Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It's All About That Base...

Everyone is Doing OP 9 - Should You?

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane  

Today Kixeye surprised everyone with a huge, huge update. How huge? I want to use that word in almost every aspect that this article will touch upon. Even Trump thinks it's gonna be huge. Look at that grin!!

So, you can read the release notes here on the forums. Ren also put together a video presentation of the update here on YouTube. Rather than make you read the release notes again, I'll presume we all have read them and try and touch on some of the things we get in this update and some significance with regard to those subjects.

I want to begin with this- it really is not content overload- most all of this revolves around a new OP level and its ancillary complements. I also want to say- this seems pretty well thought out at first blush. I am impressed given the tumultuous history of our updates and their scope. Also, please bear in mind, in an update this Yuge, there are bound to be hiccups. Please have some patience folks. Report the bugs and give them a chance to fix them before going nuclear.

OP 9

Obviously, the first step in this process is getting our OP to Level 9 so that you can take advantage of the ancillaries. The new OP upgrade brings a massive increase to OP Health (3,000,000 HP). As happened last time, remember, this will completely throw off your bubble calculations. Given the increase we see here, this can only be mitigated by upgrading other things to compensate for the sheer mass of Health added. For a few weeks we will see, much as last time, many bases being absolutely gutted without earning a viable bubble for the damage. One option is to preemptively crank up those turrets and warehouses. As we will see later, this has been taken into consideration and options have been given to us. If you are not a heavy coiner, you may want to wait a little bit before upgrading the OP to Level 9 or just accept the fact of a flat base for a week or two and get the goodies ASAP.

In addition to the massive Health of the OP itself, there is another aspect that many players have been begging for - Base Power. Lots of it. Gobs. Oodles even.... (342,510 Units). There is enough supplemental power in this to help power the additional installation added to the OP in this upgrade and the extra special slot Level 8 Turrets will have, or any machinations your evil Pirate heart can conceive. This is, admittedly, a very, very tempting reason to upgrade to OP 9 ASAP. It makes it hard to wait.

And you know how everyone always says that Kixeye doesn't listen? Listen to this: FIVE more land tiles. Five. The footprint of the base is also going to increase as well (you do NOT need to upgrade to OP 9 for the footprint increase), giving us a bunch of breathing room and a better chance at variety in base design. Mine is about 2.5 years old so I may eventually have to get around to changing it... damn.

And if the 5 land tiles don't temp you, this just might (it's getting harder to resist, isn't it? ISN'T IT??) - did I mention that upgrading the OP to 9 unlocks this really, really cool option... FACTIONS. Oh hell yeah. HELL YEAH!


Factions, huh? All those players wanting to be Dracs or Reavers, or, my favorite- Scourge now can fulfill that wish... sort of. (There is also Legion and of course Forsaken.)

With each faction there comes some really cool graphics for your OP and land. I like most of it (I really like the Scourge ones). Even better though is the turret bonuses each faction gives. For a quick review:

- Forsaken: Ballistic Turret Damage +20%
- Draconian: Explosive Turret Damage +20%
- Legion: Penetrative Turret Damage +20%
- Reaver: Radioactive Turret Damage +20%
- Scourge: Corrosive Turret Damage +20%

Now with this, I really, really want to pick the Scourge. It is my favorite faction... and I like the graphics a lot! But... but... it is not a practical choice. With the deflections in the game and the amount of people running Dead Eye Executioners (DEEs) and Blunderbusses the only real viable choices at the moment seems to be either Legion or Forsaken. Will this change in the future? I'm not sure. (The TLC may swing the Dracs into the middle of this equation.) If you like playing with the math there might be a gold nugget in here.

A side note, and I'm not sure how important this will be at the start... You can only change your faction once a month for free. After that it will cost you an increasing amount for each time you choose to change factions.


