Sunday, March 11, 2018

Early Bird FM 117 Review

In the murky water of the seas, the 117 looms...

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

As many know, I've been trying to test the new 117 FM target as my Inferno Dragons build and see if anything pops up.

Rum Runner and Padre Prince were kind enough to run a few of the tests for me concurrent to my own testing. They'll confirm - this is a pain and pricey!

That said, I have gotten a fleet out. I'm not sure it's a 'best build' though. There were some assumptions I made that were not completely accurate when tested and there are some wonky results that make some of the selections questionable.

That said, what I'm going to do here is go over the build and the theory behind it and then some observations about the target and hopefully it will help you decide which way you want to build your fleet and perhaps find a better combination, because I'm about burnt out tweaking this fleet.

The Build :

This is the Huggy's link for the build.  I'm still toying with a few things and I believe that rank on this hull is absolutely essential. This has hurt me in testing because I just didn't get them ranked fully during the VXP weekend. For now, let me explain the build as it sits. There are 2 pairs of hulls in this fleet and both run on the same theory.

FLCM and SB4 :

Two hulls have Front Line Counter Measure. Originally this was for two purposes. The first was because I was running a Sprint on 2 of the hulls.

As most of you know, I run the Phalanx and Sprint ranges in such a way that the Phalanx would have priority for firing. In this target that might not be all that important as the primary missiles do not seem to have flak evade.

I also found that if I kept the fleet moving, the use of Gales in those spots mitigated more damage than when I ran the Sprints. Weird, yea?

That said, the second purpose is one that seems to work fairly well. Offsetting the firing of the Gales. With one pair firing at a further range, it allows for a bit of overlap in the reloads while the other two hulls use Siege Battery 4 for increased building damage to help my Time To Kill (TTK), which works well because of...

Damage Density :

As we covered in a previous article Spread and Splash - A Story of Co-Dependence we reviewed how spread and splash work and their interaction. Given the strength of the walls I wanted my design to focus as much damage as possible where I hit. For that I needed low spread and high splash - exactly opposite of what the rocket inherently has.'Stock' values (15 splash, 150 spread) are a Coverage Efficiency of 25% and a Damage Density of 12.5%. This build (32.5 splash, 75 spread) brings that up to 108% and 54% respectively. Think of it as 'focusing' your rocket damage.

What the numbers don't reflect however is that at target point, 100% of every rocket will have the splash radius overlapping said target on the inside of the 50% splash mark ensuring optimal damage at the target point.

To do this I used Explosive System 4 and Narrowed Firing Aperture to reduce my spread significantly and increase my splash to get the desired effect. This also allowed me to use Siege Battery 4 to increase my building damage significantly as well which in turn helped increase my actual damage density and reduce my TTK.

What that really means is that every time a rocket lands, more of the 'inner circle' of splash damage (damage drop off is linear remember) covers the spread area increasing the damage done in that area allowing me to kill an intended target much quicker, which enabled me to forgo rocket reload and...

Magnus Drive 3 :

I use Mag3 in place of the special that was released with the hull. Again- I do not know if this is the 'best' build- it's just what I've built. The reason I wanted Mag3 was that, initially, it seemed as though we would not be able to shoot down all those mortars, which have YUGE splash and spread, so I wanted to be as far away from them as possible when they landed so I was at the tail end of the splash radius. It also allows me to mostly outrun the coldsnaps.

One thing I did note when using Mag3 over other options was that it changed my targeting on the incoming mortars so that I had a better chance at firing at the tail end of the mortars rather than waste all my salvos on the first ones out- which had a better chance of falling away from me and causing less damage. I don't know if I'm paranoid, but it looks like the first half of the volley of mortars fires with less spread than the last half of the volley. I'll try and test that out in the future.

Given how dependent this hull is on rank, one possibility for a build would be to add another Gale or two which may mitigate more damage that this current setup. Unfortunately, I don't know how that would affect my TTK on the turrets, but if the additional Gales can counter all the mortars, you may be able to run RF-X engine instead and bring the TTK back to the same area. If I hit the lottery and can refit to this idea, I'll test it and report back, or, if anyone is building this fleet in the article and wants to test that for all of us, please let me know the results!!

MX3 v. AA3 v. RA3 :

This one is a very interesting conundrum. On first blush I was very tempted to go with AA3 because of the mortars. What I've found through testing, particularly when you have a full complement of armors, is that AA3 is the worst of the three. Counter-intuitive? Yup.

The other two have yielded some interesting results. They seem to be performing neck and neck when running a Dragon fleet. One will outperform the other by small amounts and they also perform differently in different positions in the fleet (which interestingly enough- is repeatable often).

What gets really interesting is when you run a Savage flag. In that instance, the MX3 reliably outperforms the RA3. Again counter-intuitive. One would think if the Savage reduced the projectile damage a significant amount that the RA3 equipped hulls would clearly outperform the MX3 hulls when running just Dragons. Instead the biggest disparity I've had between the two specials was about 600 damage. Typically they have been around 50. This is another area where improvement can be found.

Charged Armor :

Needed? Yes. I found that 3 Charged X and 2 Charged M was the happy balance point in testing. I tried a few other configurations and did not find a better combination. If you plan on running a Savage with the fleet you may be able to toy with this as well, but I'd hate to have to refit AGAIN once the Flagship comes out.

Phalanx, Gales and Sprints :

As I mentioned above, I forewent Sprints and rely on speed. I'm running only 2 Phalanx 4's in the fleet. Between the remote targeting evade and semi-decent driving I'm finding that even with the occasional 'oops!' in the target the 2 Phalanx work fine which lets me load up on the Gales. I do run 2 Gale 2's though just as another offset cushion to the reload of the Gales.

Random Thoughts :

I hate to say this, but this is easily the most refit and tweaked hull I've had to play with. That is not good. Part of the issue was, and is, the large changes in performance and mechanic interactions with the addition of rank and charged armors. What was working early in the build, did not work later when there was some rank and armor. This is a very poor interaction for the player and thought should be given when designing a target and hull. Unless there is some avenue in which to test builds out, players will be chasing down poor build paths until the 'final', and planned, interactions become clear. I think part of this issue is that the targets are tuned for full ranked hulls (which mine are not as yet) and testing is done on final versions and no thought or planning was given to the interim time a player spends with the fleet and target. It may be an oversight or something that never manifested in testing but should be looked at in the future when developing targets and hulls.

The other aspect that troubles me a bit is that this seems to be exactly what many players complain about - you have to have a top flight build in order to perform even acceptably. Many players complain about the complexity involved in building a fleet and that for many targets you have to have the 'perfect' build in order to succeed or a degree in math to understand what is happening. This target reflects that sentiment.

