Monday, October 23, 2017

Sprinting Ahead

A Look at the New Countermeasure Weapon

With the uproar about the changes to the Forsaken Mission, a shining little diamond has been overlooked - the Sprint Countermeasure.

This has been exacerbated  a little because of the flavor text reference to the Trident. Likely because of this reference, most everyone has sort of shelved the Sprint as being a really heavy version of the Trident, discounting it without really looking it over much. This is a grave mistake.

I will grant you- it is a heavy piece of machinery. 550 tons to be exact, however, I think it might be a bit light for the power this thing houses. Yes, you read that right. The reason I say this is because my point of comparison is not the lowly Trident that was pulled out of obscurity during the preliminary testing of the Garrison raid targets. No, rather, my point of comparison is nothing less than the inestimable Phalanx IV, the stalwart and gold standard that we have in the game for 'one-shot' countermeasures. Why? I'm glad you asked....

The Sprint seems to have pulled most of the best parts from both the Trident and the Phal4 and is a devious piece of machinery. I'm actually rather worried about what is coming into the FM because of this blueprint and its apparent power. (I did sort of rant about the FM changes here already.) Let's peek under the hood...

  • With a base range of 60 it is a little shy of the Trident but well above the Phal4.
  • It has the projectile speed of the Trident, easily surpassing the Phal4.
  • While much heavier than the Trident, it is significantly lighter than the Phal4.
  • It has a better accuracy than either.
  • It has the quickest reload time, which plays a significant role in the grand scheme of things.

Given that last one, let's look at an aspect that we have to account for in order to gain a better picture of the averaged time it takes to get projectiles in the air. This really isn't something we've looked at much before so let's take a gander now:

Taking into account the Projectile Time (dividing cycle time by projectiles to get an idea of an averaged time/proj), it seems that you lose very little in terms of projectiles in the air versus the gain you get in terms of accuracy and increased range. The increased range is also very important (in conjunction with the projectile speed) in that it also negates, in practice, some of the time disparity against the Phal4 comparison in terms of practical cycle time. The Sprint also offers another interesting option that can make it even more powerful - it s affected by Subaquatic Propellant. Who wants to do the math?

So, that's the quick and dirty write up for my preliminary observations on the Sprint. Now what do you think of the Sprint Countermeasure?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

You're Doing WHAT With the FM?

A Practical Look at the Potential Changes

by: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

This is a rant. Honestly, I don't really expect anyone to read through it, however, I DO hope someone at Kixeye is bored on the shitter long enough to ply through this. It's not polished, but, I think it needs to be said and needs to be said before this 'idea' is implemented to the detriment of the game.

Here's the thing. I was toying with the idea of writing a follow up to the We Need to Talk article. It seems many points there have still been ignored and more have come up and no one is really looking at the overall demand that is placed on the playing community. It's still percolating through my mind, however, reviewing the new Forsaken Mission changes... this has me worried and set aside any thought to a follow up to the former article... for now.

One of the things Kixeye likes to do is tell us when we are getting value. I don't know if it is hubris on their part, or that they think we really are that ignorant that we can't figure out value ourselves. What I can say is that this constant double-talk and salesmanship has made a great many players think of Kixeye and their 'press-releases' in the same vein as used car salesmen. This is not good.

I've said these things several times in the course of the last year:

  • The community as a whole is pretty damn sharp. Credit is due, not condescension.

  • A person's perspective IS their reality.

These two things alone should be high on the list of guiding principals when deciding to administer change to any meta in the game. From FM, to Raid, to Chores. What exactly are you asking of your players overall?? Clearly the company is aware of psychological tactics, so I am a little confused as to why they also don't apply some basic psychological principles to the overall experience. It should be a far more organic engagement of the players than the forced engagement we are seeing... at least in my opinion.

Barring that slight rant, let me get to the issue that is really not sitting well with me- and full disclosure- only two aspects of the proposed FM change is really bothering me personally. This is because I have the luxury of being caught up and having several fleets available that I can use to adapt to whatever change is looming over us in the days ahead. Many players are not in as a good position.

This is, once again, an issue wherein the whole must be looked at in order to appreciate what exactly the problem is. This does NOT improve my gaming experience. This is NOT going to help players get 'caught up'. The theory behind some of the intended changes do hold that potential, however, the execution is severely lacking if that was truly a guiding principle used for this design. Let's review...

Beginning next FM cycle, there will be the following changes:

  • The Prize Redemption has changed to a Raid-style Store set-up.
  • You have access to Tokens every week.
  • You must either be caught up or claim a prize from a Tier to be able to purchase a Token in that Tier.
  • Players can claim as many prizes as they choose if they have the points for them.
  • Tiers do NOT have fixed prices for the prizes therein.
  • There are no resets. The timer for the FM runs for 6 days 12 hours.
  • No Uranium.
  • 113 and 88 are being 'rebalanced' into the 115 and 89.

On the surface there are some glaring concerns, and this is where I'm going to be writing even more free form writing than I've done to this point. I'll try and not chase rabbits down holes too much.

Tokens :

The first thing that every player is frantically doing the math for is the tokens. I know some people are using last month as a basis of comparison while others are using a free floating example. To me, I use general historical practice, not exceptions here and there. In looking back, what the general practice seems to have mainly been, for players that were caught up was a 2 day token the first week, the full boat on only the second run of the second week and the third week would be the full boat for both runs.

19 to 27 days of tokens. That is our baseline. Under the new changes we will be able to claim a token in each tier after either claiming a single prize in that tier, or immediately if the tier is complete. While this is a good thing with respect to the week immediately following raid (to help with VXP weekend) the overall effect is not. In a three week cycle we are reduced to 15 days of tokens. To exacerbate the issue, our build times never came down with the switch to the 3 month raid cycle. Our 'value' is reduced in two ways, or, another way that the players look at it is that our cost to play has increased. That is a 21- 44% decrease in tokens.

 For a 4 week cycle, we have old values of 29- 39 days vs. 20. This is when it gets really bad. The decrease in tokens during a 4 week cycle is a whopping 45-49%!!

On top of that we get to outright lose half (50%) of our research and structure build tokens. This seems particularly heinous given the position many players are in with regard to these areas because of the OP10 drop and all the additional items in the Retrofit Lab.

And the last thing? That 'Expired' next to the Token in the picture Kixeye supplied. Do they have a separate timer that is shorter than the FM timer? Does it start when you start your FM or does it start when the FM starts? This is information that probably should be shared well before the FM changes are implemented.

