Sunday, March 26, 2017

I like Big Boats and I Can Not Lie...

You other Pirates can't deny...

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane

(Reprinted upon request)

OMG, Becky, look at her hull!

This past Wednesday, while perusing the release notes and the Mega-Hull information we received, my brain went a bit into overdrive with regard to questions about the Mega, mainly because mine is not done as yet and I had zero hands-on exposure.

In addition to this, I was already rather disheartened in the whole ‘Mega’ idea after speaking with several players that have built them and played with them. (Shout out to BP Prof and the The Battle Pirates Crib and Dirty Harry and Battle Pirates on BV for letting me pick your brains!)

Me being me, and loving to harass and geek out on occasion, I decided GD Raikan was the poor soul who was going to have to suffer harassment and an excessive amount of stupid questions… OK., not really, I only slightly bugged him… I promise!

It turned out that he had some time and decided to do a sort of ‘pre-show’ with the TFC crew to answer some of these questions (and a few concerns I had) and that meeting took a bit of a turn because of the varied perspectives of this fantastically eclectic group. There, there’s the intro...

I am going to try and impart as much of that information that I can in this article. Most will be about the Mega hulls and some other info that trickled out during the meeting. Much of this is to whet everyone’s appetite for a LIVE TFC interview scheduled Wednesday September 28th with Liam interviewing GDR. You can expect the information to be posted on the TFC Facebook Page as the date approaches.

[tl;dr] Liam is interviewing GD Raikan for the TFC on Wednesday September 28th @ 2pm PST – All about Mega-Hulls, what you need to know from the beginning and why they don’t suck as bad as we thought!

36-24-36, haha, only if...

Let’s first quickly go over some very, very, basic info of the Mega:

In order to build the Gantry, you need:

- Your R&D level to be at or above 20
- 120 Gantry Shards (Drops from a 91 Mega-Hull
- 42 Days build time
(Gantry fragments can be found on level 91 Mega-hull targets. They spawn only on the hour and half hour once the Sector Threat reaches Orange.)

In order to build the Hyperion, you need:

- A completed Gantry
- 120 Hyperion shards
- 49 Days build time
(Hyperion fragments can be found on level 91 Mega-hull targets. They spawn only on the hour and half hour once the Sector Threat reaches Orange. Hyperion fragments do NOT drop until you have begun construction of your Gantry.)

Let me also be very, very clear about the following; Mega-Hulls are an Alliance-centric mechanic. If you are not in an alliance, you are essentially going to be an alliance of 1. There are zero plans to make any sort of Rogue Player mechanic to allow un-tagged players to hive their Mega-Hull.

That said, Here are some resources I have found that go a bit further than the first blush I have written above.

So, we should start off with the original briefing that Kixeye released that DoomRooster posted. On the positive side, while it is chock-full of information, the negative is that it is SO chock-full of information that it became an inordinate amount of information to process in one sitting. So… Open at your own risk, and be prepared to spend a LOT of time absorbing this.

Next, we have the BP Professor’s blog that is essentially a beginner’s guide to building one of these behemoths. Again, a dearth of information, but I don’t know that it can be helped given the content of a completely new aspect of the game. Pretty sure I’d have been hitting the rum if I tried an article like this. Great walk through, be prepared to invest some time.

Then we have some questions that were submitted through the TFC guys to GDR for further clarification. Mark, a/k/a TSM was kind enough to provide a PDF of those questions and GDR’s responses.


[tl;dr] There is a LOT of info currently out there in a few places that you should think of perusing and catching yourself up on for the Mega-hull experience that is seemingly inevitable.

Baby got... info?

This part may seem, in fact may even be, disjointed at best. The reason is I don’t exactly think linearly so, they were asked, and now written, more in line with free associative writing…

First, some rules on the Mega-hull:

- You can not leave a Hive if you are going to ‘orphan’ or break off other Megas of your hive. (Even if you leave your alliance, you can NOT leave unless you are destroyed or the hive breaks open enough for you to leave.
- You can not leave a hive if the hive is under attack.
- When a Mega-hull is attacked and dies, it loses all its links to the hive.
- You can not be attacked if you are locked in the middle of a grid in the hive.
- If the hive is being hit by multiple Mega-hulls, linking abilities, if they can reach both, can only go to one battle, not both concurrently.

Ok, so now, we get to random points:

- Hives DO have an upper limit to the amount of Mega-Hulls that can hive around it. Currently (literally at this moment) that limit is planned to be around 40-60. THIS has not been finalized!! I hear one iota of complaint about tentative info not being 'accurate' and I will not share early info. Please don't make me regret trying to help.

- Linking abilities are planned to have range limits within the hive to encourage strategy. These linking abilities (like the drones) will allow one Mega to help another Mega with support during a battle.

- Attackers can still choose from what direction they want to attack. Defenders can not limit this regardless of placement in the hive, in other words, your position in the hive does not dictate, nor limit, in any way the attackers choice of attack entry point.

- If you attack a hive and select a Mega-hull to attack, you still only are attacking one actual Mega in the battle. You may have to deal with any linking abilities, but you only face off against another Mega, not multiple Megas.

- Drone modules have a ‘priority targeting’ geared towards attacking fleets FIRST.

- This is, first and foremost, an alliance feature. I can not emphasize this enough. Mega-Hulls are an Alliance-centric mechanic. If you are not in an alliance, you are essentially going to be an alliance of 1. There are zero plans to make any sort of Rogue Player mechanic to allow un-tagged players to hive their Mega-Hull.