If you haven't gathered yet, I am not 100% confident in this build because the damage still seems too high given the application the hull is intended for. I know I don't come up with the best builds, but generally speaking, I think I come up with acceptable performing designs and am confident in those designs. This one sets my teeth on edge for some reason. Perhaps because I can still see many items/ideas I'd like to test or possible flaws in my analysis. We'll see...

The Target :

The 117 is, as everyone is aware, a new target and not at full strength yet. This is worrisome given the damage I'm taking and that I will need at least 7 (SEVEN!!) of these targets to fully complete an FM mission when there is even 1 new item added into the Tier 5 Prize Pool (~3.5 million points). I am less than amused. If this were a target where I could do 3 and be done, perhaps the damage would be appropriate, but as it stands now, given that the target is not at full strength, I do not think the payout is appropriate for the anticipated damage output of the target.

There is a new mechanic in these targets that took some of us by surprise. There is a secondary missile that fires from the missile turret. It fires when the primary missile is shot down and targets the hull that shot down the primary missile and can not be countered. I have tested a Zelos running with my Dragons and had some decent success, however, I am NOT going to be driving my FM like that.

Another new twist is the insane projectile speed and flak evade of the mortars. A picture is worth a thousand words and the picture above does that and more. What makes it even more vicious of a mortar is the insane splash radius and spread of the mortar with no appreciable splash damage fall off.

The target itself is also a fairly good sized target. With the ECMs in place, it certainly is not a blitz target like we expected when we saw the Inferno Dragon. This does sadden me some, but, you can still blitz it and with the hull's native Remote Targeting Evade you don't get dinged up too badly, sort of, but certainly not what I'd consider acceptable, particularly given how many I have to do to complete my FM.

The path - this is where I think improvement likely can be had. I think once we find the 'right' path some of this damage may come down. For now, this is the path I'm using and when I go into the target I target the opposite side mortar (you can see me doing this in the video) so the turrets get targeted and killed as well as the Mastadon before I go through the next gate. You can watch the video here:

I hope this helps some of you finalize your builds and helps you succeed in the new FM targets. I wish I had some more time to write more, but alas, I do not.

If you find something that works well or any good tips or tricks, feel free to post them in the comments, on the video or on the TFC page for the community to see. Good luck fellow pirates!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Buccaneer's Trap - Observations and Build

A Lazy Pirate's Diary

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Is it really a trap? Maybe if you don't have your fleet squared away, but for those that have their Bucky fleet done, you were in for a pleasant surprise- at least at the start of the raid.

Going in, the new target has some mechanical differences. Where you did not need a Phalanx last month, this month, you will need them.

The next thing that was very interesting is that Time to Kill (TtK) is an important aspect in these targets. I tested a few builds and noticed that as I played with the resistances,using weapons that added resistance, there was a clear tipping point where damage started going up as my main damage weapon count went down.

The build is very close to the one I put forward in last month's article. The trick was finding that fine line balance point where TtK was fast enough so I didn't take additional damage, but still had my resistances high enough to mitigate both damage types in the proper proportions that were dealt in the target. It looks something like this:

Errr... wrong Bucky, how about this:

I did keep a pando mort on each hull. It helps 'dilute' the repair time a little as well as add a bit of radioactive resistance. It is also why I didn't stick the the B mort on the Boon. That choice did the exact opposite and made the repair time less optimized, so out with the B and in with the Pando.

Edit: I'm getting quite a few questions on the addition to the Pando and people wanting to know exactly why, so let me try and explain.

I initially had a Siege B mortar on the Boon and I pulled the Siege B off and put the Pando on because the repair modifier of the B was worse than the Hull's native repair modifier. What do I mean by that?

The Pando repairs 100hp/sec, the B 1.25hp/sec. The regular Bucky hull repairs at 1.25hp/sec so the Pando 'dilutes' the repair time (making the repair time better) overall to increase the hp/sec repair time.

On the Boon, the repair is 10.42hp/sec so the B would actually hurt the repair time, but the Pando doesn't, it still helps dilute it, just not as much so I swapped it.

Really, if I were edge tweaking further, I probably should use the Ballistic Resistor on the Boon to make up for the resistance disparity. Maybe next month. lol

The trap? The targets are consistently inconsistent. Or rather, are until you really start knocking the mechanics around a bit. While I would get 2 out of 3 hovering in the vicinity of 35 minutes of damage on auto, I'd also get that 1 out of 3 that came back with 1 hour 30 min of damage. I'm not 100% sure what is going on as the damage seems to be coming from the same instances of attack that do not cause nearly the same amount of damage in other engagements. A weird pattern that seemed to be holding as well is that the first engagement coming out of base seemed to be that 1 out of 3 and any map repair and then engagement seemed to be the 2 out of 3.

EDIT: That was around dinner time. Since that time I've seem my average creep up AND there seem to be 'super' missiles in the targets. In some instances when they hit, you take a decent shot of damage, and some instances... not so much until the fire field they produce expires - then you take significant damage if you are in the field when it expires.

Note to Kixeye: These are the exact types of inconsistencies that absolutely infuriate the player base. Just sayin'. I am not amused either.

Looking at what was happening made me decide to refit my 'anti' Buck so that the Phalanx's accuracy was more optimized. This change is reflected in the build above. It took that 1/3 out and made it more like 1 out of... wel, I don't know. As of this writing I haven't gotten the wonky uber damage runs... yet.

I also have a couple videos of the fleet in action. The first is the fleet running on its own with no crew, on auto of course in the middle of my refits. (If I could kindly ask people to subscribe I would appreciate it - YouTube is requiring 1,000 subscribers to allow the monetization, which helps me do this testing.)

The second video is of me running the target, on auto of course, using my favorite crew for this raid set- The Demo Squad. (Did I mention subscribing would help me a TON? Thanks!!)

What I found was that IF I didn't get whacked by a 'super' missile, I was under 30 min consistently, even though it did not look like the damage buff was really working. IF I got whacked by the 'super' missile, it was like the crew didn't exist. The same 1-1.5 hours damage as though I wasn't running a crew.

It requires further testing, and the wonkiness did appear to happen during a rolling hotfix for a glitch repair that unscrupulous pirates were using, so maybe that's it. I'll try and test a bit more again tomorrow afternoon. Maybe I can play tomorrow night some. :)

After running all this, I decided to do what I did last raid with the Hunters - run the fleet until the Flagship needed repairing, and then see how many I could pull off with just repairing the Boon. The answer?

Full fleet did 12 targets with a Demo for a full fleet damage of 2.5 hours. The Boon had 1 hour 20 minutes of damage.

