary, as the Coldsnap with Eruption Pyre should keep fields suppressed.  But it might do some damage where your other front line turrets won't, so it might be useful to drop these in.  They even hit underwater targets, so you could replace Gargoyles for more damage AND more range.  The slow reload means that you'll very likely only get one salvo off from the Frostbite before it dies, but that's better than zero salvos, which is what you probably get from a Pyroclast or Gargoyle currently.  

If you DON'T have the Coldsnap: Get it.  You can put these all up & down your front line of turrets, and with smart placement possibly keep incoming fields suppressed at some key times.  Put a special to improve reload (Eruption Pyre, Fire Support X, Slide Loader, ...) and as much armor as possible on them.

This turret has a 5 day build time, which is "moderate" compared to some other options... shorter than a Gargoyle 2, but longer than a Pyroclast.

Prize Recommendations
I kind of went back & forth on whether I should do my usual red/yellow/green on the prizes.  There seems to be a real progression & grouping of prizes, so it may be more useful to talk about them in those groups (this time).  The fact that I want to do this means that I think this prize list is actually a well thought out set of prizes, and players (who don't have everything) should consider what direction they want to be building before grabbing prizes.  Tiers 1 -3 have a three prize limit, Tier 4 has a two prize limit.  

So if you want to get involved in mortars, here's my prize priority.  I didn't rate any of these (with one exception) green, because I'm just not sold on it yet:

Tier 5: 
Citadel (13M): This new hull has some weak points, like lack of splash bonus, relatively low speed, and inconsistent defensive strength.  But the 100% remote targeting range may open up some new mortar strategies.
Judgment Mortar (9M): This is now the mortar with the fastest speed projectiles, so it is probably the most desirable even though it doesn't have the largest damage output.  It's MIRV capability gives improved countermeasure resistance.

Tier 4: 
Pandemonium Mortar (5.5M): After the Judgement Mortar, probably the best balance of range, damage, and speed.  the radioactive damage adds some diversity against anti-explosive targets.
Siege Mortar D75-B (5M): Nice damage output, terrible projectile speed.   These used to be so desirable, but I'm just not sure they will be effective when coming under fire from any recent weapons.
Assault Mortar D73-X (4.5M): With a pretty good projectile speed (for mortars), but poor Building Damage, I'm not sure you really want to invest in a mortar FvF fleet.  There are better choices for hitting non-moving targets.
NovaStorm (4.5M): With the build time reduction and the repair modifier reduction to 100%, this hull may be usable for mortars, if you can't get the Citadel
Combustion System (4M): Projectile speed is real important for mortars.  You'd rather have Explosive System 4...
Incendiary Shells (4M): unless projectile speed isn't real important, in which case making fire fields will be really cool.

Tier 3:
Siege Targeting 3 (1.75M): I like Siege Battery better for its defensive ability.
Splash Upgrade (2.25M): You'd rather use one of the other specials, like Explosive System 4, Combustion System, or Incendiary Shells.

Tier 2: 
Siege Targeting 2 (500k): I like Siege Battery better for its defensive ability.  (and get the bigger version if you can)
Siege Mortar D75-V (450k): Well, if this is all you can afford, then the speed upgrade is nice.

Tier 1:
Dreadnought X (150k): For this few points, and a 6 hour build time, you have to pick up this hull.  With 4 special slots and decent defenses (for an old ship), you could use it for plenty of non-mortar tasks, like Launchers, Countermeasures, or even Missiles.  Get it retroed if you are serious about using these.

Siege Targeting 1 (150k): I like Siege Battery better for its defensive ability. (and get the bigger version if you can)
Siege Mortar D75-D (60k): This one takes the longest to build, and defense won't help you if you can't kill anything.

There are some important prizes that you should consider if you are planning a Ballistic fleet:

Tier 4: 
Assault Disruptor D33-DR (6M): This is a key weapon if you plan on using Arbalests or Railguns against moving targets - slowing your enemy down will really improve your damage output. 

Tier 3:
Nuclear Accelerators (2.5M): If you don't have these yet, they are critical for an effective Ballistic fleet.

And then all the other prizes:

Tier 5: 

Frostbite Rocket Turret (9M): Really useful if you don't have the Coldsnap, but still possibly good if you do.

Tier 4: 
Rhino (7M):  Still the premier missile hull in the game, and likely to remain so. 
Zynthonite Armor D5-E (5.5M): Maybe not the "go-everywhere" armor it used to be, but still really useful.

Tier 3: 
Heavy Plating 3 (2M): I like speed on my open water ships, but HP3 is on most any ship I put on Guard duty in my base.
Alloy Armor MX-3 (1M): MC-3 used to be the most popular of the alloys, but with mortars more prevalent, this one might be more useful.  I still prefer D5-X (or D6-A) as my armor special. 
Speed Upgrade (2.25M): There are better ways to get a little speed bump than using up a special slot. Streamlined Cadmium Armor and the Siege Cannon S come to mind. 

Tier 2: 
Juggernaut X (1M): This hull will make a great tank, and with its build time reduction is even more attractive.  I looked at a build with all D3-E armor that took just under a week to build.  Don't forget to retrofit it to get the armor ability upgrade, but that will not affect the Deflection on D5-M armor.
Zynthonite Armor D3-C (500k): D3 Armor always hits the sweet spot for build time, protection, and weight for me.
Heavy Plating 2 (500k): Get the bigger version if you can.
Alloy Armor MX-2 (400k): Get the bigger version if you can.

Tier 1:
Zynthonite Armor D1-X (40k): This can come in handy if you want to add explosive defense without much build time or weight.  I put a bunch of this on the Mastodons in my base guard to protect against rockets.
Heavy Plating 1 (55k): Get the bigger version if you can.
Alloy Armor MX-1 (40k): Get the bigger version if you can.

Good luck in the raid pirates!