- I said this on the TFC show on Wednesday, and I will reiterate it here. The mechanics of this, by their very nature, can not be tested by a handful of employees on a closed server. I urge some patience by the community as this game aspect is rolled out.

Now, that you have a good basis for reference, I would urge every player to tune in on Wednesday September 28th @ 2pm PST for the TFC's Interview with GD Raikan hosted by Liam. If all works out as planned, they are going to cover everything going all the way back AND the audience will have a chance to submit questions via the chat. Watch the TFC Page for the details to be posted up!!

Dial 1-900-Mix-A-Lot

PLEASE keep in mind a LOT of this is tentative info. It is absolutely going to change, but I'd rather give you guys a semi-heads-up.

- The next three hulls slated for release in the Oct., Nov., and Dec. raids are 2 Conqueror hulls and a Defender Hull. Will this change? Likely. I'm still hoping for our new Siege hull in December...

- Which is a perfect segue into this cool list that I have lying around:

Sept. - Dec. Raid: Skirmish
Jan. - Apr. Raid: Siege
May - Aug. Raid: Garrison

- And last but not least... The probability code for shard drops in a DUB were checked and the code itself has not been altered. That being said, since there are still reports of people hitting a large number of targets with no drops, they are going to continue looking into this issue.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Succinct Soliloquy

You asked...

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

The Earth is an irregularly shaped ellipsoid.

Coins cost money.

I'm loquacious.

Icebreakers should do well in the next raid.

Putting Things Into Perspective

By: Robyn Piatt     
a/k/a Robyn_P

Looking at the big picture......

I will preface this missive with the following disclaimer:
Image result for painful thinking clipartThe views expressed herein are my own and not of TFC, Kixeye, the Dalia llama or President Trump.

We have seen a lot of posts and comms chat lately about content overload and "keeping up" and chores and ZOMG Kix coin grabs etc. 

Battle Pirates is not a game that you win over night, in fact there is no "end point", it's a constantly evolving journey. Kixeye needs to provide new content for the players or the game stagnates. I hear all the time that "Blackwater" days were fun and SW's were the most awesome fleet but let's be honest, would you really still be playing the game so many years later if that was still all we had? 

They also need to keep the lights on at the office, as much as we like to think that we should get everything and play for free, they are a business. We all like to get paid...and so do Kix employees.

That being said, "Holy Content Overload!!"...but wait...does it really have to be overload??
Has kix really destroyed the game?

I was having a discussion with someone that was trying to get the Oppressor Hull in the TLC and he was frustrated and throwing fleet after fleet into the TLC and failing and I asked them why? The response was "Because I need it".  This player has really good baser fleets. They already have a back log of builds and they are not a heavy coiner. He then went on a rampage about how much time it takes to do stuff and how hard it was to get anything done in the game and that Kix never listens. So I stepped back and started to think about what he said. 

You don't HAVE to have everything and you don't have to DO everything RIGHT NOW. 

Yes, there are players that coin the heck out of everything and have a fleet of the latest and greatest raid hulls out on the ocean before the paint is even dry on the raid targets. These folks help keep the lights on and I am thankful. Not coining is also fine. You can still compete, it won't be at the same level as the aforementioned heavy coiners, but you can compete. And guess can still have FUN doing it. I know that if I don't have the latest (click back of base and instantly decimate my opponent) fleet that I am not going to be able to beat every base out there, and you know what?  That is just fine..there are plenty of other bases I CAN hit (like George's.....because he is a farm). If my base is hit by an uber fleet, then I have a repair button that works really well.  

The trick is to find the balance between the time you want to spend, the money you want to spend (if you coin) and where your build priorities lie. What part of the game do you enjoy the most? Is it base hitting? Do you just like the raids? Do you just like to blow shit up after work for an hour or do you live in your Mom's basement and play 24/7? 

I'm a "The Glass is Half Full" kinda girl (especially if said glass contains a martini) so I looked back and thought about the bad things that have happened and then looked at the good things that have happened....and the good far outweighs the bad.  


Remember when these were called Jokens?  We laughed at them when they first come out but now they are a key part of the weekly FM and are integral to our shipbuild planning.  So much so, that we plan weeks ahead on how many we expect and we get cranky and light up the pitchforks when Kix adds 4 Items to the weekly after a raid instead of 3. When we get the coveted 3 day build token we crow from the roof tops, in chat, and post pictures of this rare phenomenon all over the place.  

Weekly FM Content Changes

Remember when they just randomly added stuff to the weekly when they felt like it?  Now we know when to expect new content. The new content may not make everyone happy and you may never use all of it but at least we don't have random drops and we can plan builds down to the nano second using tokens. (Side Rant) - I think Kix needs to review the current prize lists and demote items more often. It's very discouraging to be halfway through Pool 5 and the mountain you must scale just gets bigger and bigger each month with all the new stuff that gets added. Speaking of the FM..remember when you were a lower level and you had to spend 3 days grinding level 27/34 strongholds? That was after traveling half way to China to find one.  Now a lower level does not have to grind for 3 days, they can go beat up on a 109 for way more points, park the fleet for repairs and then move onto more fun stuff. Heck you can even just kill 2 torp towers in a 109 for 1.6 million.  You just have to find someone to leave them for you when they do their FM run.

Base parts

Holy mother lode. It is now easier than ever (and most of the time free) to get base parts and instantly change a turret over based on the latest flavor of the month base fleet.  If you are/were behind in your turrets (looks in the mirror) or a non coiner, then the base parts are a YUGE boost. How many times recently has a new turret come out and we have used base parts to equip that bad boy on a turret within minutes of claiming/earning it?

