I Can't Think of a Funny Title Referencing the Civil War....
By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon Bane
I apologize for taking so long to publish this. It's taking me a while to get to writing because of a personal situation so bear with me on my publishing, my lack of poorly attempted humor and my grammar etc. I'm not entirely sure where to begin with this article as I have so many disparate and sundry thoughts with regard to the drop, the prizes, their impact on the game, timing and how much of this reflects upon the greater view of the game in varied aspects.
As everyone knows, we have had a new TLC drop. The Iron Maiden campaign has dropped a week before the raid (rant material?) giving those of us who can do the TLC the opportunity to acquire the Ironclad and a new cannon and special. It has been reported that these are NOT the intended weapon and special for the Cannoneer, but I'll do that article later.
Let me say this as well before I begin- Folks, you do NOT have to do everything in one day in the first few hours of the release. USE the time they give you. Wait and watch some videos. The campaign was easily done for free if you had some Tideseekers and some 88 range torp equipped subs. Take advantage of options and opportunities presented you instead of trying to bull-rush it in the first hour or two.
This hull boasts some outrageous numbers. Given what we know of the targets, this seems like an exceptional hull with which to engage those targets. Let's look at the stats so we have a reference point...
In looking at these numbers, one can not help but notice the 'tankiness' of this hull. Base armor is 12,000 Armor Points at a repair coefficient of .8. Not great, but not bad.
Resistances are through the roof. Baselines of 75% Ballistic Resistance and 85% Radioactive resistance - the two primary damage types we will face in the upcoming Raid, Since this is a Siege based raid, add CL-3 Armor Special (R15) and you jump up 89% and 93% respectively add Siege Battery III (R15) and you are sitting at 94% and 97% respectively. After 5 kills, you then have your Bloodthirst bonus of 80% additional to each bringing your total resistances to approximately 99% for both. Wow.
Which One Then?
This opens up some interesting thoughts with regard to armor then, since you seemingly do NOT need resistance armors on this hull allowing to tweak your builds in a few varied ways. This is absolutely a fantastic hull to auto the upcoming targets.
Add to this the massive splash bonus, matched with the damage of the new Mauser Cannon and we have a had nice little debate going on currently about which hull to build- The Cannoneer or The Ironclad. I think this debate may be a little misguided.
It must be made clear - comparing these two hulls really is not an accurate reflection of either. They are designed for completely different styles of game-play and any comparison of the two will be a huge fallacy. I don't know why this debate rages on, but let's put it to rest.
The Ironclad has amazing stats for what it is designed for, however, it is clearly built to wade right into the targets and cause damage while taking everything the target can dish out. It has stun immunity, exceptionally high resistances, splash mitigation and a lot of offensive splash to lay waste as it goes.
The Cannoneer has a few subtle differences that should be screaming at us now that we have the 'other' hull. It is faster, has an incredible weapon reach, higher ballistic damage, higher siege deflection, better ballistic reload and above all - speed and turning abilities.
This should reflect exactly what each is built for. The Ironclad, exactly as Kixeye has advertised it by their own words: "Play the Iron Maiden Campaign to earn the Ironclad, a hull that is designed to auto upcoming Siege event targets.". That is what it is for. Set it and forget it. It does not have the range to snipe, it likely does not have the speed or maneuverability to avoid the new island mechanics that are in this raid format.
Additionally, some of the stats in comparison bolsters these observations. The Cannoneer has a negative resistance to stun while the Ironclad is stun immune. This should lead one to the conclusion that the Cannoneer will be, or should be if driven properly, out of range of the stunning tower.
Likewise, the difference in speed and resistances along with the info we were given about the targets can lead one to conclude that while the Ironclad is going to be taking hits to the teeth, the Cannoneer will be fast enough to avoid the damage the Ironclad would wade into. As we have already been told - The Cannoneer should be able to do targets for minimal to zero damage if driven properly and the 'puzzle' solved.
So then- which is better? Neither. One is clearly a hull meant to wade into the middle of a fight and start throwing punches, the other is a skill based hull that will require some good driving to take advantage of the hull's strengths. This is exactly like the Hellwraith and Tideseeker again. Personally I want both. I like the option of figuring out the puzzle to get to do the target damage free (we have been told that this is possible with the Cannoneer) and I like the 'fun' option afforded by the Ironclad. Let's face it- this is Battle Pirates, we like wading in and blowing shit up and not dying in seconds from one shot by the enemy.
I will also share this observation that came up in a discussion between Ren and myself- Given the ease in which we could do the new TLC when having both options built and available, I think it would behoove everyone to get them both. I'm not sure this is a good or bad thing, but I do want people to be aware that these hulls have other considerations other than for chores after the raid set is over.
The next part has nothing to do with the hulls and is merely a rant on my part. Skip it or read it, just remember, it is merely my opinion at this time, nothing more.
As a side note: I would propose this to Kixeye- reverse the order of the hulls released for the raids and reduce the 'investment' of acquiring the first hull early.
Make the lazy-man's option hull the first to drop, along with the flag (which can be set to be pricey), and make them available both in the Store Raid previous to the next raid cycle as well as in a TLC.
The reasoning is simple. Some of the following points rely on empirical evidence, but given the amount of interaction and cross-sectional access afforded me by TFC, I think I have a somewhat unique perspective than many others.
1. These hulls offer greater playability to a wider range of players.
2. These hulls seem to create higher engagement to the targets from a larger player base than the 'skill' hull.
3. These hulls as designed to 'tank' a target, ensuring a higher than average damage-per-engagement, that has better potential to generate revenue (c'mon, let's be honest- if Kixeye can't make money, we can't play our game).
4. Bigger players, particularly coiners, tend to favor these hulls in raid, presumably eliciting coining.
5. These hulls, seemingly, create a higher player participation. Players may not get as many points as they would have, had they used skill and patience with the 'skill' hull - but since these hulls are generally 'easier' to get and have the disadvantage of having to 'tank' targets players are more willing to 'try'.
6. Reversing the order in which these hulls are offered, and hopefully the revenue generated by this switch, should allow for a lower initial investment by players and a greater distribution to players compounding many of the points above and hopefully generating higher revenue ensuring a longer life to my addict... er... ensuring a longer lifespan to the game through higher player engagement.
7. These hulls seem to be the go-to hulls for our chores after the raid sets, making their acquisition (or lack thereof) an even higher game-breaker for those that can not get them. We need to stop alienating those players that are behind the curve or can't get these hulls for whatever reason. Availability- before, during, and particularly after the raid set is imperative.
8. This is the most important. By far. These hulls are FUN. Far more fun than the 'skill' hulls. This has been universally reflected in every conversation I have had with every player I've interacted with that has access to both types of hulls. Let's be honest- players will play more, and coin more, if they are having fun. While there may be some resentment in that we couldn't do the targets for free- tuning could be done for the first raid in the set so that damage was not excessive.
I hope this is discussed within Kixeye and if they choose to try this, I hope they commit to it by getting the initial player investment down so that it would work as designed (in my mind anyway). It only will work well if the hull distribution is large enough to engage a larger group of players than currently enter new raid sets with the new 'skill' hull.