I mentioned the extra 5 land tiles earlier, this is the rest of the set is as follows:

- Defense Platforms to Level 8 and a new limit to 22 total
- Walls to level 8 and a new limit to 500 total
-  Warehouses to Level 15 with accommodating increases in capacities
- Advanced Lab to Level 12
- Dock to Level  13 with a significant increase in Dock Weight allowance
- Ship Yard to Level 4 with weight savings to Reaver Technologies

This is a goodly amount of engagement points for players that should last for a significant time. It will also take a substantial time to power up through all this, however... as I mentioned earlier, it is apparent that Kixeye did plan out when they planned up.


A lot of players will initially, before reading through the notes, make the assumption that they just can NOT keep up. "I still have turrets at Level 5", "I still need to upgrade XYZ", etc., etc. Well, the good news (great news actually) is this has been considered and planned for! This is how it will work:

For any upgrade associated with OP 1 through OP 8 you can now use base parts!!! That means you can, for these upgrades, use base parts to upgrade just as you currently use base parts to equip. This does not apply for anything associated with OP 9. In addition to this many upgrades have had a reduction in the time requirement! This makes it even cheaper in base parts should you choose to go that route. This is fantastic!!


And then we have new research tech. Ho-hum, right? I mean, who wants a Water Turret Transformer and Researchable Hulls... WAIT - WHAT???????

Yup, you read ALL of that right. We are getting a new Turret Transformer that will allow you to place a turret on the water. ON THE FREAKING WATER!  Given the new footprint and land, this may be an interesting mechanic, however, keep in mind, just like turret placement before, you want to be cognizant of location so position can not be taken advantage of with regard to splash.

And we also get three new researchable hulls. I know a lot of players are going to roll their eyes at that and brush it off because they are low level tech. These hulls are Conqueror Class and are geared towards low level players. Tier 4 ratings puts them below the Revenge so these are early hulls for players to introduce themselves to base hitting and maybe for Kix to develop a few Campaigns for low and lagging mid level players. One can hope. Regardless, they offer a gateway into PvP for lower players. I would have liked to see some additions for struggling mid-levels, or the addition of a 'stepping-stone' hull such as the Rhino, but this is a good start nonetheless.


As mentioned, this large of an increase in Health will cause some serious issues with regard to based defense and bubbling. You have two choices at this point. You can wait to upgrade to OP 9 and take advantage of the base parts upgrade opportunity and boost all of your turrets and buildings up to help mitigate the disparity in Health that OP 9 will bring, or you can upgrade immediately and then crank out a warehouse or two or a warehouse and some turrets to get your bubble pad back. Remember too, the extra land tiles are contingent on upgrading to OP 9.

After that initial decision then it is your choice as to the path you would like to upgrade. whether you want to upgrade your dock and take advantage of that or buff out your bubble pad or cram some new turrets so that you can fit more on them, or hitting the Advanced Lab first so that you can research the new Transformer.

One note I would like to make- when planning your shipyard upgrade, take into account your timing. If you time it properly, you can finish a build and carry 2 1-day Structure Build Tokens into a new FM. Start the Shipyard, use the tokens to knock 2 days off, earn 2 more in the FM and knock a total of 4 days off the build of the Shipyard cutting your down time to a little over 3 days. If you are very efficient with the FM (and can do the both runs back to back) you can do this on the last day of an FM and then hit it again on the new FM the following day and have your Shipyard done in a little over a day.

Another consideration is if you even want to upgrade that Dock right away. with a 10 min repair it might be one of the latter things to do after fixing your bubble pad and defense a little, that way losing the Dock will have minimal impact on your gameplay.

Overall, I am really impressed by this update. Given the size and complexity I expect a few hiccups, however, the forethought that went into this is evident and impressive. I think it also shows that Kixeye has been listening far more than some people had given them credit for.

In addition they seem to be starting to take heed at the disparity between the ends of the spectrum of the player base, what I have often referred to as the relevance that a player feels in the game, and are starting to make inroads there as well. I hope this is a direction they continue to improve upon as this may engender some return in old players as well as possibly bringing in new players.

This update overall gets a big thumbs up from me. As always, thanks for stopping by and spending your time here!