VXP Targets

Ranking is the single biggest chore in BP. You can tell me the FM is a drag and getting U is a drag but I would rather give up my left kidney (ok, not really - I need it to deal with those martinis) than go out and rank a fleet on the map.  I had to do this recently due to a shipyard logistics issue (read - Robyn stuffed up the timing on a build) and within 10 minutes I wanted to find a cat to kick. Probably why It's a good thing I have dogs. The ability to go out and practically rank a full fleet in an hour for some coin is crazy. Sometimes you can rank them to skulled for free. (Yep, some fleets cost more than others but you still have the option to slow repair for free and get some really good VXP). Rank a rank a ship on cargoes? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Map Targets and what to expect with future events

We now know progression of the map targets. We know that a variant of the raid targets become new map targets for various parts of the game. The Skirmish became the U targets. The Siege will become the Mines and the Garrison will become the new FM.  This means our fleets that we use in the raids will serve well past the raid they were built for.  

We also know what each raid cycle will be. The target classes have well defined damage types. We can speculate and somewhat plan ahead for these targets. 

We are no longer at the mercy of a new raid target not knowing anything about it and fumbling in the dark trying to figure out what to use. 

There is also not a single target that we have not been able to crack. The player base are not idiots. We have some really creative people out there and someone usually has figured out how to do a raid target for very little damage (and some times none). They are also creative in figuring out how to use different fleets to do some of them. The 107 with IC and other various fleets made a massive impact to player point totals in the last raid.

Time Limited Campaigns

TLCs are generally now repeated. If you could not complete the campaign the first time, generally you will see it again in the future. Odds are there is a video out that shows you how to do it. Some are even done on old lower tier tech. We don't have to wait a year for a hull that came out in a TLC to come back into the mix.

Endgame TLC - Mastery Rounds were 6 hours for the final level and not 1 hour (hoping this trend continues)

Blitz Targets

Both the weekly and the raid have these targets. You can choose to coin these if you wish or you can just complete the target as normal. The beauty of these are if you are extremely short on time and have the coin you can get stuff done very quickly.


Remember when we only had Reaver Dredges??  As much Urianium as I spend now I can't imagine how I ever rolled a good crew let alone get retros done.  It's now easier than ever to collect Uranium, the targets award way more Uranium and our storage has increased exponentially. 

Daily Campaigns for Reinforced Chests

Although relatively new, these are great. You can do the campaigns you want and skip the ones that don't give you a good value. You can stock up on the chests and they are great for if you get caught short on U during the raid. The structure repair tokens are great for repairing your dock quickly if you get hit in the middle of the weekly or raid or you need to go deal some payback for a base hit.

Research and Development

Who doesn't like seeing their fleets speed across the map at the speed of light. Another item that was not "required" but gives out some good benefits with bonuses. You do the R&D at your own pace.


Although it had some growing pains, the ability for people to craft a hull is really good. The retros on the hulls are not too shabby either. You can earn retro bonuses just doing things you would be doing anyway. 

Hull Restrictions

This one has caused some angst and people have been royally pissed off about not being able to use hulls on specific targets.  BUT...remember when a baser fleet was 30 hours to repair?  You would go hit a base and if you died you had to hock your first born to fix it using gold and go back and try again or you parked it for repair and your base hitting was done for the night. Yes, they have restricted conquerors from other targets but they have also reduced the repair times on these hulls. Base Conqueror hulls are a 30 minute repair. You can now go out and hit a few bases for a reasonable repair time.  Not sure on the logic behind the blocked access to cargo but it is what it is. 

The newer non-conq hulls have higher repairs (which really still needs to be addressed) but these hulls do so much more than the older hulls.

Some fleets are geared towards specific targets but they have a longer shelf life. How many old hulls were released that lasted maybe 2 months?


Let's look at some of the hulls that have been released in the last couple of months and where they are/will be used .

Cannoneer and Harlocks Cannoneer - Skill Hull for the last raid set. If driven well you could complete Tier 6 targets for 0 coin.  Can be used for future mines for the next 9 months. 

Zelos - A generalist hull that can be used for many different tasks. Folks were using these for T6 raid targets as well.  Won't be the go to for everything but has many uses. Looks to be a good option for the next raid and new FM.

IronClad and Harlocks IronClad - Who in their right mind is not using these for base parts and DUBs for U and Print drops? Heck you can take a DUB with ONE. You could also auto lower level targets in the last raid with these. Kix practically gave these and their associated specials etc away in the last 2 raids and there were a lot of happy lower level Pirates that were able to get a LOT of stuff in the superstore because of it.

Icebreaker - The supposed IronClad of the next raid cycle.  For the price it was offered in the raid it had better respect me in the morning and make the coffee as well. It is expected to be a lower price in the next cycle. You still have the option to grind lower targets with Citadels and Emperyans.

Empyrean - The "replacement" for the Citadel in the new weekly targets. We have time to use these in the raid and tweak them for new FM targets. 

New "Skill Hull" - The Canoneer replacement for the next Garrison series of raid targets. Hopefully will be as successful as the Canoes were on the last cycle. We know it will be in a TLC and we know we will get build and VXP tokens (there are those tokens again).

We have fleets for specific areas of the game.  Yes, in the past we were able to use the same fleet for many things but did it really perform as well? Did we really use ONE fleet for everything?

And then we have the conqueror hulls...this is where we shout "Danger!! - Overload ahead" 

Zoe Vendetta
Zoe Retribution
Ferox Fury

None of these are required. They are optional. In fact, if you skipped some of them the world didn't end.  Some got them all, some got a couple of each and some decided to focus on just one of them. You did not have to get them all. Read that last part again. People were going ballistic about coin grabs....but no one is forcing you to get them all.