Engagement/Time Commitment:

The next brilliant idea was to increase our required interaction time. In the past, you needed seven 113 targets in order to complete your FM. At 5 min 20 sec a run (I just grabbed the time it took from one of the vids) total actual engagement time to fully complete an FM was 37 min 20 sec., not counting search time.

Looking at the numbers now, we will need around 12 115s to accomplish the same in the new FM structure. That is going to be 64 minutes of total actual engagement time IF the 115 doesn't take any longer to run and IF you can run them for as little damage as you could run the 113s. I'm not wiling to take that bet. Which is a great segue into...

Target Changes :

I know, I know, people are going to say 'Why not wait until we see the targets?', or 'They might be easier.". Yea... remember please, the rest of the targets aren't getting 'rebalanced'. The 103, which will be the same target as we hate now, is a measly 70,000 points. Does anyone truly believe that the new 115 is going to be easier than the 113 (and 103) and dish out a whopping 275,000 points?? Really? Common sense dictates otherwise.

What really does worry me is the change to the 88. This is what was released for the 88 change that happened only 3 moths ago:

"We have decreased the difficulty in the level 82 & 88 FM targets based on data regarding
 these targets. You may notice some slight changes to these two templates. We've added some
 non-combat structures to aid with the pathing while on auto, and should not  affect damage 
output of this target. We've also locked the entry position of these  two targets to ensure a 
more consistent experience each time. Overall, the damage should be noticeably lower."

The data clearly showed issues with these targets, and, because of this intended change, the 88 became the  de facto target that got players into the FM solidly. We have videos and articles showing players how to engage into the FM and help them progress so that they don't get frustrated and quit. That's changing. So now we have a 'gift' to the low- and mid-level players that is being taken back. According to Thomas Hutchinson, in his 1765 History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, he had a specific term for this. Given it is currently considered a pejorative term, I'll let everyone choose or guess the term.

Oh, I almost forgot... no more Uranium in the FM? That makes sense. Force those players that rely on that small token of Uranium to build fleets with shipyard time they likely don't have in order to do more chores in order to get the item that was taken away from them to begin with. With 2 weeks notice. Hmmm...

Points Inflation :

In the past, you had a guarantee against point inflation with the hard cap of the tier point structure. Now we don't have the safety of even that, but instead we have an open-ended price structure that can easily be abused. Worst case? Maybe. Have you seen some of the pricing of limited items in recent raids lately?

Pricing has never been something players have been happy about in this game. Leaving this as an open-ended structure is something that makes me apprehensive. Not a feeling you want to engender in your customers. Even with this open-ended structure, we are still prize blocked from Tokens unless we grind out all the prizes in the first week so we have nothing but tokens in the latter weeks... IF nothing is added in the interim. Yea, can you tell I'm not at all sanguine about the prospects this provokes in my mind.

Transition :

As of right now, there is no transitionary period. It is scheduled as an absolute change on the map. Given the enormity of the change to the foundation of the game, this is a patent mistake. There should be some sort of transition time where both targets are on the map so that players have a chance to get used to both the targets as well as the new point structure. Changing both without giving your customer some sort of time to adapt to the multiples of changes is a guaranteed way to stress your customers. Do we really need any more of that in this game?

Monkey's Paw Wish :

I'm not sure if this is a running joke at Kixeye or if they think it's funny to couch this sort of change thusly:

"We have a few major changes to the Forsaken Missions (The FM) next week.  We have 
heard your feedback that you were not able to always redeem the prizes you wanted,
 since they were gated behind other prizes. To fix this we are changing the way you are
 awarded prizes in the FM. " 

Not sure "our" feedback ever said to make it more difficult, more time consuming, less rewarding and more frustrating. I'm not sure exactly how to take this sort of 'couching'. The particular aspect referenced is as old as the FM and has absolutely nothing to do with the changes made overall. I'm not sure what, in any way, that reference has to do with the entirety of the changes that are clearly not player friendly other than to try and sugar coat it for the unwary. I'm sorry, but I really do not like to be condescended to as though my mental faculties are deficient.

Clearly, there is more, but I'm tired, hungry and annoyed now. I think I got the main points of concern for most of what I'm hearing. There is more, but enough... for now. I wonder if my fleet is going to still be 'good' for a year as I was told...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Revised Look : Hunter Build

Crunching the Numbers

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

There are times this game throws me for a loop and I make some serious mistakes. The last Hunter article is proof positive that you can understand a whole lot in theory and still be surprised by real world applicability.

After seeing the targets in the Raid and getting some testing done (Huge shout out to Thor_1SP for the time, coin and testing!!!!!) I've narrowed down to a final build.

This is last test run we did, still having several variants in this fleet. I believe, IF the targets stay the same, the damage should get under 30 minutes easily with this final build. I'm hoping for some solid continuity in this target, or at the minimum, in the precision and continuity of design with regard to the mechanics and damage.

A lot of effort went into testing a lot of weird things on this build. With the disparity of results using different builds it was a little difficult to narrow down what was going on until we started watching auto runs and could watch all the mechanics unfold.

In this instance, we really can't talk about the build without talking about the target. We found some interesting things in the target and had to adapt our build to suit it. As I mentioned, there were many inconsistencies early on that didn't really clear up until we let everything just run. I believe that this was designed exactly for that approach which makes for a difficult time for player to unravel it as well as for the designer to design it, but it came out pretty slick. Kudos to Robot.

While I don't know for sure what is coded into the target, I can make some educated guesses. The first is the reasoning behind the evade. It may not be entirely needed if you are going to drive this fleet in the target. If, however,  you are going to use it for its intended purpose, autoing the target, it is very much something you want to have. Having watched several videos, it seems that there are two torpedoes in the target. The first is a longer range one that doesn't do much if any damage to the Hunter fleet, the second one is more insidious. It is shorter range, seems to have lowered accuracy, however, when it hits, it HITS.

The next issue in this build that has caused much consternation from people viewing the fleet build is the lack of use of Charged X armor. It seems that the target is exceptionally fine tuned around a 5 hull Hunter build and this damage type is precision tuned to that. I had a friend ask me how exactly the charge drops so precipitously on his fleet equipped with Charged X but didn't quite grasp why mine without was suffering the same amount of damage from the explosive weapons. I want to explain that one a little and then we'll get to the build itself.