After repairing just the Boon and running targets, this time with a 15% Steelhead, I squeezed out 9... well, I squeezed out 10 but the Boon died in the 10th one.

It seems that if you want to auto, this is one of the exceptions where it is better to NOT enter the target to force a population of the battle map.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Welcome to the New FM Cycle

Are You Ready?

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Back in December 2017, we had the Winter State of The Game drop on us. One of the things that was expressed to us in this SotG was the change of the Raid cycles to 4 months and the pulling of the Garrison cycle out of the raid cycles and into its own little cycle. It was, to quote, "...spice up Garrison every four months and offer specialist hulls for new top targets."

Let's keep this in mind.

At the time, many players (the possibility does, in fact, exist that I was one of them) expressed concern at the time requirements of building Garrison fleets concurrently with Raid fleets and/or escalation refits of Raid fleets.

I'm sure none of those players will stoop to "I told you so.", right? Right?

Tonight we had a posting on the Forums of a slight modification to the timeline that was, at least a little, designed to mitigate the issues and relevant concerns many foresaw with the release of the SotG post.

"When we originally announced the change with the Garrison class, we mentioned that a new Garrison hull would be offered in the 3rd month of each cycle. Given the fact that we still plan to do an early-access offering of the next cycle’s hull in the 4th month, we just didn’t feel that there was enough time for players to both build their new Garrison fleet, as well as the next cycle’s fleet."

Fantastic, right? There is an acknowledgement of the fact that we just do not have the time to do this and that it would impact a concurrently running raid cycle. I greatly appreciate the forthright acknowledgement, yet... I have concerns still that I hope are also addressed going forward.

The second raid of this cycle is upcoming this week. I quite literally have not a single completely built Hydra yet. I have two partially built (the second is still a few days out) and still need to finish the builds, build 2 more hulls and then the Flagship. Add to this a new FM fleet now? I may have grave concerns.

Let me meander back a moment however. Another bit I truly appreciated was another forthright, and rather blunt, declaration. I have to give huge kudos for acknowledging this and not trying to blow smoke up our collective... chimneys.

"Given the history of the Forsaken Mission, we’re more conscious than ever how important those targets and hulls are for players, and are committed to making any target or content adjustments as smooth of an experience as possible. Once we’ve found the right rhythm for how to handle these transitions, we’re hoping to be able to replicate it each quarter so that the player experience is fairly seamless. We’ve know we’ve messed up Forsaken Mission transitions in the past, and are not looking to do a repeat performance in 2018."

That's manning up. It is. There is an acknowledgement of screwing up as well as validation of player concerns over an aspect of the game that is still considered by the community as the cornerstone of Battle Pirates in its current iteration.

We have seen a sneak peek f the apparent new weapon and special intended for our use in the upcoming FM target change. We have the name of the hull (Inferno  Dragon) and can conclude a few things from these hints, so, let's speculate a teeny bit before we get to the real concerns.

The weapon is named the Twinfire Rocket. Don't expect it to be a cannon, yea? It also seems to have a special ability called the Dragon's Flame. This could be interesting because I take that to mean some sort of funky secondary damage added to the rocket. Either type or function. Does it double the fire rate? Increase the damage? Have a distance factor like the Phoenix? Or is it literally a secondary special like the Co-Axial Firestorm or Spitfires? While it sounds very 'cool' I hope that there isn't a layered complexity involved with this special ability.

By necessity, that means we have ourselves a rocket hull in the Inferno Dragon. Which generally means... blitz hull. A fun hull, but generally not the first choice for mitigating damage in an FM environment. I'll be the first to admit- I love driving my Icebreakers for the fun factor. I'll also be the first to admit - I hate driving my Icebreakers for the damage factor.This paragraph is likely indicative of the majority opinion of the community in this regard. Take note.

We then go to the special, the RF-X Engine, that looks a lot like a cannon with little rockets around the rim. The name denotes an engine however, and I wonder if it isn't the rocket version of Nuclear Accelerator. Maybe some extra damage or reload on top of a speed boost? Though it is called an engine so maybe this is more in line with Strike System?

Isn't speculating fun?!? Yea... maybe I'd rather just have the bloody info. Given the inordinate amount of time we spend designing some of these hulls and fleets, and poring over the combinations (even when artificially limited), I was hoping for some more info because it is, after all, the FM cycle we are talking about here. This is, quite literally, going to stop everyone's progress on their raid fleets so that they can start the next FM fleet. At least those players that manage to get the hull, weapon and special.

On to the concerns!

Topics of concern going forward are going to revolve around the timing of the cycle change, the time investment for the fleet and the ancillary loss of time for the concurrently running raid cycle as well as the functionality of the FM itself with relation to the players and the level of difficulty adjustment necessitated by the escalation of power of the next Tier level of hull(s).

Timing of the Cycle Change : 

The concurrent overlap of FM cycle change with running raid cycle poses problems for players in both build time, build queue and prioritization of the game. The FM is the cornerstone of the game in terms of tech availability to 'keep up', however, we have seen in the past the ramifications of missing out on tech in the raid itself. This will likely be borne out in this raid wherein the FM hull is going to be offered as a prize. What do players do that can not get the trifecta of the new FM fleet? Do they then concentrate on the current raid cycle and pray they do not fall too far behind in the FM?

We enter a new era of cycle events and timing, which may pan out well for the game and players, however, there is a very, very steep precipice that exists when trying to run cycles concurrent and overlapping.

Time Investment and Ancillary loss of Build Time :

There is no simple solution to this as the game is currently laid out. With the loss of overall token availability, the gating of tokens behind inordinately long TLCs and sheer build times, the cycles are going to clash. There is no easy way around this. The rules of math preclude a simple solution short of cutting build times drastically, or reducing the needed amount of fleets - or both.

This is my planned Hydra fleet build. 103 days for the fleet - with an engineer. Without, it is a build out of 115 days. 115. That is almost 4 months of build time. For just one of the fleets of this raid cycle. Which lasts 4 months. And includes an FM cycle change.

This is my planned Bucky fleet build. 100 days without an engineer. Why do I use without an engineer? Because the engineer was supposed to be a 'bonus' not a standard. Many players do not have the option, and quite frankly, I want to keep the context appropriate.

The apparent concern here is a little tricky because it is another instance wherein one issue cascades into another. I know many people are going to start screaming TLCs!! Awesome. I'm glad that option is out there. Unfortunately this starts delving into the time investment the game dictates as well as the trend of necessitating the previous two fleets of a cycle. The game literally blocks players from participating in some fashion or another. It should create opportunities for revenue rather than limiting them, but again, another issue.