Do you really have to have everything offered?  No. Odds are that even if you got all of the above hulls you have not built/won't be building them all anyway, (Unless you are rich and a big coiner in which case are you married?....but I digress). 

If you really think about it and exclude the hulls that you know you will not build then maybe we are not so overloaded. With the tokens we get in the weekly and the now the TLC's and even the raids we are able to knock hulls out (and sometimes even rank them with tokens) Faster and cheaper than ever before. 

Focus on the areas that are important to YOU and how you play the game, build what you need - not just what you want!

I play the game because I enjoy blowing shit up, yakking with mates, talking builds and trying to come up with a build or a path that allows me to beat the latest and greatest target that kix built. I also like finding alternate ways to do things. I decide how much I want to invest, be it time or money.  I decide what I must have and I decide when I want to pass on something. 

In closing...It now takes less time than ever to get key stuff done. Our fleets last much longer. Once you get your chore fleets set then essentially you don't have to revisit that fleet for around 9 months. You can then focus on other things in the game be it FVF or base hitting. 

We have seen a major shift in the game with classifications but we are just at the beginning of this transition. Who knows how it may change in the future. 

There are still areas for improvement and in some areas we seem to have taken a step or two backwards. Kixeye has stated that they are listening and in some instances they have, and they have responded. It may not have been as quick as we want, but it has happened. It takes time to code things and sometimes we are not privy to the amount of effort involved in getting something released.

The game is not perfect, but then no game ever is. I get irritated at Kix at times just as others do but personally, I think it's a better game than it was when I started. 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Gutting a 107 with 1 Ironclad

Gut Points?

by: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Let me start with this - This is best used in conjunction with a Cannoneer to clear the target, either your own or pair up with a player that only has 1 or 2 Cannoneers and make everyone's day. You only need one of each to clear the entire target. IF you can't do this and are stuck with just one Ironclad and can not kill the Launcher turrets, keep in mind you can only do this to one side. Additionally, this allows someone else to come into the target without completely screwing them. If you can't clear behind you, you can only do this on one side as the Launchers block you from doing both sides with one Ironclad. (Of note: Disturbed mentioned to me that a Centurion or Punisher can also out-range and clear out the Launcher turrets. Thanks!)

So let's start with some context. TSM made a spectacular video for farming the 107's with a single Ironclad and Cannoneer. This is the nexus of this idea because... well, because I'm lazy, cheap and abysmally curious. You can watch this pure brilliance here:

Of note, you only need the Cannoneer to clear the Launcher turrets. 

So, curiosity got the better of me. What if... what if I came in with a single regular old Ironclad, got my bloodthirst in the corral and came out and looped around that first turret?

And then, what if I went forward and killed that second one while avoiding the Launcher? Then looped back and continued down so I'd avoid that nasty Launcher?

Then, what if I maybe hugged the edge to sneak by that Launcher and proceed to hit the next Ballistic turret?

But what if I continued on and hit that next Ballistic turret?

And then, what if I sat there and timed out so I could retreat and not leave any Ballistic turrets in the target to screw the next guy over?

I mean, what would that look like? I wonder what the damage would be?

And if I did do that, would it be worth it?

(Interesting when compared to a full B set, yea?)

These are the silly questions that float through my brain sometimes. I guess we'll just never know. But if you are curious to try yourself, remember there are a LOT of Ironclad build tokens in the raid for a reasonable price, as well as VXP tokens for Ironclads. And if you are the type to want to satisfy your curiosity and try this, I happen to have TSM's build right here...

I must stress this, this is a great idea if you can team up with someone with some Cannoneers so that you both can get some points. The Ironclads can take out the Ballistic turrets and the Cannoneers can take out the Launcher turrets. Win-win. I happened to find this video out on the internet. Looks familiar....

And PainTrain spanked the hell out of the target with some pretty low level items...

That all said, with as many Ironclad tokens in this raid, this might be a quick and dirty way to crank out some points for some people. Edit:Andrew (Admin on TFC) and I also just tested our old school Arb Punishers- they can outrange the launchers as well so you can kill the entire 107 for 2+ million points even!! One Ironclad built and ranked to grind. You have 3 days to grind. Good luck!!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pimping the 107 in Utopia

Hooking in a 107... Wait... What??

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Look, I'm not sure where these rumors start, but given the amount of abuse my inbox has suffered it seems enough people are frustrated with this target that we should maybe spend some time on it. First, let's get some rumors out of the way:

- No, they were not changed.
- No, Doom did not give you bad advice.
- No, you don't need a crew to do them.
- No, if you lose one regular Cannoneer, you are not completely boned - usually.

There are a few truths that are floating around amid all the rumors about this target:

- Yes, if you lose your HCannoneer you're likely boned. (Edit: Per Dr. Death - you CAN in fact do this target with a crew and 4 Cannoneers. TY for the info!!)
- Yes, a full fleet of HCan/Can is what is meant to do these.
- Yes, the targets are very precise and time sensitive.

So, now that the majority of those are out of the way, let's break down this target and see what we can do wit it, ok? This is how I do these and I have run a TON of them. For me, they are easier than the 100's are. All you really need to do is understand some fundamentals about the target.
First, let's clarify some nomenclature. The 'North' set is the part of the target that spawns when you leave the north corral. Same for the 'South' reference. I start in the North by preference.