The charged X pool depletes because the charge is used up, but since a stack of 5 Hunters has such high resist, combined with the native stacking deflection of the hulls, the damage throughput is negligible at the end of the calculation. I.e., the charged armor wasn't needed on the hunter fleet.

Part of the issue that seems to be catching people is the way the order of operations work. Say each rocket did 100 damage. With a ship equipped with charged armor, the damage from the weapon is absorbed by the charged armor first. Before resistance, before splash reduction, before deflection, so the charged armor takes the full amount of the weapon damage. Let's say the full damage is low enough that it gets fully absorbed and passes its 1 damage through to the hull.

Now, if you have no charge, setting aside the splash damage reduction, resistances brings it down to say 3ish damage, then deflection completely negates it making it min pass through damage. If the min through damage is also valued at 1, the net result to the hull's health is the same, from either calculation, regardless of the use of charged armor. It looks like the target was specifically tuned with much precision to affect this result. It ended up essentially being a puzzle within a puzzle. Very slick Mr. Robot, very slick. I'm not sure if I want to smile about this or frown but I can still appreciate the box within the box theory.

Live Edit: One thing I did forget to mention,and was asked- many people observed that their X pool depleted and then they would take more damage in the target if they didn't retreat and re-charge. In looking at two builds just sent to me, both are much lower in the concussive resistance area than this build. I forgot to mention that the concussive damage in this target is also tuned very specifically. I found that any damage we received seemed to juuust get past the resist/deflection threshold so that the pool did not deplete precipitously, however, the hull did sustain damage. I'd love to further test some possible theories such as a random 'lead' ship and if that lead ship perhaps has a specific load out in either damage direction, but until such time as I can test further, the only pattern I see from the players expressing this concern, so far, has been a significant difference in concussive resistance.

Now we get to the meat and potatoes. This build is optimized to auto hit the target. That doesn't mean you can't drive it, but the way that the target was tuned for this hull... why wouldn't you auto?

I do have a confession to make. I am very torn about one special in particular. Not its choice in this particular build, but in using it with the looming threat of an escalation release coming out. Can I take a moment to rail against the whole idea of repeated escalations for a raid/chore fleet in general? To exacerbate the issue, players already are feeling the need to build both fleets.

(Don't dismiss this Kixeye. I understand your position, and the overall intent, but players perceptions are their reality. Your intent doesn't really matter as much as their perception - that's what drives them to play, not your intent or intended design. Sometimes the control slips, you just have to correct for it, and know when you should.)

When the escalation stuff comes out those players will feel like they have to refit TWO fleets. With one shipyard still. I'm sorry, but that is a bit asinine. I am not a fan. In fact I am solidly in the critic and detractor camp on this issue. There is enough in the game that this entire idea needs to get thrown out the window, particularly with a 3 month raid set-up wherein the release comes after the second raid. No. Just no. Stop it.

Finally, the build...

Armor :

All Charged CT armor. I know this seems counter-intuitive given the large amount of explosive damage weapons that we face in the target, however, as I explained above, in a full fleet of Hunters, with the stacking bonus for the resistances, the Ablative special, and the concurrent stacking of Splash Reduction and Ship Deflection, it seems that Charged X armor is not needed for this particular target. It's a math thing. Maybe I can get Ren or Brian to explain it during a TFC show. I'm not sure if I'm explaining it wrong to people or what. I'm stumped as to how to further explain it.

Weapons :

This hasn't changed at all. Thankfully. Yet.

Houndstooth Depth Charge : 

This is a given with the stats on the hull. With a native 75% concussive reload, a 175% concussive damage buff and a 20% splash buff, this is the weapon of choice (and design) for this hull and performed very well in the targets.

Anti-mortar Systems :

As many people know by now, I like overlapping and concurrent firing defense systems in many targets, this one is no exception. I use 2 different anti-morts to have overlapping coverage and reload so that the coverage is maximized. I take advantage of the different ranges, salvo counts as well as the different reload times of both antis so that (hopefullly) I maximize the amount of mortars I can destroy coming from the Gluts. They performed very well. I may migrate over to two Gale IIIs as it seemed that the Gluttony's mortars did not have flak evade which would mitigate the need for the overlapping some. Of note, I do have the Gale III in the front so it shoots first. It really does. I explained and illustrated the import of placement of weapons on a hull in the Apollo article last year.

Specials : 

Ablative Armor III :

Ablative Armor III is, at this time, the forerunner as an Armor special choice from what we have seen thus far. Given the heavy reliance of Charged CT armor, this is now a requirement.

Strike Warheads :

After reviewing the target and the specials, I came to the conclusion that the use of Strike Warheads was a hair better when the hulls were fully ranked. That last bit is rather important. The only caveat to this choice is that we do not know what the 'escalation' weapon will look like. If it is similar to the Manus wherein the reload time is significantly different, this option may not be the best one. For now, particularly when autoing the target, I want a higher one shot. This should mitigate in a small part the THORNs damage from those little pain in the ass subs. Additionally, even though the increase in damage is small, it adds up over the entirety of the fleet. I'm hoping that this will bring the overall damage down to under 30 min when autoing.

PBX Payload : 

Given the Houndstooth, and how well Sealed Fire Charge worked on the Hellwraiths, this seemed an obvious choice. It still is after testing.

Speed System VI :

This ended up being the final choice for speed, maneuverability and for the evade bonus. I'm not 100% sold on this over Hydraulic Resistors, but it seemed to test out a hair better. Both of these are the current top choice given what we have seen in the targets. I'm not sure Hydro will benefit you enough for consideration given the (alleged) secondary torpedo in the target.

Explosive System IV : 

I went with this over Combustion System II because I liked the reduction of spread as well as the increase of projectile speed. While the attack area is smaller than CSII, as you can see above the coverage efficiency and damage density heavily fall in favor for the use of ESIV over CSII.

Guidance Scrambler III :

As I found out, the hard way, these targets require a high evade. If you are driving and are very good at kiting the multiple targets, maybe not so much, however, if you are autoing or you let the subs get into the (alleged) secondary torpedo range, this could save you a lot of damage.


That leaves the Apex. The only thing changed on the Apex is the countermeasure choices. I cut both and added only a Gale I so I could fit everything else.

