Battle Pirates 101 - Knowledge is Power
By: Robyn Piatt
This is a collection of things that have been discovered and shared over the years by your fellow Pirates that walked the plank before you. Our intent is to help save you time, damage, and hopefully prevent some mistakes. It also includes some items that we often see asked about on the TFC page and BV page.
You may know all about them or you may not. If you know of a handy trick that is missing, please share it below so we can update the article.
After we have collected the final list we will load the page to the website so other pirates may benefit from our knowledge! (Editor's note: This is where the community shines- helping one another overcome obstacles in-game.)
Crews are handy, in fact I don't leave home without one. Crews can make or break a TLC or a Raid. They can mitigate damage, cause extra damage and if used creatively, can give a boost to your fleet that will give you an extra advantage in certain situations. A few examples are as follows.
Silent Hunters - Although created for sub use. this crew has a speed boost that lasts the full length of the battle, unlike some that give a boost just for the start.
Remote Raiders - A crew for a UAV fleet but also gives a 25% combat speed boost .
There are crews that give extra building damage (psst...turrets are buildings) and others that give extra splash. Look at each crew and think of how that crew can be applied in your game play. As you can see in the above illustration, you have to pay attention to the wording and placement of the crew description in order to assess if the crew will work for your intended purpose.
Some crews give multiple bonuses and some give only one. Some crews apply bonuses to each ship/sub individually. For example. Midnight Marauders (Thanks Xavier!) applies combat speed and extra damage protection as the individual ship/sub itself gets damaged. This can cause your fleet to no longer stack together. The Grease Monkey damage protection works in the same way. This is important to consider if you are using one of these crews in a target where precision driving is important and your ships/subs need to stay stacked.
If you have 1 minute left on the crew you can still hit a target and hold the crew bonuses for the complete battle. (Editor's note: This is a VERY important aspect in some situations.)The crew time does not run out in the middle of the battle. The same applies for repairing a fleet with a Grease Monkey. If you start a repair with a Grease Monkey Crew on, as long as you are not attacked the Grease Monkey crew applies the half repair until the fleet repair is complete. Do not stop the repair or it will reset.
You can get 2 crews a day for FREE!! One for winning your first battle in the Arena and you can also make use of the free crew each day in the Great Hall (even if you have no Uranium).
If you need to collect resources (aren't walls a pain in the ass?) There are some options that can help make this a little less painful.
You can collect extra Zynthonite and other resources (for walls) from the first level of the Snowfall Campaign. You initiate the campaign, finish the first level, abort the campaign and then return the fleet to your base. Rinse Repeat.
Another option (requires a fellow Pirate), is you can park a resource fleet in an FM target while a mate is doing their FM and gain resources when they finish the targets.
You can also use a dead fleet to collect resources. For example, lets say you are out hitting mines for base parts with your one Iron Clad. If you add a couple of other large resource holding ships you can collect extra res. Although these ships may die in the first battle, you can return your fleet to your base drop the res and re-launch the fleet (with the still dead ships) and continue to hit Mines with your one Iron Clad. This same process works in any target. Dead men may tell no tales, but a fleet with dead ships still collects its full compliment of resources!! (As long as the lead ship has a wee bit of health on it)
The campaigns available during the raid are also good sources. You get crap all raid points but you can get a whole lot of res.
The map speed of your fleet is governed by the speed of the slowest ship in your fleet. While this sounds confusing its really simple. Think of it this way, if you are driving around a fleet of Ferrari's and your lead ship is a Pinto, the Ferrari's can only go as fast on the map as the Pinto can (which is not so fast). If you are just beginning to build a sub fleet and don't have a phantom sub flagship yet, you would want a Gunboat for a lead ship with a map speed of 50 rather than a Skirmisher at map speed 43. The same theory applies if you are trying to hide what is in your baser fleet, pick a fast ship to hide the other ships.
You can use the Shipyard to view items you don't currently own (even upcoming FM and Raid Prizes when they have been loaded).
While in your Ship Yard make sure you select the Show unowned components box. You can then select the desired Hull/Component. The Hull/Component is displayed in red but you can create, view and save the build so that you can use it later when you have obtained the blueprint.
