Sunday, May 22, 2016

follow-up on raid - what next?

There is a new forsaken mission out with new prizes, but it has been a busy week and I'm still catching up.  I think I'd like to focus on the aftermath of the raid, and catch up with the new Forsaken Mission later.

As a quick thought on this - we have a month where you can hit the "old style" targets, and with 50 million points you can get all of the new gear. Use this month to get your fleets ready for next month.

Deflection & Deflection Bypass

One of the biggest kicks in the gut in this raid was the addition of deflection bypass.  For those of you thinking that you were going to use some Revenge hulls this raid and they were going to tear everything up (like they did last raid)... you should have known better.  

(Yes, some players used Gatling guns to outrange the scatter turrets in this raid... but that's a pretty limited case, and you could have put those weapons on a V2-H too & done almost as well.)

Kixeye was very clear, I was very clear, all the YouTube shows were very clear, all the Facebook groups were very clear - deflection bypass would be added to the PvE targets (and that includes raid targets) to make the Revenge most useful in PvP (combat vs other players) only.  When the Revenge stats were changed to remove its Assault & Siege Deflection, replacing that with increased Damage Type Deflection, the way Kixeye would accomplish that became ever more clear - Damage Type Deflection Bypass was added to the PvE targets, leaving you to depend on Assault Deflection, Siege Deflection and resistances.

This was reinforced when the "chore" PvE targets were changed (before the raid) to be consistent with this vision.

Post from GD Raikan, 3 May 2016

When the raid came along, player fleets were getting really torn up, and here's a big reason why:

These are some of the Stats from the NPC (enemy) A tier Switchblade in secondary (missile) mode:

There's a few interesting stats in there:

  • Accuracy : 230% means that for any evade below 57%, their accuracy is still at or above 100%, and your evade is useless.  At 75% evade their chance to hit is still 57.5%.
  • Flak Evasion : 45% - many players noticed that the Zoe's missiles were difficult to shoot down, and this is why.  High accuracies (above 100%) do help overcome evade, so stacking up a hull accuracy, special accuracy, and alliance Gunner accuracy is a good strategy.  Also remember that accuracy modifiers work on a percentage of the base accuracy, not straight addition.  If you have a Phalanx 4 that is 65% accurate, adding the 40% bonus from Countermeasure Equipment 3 does not get you to 105% accuracy, it only gets you to 91%.  ( 65% x (1 + 0.4) )
  • bonusdmgcorp : 0.5000 probably refers to bonus corrosive damage, meaning not only do the missiles do penetrative damage, they also do additional corrosive damage when they hit, equal to another 50% of the listed penetrative damage.  This is why ships with penetrative resistance in the high 90s were still taking a lot of damage.
  • pendeflectbypass : 1 100% of a ship's penetrative deflection will be ignored.  This is consistent with the direction described above.
  • corrdeflectbypass : 1 Similar to above, but for Corrosive damage - needed because of the bonus corrosive damage.
  • assaultdeflectbypass : 1  Here's the sneaky one - 100% of a ship's Assault Deflection will be ignored too.  This was NOT consistent with what we were told would be in PvE targets. 

One more note on this - I think these are the stats from the initial release before the raid.  I don't know how much the 2 rounds of target nerfing changed these stats.

Data mining disclaimer:
"Unknown key" refers to the script the data miners are using - they have to interpret the stats into things we recognize like Flak Evade.  If a stat is new they won't have it defined in their script and you'll see unknown key. We have to make our best guess from the name.  It is always possible that some of the data mined information is interpreted incorrectly - both from "known" and unknown keys.  After all, a "known" key is just an unknown key that we think we have figured out.  Sometimes the values are scaled before we see them on a blueprint (like the infamous half damage). These specific stats I'm looking at in this article are just weapon stats, and so they could also be modified by the statistics of the hull they are mounted on.  The potential for confusion with partial data is a valid reason why Kixeye hates data mining.  (Of course, if they were more open with their stats, then the data miners wouldn't have a reason to do their thing.)

I'm not the first person to highlight the addition of Assault Deflection, and how challenging this was for Punishers and Assault hulls that rely on Assault Deflection as a key part of their defenses.  Many players felt like Kixeye lied to them with the information released pre-raid.

The post I excerpted above post talks about the existing PvE targets specifically, then goes on to say " We have no current plans to apply Assault or Siege Deflection Bypass to targets."  However, the raid targets, released just 9 days later on 12 May, do have Assault Bypass (as well as damage-type specific Deflection Bypass).  

I think that name-calling isn't productive.  Maybe Kixeye changed their mind within a week... but what they've done isn't really a good way to earn trust. With build times where they are, (and realistically they aren't going to change enough to make this untrue) this game requires long term planning to succeed without spending a mint.  For players to commit to this game going forward they NEED consistent direction from Kixeye. I'm not upset that they "lied".  I'm upset that they keep changing direction on us.  Having the last two prize hulls get significant modifications post-release is another example of this problem.  

I'm not going to be an apologist here, but lets think about it from Kix point of view - if they want to get a certain amount of damage per time from a target, they could either have a very high damage per hit, or have a lower damage and more bypass.  If they removed the Assault bypass, and wanted the same damage per hit, they would have to increase the damage.  In that scenario, then the Punisher or Apollo with the 500 Assault Deflection would be the only viable hulls to tank against that target.  They way they have it now with Assault Deflection Bypass, the gap between the Punisher (with its high Evade and Missile Defense) and the other hulls isn't as large as it would be otherwise.  Maybe you would be OK with "you need a Punisher or Apollo to tank for A sets or else you're totally screwed", but this method does allow for a wider range of ship capabilities to have a chance.

As always, you can complain all you want, but moving forward, you have to play the game in front of you (or don't play).  

So what works well against those NPC Switchblade missiles, given the Assault Deflection Bypass?

If you look at Evade, Penetrative Resist and Corrosive Resist, the Punisher, Rhino, Apollo, and V2-H show up, but some other ideas might be to use the Heavy Cruiser or even the Citadel, and ignore Evade (since you need over 57% before you get any benefit) but pump up resist.  I'm not sure I would actually recommend the Citadel as a tank - it's a bit slow so you'll take a long time to get into firing range.

I was going to add a bit on how to use the Apollo, but I'm still not sure what the answer is.  With the high resists it should do well against this raid type, but you have to worry a bit about scattergun splash.  I did a quick build during the raid, and have a single Apollo built with 5 disrupter/harrier missiles.  I was able to get it to legendary rank over this VXP weekend (it could solo an 80 for about 50k VXP with a Salty), and I plan to add some Phalanx 4s to try to make it a tank/spotter.  But I'm not too sure if this is a good plan or not, so I wouldn't recommend it until I play with it a bit more.

Hopefully I can catch up with an article on the new FMs soon - if you are trying to come up with a hull to build, you could scan the table above to see what might last the longest.  I've been using my Earthshaker Punishers with the Harlock Aegis and Countermeasure Punisher to provide Phalanx & Gale cover, but those ships are significantly slower, so they get destroyed in the 97 from the MIRV.  I plan to replace some Earthshakers with Arbalest to up the damage, and also refit my Neptune to provide mixed countermeasures, then run the fleet with a Omega for additional ballistic reload.  Again, not sure it's really worth publishing the fleet build until I know how well it works.  There have been some other builds posted in videos and in Facebook groups, so poke around if you want too see something that people have used.