Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Anatomy of Design : Cannoneer & Ironclad

Rich Cousin - Poor Cousin

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

You may be curious as to why I would group these two together when they have been packaged as two distinctly different hulls. The grouping, and design, are based off of experience in the Raid and presumptions I have made based on raid targets we have seen thus far. Let me explain:

I am looking beyond just the next raid. These targets are going to replace our Base Parts targets. Mines and Drac Bases. In order to make the raid targets viable for fleets to auto them (how the Ironclad was advertised to us) they have to be designed to allow for autoing in such a way as to minimize as many hang ups as possible. I make the presumption that the 100 is not a target that is intended for autoing. We will either see a new target entirely or they may tune the 100 level raid target to fill that slot. In either case, the theory behind the targets will most likely remain the same.

The easiest way to implement these targets to the map and allow for a fleet to auto them with little hassle is to proscribe a fleet's movement in some way so that all issues of zero input (autoing) are mitigated. Setting a set spawn entry in conjunction with targets that can force a fleet under AI into engagements, concurrent with a proper map design, will allow for a fantastic auto-able target.

A very good example, a perfect example actually, is the level 73 target from the raid. The entry point is fixed, targeting and engagement was superb and the map design lent itself to a fleet autoing the target well. The overall design essentially eliminates any issues one would normally run into when autoing a target.

So then, what we want in a design this time is one which will perform admirably in the raid as well as perform in these types of targets going forward. The following are a few designs I have come up with that work acceptably for what they are.

The Cannoneer

This is the revised version of my original design. I initially had 2 Mausers on each to help with the more complex islands found in the 75 targets, however, upon reviewing some videos of hits, one is enough to bust the stun tower if it is not your initial target.

1. Millennial Cannon - The best weapon by far for this hull. At rank it fires at a blistering pace and allows you to continually drive in these targets at range. With good driving you will be mitigating your overall damage using these, if not eliminating it.

2. Mauser Cannon - With the Stun Turrets in the 75, 5 of these in a fleet will set it off if you are targeting a neighboring turret giving you -that- much more breathing room.

3. Specials - Honestly I hope these are self explanatory at this point. The Nuclear Accelerator gives you a good boost in hull speed and cannon range. The High Velocity Shells offer up both ballistic damage and building damage pushing Siege Targeting III out of the slot. The CL-3 armor... I am still torn over. I could swing to Layered III easily and adjust the armor... but they are built, they work and I am lazy.

4. Zynthonite Armor D1-C - While not an utter necessity (I currently do not have armor on my Cans), I found that a vast majority of my errors (I drove very aggressively in the 100's) can in straying juuuuuust a bit too close to those turrets in the center island allowing them to get a shot off. I am under the impression that those are ballistic damage in nature so I will try and find time to fit these... or switch to Layered III... See? I'm torn.

The Ironclad - Version Millenium

The theory and choices are much the same for the Ironclad so I won't regurgitate what I previously wrote. While it performed... adequately, I was disappointed in its overall performance. I'll be honest, I expected these with the flagship to perform as well as the Tideseekers did in their intended targets.

If you got the Millennial but not the special, Siege Targeting III is a fine replacement on that slot.

The Ironclad - Version Mauser

This is the build I would lean towards had I not won any of the top three prizes

1. Mauser Cannon - A given if you do not have the Millennial. If you lack that as well I favor Arbalests.

2. Cannon System IV - To give you that boost in range damage and splash. I'm not sure how beneficial the last one is going to be in these targets going forward, but this is the special I'd likely run in this instance.

3. Speed Upgrade - This is not the fastest build, and honestly performs much better with a flag, but you still need to get that speed up there in the interim.

But ummmmm...

Ok, so some of you grabbed these hulls and they are new. As always, try and crank out some blank hulls with some thuds on them to rank during VXP weekend. Both of these hulls seem to be very dependent upon rank to perform well.

So if you are in an odd position? Well, Ren (another admin over at TFC page) put together some slides that may help and he also made them self explanatory!

The same idea can be applied to the Ironclad as well. Personally, I am partial to the Arbalest and my initial build prior to the Millennial was crammed with as many Arbs as possible. It did ok in the test server. For some reason I have never been a fan of the PAC, but reports were that it performed well. This build here is a balanced compromise build.

Again, a very good compromise build if you lack the new special. As noted, weight may be an issue so you can play in your Shipyard a little bit and see what will fit. In my Yard (Level 3) it shows 7999/8000 so it should fit. Ren has a good walk-through video as well:

I hope this helps some people to allay some fears about the builds. Please remember that the mines and bases are going to change in March!! In the interim, use your Ironclads and savage the DUBS like Ren did:

These work very well. My best time with my build above and employing a HIC in the corner netted 5m 36s damage in the West corner. Have fun!!!


  1. Thanks a lot. This article make me more clear about ship building. I'm going to build my first Canoneer, but I haven't the High Velocity. What special would you recommend to replaced it ?

    1. Glad it helped! As I alluded in the article, HVS pushes Siege Targeting III out so if you don't have the HVS, use ST3.