The base issue here is again the time needed to build these fleets in order to even participate in this aspect of the game. In 4 months time, we have 215 days (over 7 months) of build time required for two full fleets for a 4 month cycle - and then we have to add in an FM fleet- only one of three planned for the year. Clear enough?

We then need to address the 'lost' time to the raid cycle fleets necessitated by the abrupt interruption of the necessary FM fleet build. If the new FM fleet build takes another 100 days, where does that actually leave us? We have more FM hulls due to be released - that will have corresponding targets of increased difficulty while old 'top end' targets are removed. For one raid cycle and one FM cycle change, we are already at a gross build time of 315 days. Where does this particular cycle end?

Can this be addressed and corrected? Sure, but again, at what balancing cost to the game and community? 315 days and we have 2 more raid cycles this year as well as two more FM cycles this year. My hackles are raised.

FM Functionality & Difficulty Level :

This needs some clearing up. In 2017 we saw some shenanigans with regard to the FM. There is a general assumption the players have of the function of the FM. That function is not a three times a month raid. Nor is it supposed to be a chore. Many players have invested heavily on their FM fleet in order to alleviate exactly that feel from the FM, and yet, the last change to the FM caused exactly that feel to come back.

Putting the latter issue aside for now, the former speaks to the presumed intent of the FM for the players of the game. Barring any clarity on the matter, we procede with this presumed intent of: a function in the game where a player can 'catch up' on tech as well as gain new tech that will be useful in their day-to-day engagement of the game. N'est-ce pas?

The escalation to higher degrees of difficulty necessitated by the introduction of Tier 7 FM hulls may change this functionality. Given the above referenced build times as well as the sheer number of planned changes leaves a huge amount of room to lose players in the shuffle. Once fallen behind, we know nothing of any mechanism that will be in the 'new' FM to help struggling players. In fact, the simplest option - leaving the old targets on the map and increasing the worth of the new ones, seems to not be an option going forward. The stated intent is to remove the high level targets and replace them with the new ones, which would mean that if you do not get the new combination, your top-of-the-line current FM fleet will be devalued doubly with the change. You will not be able to hit the 115 for those points, and you will be relegated to hit lesser targets as well.

Concurrent to those 2 aspects of devaluation, you likely will not be able to use your fleet ion the shiny new target putting you further behind. We also do not know the intent for the lower level targets in the FM. Are they changing? Will lesser fleets be 'locked out' of the FM? Are there plans for players to gain access to the FM going forward after the debacle of 2017?

This seems a bit counter-intuitive to me, and I hope that this is not the case or that this has been addressed prior to the implementation of the FM escalation.

Conclusion :

Holy crap, you're still reading? Fine, I'll not mince words anymore. (read: CAUTION- Swearing Ahead!)

While these are very valid concerns, the fact that there is validation for the community in today's post is a good sign. That said...

The conclusion here is simple, the horse has been running wild in the field and it has to not only get reined the hell in, it needs to get bashed between the fucking eyes and be reminded who it is that rides his ass.

Don't get me wrong, I think the start of transparency as well as ownership of past issues is HUGE. I would just like to take the opportunity to get ahead of any other potential issues before they come and bite us in the ass.

To Kixeye: You have gone back and forth with regard to direction, intent, design and more. You vacillate with regard to so much, including who it is that is currently 'it'. Too many times in too short a span of time. We sit at a precipice for more reasons than one. For better or for worse, now is the time to bone up. You've picked a team, you've picked a lead(s?) and you've picked a direction.
Go all in with these motherfuckers, because if 2017 repeats in 2018, I fear that I won't have an addiction to partake in come 2019 and that would be a shame.

(Sidenote: Yes, you guys are getting the raw unedited article right now. I'll come back and edit and spellcheck and all that good shit tomorrow. Have a fantastic night all!)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Deflection, Pass-Through and You

Looking over PvP Deflections

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

The community got an informative post about Pass-Through (aka Minimum Damage to some) dropped today by our Favorite Developer, GD Ramikan... er... I mean GD Raikan. Joking aside(he takes it in massive stride), it is a very, very good step towards the transparency the community has been clamoring for, for the past year or more. The post can be read here.

I would like to put this into a bit of context as well- I have been getting a few complaints about this 'Making things overly-complicated' and 'They Kixeye'd the armors', etc. This is a game developer trying to explain the mechanical functions of a piece of software. He is trying to explain the actual functioning of the program. We don't need all this information to play the game, but there are those of us that DO delve this far into the game mechanics and this is what allows us to come up with things that 'break' the game or solve puzzles presented to us in a more efficient manner than if we were not so familiar with these aspects of the game.

Does everyone need to know the inner workings to this much of a degree? Probably not. In fact, there is a TL;DNR version at the end for lazy pirates! Disclaimer: This is how I've read and understand the mechanic. ;)

Deflection and Pass-Through :

As we had always presumed, and eventually told, there is a pass-through (minimum damage) value associated with various items in the game. We have not had any clarification about anything but this so far. However, what we did learn today is that anything that has deflection attached to it in any way has a pass-through value associated with it and it is only applicable if the damage is reduced to 0 by that deflection.

"...any item that has [Damage Type] Deflection (e.g. - Ballistic Deflection) also has a stat known as Pass-through. Pass-through is the amount of damage that a hull will take if the damage of a single projectile would be less than the corresponding deflection value."

I want to repeat this because it bears repeating. The only time you will receive the pass-through damage (minimum damage) is if the damage is reduced to zero by that deflection. In that instance, when the damage hits zero, the minimum damage is applied.

Let's do some examples:

Ballistic Projectile damage : 2,500

Armor Ballistic Deflection : 5,000
Armor Minimum Damage : 200

Hull Ballistic Deflection : 0
Hull Ballistic Pass-Through Damage : 0

PT Damage : 200

In this instance, you are being shot with a ballistic projectile that does 2,500 damage and your armor has a ballistic deflection value of 5,000 and your hull has a ballistic deflection value of 0 for a total deflection of 5,000 damage against ballistic. The deflection reduces the amount of damage to 0 so you will receive 200 damage to the hull directly. There is no other modifier applied to this damage.

Ballistic Projectile damage : 5,500

Armor Ballistic Deflection : 5,000
Armor Minimum Damage : 200

Hull Ballistic Deflection : 1,000
Hull Ballistic Pass-Through Damage : 100

PT Damage : 200

In this instance, you are being shot with a ballistic projectile that does 5,500 damage, your armor has a ballistic deflection value of 5,000 and your hull has a ballistic deflection value of 1,000 for a total deflection of 6,000 damage against ballistic. The combined deflection reduces the amount of damage to 0, however, since you have 2 disparate minimum damage values, the greater of the two is used, so you will receive 200 damage to the hull directly. There is no other modifier applied to this damage.