The full build can be found here

So that's it. Sadly, I can't make this an Anatomy of Design article because of the damn escalation stuff. By the time those come out, we're probably going to be sorted. I miss writing the Anatomy series but Kix has effectively killed it. Ah well... time for more coffee. Again, huge shout out to Thor_1SP for the time, coin and testing! Thanks for the help!!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fangtooth Revisited (Raid Videos Added)

Another Look...

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Now that we have seen some target possibilities, as well as given access to a handful of 'escalation' tech, it's time we took another look at the Fangtooth build. Much of this is the same as from the build in this article, but the tweaks are noteworthy. This is the current build until I can get all the charged armor on. (videos from raid at the bottom of the article)

Weapons :

The change in the specials allows for a full complement of the new torpedo now, maximizing damage on the hull.

Armor :

I had hoped the targets were tuned to make these a 'luxury' item again. They do not seem to be. While, with very good driving, you may be able to get away with no armor or one plate of each, I think given what we've seen, this is going to be a necessary evil.

Specials :

You may note that the special load out has changed. With the addition of Mag3 to the game, as well as the Flag for the Fang, the build significantly changed with regard to specials, opening up a slot for me.

Magnus Drive III :

The main change from the original is the use of Magnus Drive 3. It gives me the speed I want and the cloak I want all in one special. While the turn speed is ok-ish at rank, the addition of the flagship makes it a given now.

Ablative Armor III :

The current favorite armor special is still Ablative Panels III. Unless we see something else worthwhile released, I don't see this changing. We don't have any concussive resistance armor special available to us as yet, which leaves us to manipulate that resistance in other ways if need be.

Sealed Fire Charge :

Sealed Fire Charge makes a reappearance in this build. The added projectile speed is a very nice buff, particularly given the use of HVR and the Flag buff. Additionally the critical hit and resultant damage this special affords to torpedoes is perfect for this build.

Sonic Targeting III :

I used Sonic Targeting III so that I could see my enemy as soon as possible. I was iffy on this special until I face-planted against a submerged Goblin Shark in one of the TLCs as the video still above shows. That made up my mind. I want that extra detection so I have more time to react.

Live edit: As was pointed out in the comments: No you do not have to equip all of the hulls with this. I will likely have 2 hulls equipped with this special and the rest I'll likely add a concussive upgrade. I hesitate to only put this on one hull on the off chance that it gets killed in a target and I lose the extra sight range. Good catch!

Advanced Torpedo Tubes : 

There was a display issue in the game and it seems to have been corrected. Now it is clear that ATT is the choice here over Advanced Concussive Payload.

High Velocity Rounds :

So this one I was torn on. I could either go with a concussive upgrade, some evade or a thruster... or this. I chose this after looking at the targets a little more. The way they damage you as well as the salvo load they seem to have makes me think that if I screw up and they start firing on me, the quicker I kill them the more I can mitigate any damage I may take. They seem to have high salvo weapons so this is one of those instances wherein the quicker you kill them may be the best damage mitigation option.

And that's the quick and dirty revisit of the Fangtooth. In about a week, we'll see how they do. Good luck Captains!!

RAID VIDS!!!! These are built just like the article, but as the link above shows, only one charged armor of each.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hunting for a Hunter Build

Quick Thoughts...

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

>>New updated article here<<

The Hunter is our 'auto' hull. We should probably stop thinking of these as second tier hulls because after last raid, we really can't. Unfortunately we are sort of left in limbo with regard to how we should rank our hull choices going forward. This means that many players feel the need to build both fleets now, more than ever before. This has made the Hunter a point of interest. Ren has made a build video that can be seen here and covers alternative options as well as his build.

The strength of the Hunter is going to be its stacking ability. With 5 in the fleet it should look something like this (I used the Explosive resistances for this example):

That looks like a pretty damn stout tank. On top of that, with 4 in the fleet, you are going to have a Splash Damage Reduction of  87%! Add to that the fact that each Hunter adds +200 ship deflection to each. Damn. We then have to look at the rest of the picture. Since the Hunter is fully unreactive, the stacking slow/stun affects in the new targets are negligible to the hull. This leaves a bit of room to play then. This is what I have come up with: (LIVE EDIT - PLANS HAVE CHANGED. NEW ARTICLE COMING SOON. EVADE IS KEY FOR THIS BUILD!!)

>>New updated article here<<

It may be a little unconventional. I've heard some interesting comments from people I've shared this with. So let's get to it.


Houndstooth Depth Charge : 

This is a given with the native stats on the hull. With a native 75% concussive reload, a 175% concussive damage buff and a 20% splash buff, this is the weapon of choice (and design) for this hull.

Anti-mortar Systems :

As many people know by now, I like overlapping and concurrent firing defense systems in many targets, this one is no exception. I use 2 different anti-morts to have overlapping coverage and reload so that the coverage is maximized. I take advantage of the different ranges, salvo counts as well as the different reload times of both antis so that (hopefullly) I maximize the amount of mortars I can destroy coming from the Gluts. I may need to add another on each hull, I won't know for sure until I have the fleet built and tested.

Armor : 

Charged. Yes. I do not believe these are 'luxury' items any longer, particularly when we are discussing the upper echelon of targets. Depending on how this plays out, I may go 3 X - 1 CT. (EDIT: LOAD OUT IS CHANGED CT IS PRIORITY)

Specials : 

AA-3 :

Ablative Armor III is, at this time, the forerunner as an Armor special choice from what we have seen thus far. In testing, explosive damage seems to be the primary damage in the targets.

Advanced Concussive Payload :

While it is a hair less in damage than SAS-V or Strike Warheads, but, ACP offers that wonderful reload that more than makes up for the smaller damage buff in DPS (damage per second).

PBX Payload : 

Given the Houndstooth, and how well Sealed Fire Charge worked on the Hellwraiths, this seems an obvious choice.

Now we get into the Specials that are being debated. Ready?

Magnus Drive 3 :

I like this special. In the targets I found that while it might be a pain to stop and start, it was worth it so that I could maneuver around the target easier, particularly when multiple Gluts were firing their mortar barrages at me. At rank, the Hunter will have a turn speed of 52.5, and we do not know what the Flag will provide as yet. Another consideration for this is that native Splash reduction. With the extra speed, you may be getting out of the splash radius of some of the enemy fire, or enough that the splash reduction would help tremendously. The other choice here would be Speed System VI or Hydraulic Resistors. Speed System 6 instead.