There is a subtle timing change in each set when you are running them. The North is a tad more forgiving so I like coming in from that side to 'get in gear' for the target. The turrets fire based on a timer that starts from when you leave the corral, NOT from when they surface. This is one of the reasons that time management is so important in these targets. This is a walk-though of a sloppy run that I recorded. The video will be at the end of the article. Let's see what we got...

North Set:

I do prefer to start at 12:00. It is the way that Doom had stated that he found easier as well. This was not disingenuous on his part, merely his preference. It is my preference as well. He wasn't lying to make this a 'coin grab' and I'm not blowing smoke up anyone's ass. That said... In the whole of this target, the little things all add up to make the experience easier. When I start out, I like to go out on the left side. It may seem a little thing, but starting out in the right place will keep you from scrubbing speed turning unnecessarily.

Once out, I will hook around the first ballistic turret and get in range of the second while staying out of range of the launcher below me. Ignore the launcher above for now. Don't get greedy.

Once you kill off the two ballistics, ease into range of the launcher. Timing is an issue and you don't want to take too long, but remember - one shot from this launcher will likely kill one of your ships.

Once dead, proceed down the path to kill the next ballistic turret and hook AROUND it. It makes life simpler in this target. In fact, this idea seems to be a recurring theme in this target.

Continue all the way into the lane until you are in range of the last ballistic turret. Remember to stay out of range of the launcher below you!!

Clean up that launcher nearby, then drive up and kill the launcher you left above, you'll need it out of the way later. At this point you can clean up the buoys on the sides or go straight into the southern corral.


South Set:

The south set of turrets are a little different in that there are more that spawn, but the timing also seems to require a little more precision to get to them all before they fire. As we saw above, your starting point can have a little impact on your path, but there is certainly a very important 'hook' you need to perform to make the whole thing work properly in your favor. For this reason, I typically come out on the left hand side and head to the 'honey' spot. This spot is KEY for the rest of the south set!!

Once you get to this point, you'll have activated turrets and you want to 'hook' around another key point. Following this path will allow you to kill the first ballistic turret while you are still on the move saving you some of that precious timer and then 'hooking' around the outside of the second ballistic turret set you up for the pain free path that you want.

Once you have performed the hook, you want to pay attention to the launcher turrets that pop up as you have to maneuver through them. You can possibly pick off part of them while driving without 'activating' them, but again, don't be greedy, you can get them later. Be careful around these two as they can be fully avoided.

At this point, you'll have killed yet another ballistic turret and one more will pop out along with a launcher turret on the left. This one is a little tricky. Sometimes you can skirt it without 'activating' it, other times you come close enough to fire on it and 'activate' it enough to turn on you. You CAN avoid it or, as I have learned to do, you can dip in and out of firing range enough to kill it. Be VERY cautious around this turret. The ballistic turret you see coming up will take priority in your targeting because of its proximity so if you stay in range of the launcher too long, you will fire on the ballistic one once it surfaces and the launcher will still be 'activated'.

I HAVE mentioned that this is the dangerous part, yes? You need to 'hook' around this turret as fast as possible and get out of the damn range of the launcher. This is pretty tricky for some people and another reason I like doing the south set second. If you screw up, you can still finish the target from here with one less ship.

Kill the ballistic turret and hook back out to get the next ballistic while avoiding that damn launcher turret!

Loop up and kill off the last two ballistic turrets and then you can take your time and clean up what's left. Good luck!!


This is the actual video the stills above were taken from. Not my best driving and still done for no damage. This target was run at about Noon on 3/17/17. Seriously, no change.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

To Be... No? To Do or Not? - That is the Question?

A whole article as a veiled attempt at...

By: George Argyropoulos     
a/k/a Dragon_Noob       
wait... that's not right... 

Triggered yet? Hehehe... Anyway, enough fun. I see a lot of people dogging on the Icebreaker hull that will be available in the upcoming raid.

Given the limitations that we currently have with regard to our knowledge of what April's raid targets are, and not being able to evaluate the hull, it seems easy to dismiss this hull as "not being worth it". The hull and its abilities are not simple and straightforward. Instead, the hull is, at first glance, more complex than the Cannoneer was.

With compounding abilities and resistances the potential for this hull is not readily apparent at first glance. Once we have had a chance to evaluate the hull, and possibly new targets, a better understanding of the hull will emerge.

This is by no means ideal. Quite honestly I expected Kixeye to have some sort of test server in which we would be able to evaluate both of these things before having to make a decision on spending 105 million points in order to get this hull. Once this opportunity presents itself I will likely write an Anatomy of Design article for this hull after we have seen the raid targets. Quite possibly I will have a speculative build article out soon.

Putting all of that aside, I want to discuss very quickly my perspective on this hull and the repercussions that players may face should they make a decision based on the perception of mediocrity that this hull is currently receiving. Remember please, while reading beyond this point, that these are just possibilities that I have contemplated. This is purely speculation on my part. What reality delivers to us could be better or worse than what I am discussing herein.

The most apparent repercussion that could occur is that the next raid set will be tuned accordingly for the Icebreaker. We may yet again see no top-tier S target in the first raid of the series. Much like the first of this current series we may also see that the A set is tuned down for the first month of the raid, enabling the Icebreaker to cruise through the raid with the least amount of effort of all available hulls.

Another aspect to consider, for those contemplating passing up on the Icebreaker, is that the next raid is likely going to go back to the typical prize redemption layout where you can only pick one prize from each level. If you skip the Icebreaker this raid with the plan of getting it next raid at a heavily discounted cost, there is a good possibility that you may miss out on a hull combo on the other side that could be key in daily game play. The obvious caveat to this possibility is that Kixeye has generally placed PvP hulls on the other side in the first raid so that this may not be an issue for many players.