Ballistic Projectile damage : 6,100

Armor Ballistic Deflection : 5,000
Armor Minimum Damage : 200

Hull Ballistic Deflection : 1,000
Hull Ballistic Pass-Through Damage : 100

PT Damage : 0 (100 damage remaining)

In this instance, you are being shot with a ballistic projectile that does 6,100 damage, your armor has a ballistic deflection value of 5,000 and your hull has a ballistic deflection value of 1,000 for a total deflection of 6,000 damage against ballistic. The deflection reduces the amount of damage to a remainder of 100 so you will receive 0 damage to the hull directly via pass-through, and the remaining 100 damage processes through any operation left in the order of operations before going to the hull directly.

Ballistic Projectile damage : 500

Armor Ballistic Deflection : 1,000
Armor Minimum Damage : 100

Hull Ballistic Deflection : 1,000
Hull Ballistic Pass-Through Damage : 300

PT Damage : 300

In this instance, you are being shot with a ballistic projectile that does 500 damage, your armor has a ballistic deflection value of 1,000 and your hull has a ballistic deflection value of 1,000 for a total deflection of 2,000 damage against ballistic. Again, the combined deflection reduces the amount of damage to 0, however, once again, since you have 2 disparate minimum damage values, the greater of the two is used, so you will receive the greater, 300 damage, to the hull directly. There is no other modifier applied to this damage.

This is why it matters with regard to the older hulls. The largest value is used to determine the pass-through value. We do not know their numbers as of yet, however, Kixeye is working on getting these values added to blueprints as an ongoing effort to get player-requested information into the blueprints. Will it make the blueprints larger/longer? Yes. Do I mind? No. I like having the info rather than guessing or trying to find 'alternative sources' of this information (information which I believe we should have already).

There is one caveat that has come up that does need to get mentioned here and it goes something like this;

Ballistic Projectile damage : 50

Armor Ballistic Deflection : 1,000
Armor Minimum Damage : 100

Hull Ballistic Deflection : 1,000
Hull Ballistic Pass-Through Damage : 300

PT Damage : 50

If the actual damage of the projectile does not originally exceed the pass-through value, the original damage value is used for the pass-through value. So say you are running one of the older Bypass chainguns or Torrent missiles, make sure your hull is designed in such a way that the per salvo value is higher than the deflection value of the new armor.


The new armors have a higher pass-through value for damage likely because of the massive amounts of deflection they provide. They work and are balanced for the new and planned T7 hulls, but care should be taken on older hulls as it may increase the pass-through values of native deflections on those hulls.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Taking a poke at a Hydra build

What have we gleaned?

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

I'll be frank- I did not like these targets. For several reasons. That said, I had some good success with this build until I kept running into turrets because of the funky hit boxes. I was not amused, but I figure players would like to see a build, so here goes...

UPDATE: The targets seemed to be a bit better in this latest test server. The hit boxes were still funky and Kix is looking into it. There was a LOT of lag for me unlike last time, but Price seemed to have very smooth sailing and so did TSM so maybe it was a server or connection issue, but it seemed to be happening to several players. I also had some serious memory leakage and a very odd occurrence of high CPU useage. We'll see what shakes out when we get on a raid server I guess.

Full build Huggy link

UPDATED BUILD<<<<<<<<<<<
The CICs I used were the Siege Cap for the first three and the Aegis one for the CM ship

BUILD AS OF 2/1/17

I did try this without the HLNC and it still worked, but you had to drive better. Have I mentioned I'm lazy and hate fabricated and unnecessary pressure and excessively punitive damages in a target? This is supposed to be fun, not torturous. That said, yes, you don't necessarily need the HLNC, it just performed better with it. You likely won't need it when we have access to the CICs or Flagship as well, but that is pure speculation on my part.

UPDATE: The CICs changed everything. I was afraid of that. They did help immensely and made the pressure and necessity of constant precision driving a little less. There was no need for the HLNC. I really think that if i didn't have the lag I could have likely pulled a perfect run, so there is hope at least.

Did I mention that these targets weren't finalized yet?

Much like the Bucky build seen here, the fleet is a mixed build fleet. I'm finding that the further down the path of niche designed targets we go, the more niche designed fleet builds are needed to maximize efficiency in the targets. Given the nature of CICs as we have had them perfunctorily explained to us, this seems intended by the designers.

UPDATE: The specials remain the same, the only change to the DPS build was that all weapon slots now have the launcher!! This pic is updated!!!!!
I found that the addition of the HVR made driving a lot les of a headache because of the responsiveness added to the launchers while driving.

The first three hulls are the same but for the additional Sprint CM on the third. The fourth hull sports FLCM for the Phalanx.

Did I mention that these targets weren't finalized yet?

The reason for the additional Sprint CM was that, upon review, the lobbed rockets were launched in bunches of 8. The reload of the turret was greater than 4 seconds. With 4 Sprint CMs we can cover the entirety of one launch and if the targets change in the future, we have a reload of under a second so that with the 4 we could handle a stacked set of these turrets. I have moved these to a dedicated CM ship now!!!

Of note however, when testing I had tested with ONE Sprint. It shot down 2-3 rockets, the third being shot down much closer to the fleet. This means that the projectile speed of the rockets was slow enough to allow the one single Sprint to fire both salvos, reload and fire off another one (maybe 2). Given that, we may be able to get away with only using 2-3, but the paranoid pirate in me is going to shy away from that for now. In testing yesterday, the 4 Sprints worked very well to mitigate most of the projectiles, HOWEVER, there were instances of the Sprints not firing or missing large swaths of the projectiles. Driving and timing DOES matter in these targets.

The choice of HVR was apparent to me after the first foray into the target. There were little to no shockwaves, so the overriding concern was to get as much damage as possible to the target as fast as possible in order to get the TTK (time to kill) as low as possible. This also explains the Multiplex Charge Doubler and Auto-Loader 4. Using the HVR made driving a lot less stressful. I'm absolutely sticking to this from what I've seen thus far.

Did I mention that these targets weren't finalized yet?

UPDATE: THIS BUILD HAS CHANGED!! Please see the UPDATED BUILD link above. This is the link for JUST the CM ship. I updated this picture!!

I used the Aegis CIC for this ship. Given that it was not likely to fire at the targets much I pulled all the offensive specials I didn't need and replaced them to maximize the hull's counter measure abilities.

I swapped to Garrison Battery so I could use the CME3 for the Phalanx. We found that the CMs were specific in nature to the projectiles so combining them on the same ship was not detrimental in performance. The Sub Aquatic was added to help the reload on the Sprints as well as boost the projectile speed a little. The HVR are there purely for the projectile speed.