Explosive System IV : 

I went with this over Combustion System II because I liked the reduction of spread as well as the increase of projectile speed. I'm on the fence for this, but since I went with a splash special, I opted for the slightly larger projectile speed of this over CSII.

Expanded Fulmination Payload :

The Houndstooth is a dumbfire weapon. As such, I want to mitigate the basic problem of firing on a moving target. This can be done through either projectile speed or splash. I chose splash since the Houndstooth looks to have a decent projectile speed. This special boosts my splash with a +75% buff stat, as well as reduce the spread by another 5% which will give me a total of -25% which reduces the spread of the Houndstooth to 75. We will see if this needs to change. If it does, I'd likely swap out ESIV to CSII first to see if that would be enough. Guidance Scrambler 3 instead.

And that's it. That's the current plan so far. Hopefully this gives you guys some ideas going forward!

>>New updated article here<<

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Unreactive and You

Clarifying the Unreactive Stat

by: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Another day, another mechanic. Today we'll be talking about the Unreactive mechanic. Y'all can blame Jeff from the TFC page for precipitating this atrocity.

Seriously, until a thread, and it's pursuant discussion on the TFC page, illustrated the ambiguity that this mechanic held, I took for granted that it was clear to everyone. I think it is one of those mechanics that I overlook explaining because of familiarity with it. If you guys ever have a subject you'd like me to cover, feel free to let me know because, clearly, I'm clueless about what you guys want to know about. Now then...

The Unreactive mechanic is one which can reduce the duration of stacks. We generally have held that it was percentage based, but after testing a few old hulls that were not fully unreactive, I found that there were some weird discrepancies. I dug a bit through some old posts, some old correspondence (and I'll have to admit, some old datamined info that was floating on the web) and I am confident that I have the actual mechanic down to even the small minutia... I hope.

We should start with stacks so we have a better understanding of Unreactive and what it does since stacks are the nexus of its ability. Generally, a stack is simply a 'count' that is used to help determine effect timing or duration of a special effect of a weapon that affects a targeted ship. Shockwave and slow down are a good examples of special effects that use stacks in their mechanics. Each one has a 'running total' of stacks that affect their abilities against an enemy hull or trigger an event against an enemy hull. After much debate and review of many videos, I am fairly confident that the mortars that the Gluttony fires in the new targets for the upcoming Raid are what slows/stuns our fleets and given the reaction of different hulls, they are stack effects.

Each stack has a base set duration against an affected target. This is the basis of how all stacks work. For launchers, you have to have X amount of 'live' stacks in order to produce a shockwave. For slow effect, the duration of the effect is the length of the stack. For compounding effects (slow stacks, accuracy debuff stacks, corrosive stacks, etc.), each stack has its own individual duration and the cumulative total effect is dependent upon how many are active stacks at any one time and affects the intensity of the effect.

Now that we understand stacking, we can delve into the Unreactive stat itself.

The fact that a stack has a set duration, combined with the testing and info I've found, indicates that the Unreactive stat is not a percentage based one, but rather, it is a flat value. For example, the Rhino has a value of 0 making it fully, or 100%, unreactive, much like the Fangtooth. Unreactive doesn't affect the magnitude/intensity of the effect, only the duration of the effect through the Stack mechanic. This distinction is important.

Unreactive then does not reduce the set duration by a percentage, but rather replaces that duration value by the value given the hull to its Unreactive stat if it has one. This is makes more sense with regard to what we have seen in the past with hulls like the Interceptor.

A clarification here, I think, would be prudent as well. Unreactive does NOT reduce the 'intensity' of an effect. It merely reduces the duration of how long that effect will last, provided the effect is a result of a stack. It does NOT mitigate field effects. However,

Unreactive does not mitigate or prevent fields from working unless the field is applying a stack. If field effects are the mechanic that you wish to mitigate you would want to equip your hull with a special that provides field resistance, like Shielded Tactical Systems.

Fields are applying their effect as long as you are in them, so Unreactive doesn't help to reduce the duration of the effect. That's why Field Resistance is the proper choice in that situation.

So let's do some examples....

Launchers tend to accrue stacks on a hull they 'hit'. If enough live stacks are present, they trigger a resulting shockwave. However, if that enemy unit was 100% Unreactive (a zero value for Unreactive), then the Launcher should never trigger the Shockwave since the stacks would never accumulate.

Similarly, this applies to other stacking effects like the Disruption Missile D53-D. It has a "Slow Effect" that applies 5% per hit, up to 35% max. This means that each stack is applying a 5% slow, with a maximum stack count of 7 (5 * 7 = 35%) so long as all the stacks are live.

Now say that the duration of a stack is 10 seconds and the reload of the weapon is 10 seconds (no VXP). That means that on a per weapon basis, it applies 1 stack per cycle (provided the enemy doesn't have Unreactive as a stat).

If the enemy had an Unreactive value of 5, then the stack duration would only be 5 seconds. The result being that the weapon wouldn't be able to accrue as many stacks as normal (due to the Unreactive stat reducing the stack duration), and therefore, not reach max stacks on its own (because it is constrained by the reload time). A little complicated, but understandable if you go over it a bit.

So theoretically, say you equipped enough of the same weapon to a hull to just reach max stacks against a normal hull that did not have an Unreactive stat- if you ran into an hull whose Unreactive stat was lower than the weapon's stack duration, you wouldn't be able to reach the maximum stack count (or it would be a lot more difficult at the very least). Since the stack count doesn't reach the max count, the duration of the effect wouldn't be as high either or you wouldn't be able to produce a shockwave.

(Side note here: There is a little caveat with launchers/throwers that produce shockwaves- in the past, if you could get your supercharge up high enough to 'one-shot' a shockwave, we have seen shockwaves produced on Unreactive hulls. There may be an odd mechanical caveat here, but I have not delved into that enough to clarify it.)

So, to clarify one of the current big questions. Unreactive affects stackable effects, but not because it directly affects the effect itself, but rather, Unreactive affects the stacks on the hull. If you want to affect the effect itself directly, then you would want to deal with that effect with specificity, such as Agility 4 against slow and stun. This is why we are seeing 'weird' things in targets such as the Fangtooth not slowing down or getting stunned with no Agility 4 equipped on it and other hulls with Agility 4 slowing down or getting stunned. Additionally, repeated testing indicates that the mortars in the new Raid targets are what is causing this effect and that it is based on a stacking mechanic.