And the final thing to try and keep in mind is that we still have yet to glimpse or get any information about the "skill" hull for the next raid set. Speculation currently is that this hull will come out in a TLC, however, we have zero information with regard to the scheduling of said TLC nor do we have any confirmation that this is the plan going forward. If it is in fact due to come out in a TLC, that TLC could occur the day after this week's raid or it could occur the week before the next raid. No one knows.

Due to the above and more, I would humbly ask Kixeye to end the speculation by giving us even just a little bit of information so that we can make a better informed decision in the raid upcoming.

That all said... Currently, with what we know, I think that it is a heavy gamble to pass on the Icebreaker if it is within your means to acquire it. Personally I am not going to pass it up.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Always wear protection....

New Charged Zynthonite C1 Armors

by: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane  

New in this raid is the Charged class of armors. There is some confusion about this and bits and pieces are floating around so I'll write a quick overview of it. I'll leave the comparative math out of it for now as that would depend heavily upon the targets that you would engage.

With new armors come new statistics. Let's look at them individually:

Charge Type - This is the type of damage that this armor will 'absorb'. Currently we have only two available; Explosive and Penetrative.

Armor Pool - This is the overall amount of damage which the armor can absorb before losing its 'charge'. Once this threshold is reached, damage is treated as normal towards your ship.

Damage Reduction - This is the amount of 'one-shot' damage the armor can absorb per projectile.

Minimum Damage - This is the minimum pass through damage that is imparted directly against your hull for each projectile absorption. There is no further mitigation of this damage. I believe this is the first time Kixeye has released minimum pass-through numbers.

For the examples following, we will use this mythical Zynthonite Charged C1-G Armor:

Charge Type: Unicorn
Armor pool: 10.000
Damage reduction: 100
Minimum Damage: 10

A few things to consider about this mechanic... The armor is now the first damage mitigating calculation after evade. In other words, resistances do not apply when calculating the absorbed damage. So, if you get hit by a Unicorn for 100 damage, 100 is absorbed and since the total is zero, 10 Minimum Damage is applied and that damage goes directly against your health. The Minimum Damage does not get treated to any other calculation. It does not get reduced by resistances, it does not get deflected, nothing. It is actual irrevocable damage.

If you get hit by a Unicorn for 200 damage, 100 is absorbed and the other 100 is then subject to the traditional damage calculations of resistance and deflection. Unlike the Minimum Damage, any damage that exceeds the absorption of the armor is calculated as damage normally would be. In other words, anything that exceeds the capacity of the one-shot absorption is treated as normal damage as if the armor did not exist.

You can stack the armors on a ship, but the only thing that compounds is the Armor Pool amount. You do not compound the Damage Reduction total. So if you had 2 C1-Gs above, you would have a total of 20,000 in your Armor Pool, but your Damage Reduction would still be 100.

The armor also does in fact re-charge. If you retreat from a battle and come back in, the armor will be recharged. And before anyone thinks they have a brilliant idea. No you can't use it to zombie a fleet and think this will work. The design team is not that stupid. The overall charge for each armor is directly tied to the percentage of health of the hull to which it is equipped. For example, if you are at half health, the Armor Pool is half of what it would normally be. In the example above, your Armor Pool would go from 10,000 to 5,000 if your ship was 50% damaged when combat started.

Additionally, the Damage Reduction is not a separate mechanic. Using the example above, if you enter the battle with only 10 health, your Damage Reduction will not be 100. It will be whatever is left in your Damage Pool.

This armor can NOT be used on conqueror hulls.

The armor WILL have a status bar showing the rate of depletion during combat.

And the last item on the list is the repair time. There is none. Zero. Zip. This is, of course, offset by the temporary nature of the armor. It can be used up, and quickly if you are facing a high DPS hull. It is lighter than the D5 equivalents as well and looks to be an interesting addition to the toolbox.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Utopian Turrets

Getting stuff to stick places...

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Yes, the sub-title alludes to an old article When you're not sure what to stick where... that I wrote a while ago. It is a little outdated, but still a great starting point for discussion. Sometime soon I have to write an updated one. In the interim let's take a peek at the rather nice selection Utopia is promising us, both in turrets and in turret specials.


It looks like we will have a pretty damn good selection of turrets available to us this Raid. Additionally, most all of them seem to have a very attractive price tag. Many of the limited turrets were 6,000,000 points when they were offered in December. A quick look at each below.

Cataclysm Mortar - 4,000,000 - Still the best mortar available. This was available only in a campaign and has not percolated down to the FM as yet.

Coldsnap Rocket Turret - 2,000,000 - (Limit 1) - I'm not sure how effective this one is anymore with most Conqueror hulls having immunity to the Coldsnap effect. In addition, many use this as a front-line turret and the new D99-S may be an option.

Glacial Launcher Turret - 2,000,000 - (Limit 1) - At one time a must have turret. At this price it is a steal and it is still used in most bases.

Draconian Coaxial Turret - 2,000,000 - (Limit 1) - This is a fantastic price for a turret that we rarely see and that has a decent impact on the latest bane to bases- the Liberator.

Coaxial Turret - 1,000,000 - Meh. I dislike this turret. It does not do either job all that well. This may be the only turret in the group that gets a hearty 'PASS' vote from me.

Dead-Eye Ballista - 2,000,000 - (Limit 1) - Think of an Arbalest as a turret. It has some issues hitting a target since it is a dumb-fire turret, but, if placed properly it can be a rather big headache in a base.