Driving is still very important in these targets but is NOT as critical as the last test server with the addition of the CICs. They really do change the builds entirely in their use and ability. Hope this helps and GOOD LUCK!!

As for the FLCM choice and the Phalanx, in order to get the Phalanx range out beyond that of the Sprints we put the Phalanx on another hull and equip the FLCM special, allowing them to fire first and give us a better chance of shooting the missile(s) down. With the slow projectile speed of the rockets in conjunction with the HVR on the builds, we really don't need (at this time) any extra range on the Sprints.

This benefits us because we can then have a single hull with FLCM equipped so that the Phalanx has a range buff as well as an accuracy buff allowing us to maximize our countering ability against the radioactive missile in the target and maximize the damage output on the other three hulls. Only time and testing will tell if this is worth losing the extra building damage on the fourth hull. It may be that the loss ultimately hurts us if the buildings don't die quickly enough to justify the change in special. If that turns out to be the case, this hull will then be changed to a copy of the first two since the Sprint would fire first regardless.

So, something to think about. In testing I was keeping well below 1/4 damage until I messed up driving or lagged from explosions, etc. or the fleet jumping forward. Vengeful_One had a very similar build and pulled off a 5 minute damage run WITHOUT the HLNC. Driving is VERY IMPORTANT in these targets. Again, I am not a fan of these targets and I'm not a horrendous driver either. I think I'm going to gamble with the Bucky for now and see what comes in the raid. Given two flags, a new generalist and the likely introduction of Charged R armor, I don't anticipate a fun raid weekend, sorry. Good luck everyone!

This is one of the runs on the S target using the CICs and the build above. Even with the lag as bad as it was and guessing where I needed to turn and stop, I was consistently getting under 3 minutes of damage and could instant repair on the map. Even when I screwed up I was still in the 15-20 min range for the whole fleet. THIS WARN YOU: I believe that, much like last raid set, the first month the S target is going to be 'soft'. I do NOT expect this level of performance in the raid next month. I dislike the constant escalation, but I do want to prepare everyone for that possibility.

For your viewing pleasure, this is an early run of the Hydra S target from the first test server that Robyn ran. Enjoy!!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

First shot at a Bucky build... now the second

Distilling what little we know.

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

As many know, there was a Preview Server this evening. It was interesting. I'll freely admit, I did not like the Hydra targets. I'm not sure what, exactly, it was that turned me off to them. I believe that rather than it being one major issue it was just the cumulative affect of several issues that just made it a serious drag to play. From ranges being wonky and 'off' from what I'm used to after 6 years to the extremely punitive nature of the targets to the utter busy-ness of the target... maybe it's the ADD, maybe it's... is that a buckminsterfullerene?!? Cool!!

I don't know that anyone wants me to sit and complain about what I didn't like about the Hydra target so I'm going to jump into what i gleaned for the Bucky. TSM (here) and Price (here) both streamed and played with the Hydra and Ren (here) recorded a bunch of targets with the Bucky. All this can be found on... wait for it... THE YouTube!!

The Bucky. I like this hull so far. It's fun. Even when you auto. So far that we have seen it also lends itself to a few variations on builds. I am going to break this up a bit because we did not see the S target for the Bucky and the targets we did see,





N'est-ce Pas? That said, we can observe certain mechanics and make some educated guesses to try and get ready for the raid. I'm going to show the build I'm gambling on and the theory behind it as well as touch upon an option or two that may lead you to think about future options or other paths as well.

DISCLAIMER: I was primarily testing this hull on auto!!!!!
Why? because I'm a lazy pirate and my time has been rather limited lately. Actually severely limited lately. Did I mention I was lazy yet?

UPDATE: The raid has gone and past. Quite honestly, I am very disappointed in what and how things happened. That said, let's concentrate on the Bucky.

The fleet you are going to build is going to wholly depend on which Tier set you are going to hit. Why this is so, I do not understand, but I have reached out to Kixeye to see if this is going to continue and if not what changes will be made. I hope that after this mess they realize that early disclosure is going to be the only way to not fuck the next raid. Sooo... keep sending those tickets in for the Siege battery glitch costing you damage in every target you used them in and enjoy the article.



Base Build:

First, there are three different builds on five ships in this fleet. I did this to play with a few mechanics but primarily for the ability to get the Phalanxes and some of the Sprints out front quickly and have a secondary layer behind to add depth to the CM design. Since they shoot at two disparate projectiles, there is no 'blocking' one another thus negating the possibility of the one interfering in the delivery of the other.

The A set seemed to offer a well balanced damage portfolio. Fairly eve in it's distribution, there was no readily apparent damage bias in the target.

The Boon is built to fit and be the lead. The next three are the same and are your DPS ships which have some CM scattered throughout, and the last one is your CM ship. The reason for this addition was that upon review the bunched lobbed rockets number 8 at launch. The reload of the turret was greater than 4 seconds. With lots of Sprint CMs we can cover the entirety of one launch and if the targets change in the future, we have a reload of under a second so that with the 4 we could handle a stacked set of these turrets. Of note however, when testing I had tested with one Sprint. It shot down 2-3 rockets. This means that the projectile speed of the rockets was slow enough to allow the one single Sprint to fire both salvos, reload and fire off another one (maybe 2). Given that, we may be able to get away with only using 2-3, but the paranoid pirate in me is going to shy away from that for now.

This is the build I think would excel in the A sets. Boon or not. With that in mind, let us look at the S target and see how exactly this build was different.

S set:
(Huggy Link)

I am not convinced that this will not need a refit. I believe that given what we saw in these targets and that they were tuned down, this build may need in fact a second Charged R armor. since i do not have more than 5, we are at this settlement of a build. high ballistic resistances should compositely ignore turret fire of that type. This should be interesting.

Will we need that extra resistance? Or will we need more damage dealing ability? Unknown at this time. These builds are based on what we saw thus far. Given the throttling of the charged armors, it may be that this is a good stop-gap measure until we get more armors and can tune the builds a bit more. Good luck!!!

Questions edit: So I got a few questions, the main one being about the Morts. They have a great repair coefficient and since we are being kept in the dark about the targets, I opted for more resist since I'm adding a 5th boat. If it turns out that I don't need the resists that high or that I need more damage output, they aren't horrendous to swap out. Also, given the throttling of availability of the charged armors, it is an easy way to play with the resists until I can get more Rad charged if I need that resist that high. If it turns out that the Balli is more important and my damage output is good, I can swap the pando out for B's.

