Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New Raid Prizes - Hellwraith creeping up

I hate steering my readers wrong... but between changes to the 70 Reaver Armadas and the preview of the new upcoming raid prizes... my last article is obsolete.  I gave 4 options for doing the next raid:

- Wait for new raid prize subs
- Refit Tiger Sharks
- Refit / Build low end subs
- Refit surface ship like Frosty, V2-H, or Proto-Hunter

The changes to the 70 targets added defense bypass - this nullified the resistance advantage of the surface ships, and made that option almost useless.  The increases in target health also made the higher end Reaver Armadas much more difficult with low end subs.  I did complete my Tiger Shark refit (at 2 days 7 hours per sub), and have been having more success against the Armadas... although it took some practice too.

But when we saw the results from the prize preview, the new Reaver sub, weapon, and special were looking quite destructive.

I'll do some comparisons and number crunching and see if we can figure out where the big advantages are coming from....

Hellwraith


Comparison below:


It's not all bad for the Tiger Shark in comparison, but I think the Tiger's DPS won't make up for the huge torpedo damage bonus, and the Assault Deflection will help the Hellwraith in comparison to the slightly higher submerged resistances.  I'll put those statements to the test in the next section.

The very high speed of the Hellwraith is certainly worth mentioning and will really come in handly - choosing range is often key for victory.  It will more than make up for the shorter dive/surface cycle.

Fire Twister Torpedo



The chart below compares the effectiveness of different combinations of attacking hull (generic, Tigershark R0, Hellwraith) & torpedo (Fire Twister, Charon R0) against different targets (Tiger R0, Hellwraith, and Cavitator Scout from Reaver 70s).



The numbers vs. the Reaver Cavitator Scout show the Fire Twister is about twice as effective as the Charon (R0), and the Hellwraith is about 50% more effective than the Tiger Shark This matches the destructiveness we saw in the preview.  But against player targets with high concussive resistance, the Assault DPS built into the Tiger Shark beats the extra torpedo damage of the Hellwraith, since the Assault DPS doesn't get resisted.

So my conclusion is that although the new hull/weapon combo will be much more effective than older hulls in this raid, it might not actually drive FvF power creep.  This hull will not be changing sub vs. ship or sub vs. sub outcomes significantly compared to older hulls.

The new torpedos are a big improvement though... 50% more damage and lighter weight than Charons.

Sealed Fire Charge


The Sealed Fire Charge is an unconventional weapons improvement - with the increase to critical damage, it gives a 20% DPS bonus - more if the target has deflection.  Splash and projectile speed are nice too (if you are using the Fire Twister).  The Cloak Efficiency hit shouldn't be too bad if you are using it on a Hellwraith, since those have a built in Cloak Efficiency buff.  So far, 70% - 75% is a good cloak efficiency target vs the Reavers.

Vassago's Punisher


I'm not going to spend too much time on this ship - it looks like it will be really good in Mines and pretty good in DUBs too.  However, with no Penetrative resistance and no Assault Deflection, this hull is not what you'd want to bring into a Forsaken Mission Stronghold.  With an 18 day buildtime, there are a lot more economical ways to beat a mine or a DUB.

Overall on the Prizes

The big must-get is the weapon, not the hull.  The Fire Twister makes all the other torpedoes obsolete.  The Hellwraith will be significantly more effective in the upcoming raid cycles, and it has some unique advantages with its high speed, but I think that players who can't get 50 million points for the new gear should shoot for 21 million to get Tigers & Fire Twisters, or even 12.9 million to get Spectres and Fire Twisters.

My plan is to pick up the new prize hull and start building ASAP.  My goal is to have at least two (mostly empty) hulls to rank during VXP weekend.  Two Hellwraiths should be at least as effective as my Styx Tiger fleet.

On the rest of the list
I'm not going to go through each of the other prizes - there are just too many.  I'll try to hit the highlights:

Hulls
Subs: Getting the best Sub hull you can is probably a priority if you don't have any.  I don't really like the Nighthawk over the lower build times and point cost of the Spectre, so the major ones to consider are the Hellwraith (30M), Tiger Shark (9M), and Spectre (900k).  

Chores: The Punisher (12.5M) is clearly the king of the chores right now but Apollos (12.5M), Centurions (9M), and Rhinos (1.75M) are also options.

Conquerors:  The Revenge (15M) is the only conqueror available in this raid.  Most players would have rather seen Vendettas, but no luck there.  If you don't have any options, and you really want to get into the base hitting game, pick up Revenge and the Concussive Gatling (7.5M) 

Flagships: The Omega Behemoth (11M) and the High-landers NC (4.5M) are the best flag options for chores.  The Savage Kodiak (10M) is also worth considering to enhance a Rhino fleet.  The Destroyer ECM (40M) is really a vanity hull - sonar protection doesn't help against thermal.  Vassago's Punisher (50M) just doesn't seem worth the build time or points right now.


Turrets
The limited Coldsnap (15M) and the Glacial Launcher (15M) are both very key pieces of a high end base defense.  The Apoc Mortar (12M) can be useful against some fleets, but really needs the Level 6 turrets (two specials) before it can shine.

Weapons
As said above - the Fire Twister Torpedo (12M) is the prize of choice this raid.  Most of the other weapons can be useful if you have a build in mind, but none leap out as must-gets.  The D98-U Antipode Launcher (5.5M) has been offered for the first time in a while, so you might want to pick that up.  Avoid the Styx and the UAVs... the Styx is not useful in the upcoming raid cycle vs. these targets with corrosive resist, and the UAVs simply lack a good hull to carry them at this point in the game.

Armors 
Streamlined Cadmium (7.5M) lost its lustre when ships repair times came down.  D5-X (3.5M) is good for its deflection bonus as well as defense.

Specials
The Sealed Fire Charge (9M) will be useful in conjunction with the new hull & weapon, but I'd avoid it otherwise.  Other useful specials out there are the Barrel System 3 (5M) and Stealth Attack System 4 (3.5M) 

Tokens & Shards
Up to 11 days of tokens are welcome.  So are Ghostcrawler shards.


Good luck in the raid!  Remember that it is a 6 day raid.  Use the time wisely and don't get frustrated early.  Don't forget your crews.