Dead Eye Executioner - 2,000,000 - (Limit 1) - Still a staple in base defense, but with the addition of the SSKP Enhancement special and the lower salvo of the Executioner, the DEE is not as much of a powerhouse as it once was. Additionally, unlike it's cousin, the DEE is a limited blueprint with all that that entails.

Wendigo Turret - 2,000,000 - (Limit 1) - Still a turret I see in use on occasion. Not one I will use however because of the outrageous build time still associated with this turret. While not a 'PASS' vote, it does get a 'MEH' vote.

Frostbite Rocket Turret - 1,000,000 - The price here reflects the 'MEH' in my head. Good for the toolbox, but not one I would put at the top of the list.

Basilisk Turret - 1,000,000 - Still used in many bases, it can be a helpful addition to diversify the damages in your base.

*Executioner - 800,000 - This one is a steal. With the lower salvo, the availability of the SSKP Enhancement and level 8 turrets, this can be a painful turret for basers that come to visit. Given the cost, this is probably my top recommendation in the turret area for most players.

Draconian Scattergun Turret - 1,500,000 - (Limit 1) - Another limited turret that helps round out your damages in your base. And the price isn't bad either.

**Anti-Rocketeer Turret IV - 10,000,000 - (Limit 1) - I'll admit it. This is one I was lobbying for myself. We have not seen it since the TLC in which it was offered. It is also the most effective turret of the line against Launchpad Rockets. It is a bit pricey, but much like the ECM Destroyer, rarity comes with a price.

Turret Specials:

Most of these are great adds for the turrets that you may use in your base. I am very happy to see specials offered in conjunction with Turrets as in the past we usually only saw the Turrets offered.

Depleted Uranium Shells III - 1,000,000 - Still heavily used with Ballistic turrets.

EM Rails III - 1,000,000 - As with DUS3 a staple of ballistic builds.

Eruption Pyre - 1,000,000 - One of the key components used in the Angry Kitty build. A must-have for many mortar builds.

Hydroxide Coated Barrels - 1,000,000 - A multi-shot special for use with turrets like the Basilisk turret.

Zynthium Shells - 1,000,000 - As with the Eruption Pyre, another key components for mortar builds and another must-have for many mortar builds.

Frontline Platform Z-U - 1,000,000 - A defensive special to help protect your turret. Honestly, most players are leaning heavily on the offensive side of the line lately, but don't overlook the possibilities.

Cadmium Solar Panels - 1,000,000 - A great little special. This will add power to your overall base power but it also adds power to the turret itself allowing you to play with a few combinations that can be equipped that would otherwise not fit.

Smart Warheads - 1,000,000 - An interesting special. Primarily a missile special, it is also one that adds generic accuracy. Always good to have in the toolbox.

Fire Support Platform M - 1,000,000 - A special for missile turrets that is a good compromise when trying to cram a whole lot onto one turret. Currently in vogue for use with the Hyena.


And that is that, a quick and dirty look at the Turret side of the offerings coming up in Utopia. Good Luck pirates!!

Orange! Orange for EVERYONE!!

A Needed Boon to the Game

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

A quick, quick, quick look over at the newest boon to the game that Kixeye implemented.

Last update brought a huge boon to the game in the form of the 200 Elite salvage. This makes getting to Orange a 10 minute proposition for a determined player. Given the need of Uranium and Titanium in the game now, this is a bit overdue and I am glad we have this implemented. This is just going to be a quick once-over on how to get your sector to Orange from Teal.

We already had the 100 Salvage to bump us to Yellow from Teal. The target is easily sniped for no damage with Apollos. The 100 Salvage targets will spawn around the DUBs.

The best way I've found is to equip your Apollo fleet with a lowly Salty Dog crew to bump the reload, and then enter at 9:00. Kite all the targets and get done. Three of these targets will get you from naught to Yellow. (Edit: Roy Wagari mentioned on the TFC page that he can kill these off with Cannoneers for no damage. Being a cheap and lazy pirate, I had to test and he is absolutely correct, fast, easy and pain free with my HCan/Can fleet. Thanks!!)

Once in Yellow, you want to find the 200 Salvages. You will find that these spawn around the Relay Towers.

Much like the 100 Salvages, these are snipeable as well with the proper fleet. I use my Hellwraiths for this target. For this target there are two options you can choose- both viable and pretty easy. 

The first, you can enter at about 3:00, send the g/b south and the subs north. Loop around and kill off the Mastadons first so that they can not remote target your subs. Once those are eliminated, kill off the rest at your leisure. The launchers on the V2-H do not hit underwater, nor do the cannons on the Battleships either.

The second is entering at about 1:00 with the g/b already dead and wait fot the V2's to circle through and snipe out the Mastadons. After that, it is the same as above. These targets give you 35,000 sector points so that three of these will get you to Orange.

Nice. Simple. And within our own control. A fantastic addition to the game empowering the players to have a hand in the pace of the chores they want/need to do. Enjoy!

Utopia... or Dystopia?

Our First Real Super Store

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

I'm going to come right out and admit it. I didn't want to write this article. I'm a bit conflicted over this release. There are over 100 prizes and I went into burn-out mode trying to think through each individual prize. Instead of hitting every option, I'm going to do a quick once-over that only skims my thoughts and the prizes. Maybe I'll do a separate one looking at specific sections of prizes. Or maybe Robyn will. Or someone else may send in an article. We'll see... anyway...

Kixeye has gone ahead and implemented the Super Store they have alluded to over the past few months. I love the idea and for the most part it looks good, however, I wish they had included several lower FM prizes so players could 'catch up' there. That said, it is never a bad thing when players can increase their tech-depth and this seems like a great introduction to the Super Store!