The last Bucky is built like this:

For why? To get the Phalanx range out beyond that of the Sprints so they fire first and give us a better chance of shooting the missile(s) down. With the slow projectile speed of the lobbed rockets in conjunction with the HVR on the build, we really don't need (at this time) any extra range on the Sprints. This works out well because we can then have a single hull with FLCM equipped so that the Phalanx has a range buff as well as an accuracy buff allowing us to maximize our countering ability against the radioactive missile in the target. Only time and testing will tell if this is worth losing the extra building damage. It may be that the loss ultimately hurts us if the buildings don't die quick enough to justify the change in special. If that turns out to be the case, this hull will then be changed to a copy of the first two.

Did I mention that these targets weren't final and we hadn't seen the S target for the Bucky yet?

Options? Of course. As Ren pointed out, well I think he pointed out.. I haven't seen the vid yet, but he mentioned it while chatting so I presume he made a point of it... anyway... as he mentioned, the fire field can be mitigated with Shielded Tactical System 4. Makes sense. They are nothing new. It's a fire field and does a lot of damage if you sit in them. The caveat to this option may be, of course, charged armor. We do expect the Charged R to make an appearance and if so, I think we'll find that it may mitigate a goodly amount of the damage. I also believe, based on testing, that this hull may be a repeat of the Hunter in that the concentration of damage mitigation will be lop-sided and make the use of 4 Charged R's a possibility. Why do i say this?

Testing with the HLNC used as a blank flag cut damage SIGNIFICANTLY. To the tune of almost half in some instances. Granted, in many tests I did not run a Sprint at all or I ran only 1 Sprint so this may or may not be an issue depending on how the Sprint ultimately functions in the final targets.

Did I mention that these targets weren't final and we hadn't seen the S target for the Bucky yet?

If you have an HLNC you may be able to eek out a bit better damage wise in the A sets, however, expect the same limitations in the S targets, i.e. don't expect to be able to use this hull in the S target. 

The armor selected, well, I loathe to put any more D5-R on because we all know I'm going to have to f*#$ing refit it off. I only put one Charged B... I mean C. Why is it C again? Yea, Charged C. I'm not sold on the need for more just yet. It seemed as though the damage for the most part was AoE type so evade did not seem a viable alternative. I'm sure over the next few days we will see some consolidation of information from the testing but I think the ultimate clarity will come with the first raid. I wish we had a little more insight given the time frame and the utter lack of shipyard time, but we do what we can, yea? Good luck Captains! 

Oh yea... Did I mention that these targets weren't final and we hadn't seen the S target for the Bucky yet? So, lots of guesses, no S target to test and less than a week to the raid. Who's got the rum?

One of the 85's I ran.I don't know if I have any more full runs of other targets. I'll look in the AM.

UPDATE : Running the S set in the raid, I found that the build needed tweaking. It worked well in the A set, however, the S set required a different build. I DO NOT know if this is final as there is so much insanity going on with this raid. I mention the changes in this video, but I am not 100% on a build until we get some info out of Kixeye.

Final run in the S target on Sunday. Not too shabby and the build wasn't close to done. Hope it helps y'all!!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

When is a Turret not a Turret...

...and when  exactly IS it a Turret?

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

With the introduction of the new Wave Motion Gun, a/k/a Kinetic Motion Cannon, an old question arose once again. If the Omega Turret is a Turret, or isn't it?

The question arises from real in-game observations that seemingly contradict what we are told with regard to the mechanics. What we are told is that the Omega Turret is not a Turret and that neither bonuses nor turret defenses apply:

Not the first time we have seen this answer, however, the release notes for OP10 specifically stated that this was a turret:

So which is it? Is it a turret or not? No one knows for 100% certainty because this very basic information has not been officially released other than to state that it is a turret. That's all we officially know at the moment- it IS a turret, but... an Omega turret, not a 'defensive' turret, yea? Where does it say this is an important distinction? Where in the prints does it say it is immune to turret defense specials? No one knows.

Furthering the confusion about the issue is in game observations and players not following through on all the complexities of battle, because... well, because it's a bloody game, not math class. The over-riding argument I hear is that if turret defense did not affect the Omega Turret, the Writ would never get through.

This is false, and here is why:

Omega Gatling Concussive Damage : 800,000 / 15 salvos = 53,333.33 damage per salvo
King's Writ Splash Damage Reduction : 60% (53,333 * .4 = 21,333)
King's Writ Concussive Deflection : 18,000 (21,333 - 18,000 = 3,333 damage)
BUS Boosted Concussive Deflection : 11,004 (3,333 - 11,004 = minimum pass-through damage)

This matches what we observe in-game

Clear as mud? You bet! I partly blame this on the apparent lack of transparency with regard to the mechanics of the game. These are things that we should not be puzzling over, but rather, be told explicitly their function upon release. That would work out far better for everyone. We would know how the function is intended and if there is an issue we would find it far sooner and with more understanding having known the intended function of the item/mechanic rather than puzzle this out and have wildly conflicting information flying about.

The above math also illustrates that the Omega Turret is not affected by any turret boosting building or special as well. I'd show it all worked out, but I'm all math-ed out at the moment.

I am NOT thrilled about a turret being 'immune' to a turret defense specials. We have complained in the past about consistency and it seems that we are constantly having to learn and remember more and more 'exceptions'. It doesn't give me warm fuzzy feelings, it annoys me.

That all said, I have not played with the Boulderfist numbers as yet and I'm hearing conflicting reports already. Given the way so many things interact in this game, I really need to do some testing before drawing any conclusions about the Boulderfist or the Wave Motion Gun... er... I mean Kinetic Motion Cannon. For another time. For now, the jury is out because, well, we just don't know.

LIVE EDIT: Spack took the time and coin to test out a Boulder with specificity to the KMG with and without a turret defense special. Testing proved that in this instance, turret defense DID WORK against an Omega Turret placement. Curioser and curioser... stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

So you wanted to PvP Math, Huh?

PvP Mathing with Two Doors

by: Brian Randich
a/k/a Brian_R

I’ve already done an article about calculating DPS (damage per second), but that was made for PVE.  People have been asking for one about PVP, as the two systems function very differently.  They are so far separated that you can’t take conqueror hulls into PVE targets (except VXP weekend and very particular targets in TLC, remember to read the popup telling you what fleet to use in a TLC).  Even in those VXP targets, your conqueror fleets with 100,000+ armor will die in one shot.  There is a reason for this, and it follows in caps for emphasis:  ANY DAMAGE-TYPE-SPECIFIC DEFLECTION HAS NO EFFECT IN PVE.  STOP PUTTING RADIOACTIVE PLATES ON YOUR SIEGE HULLS, THEY ARE USELESS.  

So, I have 110,000 ballistic deflection on my King’s Writ.  What does that mean?  It means that any single instance of ballistic damage is reduced by 110,000.  This effect is applied last, after things such as splash damage reduction and turret defense.