I hope that clarifies this mechanic for everyone. Good luck in the next Raid set folks!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Preliminary Look At The Fangtooth

First Impressions : A peek behind the scenes...

By: George Argyropoulos 
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

As many have noted after the BP Crib show, there was a closed test server for the Fangtooth. I want to make this absolutely clear: THE TARGET WAS A PRELIMINARY TARGET!!!! We were there to test the Fangtooth, NOT the target. We are not sure what the final target will be, nor what changes or adjustments will be made to it before the next raid set. Hell, we don't even know if it will even be a similarly based target yet, so this discussion is purely speculative at this point.

What we can say and presume is that Kixeye is good with regard to these early previews in not changing the basic idea, so we do have at least a basis for discussion. I don't want to really dwell on the target other than to say that the Mad Genius designer, Robot, is the brain behind it which likely means that the target will be puzzle-ish for us to figure out, but it also means that there are solutions to be had.

There are a lot of builds floating around for the Fangtooth (Ren has a good video right here that you can watch/listen to), and since we do not have anything solid as yet to base final builds on, those builds vary widely. I will preface by saying this; In the test server, there were (that I know of anyway) 2 players that got their damage down to bare minimums (instant repair in-the-base runs). Both of their builds are very similar in design, but, keep in mind that both of these players can drive subs pretty well. Yes, I was one of them. The other was The-Pain-Train (yes, THAT Pain-Train). I will include both builds and discuss why I think they worked in the target we tested the Fangtooth in.

The Fangtooth has some interesting abilities but is also a little tricky in its use if you aren't careful (hence the 'skill' hull). One aspect that has been getting a lot of chatter is the Dread Aura. The additional torpedo range of the sub makes me place the Dread aura as a secondary usage mechanic in my mind. It is akin to the Phoenix's Point Defense System in that I did not want to rely on it at all and wanted to maximize the usage of the spectacular range ability of the sub to mitigate any opportunity of the enemy to damage me.

The unreactive stat of the hull is interesting. We have found out that the Fangtooth is fully unreactive, which may give us a clue about what we may see in the targets or Raid Set upcoming. This may be a concern for players that have secondary or tertiary tech such as the Generalist line or the Hellwraith and/or Tideseeker.

A nice addition to the hull, and one that made it much more fun to drive, was the little perk of staying submerged unless forced to surface. I can't tell you how much difference it made in making the driving less annoying.

One trend that seems to be continuing is the repair times for individual hulls. I think this plays a part in how we perceive the event targets as punitive in nature. If the individual repair times were halved, but base minimum damage were increased (or some variation/adjustment)  perhaps this perception would change. Currently when a player messes up, or lags, or mouse clicks don't register, or a dead turret fires, or whatever... players are looking at 75%-100% damage of a fleet. This fosters great resentment, particularly after CS treats you like you just stole their morning paper... but I digress...

Let's look at the builds, yea? These have both been adjusted from what we had run to add the charged armor. (Build links are at the bottom of the article.)

Clearly, the new torpedo is heavily used. It is accuracy based and does a lot of damage. I like it... until I see the 'escalation weapon... which I don't want to see.

Charged armors. Le sigh... Yes, the build uses it. Hopefully the targets are tuned such that these become 'luxury' items again. For now, I assume that they will be as required as they were in this past raid set. If you do not have a full complement you are going to have to give up DPS in order to fit conventional armor on.

For the specials, I'm taking Kixeye at its word that Torpedo Tubes is the better performer and equipping those.

The current favorite armor special is Ablative Panels III. Unless we see something else worthwhile released, I don't see this changing. We don't have any concussive resistance armor special available to us as yet, which leaves us to manipulate that resistance in other ways.

I used Sonic Targeting III so that I could see my enemy as soon as possible. This seemed to help a lot and I think it also helped mitigate the use of Hydraulic Resistors instead of Mag Drive II by possibly allowing me to react quicker. Further testing is required. Hopefully we get a better special for this soon or this special ends up in the Retro Lab. Why isn't this in the Retro Lab with a Scourge Sub target upcoming?

I picked Hydraulic Resistors mainly for the additional Concussive resistance that it gives to help raise that number up a bit. The depth of the dual nature of the damage in the last raid illustrated to me that even though we presume a dominant damage type, the secondary one can have a significant impact on your fleet. In my build I used a V torpedo to bump the speed up a tad. After we see the targets, I may use a speed upgrade on 3 of the hulls and match the 4th by manipulating the weapons payload. I also will be testing the need of a full complement of charged armor. Perhaps with OP10 we will see enough wiggle room to possibly use a scourge speed armor in one slot.

Sealed Fire Charge makes a reappearance in this build. While the added projectile speed is a very nice buff, the critical hit and damage this special affords to torpedoes can not be overlooked.

That leaves the last special, the 'odd' one. I'm not sure how many people used it, but I found it very interesting that The-Pain-Train also used it in his successful build as well. Coincidence? We won't know until we see the actual raid targets, but for now, this is where I am heavily leaning.

To compare the two, this is The-Pain-Train's build. As you can see they are quite similar. I'm not sure our success was tied more to the build or more to the driving, however, there were some vary capable players in this testing so I am prone to believe it was a combination of the two factors.

Some points he mentioned and that we discussed, while based on the target we had seen, likely will carry over into the final target. Much like some of the past targets we have seen, you likely will want to target and activate small groups of enemies at a time so that you are not overwhelmed and to allow your weapons to kill off your enemies without becoming overburdened. Also of note, players should remember that there is Thermal AND Sonar in the game. Too often something that simple is overlooked rather than taken advantage of. Given the history of Sonar and Raid targets, the choice of Cat III seemed obvious to me at the time. Speed seemed to be a rather heavy factor in the targets. Again, after we see the final target we can determine just how much speed we will need. We can also determine if we can adjust enough through the use of crews in order to compensate a compromise build.

That's the quick and dirty of what has been deduced from the preliminary information that we have. I'm sure the targets will change (since Robot likes to torture my old ass) and we may have to adjust these builds accordingly. Hopefully we will see another Test Server that Kixeye allows us to share info from, or, perhaps we will see an open Test Server when the targets are closer to completion.

Dragon_Bane's Build

The-Pain-Train's Build

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Curious George and the Case of the Curious Shroud...

