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.