Splash damage reduction applies first.  It reduces any splash damage.  Any weapon fired that has a splash statistic is considered splash damage.  We think of this as mortars or depth charges doing splash damage, but some cannons also do that, and missiles with a Proto-Nemesis.  This is important to consider when building to defeat a certain conqueror.  Sometimes, “smart-fire” weapons with no splash would do better than “dumb-fire” weapons with splash, even if the deflection is higher against the smart-fire weapon type.  This is pretty simple to figure out. 

Initial damage * (1-splash damage reduction %) = damage that carries through

In addition to this, splash damage decays the further the target is away from the center of the blast.  This is frequently seen in the FM, where turrets far away from the target survive an extra salvo.  It’s important to take into account the projectile speed of your splash-based turrets, as well as the turret’s splash and the attacker’s speed.  Too slow or too little splash and your shot may do far less damage than anticipated or miss entirely.

Turret defense applies next.  This is where you cackle manically if your attacker failed to put siege battery, resonance capacitor, etc. on their hull.  The attacker will almost always have 50% turret defense, further reducing your damage by half.  The omega weapons on an outpost are considered turrets, even though they are not buffed by fire support and the like that affect turrets. 

Then, deflection applies.  Whatever damage is left has the deflection amount on the hull subtracted from it.  If there’s 150,000 ballistic damage after splash damage reduction and turret defense, and the hull has 110,000 ballistic deflection, the hull takes 40,000 damage.

Adding all of that together, we get the following:

(Damage per salvo [note the type] * (1-splash damage reduction %) * 50% turret defense) – damage type’s deflection) = Damage to hull’s armor

The simple answer to people asking “how do I kill X hull” is usually to find whatever they’re weakest to using the above formula (although you usually won’t have to, their deflections make it clear) and make the strongest turret of that type that you can.  The attacker can have armor for nearly any damage-specific-type deflection and/or splash damage reduction, so keep that in mind if your super-awesome turret doesn’t melt the attacker like you thought it would.  People will try to put armor on to cover a hull’s weaknesses, and certain hulls can give boosts to certain deflections.  The Sloth is a prime example, giving concussive deflection to any other conqueror hull in the fleet, which is one reason why two King’s Writs and 3 Sloths (often one of these being the Sloth flagship) are popular:  the Sloth helps cover the Writ’s weakness of concussive deflection.

When attacking a conqueror hull, the most important number is damage per salvo.  Take the total damage number on the weapon and divide it by the salvo number to get damage per salvo.  For example, the new chaos chaingun has 150,000 damage of several types, but a salvo of 15, so each salvo only deals 150,000/15 = 10,000 damage before adding any bonuses.  You can figure out the damage per salvo and then add bonuses or do it the other way around.

Turrets, however, are very different.  They work like nothing else in the game does, and I had Renato explain it to me.  Bonuses to turret damage work in layers, even if they increase the same stat, as opposed to ships, who gather things from the same stat (ballistic damage, etc.) all together and have one bonus to apply.  First, turret damage is boosted by the specials.  Then, that total is boosted by transformers.  Then, that total is boosted by your faction.  Then, that total is boosted by fire support and other tactical mods.  Because I like equations, I’ll put a series of them below, with D0 being the starting damage, and D4 being the final damage that needs to be divided by salvos.

D0 * (1+% from specials) = D1
D1 * (1+% from transformers) = D2
D2 * (1+% from faction) = D3
D3 * (1+% from fire support) = D4

Now, let’s take all this and use it in an example.  How strong would an Epic Cataclysm Mortar (Epic Cat Mort) have to be in order to break the deflection of a King’s Writ?  We will assume there is no armor or additional splash damage reduction on the Writ (So 60% splash damage reduction, 50% turret defense, and 110,000 explosive deflection).  We will also assume an r15 Epic Cat Mort (37,146 damage and 3 salvos), 75% explosive damage from specials (Fuel Tank 01-X), a standard A-T Transformer (35% transformer), Draconian faction (20% from faction), with an unknown at the last equation being the fire support %, but we’ll be able to solve for that.

From the Writ’s point of view, a shot has to overcome 110,000 deflection after getting through 60% splash damage reduction followed by 50% turret defense.  “Breaking the deflection” will be defined as getting a damage high enough so that the end result after all the defenses is greater than 0. 

From earlier:

(Damage per salvo [note the type] * (1-splash damage reduction %) * 50% turret defense) – damage type’s deflection) = Damage to hull’s armor

Filling in what we know and putting in the favorite variable-representing-letter of X, we get:
(X * (1-60%) * (50%)) – 110,000 = 0

A bit of multiplication and algebra leads to needing 550,000 damage per salvo to break it.  That sounds like a lot, and it is.  Let’s set our D4 to 550,000, add in everything from the assumptions, and see what comes out.

D0 = 37,146/3 = 12,382
12,382 * (1+75%) = 21,669
21,669 * (1+35%) = 29,253
29,253 * (1+20%) = 35,104
35,104 * (1+X%) = 550,000

A bit more algebra gives us a fire support percent needed of 1,466%, which is clearly impossible.  There is a minimum damage that the turret will apply, so that’s good news, at least.  Even if you can’t stop a particular hull, maximizing damage is still a good idea, as the turret that fails against one hull could perform fantastically against another.  Even with the above numbers, people are claiming that King’s Writs will die to a well-placed Epic Cat Mort setup.  How is this possible?  IT IS RUMORED that critical hits ignore a target’s deflection.  At that point, your damage would merely be reduced by 80%, and considering you would deal at least 70,000 damage in the above scenario (remember, your crits deal double damage), you’d certainly hurt the attacker.  Also, critical hits could potentially have a higher minimum damage value than regular hits.  A while back, it was rumored that minimum damage was based on a percentage of the deflection of the ship being hit, so a higher deflection actually meant more minimum damage taken.  No one is really sure at this point, but with Bounty 5 going on now and some of the new hulls having over 400,000 explosive deflection, we might have a clearer picture of what’s going on, even if we don’t have all the numbers. 

While PVP math is simpler than PVE math due to taking it one step at a time and (mostly) clear numbers to work with, PVE math’s advantage is that the game gives you all the tools to solve it, as long as you look up some numbers.  I haven’t found anything on the game or in the forums that explains how the turret damage calculation works, and the equations above don’t make logical sense, but I trust Ren over Kixeye after mathematically proving how bad Kixeye are at their own math. 

Hopefully this helps when building certain turrets, but I don’t think this article changes much of the prevailing wisdom when it comes to turrets specifically designed and placed in the center to do damage, which is damage above all else.  But now that you have more knowledge, so go crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.