A Case of Pirate Abuse : Reina's Rage

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

I wish I could admit otherwise, but I'm not a big coiner. Honestly, there are times I'm not a little coiner either, so getting around to testing some of this stuff for you guys, sometimes is a little slow. Particularly when I'm trying to cram in refits and catch up on the game, write up something and do some other mechanics testing or builds for other things. I really should have gotten to this one a bit sooner, and I really should have looked into some of the complaints I was messaged earlier.

In this instance I do feel I need to apologize because putting it off was a mistake as testing revealed some rather interesting things, and those tests actually helped reveal a very neat, but not (at the time) documented mechanic in the RR/R fleets.

Well, it was documented, but wasn't originally listed in the print (it is now). It is a given that anytime errors or issues are found, it takes a company a some time to find the resources, investigate and correct these types of things.. I should have gotten to this sooner. Sorry guys. That said - I have to give a huge shout out to Kix right here because even with the crazy internal pace that they had going on, Bounty, to Raid, to new tech, etc. - When I had my data, they took the time to listen and dig and respond to get the information out to the community. It was a bit odd in testing and the way some of the 'way points' fall, I can see why there was a ton of confusion with regard to whether the RR (Reina's Rage) was cloaking 3 (or reportedly 4 times).

The answer is, yes, it can cloak 3 times, but ONLY under specific circumstances. I'm going to have to crank some math, or really, have Brian from the TFC crank out some math to see if 4 is realistically possible. Maybe for the TFC show on Saturday.

So after some testing, and I'll be honest, harassing some of the Devs, I think I have a handle on how this mechanic works. The mechanic is known as "Health Trigger Reduction" and it works like this...

Firstly, it is multiplicative in nature, not additive, so in a fleet of 5, the reduction would be a max of 40.95%. That means on a Reina, with 4 Rages in the fleet, it would look like this:


The base value for a triggering event for the Reina's Rage is 100,000 in damage. If you adjust this by 40.95%, the new triggering point is now 59,050 which would allow a RR with a 187,500 base armor to shroud 3 times. To get 4 it would take 236,200+ armor points and some very skillful use of the shroud mechanic.

This means that if you lose a Rage or have less than a full fleet, the triggering points change based on the amount of RR/Rages you have in the fleet!!

The stat has been added live into the game already (I think on Friday or Monday) and looks like this:

And that's that. A quick overview of the mechanic, the quick response from Kix and now, hopefully, full understanding by the community!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Zelos Stepping Stone

Another Look at the 88 for Noobs

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

In the last article, Doing the 88 NOOB Style, I ran an 88 with Tier 2 tech or below to illustrate that newer or returning players had an easy avenue in which they could successfully engage the FM and help them advance a bit more quickly. It resulted in an 88 being done with no Phalanxes in the fleet, with only 2 hulls, for about an hour of damage. At the time, I did not have a Zelos built to do a secondary run with that and take advantage of the Duality Countermeasure of the Zelos. Shipyard time is pretty tight and, well, I like to play the game too, but I received a LOT of requests to poke at it when I could so....

I got around to it. The Zelos performs as well as I expected. I purposefully built the Zelos poorly using a quick build so that players that choose this avenue can get up to speed quickly and get the Judgement mortars in T3. This will allow them to only have to build one Citadel with the Pandemonium mortar. The 88 gives you in the neighborhood of 9 million points, so, Kixeye has addressed the need for players to get ahead in the FM with the change to the 88's several weeks ago.

The Citadel is the same as in the last article.

The build for each hull is about 10 days each with no engineer and zero R&D completed. The link to the fleet is here.

Just some quick tips that you'll see in the video:

Engage and destroy missiles early since the fleet has zero phalanxes. As you gain tech and improve your tank, you can adjust your approach accordingly.

Until you get some CM specials on your tank, and improve its efficiency, try and keep it between the enemy and your DPS hulls.

And a nice little trick to mitigate damage is to avoid letting the Arc missiles fire at you at all. If you approach from the 'far' side of the island, you can avoid them altogether.

Hope this helps boost some players into higher levels of the FM. The 'fleet' takes 20 days or less. and here is the video (which is kind of a walk-through as well):

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Anatomy of Design : Phoenix

A Look Under the Hood

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

It's been a while since I've done an actual Anatomy of Design article. Part of the reason was the roller coaster ride of the Monolith, part of it is this silliness of an escalation weapon and special. No, I'm not a fan. Maybe more on that later, we'll see how I feel by the end of this.

So we finally have the Phoenix, the Gutspill's Phoenix and all the escalation mess released.

<sarcasm font> 
</sarcasm font>

Now we can finally begin...

9/14/17 Edit : At the end of the article, I have an early raid video of this fleet doing the 106 target!

DPS Build : 

You can build the Gutspill's as either a DPS configuration or an Anti configuration. Personally, I went with mine as a DPS in case something unforeseen happens and I lose my lead ship.

1. Weapons : 

I chose the Manus as my weapon of choice for the 'final' build because of a few things. My fleet is fast enough that I can kite anything in the targets we've seen, so that larger one shot damage is a boon with the damn drones. Additionally, since the missiles don't actually batch-fire all together evenly, there are 'gaps' between the missiles fired from the different positions on the ships (See AoD : Apollo for a good example). If the mechanic is working properly, because of this 'layered' firing pattern, you can get the critical hit bonus from within the same group of missiles fired.

An additional consideration was that bitter son-of-a-bitch in the 103's - Rudolph the red-nosed hulk. Apparently having had enough of being picked on in his youth, it seems our dear friend Rudolph contacted Carrot-Top for a 'Roid hook-up and has now turned into the jacked schoolyard bully waiting to take your lunch money and shove your head in the toilet.

Having the Manus on these hulls, and in this amount, should bring Rudolph to his knees more quickly than with the Talons. Since it is a target wherein the longer you are engaged the likelier it is that you will take damage, it makes sense to want to kill this son-of-a-bitch as fast as possible.

In order to fit everything, one of the weapons remains a Talon missile, however, I am not convinced you need all that charged armor on this fleet, particularly given it's ability to kite. If you forgo the second 'set' of armor, you can fit every slot as a Manus.

2. Specials :

Funnily enough, my specials have not changed since my original article from the Phoenix preview in June. Even then people were not thrilled with my choices and I understand this may be a little 'off' from builds that you've seen, but let me go through the specials and I'll comment on each.

Agility System 4 : For both the evade and stun resistance. This one is a universal given.