The one big issue I do have is the cost of a hull (Icebreaker) that is, if history holds true, a tertiary level hull. If this hull performs as poorly as the Ironclad, this is an abominable release. I am all for releasing the 'auto' hull first, however, I have always maintained this should only be done with a respectable (read:CHEAP) cost so that the hull is available to a majority of players in order to increase engagement in the game/raid set. This is just logical reasoning.

Making this hull set essentially 120 million 105 million points for redemption is offensive. I can support this sort of cost for the 'skill' hull, however, this sort of pricing is asinine for a third string hull- particularly if it does not perform in function as well as the Tideseeker did. I hope to hell that I do not have the same feeling of disappointment building this fleet as I do over having built the Ironclad fleet, particularly because I'm going to have to spend those shiny tokens on building them for VXP weekend. Overall, I think this is a horrible, horrible idea.

That all said, the rest of this looks really good. There is some worthless fluff in here (like the Centurion), as expected, but there is some good tech to help people round out their collections.


So let's start at the lower end. We are at a unique time in the Raid cycles. The April - June set is going to be Garrison targets and afterward our FM targets. To this end players should ensure they have something to enable them to participate in the next Raid set (which will in turn become our FM targets). The thought behind these selections is to grab what you need to do the current FM and to at least be able to grind out C sets in April at the minimum.

To that end- the Punisher and the Citadel are easy grabs in the FM. If you do not have these, make it a priority. After that, we want to get anything that will help you advance in the FM or possibly help you in the April Raid. We will look at items that we can equip to the Citadel and Tanks.

First, we have to grab what we need to equip the Citadel and the Tank. Many of these will also take out some of the roadblocks in the road to the Tokens.

Judgement Mortar - 900,000 - One of the best mortars in the game. This mortar is also in Prize Pool 4 in the FM which makes this even more of a deal at this price.

Explosive System IV - 600,000 - Another very good option for your Citadel and also in Prize Pool 4.

Zynthonite Armor D5-X - 2,000,000 - Given the current FM and the Cold Snap turrets in these targets, this makes an exceptional addition to your Tank.

Tideseeker - 500,000 - I have this listed because of two things; 1. Its ability to procure Uranium for you and 2. It is one of the best tanks in the game. At this price, this is a steal!


That is the extreme low end. Next in line would be those that can get into the 50 million-ish range. If you can then your best options for the April raid at this point look to be the Generalist class hulls.

The Zelos still looks like the go-to Generalist hull for a tank and is still essentially the beefed up version of the Punisher. The new Empyrean looks like it may be a beefed up version of the Citadel, which makes sense if you are looking at past performance of the Zelos. If you are here, this is what you are looking for:

Zelos - 1,000,000 - Your Generalist Tank.

Empyrean - 15,000,000 - Your Generalist mortar-chucker.

Adapted Imperial Mortar D100-Z - 9,000,000 - Maybe a Heavy Weapon Mortar??

Trajectory Plotter - 6,000,000 - No friggin' idea. If this is a spread/splash special, you may have options and save some points.


Big thanks to Jefe, one of the Admins at the Battle Pirates Crib, for making a couple nice slides for the components. The green highlighted items are good deals. Another consideration is to try and kill off as much of FM Prize Pool 4 as possible to gain access to those sweet, sweet Tokens. (Side Note: Phalanx 4 is a mainstay of Tank builds. The sooner you gain access to that bit of tech the sooner your life becomes easier in the FM). Enjoy Jefe's hard work.


Clearly, the top prize is what we are meant to strive for. As you can see above, the Icebreaker is a rocket hull with appropriate bonuses. Without knowing more info about the hull or next Raid set, we are running blind. Again, the hull is locked behind a Fury Flagship (adding longevity to older hulls/fleets at the expense of dock space anyone?) the Generalist hull making the Icebreaker, a historically proven tertiary hull, a 90 million 75 million point grab. This is an issue. A serious one if this hull performs like the Ironclad rather than the Tideseeker.

The weapon and special are also doubled in cost from what we've come to expect of the top tier prizes. Again, given the hull and historical positioning, I'm not sure this is a good idea. Putting that aside- the new weapon has me a little concerned as well upon initial blush. It has less range than the Maelstrom V rockets, less one-shot damage but a lot more splash. Without more info I really can not form an opinion on this set yet. In a week or so we should have a better idea if this is even worth looking at, particularly if the incidentals such as reload and resistances are exceptional, which would be needed to raise this above its Maelstrom cousin.


Now we get into the really expensive items. Charged armor anyone? 200,000,000 points? And it is the first application in the damages calculation so that it's 'shielding' is not worth as much as we'd expect at a quick glance.

Did I mention 200,000,000 points yet? Anyway... the way this armor reads (using the C1-M as the example) is that if you get a 40,000 damage missile hitting you, 37,725 damage is reduced, FIRST, and then the remaining damage is applied as before. Good, right? Maybe not. See, if you have say a Rhino spitting out 150,000 Penetrative DPS, this armor is going to help you for less than 5 seconds in battle and then become worthless. Personally, I think this is armor that is going to be required use to those players that are expecting to hit the S targets in April. It seems too easily countered in PvP and would take up slots that could be used to mitigate overall damage in other ways. I do love the zero repair time. Only time will tell if this is worth the exorbitant price tag.

Ok, that's it. First quick and dirty impression of the huge ass list. I'm burnt out on this already. I'll try to hit other aspects in another article or two. If there is something you would like to see addressed, leave a note below. For a copy of the prize list, Drizzit, an Admin over at BP on BV, made this handy PDF file. Thanks!!