Do not plan your Shipyard Upgrade to cross over a raid. You can earn ship build tokens in the raid but there is a cap on how many you can store and you have to use them in order to claim the additional tokens. If your Ship Yard is in the middle of an upgrade you cannot use or claim additional raid tokens. Plan the upgrade accordingly.
Currently the VXP Weekend generally runs the week after the raid. Everyone gets a nice new hull in the raid. Some Pirates tend to put in a full build in their shipyard and then before they are halfway through their build, the VXP weekend starts and the Pirate is frothing at the mouth because everyone is getting their ships ranked and said Pirate cannot take part with their nice shiny new hull. If you are trying to get some hulls built before the VXP weekend, build the hull with just a thud cannon. This may allow you to get a couple of empty shells out to suicide on VXP targets. When the VXP weekend is over, you can put the ships in for refit and save some serious ranking time.
Plan your builds and don't build anything in one massive build unless you have tokens to finish the build quickly. Yes, I know that some Flagships take a huge amount of time and that can't be helped, but don't build the Flagship with all the specials and weapons as one build.
Try to limit your builds/refits (other than the initial hull) to no more than 2-3 days where possible. A 14 day build in one go, or 7 x 2 day smaller chunks takes the same time to build. Breaking the build/refits up into pieces allows you to take advantage of something that may come down the pipe. New content may be added to the FM or there may be a new "OMG I have to have this or I am going to die" hull in a TLC. You may also need to throw something in for a quick refit to adjust to a TLC or a raid. Limiting your build/refits to smaller time chunks lets you react quickly to something instead of being upside down and locked into a 14 day (or more 😭) build.
No Armor Before Ranking
Unless you are using tokens to complete a build and have VXP tokens for instant rank avoid building with armor where possible until your ship is ranked. Armor points detract from VXP points when ranking on the map and increase repair time if you are coining repairs during the VXP weekend. It's quicker and cheaper to build and rank and then refit armor (Editor's note: You also will reduce your overall build time if your R&D is completed. You only have a 6% reduction in build time from R&D, but you have an 8% reduction in refitting. The gain adds up quickly!).
If you missed the VXP weekend but have a new ship and are having to rank on the map (I feel your pain), when you first hatch your ship, go out and hit the lower targets for ranking (Editor's Note: This does not apply to T6 Conqueror and Defender hulls!!). Don't go out and immediately start with 75 elites. Hitting the higher targets will result in more damage and much longer battles due to lower reload times until you get a few stripes on your ship. I generally load a salty crew and take my ship out and hit 40s for the first crew. They are quick to die, give almost the same vxp as a higher targets and I can rack up a quick 1500 points per ship in the first run. When you get a little rank you can then go out and rank on the higher targets.
You can mitigate damage in the higher targets by running a counter measure ship in with your ranking ship.
If you are running a salty crew but don't want to drive, hit the cargo and then join the battle and hit start and then let the ships auto. Then you go back on the map ready to move the ship to the next target. This saves the battle timer counting down and believe it or not, can significantly add to the points when running a salty. If you hit the 40s first, by the time you are back on the map your ship is about ready to move to the next target.
VXP Weekend and You
Ships use Veteran Experience Points to gain rank. Rank gives you better firing and turn speed and is a night and day difference from the naked hull stats. You can rank on the map (BORING) or......
Each month Kixeye runs a VXP weekend over the first weekend after each raid. There are special targets on the map that pay really high VXP. Different types of targets pay different VXP for damage dealt or damage given. If the targets have ships in them, killing the ships pays the high VXP. Targets with only turrets/buildings and no ships do not pay high VXP unless your fleet dies. Killing buildings in these types of target do NOT pay VXP in BP land. This is where you hear the term "Suicide VXP Run" and the like. Suicide VXP is where you take your fleet in and park it under the biggest gun in the target just to murder it to get max points. In the current 100 VXP targets you get no points for actually killing anything, even if you take down the whole target.
If you decide to spend some coin on the VXP weekend and end up coining your repairs while running a Salty Dogs crew, you can double up on crews to save additional coin. This requires 2 fleet slots. One with your fleet you want to rank (fleet 1) and an empty fleet slot (fleet 2 ). In the crew spot for fleet 1 you load your salty dog crew. Go out with fleet 1 and suicide the fleet on the VXP target and once dead, recall the fleet. Don't repair the fleet on the map. Let the fleet return to your dock and then remove the ships from fleet 1 and put the ships in fleet 2. In fleet 2, you load a Grease Monkey crew and then repair the fleets at half cost. Once repaired (at the lower rate) you remove the ships from fleet 2 and put them back into the fleet 1 with the Salty Dog crew and go out and do it all over again. Essentially you have 1 crew on a fleet for the extra VXP and 1 crew on another empty fleet slot and you move your fleet back and forth between the two to take advantage of both the higher VXP and the half repair at the same time.
With the introduction of base parts its now easier (and sometimes even free) to equip turrets or upgrade low level turrets. If a new weapon comes out and you want to refit it and all the associated accouterments (Editor's note: Have I mentioned I like a diverse and extensive lexicon?) like yesterday, look at how long it will take with the amount of base parts you have. If the new weapon and goodies are a total of 13 days to build and you only have 10 days in base parts, build it in chunks. Equip the turret with the new weapon first and then what you can with the base parts you have. Then, you can either go out and get more base parts to finish or you can finish it off the slow way. Doing it this way will allow the new weapon to fire immediately in battle instead of waiting for the whole thing to finish the slow way.
Rockets play an important part of the game. Don't underestimate the use of rockets (or forget them), especially pinches. Small long pinches are quick to build (15 minutes) and can be used to stun torpedo towers in FM targets and Mines. Keep a stash of rockets handy for the raid as well. You can build them during the month and building them does not interfere with anything else that is building. Sometimes a pinch can save massive damage to your fleet. Make sure to check that you have a rocket loaded out after any base hits.
You may see this mentioned with in the game. A sacrificial ship is where you send in a special ship in with your main fleet. This ship's sole purpose is to take fire from a particular turret/torpedo tower/ship and (probably) die in the process. You can use quick repair ships or you can use a ship that is built to handle specific damage. Using a torpedo tower as example, I may send in a gun boat to attract the fire from a torpedo tower while I sneak up on the tower and take it out with my other ships.
Build and use a tank where ever possible. Tanks are used as a shield to take the damage and protect your fleet. Using a tank allows you to run unarmored fleets behind the tank and saves ship build and repair times on your main fleet. You can have different tanks for different parts of the game. More on Tanks and how to operate them here: Tank Breakdown
The daily campaigns can be completed once a day to win a Re-enforced Chest. You don't have to complete each daily campaign, you can pick and choose the ones you want to complete and skip the others that may cause more damage than you are willing to take for the reward.
You can store as many daily Re-enforced Chests as you want. Most chests award a combination of Resources, Base Parts, Uranium and sometimes Tokens. A good option is to store some chests prior to the raid so that you can keep a stash of (hopefully) Uranium available for use during the uranium dry spell while the raid is on, (especially Tech Store raids that are 6 days long). If you are full or close to full on a particular resource or tokens, the chest will top up the resource but will not over fill the resource (this includes Base Parts and Uranium)
The Reaver Tide campaign requires that a guard be in place for the final encounter. The ships that attack your base require another ship to target off of. Your guard can consist of a single gunboat but a ship must be present in the guard and the guard in the defend base mode in order to complete the campaign. You might want to also re-locate your Launch Pad if it at the edge of your island. There is a ship in the second wave that has a particular interest in the Launch Pad and if you move the LP out of the way on your island it won't get caught up in a long repair. Don't put it on the edge of your base as there are ships the enter at different points and drive to your channel entrance.
Anti Missiles - Why do they miss?? I have 10 of them across my fleet
This is one of the things that people struggle with. We see people with fleets with multiple anti missiles of different levels across all of their fleet. Sometimes more is not better. People also tend to add lower level antis on a build to fill up room as well. It is better to have less of the higher level antis that will fire, than to add a lower level anti missile that may fire instead and effect the chances of hitting in incoming missile. The below image should help illustrate how anti missiles work.
PvE = Player versus Environment. This is you (the player) against the environment (Kix). FM Strongholds, Campaigns, Raid Targets, Mines and Drac bases are examples of Enemy targets. Basically its anything that kix puts on the map for you to attack or attack you.
PvP = Player versus Player. This is where you attack another player whether it's a players Fleet, Base or Mega Hull. (BTW I am STILL looking for Stu's mega coords)!!
The TFC website has an abbreviation page that will help deciphering them all.
Now and then Kix releases "special" ships called Flagships. These are ships that can only be used in the Flagship position (first slot in a fleet) . Each Flagship have built in bonuses (Flagship Effect) that add extra defense or offensive capabilities. All Flagships are equal but some are more equal than others. Some Flagships only benefit ships of similar type. For example, the Harlock's Citadel only applies its Flagship Bonus to other Citadels. Some, like the Savage Kodiak and the High-Lander's Nuclear Cruiser provide a Flagship Bonus to any type of ship in the fleet. Pay attention to the Flagship Bonuses and look for ways that you can benefit from some of these.
You can skinny build a "multi use" Flagship with one anti mortar (Kix always requires some type of weapon on a hull), an Engine and Hull Streamlining (for map speed). Building the Flagship in this way will allow you to add the Flagship to the fleet and go out and hit targets without the Flagship charging into battle. If the Flagship does not have any offensive weapons on it the Flagship will not move towards the targets unless you move it, If you are hitting the target on auto the Flagships stays in its starting position.
As you get more advanced with your driving skills you can have a Flagship in a fleet along with a Tank and other ships. Your Flagship carries the extra bonus, the tank mitigates damage and the rest of the fleet does the killing. An example of this is you could use the Savage Kodiak + your tank + your mortar fleet in the FM. You keep the Flagship in the corner (using a macro such as these or regular keyboard controls) so it does not take damage. The Kodiak helps against the Dead Eye Executioner missiles in the current targets. A damaged flagship will still "share: its flagship effect even if its almost dead. If you kill your Flagship by accident (D'ohh), you can return the fleet to your base and put a little health on it to launch the fleet again and hit the next target.
100% Defense Handicap
When a Hull has 100% handicap any Armor or Armor Special that gives and additional % defense will be ignored. Take the CL3 Armor Special for example. Normally this special gives an additional Ballistic and Radioactive % damage reduction on top of any already on the hull. The % does not apply to a ship with a Defense Handicap. It is 100% ignored.
Defense bonuses from turrets (Siege Battery) and others such as splash reduction, evade, fleet speed and turn speed are not included in the handicap.
Additional % defense reduction from crews will also be ignored by a hull with a 100% handicap (Editor's note: Contrary to many attestations, this has been verified with Kixeye- Crews do not impart a resistance buff on 100% Defense Handicap hulls.). Steel heads gives a % of reduction of multiple damage types but do nothing for a hull with the 100% handicap.
Base Repair Timer
Timers within BP operate on "Earth Time" that is one second on the timer = one second on earth, this is NOT the case with the Base Repair Timer. Not too long in the distant past Kix changed the way that our bases repair to allow for a quicker repair if you coined the repair. Because of this change, the Base Repair timer will show one second as taking 3-4 seconds. This does not affect how long the base takes actually takes to repair. It is still repairing correctly one second at a time. The timer displayed is just slowed down.
Monday nights (subject to public holidays in the US) at 9 pm PT is dedicated to server maintenance. This happens just about every Monday. Sometimes there is down time and sometimes not. The game will display an in game message starting at about 30 minutes prior to the maintenance. Plan any battles or campaigns keeping this in mind. While the game is down a maintenance graphic will be displayed on the game load page. Generally the maintenance down time is limited to an hour but shit happens and sometimes it takes longer. There is also a message pinned to the top of the Battle Pirates Forum page as well notifying the player base of any outages (planned or unplanned).
Game updates generally happen on Tuesday mornings at 9 am PT. This is when new content is loaded for TLC's, new functionality and raids. This update is usually about 20 minutes and although the game is usually open battles etc are usually suspended while this happens. To read about the game updates you can find the release notes pinned each Tuesday after each release on the Battle Pirates Forum.
Thanks to all that provided input for this article. Please add anything you think would be of benefit below or on the TFC FB page and we can get this out on the website.