Carbon Fiber Casing : Clearly for the reload and damage. The reload is particularly helpful with the Manus. This special is also a universal given.

Reactive Armor 3 : Most of the drone damage at distance is penetrative in nature. This is a little bit of a toss up with the new Alloy Armor CoM. If I had tokens, I might experiment, but, since the weight change isn't enough to afford me another Manus with both sets of charged armor, I don't see the need to refit this out at this time.

Magnus Drive 2 : This is the first one that people looked askance at me for, but I think now that people have seen the benefit of the additional speed, it is, in my mind, still the clear choice. It allows you to kite and maneuver far better than SS5 because of the distance you can keep between yourself and the enemy.

Siege Battery 3 : Yes, I know Garrison Battery is a quicker build, however, in this build, overall, SB3 makes for a lighter fit. This is due to the hefty weight of the Manus. It also helps out with a tad more building damage than GB, but it does have a slightly lower Turret Defense than GB. That said, given the targets, I believe that a stronger offense weighs more heavily than the paltry .5% difference in Turret Defense.

Guided Missile System : This is the one that I keep getting questioned on. In the early days people were insisting on Counter-Missile Extender. The problem I had with that choice was that at rank, it only increased your reload on the Talon by .05 seconds while giving up on a hefty amount of accuracy. Even with the Manus, it is only a .09 second increase.

The next one to look at would be the new special that came out with the Manus, Advanced Optical Tracking. While the projectile speed is nice, given the agility and speed of the fleet, I don't feel like it is even an issue. The 1.91% higher accuracy boost for the GMS, even though it sounds tiny, is what wins me. Still. Having seen how much difference a mere 5% makes in the game, and playing with the numbers from this article, I think that the better bet is still GMS, particularly as it saves me refitting a slot.

Anti Build : 

I only have one ship in the entire fleet built like this. There are only a few changes from the DPS build.

The Countermeasures : Duh. I have one Gail 3 on here for the cheese balls, and I still drive to avoid them, so 1 seemed enough for me. The Phalanx 4 and Phalanx 3. Given how few missiles we see in these targets, the Phalanx 4 should be enough on it's own, but 'just in case' I threw a Phal3 in there as back-up. Because of the range disparity the Phal3 should (hopefully) never fire. Using the Phal3 as the back-up allows me to also squeeze my missile load out on this hull so that I have four Manus on it rather than one.

The Special : Frontline Countermeasure System. Why this instead of shuffling out GMS for CME? Because the drones. Because Rudolph the Juiced up Hulk. I'm not too worried about building damage, but I am worried about accuracy. This affords me to keep my GMS and still boost my countermeasures.

That's it! The design and thought process behind it. Huggy fleet build link here. As always, hope it helps!! Now... to rant or not to rant... yea, I think so. It's an issue that has not reached a critical mass and hopefully this gets some eyes on it early before it becomes problematic.


<rant mode>

So, here's the underlying issue that doesn't seem to be getting discussed much yet anywhere but in comms and after-shows where players like to pop in and vent their frustrations. (Really, you guys should come on the open mic shows and not just the after-shows!!)

The escalation thing is already old. Let's be honest - we have a basic escalation item immediately or soon after release of the new meta hull, namely, the bloody flagship. I've touched briefly upon that issue in this article, but I don't know if this particular pink elephant is even acknowledged as yet.

In order to perform in any sort of acceptable capacity in each raid set, you need the flagship. Note, I did not say 'want'. My 'want' is acceptable performance in a raid set. That want necessitates a flagship.

The other issue of this escalation 'idea' is this: Kixeye designs these targets already knowing what the end resultant power of the fleet will be. Kixeye has stated that with regard to the targets, over the course of the 3 month raid cycle, they will "tune them up a little bit". If you want the 'easiest', or most cost-effective build for a raid, guess what? You're refitting.

Let's break this down a little so we have a frame of reference:

Month 1;
The month previous to the start of the raid set:
- You get the hull, weapon and special - typically locked behind other prizes.
-  At some point, the 'secondary' hull is released.
- Scramble to build ships for the first raid of the set.

Month 2;
The first month of the new raid set:
- You get to chase after the Flagship of your choice while scooting for the actual prize of the raid.
- You scramble to get as much of your dedicated fleet out and ready for the next raid.
- Escalation #1.
- Scramble to build the first escalation introduction (flagship) to your raid fleet. (Have you even finished the rest of the fleet yet?)

Month 3;
The second month of the raid set:
- The first month you may actually have your full fleet built and ready... maybe.
- Immediately after the raid, and your possibly -just- completed fleet, 'escalation' weapons and specials are released. Srsly guise?!?
- Escalation #2
-Scramble to refit your fleet to the now escalated optimal build... you know... 'just in case'.

Month 4;
The last month of the raid set:
- You're scrambling, again, to have your fleet ready for the raid. Wait, wut??? Again? It's only a 3 month raid set! Why are we refitting for the last raid? I thought that they didn't tune to the escalation... yea, I can't even finish that sentence. Of course they are 'tuned' around the final power level of the fleet. You can't program a target in a vacuum, and foreknowledge is prejudicial in any decision making. 

You'd think that if it really wasn't necessary to refit to the escalation weapons, Kixeye would just skip this silliness and pump out some more fun PvP content, or -gasp- let people get some PvP stuff out. My conjecture is this: Why would work product be produced if it is of little to no value in the game? Logic.

I would really, really, REALLY like to see this idea killed off. Actually, I'd like to see both ideas killed off, or adjusted heavily. The escalation weapons and specials, if anything, need to be introduced much earlier in the raid set, if not removed altogether.

The flagship... I just do not understand the hefty premium we are paying to  build these. The idea behind the premium cost of flagships was because of their generic boosts to anything in the fleet. Their versatility as well as their buffs. The flagships of today carry the premium costs of past flagships, but are niche and exceptionally narrow in their boost ability, generally limiting that boost to only the same family of hulls and for a certain particular purpose. Can I see 2 or 3 days added overall for something so specific in nature? Sure. 9 days? No.

The promise to conjoin reduced build times with the advent of the 3 month raid cycles has never been realized, and this 'escalation' idea is a part of it. I think if we look back and compare overall build times in toto, we will see that we are now spending more time overall on raid fleets for a shorter raid set duration. This is a very troubling trend and I hope someone takes a look at this before it becomes a more serious issue.

</rant mode>

Raid 106 Target - I am still only running one of each of the charged armors: