Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Game Changed! What now?

Yes, the game changed.  You can complain about it or not complain about it, but no matter which you choose, if you want to keep playing, you should plan for the future.  I will use my professorial crystal ball and try to make some suggestions about how you should get ready.

If you haven't seen the post from GD Raikan explaining the changes, you can find it here:

The most important parts are:
- Resistance is going to be (continue to be?) most important in PvE targets going forward
- Base Hitting just got a whole lot harder, but it's only temporary.  "PvP" hulls will be released to make base hitting reasonable again.

One important note - when Kixeye is talking about PvP - I'm pretty sure they are talking about Base Hitting.  Fleet vs Fleet combat on the map may be a whole separate story.

So if you want to be able to keep up in all aspects of the game, you are going to need a PvP hull.  None exist yet, but the first one we know about is the "Revenge" to be released in the next hull raid.  We don't know much more about it than its picture, but if it is the first PvP hull out there, then that's what will be the most critical prize to get in the next raid.  Everything you do in-game for the next two weeks should be aimed at enabling you to be able to do that raid & win that hull.  Out of game, if you're going to be prostituting yourself for Facebook cards, that's your own business and I won't be giving any advice there.

Luckily, we have seen the preview for the next raid.  Not so luckily (for many of us), it looks a lot like the last two raids, with the exception that the Mega Hull was nowhere to be found - replaced by a Level 110 Siege Target.

You've got two weeks to tweak your best siege fleet to be ready for this raid... what can you do?

Start with understanding the enemy:
These siege platforms combine elements of the Mines, DUBs, and some missiles thrown in for good measure.  You have to defend against incoming Ballistics, Cryo Throwers (with ice fields), Coldsnaps, Torpedo Towers, Mortars (from Turrets and Citadels), and missiles (from Turrets & Zoe Rhinos).

Punishers are a good start for your hull platform, since you want both Assault & Siege Deflection.  The targets are not segregated enough to be able to separate the ships from the turrets in separate hits.  Drac Carriers or Heavy Cruisers are your next best option.  

Aura flagships can also enhance the durability and offensive power of your fleet - a Highlander Nuclear Cruiser or an Omega Behemoth is worth the ship slot it occupies.  An Aegis will spend a lot of time being suppressed by Coldsnaps, so it probably isn't worth it.   Same with trying to rely on Centurion auras.

Arbalests are probably the best weapon option, since they can pierce walls and get turrets down quicker (and they are better against buildings than Railguns). PACs with their blast aren't too shabby either.  D98U Launchers aren't a bad option either.

Siege Battery or FLCS is going to be key, but after that, you can't load up with resistance against any one damage type, since you could see all types.  Evade helps but isn't as key as it is against many other enemies we've seen.  Countermeasures should be tilted towards anti-mortar, but don't ignore Phalanx either.

So when I look back at what I wrote above, you need a little bit of everything.  

Sorry... I'm sure he's human.  

Anyway... you've only got two weeks in your shipyard so you're going to have to work with what you've got.  Rank is key since you need to deal out a lot of damage against these targets... start there.  I'll be working with the fleet I'm using for mines & DUBs.  It is a bit flexible, with three Punishers carrying mostly Earthshakers, then I use another slot for a flagship & the 5th slot for a support ship.

In the Flag slot, I may try both the HLNC & the Omega, but I suspect an Omega-led fleet will do better since I need the firepower.  For the Support slot, I've tried an Aegis, Centurion, and a Neptune.  In my case, the Neptune carries all the Gales, so it is my best choice, but it was reworked for DUBs and has very low evade.  In the preview it was torn up by missiles.

My other issue is that the Punishers use CX alloy, so they are also a bit vulnerable to missiles, specially since I have no Phalanx in that fleet.

So my key work over the next two weeks will be to tune up the armor & countermeasures in the fleets I have to be more balanced against these raid targets.

Here's where I'm going:!B06L000000000000000000000000000000000000000PNH0131W0Z346A2F5Y2UAKAKAKAKAKAKAKAKAK2CPNH0131W0Z346A2F5Y2UAKAKAKAKAKAKAKAKAK2CPNH0131W0Z346A2F5Y2UAKAKAKAKAKAKAKAKAK2C07002525250V250U345R6F4468251A2A565657565555555500dC

If you keep track of all my fleet builds, you'll notice that the Punishers are tweaked a bit from what I've been using.  

For the Punishers - I used to have a D33-DR in the slot where the PAC is.  I've accepted that these ships are going to be totally useless against fast targets, so the PAC helps me offensively - the occasional blast is always welcome.  I've replaced the Autoloader with Siege Targeting - at high ranks with the salvo 3 Earthshaker, the extra damage helps me more than the quicker reload (again, not against ships).  I've also slowed them down a little - I need the balanced resistance from Heavy Plating, and the slower speed also helps me build the support ships a bit stronger (without having to worry so much about speed boost).  What I really don't like about this Punisher build is the weight.  Having so much weight to spare means that I'm missing out offensively since weapon power is so closely tied to weapon weight.  A more ideal build would use heavier ballistics like Arbalest in place of some Earthshakers, and then maybe get speed back with D6A instead of Heavy Plate.

The Neptune also reflects some compromise - it's been through a few cycles of refit since it led my Rhinos into Strongholds & Player bases.  I have a few Phalanx I'm adding, but mostly sticking to the Gales.  I'll just admit it - the hodgepodge of armor sizes & Gales was driven by the cycles of refit & making the weight work (and the early Gale drops), and not really any sort of optimized plan.

The Omega isn't really empty, but it's staying away from the fight so it doesn't matter. OK?!?

Well - that's the best I'm going to do for this upcoming raid.  Stay focused - hit 200 salvages next week if you have to.  PvP hulls are coming!  I wouldn't start anything major in my shipyard until there's a little more clarity as to what is next.

And the personal note:
I'm starting a new job soon... with a much longer commute.  I'm very excited for the new opportunity, but the loss of 10 hours out of my week means that something is going to have to give, and I suspect that some of it will be Battle Pirates related.  I will very likely be less able to give timely commentary.  I'm still committed to playing this game, running this blog, and being on the Battle Pirates Crib show, but we will have to see.  

This change is all about my career, and has nothing to do with "the state of the game", Kixeye, or the Battle Pirates community.  For the community in particular, I really appreciate all the readers of this blog, and the encouragement, thanks, comments, and even corrections that you provide.  As you may know, the community can be a bit pirate-y at times, and when I started this blog I was expecting quite a bit of salty response. All I can say is that I don't get much saltyness & I get a whole lot of positivity... even when I think I deserve a little more salt.

Thank you pirates - you keep sailing & I'll keep publishing.