Thursday, April 20, 2017

Espionage Take-Away

Flog the spies...


By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

So, I took some time to let this steep in my brain before I wrote it. I want to be clear, on the whole, this was a fabulous raid. I just have one major problem with it that is a very serious one given the circumstance. I want to address that but I do NOT want to detract from the overall good that this Raid Set seems to bode for players.



Let me begin with the positive side. This was one of the most versatility engage-able raids we have had in a long, long time. This is a fantastic aspect to have, given the final intent of the targets.

Players were using fleets that included everything from Monoliths to Tideseekers to Sea Wolves. There were multiple avenues in which to engage and grab some points. Additionally, if you had a spotter and a tank and a friend with Icebreakers, prepping was pretty damn easy and you could help other players out by easing the burden in the targets.  If you had the time (and that was an issue given Easter) and a current FM fleet, you could do relatively well in terms of points. It did seem to take some time to get that word out, but I think they pulled this off well.

Even better, this bodes very well for mid-level players for the FM change to follow this raid set. While they may not be able to engage the biggest targets, they will undoubtedly have more opportunity to achieve higher levels in the FM. This is all sorts of fantastic for the players and for the game. Clearly, we don't know this of a certainty as yet, but I will remain optimistic as Kixeye has shown an acknowledgment of the necessity of the FM for players to remain engaged and relevant in the game. In furtherance if this, the Zelos made an appearance in The FM this week. Better and better. I love this aspect of this Raid Set and the forethought Kixeye seems to be having with regard to the FM. A++!!

The bad? The Icebreaker. The Icebreaker now has the record for the shortest length of applicability for a rocket blitz hull. It was stillborn. To say that this infuriated me would be a serious understatement.

I am clearly aware of the differences between a preview and the live environment in this game and the reasonable changed spawned in the interim that is to be expected. I could expect some changes to the targets, difficulty or damage - at least a reasonable amount. The targets we engaged in the Preview Server, in my opinion, were a fair balance for the Icebreaker. You had the option to drive it like a skill hull, or drive it semi-blitz and take some damage, or outright blitz the target. The hull was FUN. This is what it looked like in that preview server when you chose the middle path:



What I, and many others, did not expect was a fundamental change in the use and effectiveness of the 120 million point 'auto' hull. A rocket hull, by its very mechanical nature, is a blitz hull. It should be ideal for autoing a Garrison target. Instead, the Icebreaker had to be driven with the skill and finesse of a 'skill' hull. To drive it as such was even harder than driving the Hellwraith its Raid Set. This was not 'fun'.

I very much literally said 'What the actual fuck!' after engaging the first target. The targets were changed to where the fundamental design of the icebreaker no longer worked as it had been in the preview server, nor how one would reasonably expect a rocket hull to perform. This is what the A set looked like:



There were no options, you had to drive it as a skill hull, OR, relegate it to a lowly prep fleet like so:



This was not just an increase in difficulty and damage, but rather a change that negated the fundamental basic usage of a blitz hull. (And if this was intended, why even spend the time to fix the Trident? This change essentially negates their very usage.)

Rocket hulls, even in their use as an auto hull, are foundationally a blitz hull. That has been their design intent since the inception of the game. Lay waste to a large swath of area quickly whilst shrugging off damage. This is what we saw in the test server, however, in the live environment we saw anything but this. The fact that a bloodthirsted Tideseeker did better in that role speaks volumes about the issue. In fact, I decided to try the new 112 FM target out with the Icebreaker. This target had been stated as designed for the Icebreaker and Monolith. This is what happened with only 2 very minor errors. Seriously?? 5+ hours of damage:



The community expected a lesson to be learned from the abomination of the Ironclad. Clearly that lesson was not learned. Again, I find myself building two fleets for a Raid Set. I truly hope this gets looked at and adjusted accordingly because it is a huge breach against the community and really, the only real negative of a well balanced raid. I would have happily spent the same amount of coin as I did in the raid to be able to drive as I did in the test server. It was fun and quick. Instead I had my Icebreakers relegated to either driving like a bloody skill hull or using it as a lowly prep fleet and had my seat time increased significantly because of it. Oh.. and a 120 million point prep fleet?!?  C'mon.

Correcting this one issue will not negate the brilliance of the rest of the Raid set and the options players have been allowed, it will merely engender some good will from a community that feels a bit betrayed given the cost investment to have had this fleet out for the first iteration of this Raid Set (and allow for its reasonable use in the FM).

27 comments:

  1. A very well written article and an indication of the work you guy's put in behind the scenes to bring this info to us.Fully agree with everything you wrote....was able to do this raid with my current FM fleet for very little damage ,and more importantly ,coin.....
    I almost redeemed the IB in the raid but held off cause of comments from fellow players(glad I did)In conclusion this raid left a bit of a sour taste given what was offered pre-raid ,but ultimately I was happy with the outcome ....

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  2. i'm not being cynical but.... is it possible the team confused which hulls were the skill hull ?
    perhaps the icebreaker was meant to be the skill all along i dunno but i was really tempted to refit tideseekers with rockets

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  3. Even though the raid was doable with lower tech which was great as you pointed out the IB fiasco pushed some over the limit. Two more of the heavy coiners in my alliance (lvl 100+ and 450 medal players) decided to call it quits as they feel as though Kix just tried to screw them over again. Kix seriously needs to look at what hulls they offer and how they will work in relation to what they set expectations to.

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  4. Additional feedback to this Blog can be found here:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/TFCBP/permalink/420522498314101/?comment_id=420524424980575&notif_t=group_comment&notif_id=1492708703202868

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  5. I had 2 built icebreakers by the start of the raid and 2 empties by then 3rd day. If I had to do it over again I would've started monos, built conquerors during the run up, and never spent points on icebreakers at all. I absolutely stopped looking at the left side prize pool where icebreakers are and recommended my alliance do the same. Instead of the vassago IB I bought the gridiron monolith. So I have scrapped all plans of building icebreakers for now since my prime raid hull to win the gridiron and the alpha behemoth was a ZELOS CITADEL fleet. I've got three empty monos built for ranking, will have the grid out shortly, and will replace the citadels with the monoliths going forward by the final garrison raid and will use for the next year. [As in I hope kixeye doesn't change the formats again!]

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  6. I wasn't intrigued by the Icebreaker because it was the Ironclad equivalent and while i love the IC for mines and dubs, i didn't love it in the raid. Therefore I only built one and ranked it bare. as the raid info started to pour out, I decided to build it as a tank with 1 each of the charged armor and a D5-X. It was a brilliant move. While i had a zelos tank which performed quite well, the IB was even better as a tank, i refitted with a missle for spotting with raid tokens and never spent another penny. Ended with 130 million points mainly because it just got boring and tedious after a couple hours in the chair. THe biggest advantage of the IB tank was the slower speed which was still fast enough to move around the cit's to defend yet slower than the zelos thus easier to stop. and if i did make a mistake and get too close to the turrets, it didnt hurt as bad as the zelos. SO going into the next 2 raids I'm set even if the Grid Mono i'm building doesnt work out.

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  7. George your article is once again on point. I for one did not have great success using the IB's as they were "intended" to be used and in the end after the first day used the IB's as a prep hull for my FM fleet. The first day and a half broke my budget but the ability to use them to prep kept me in the game. I'm sure as you well stated this was not the intent of the hull. I spent many hours of seat time and resources to get this equipment as well as lots of build time to be ready for the raid. The skill needed to drive the IB's only in the target did in my opinion make HW's easy to drive. The next raid I'm planning Monoliths with the hope that they will be usable. I did get the VIB but only because I had the points to do so. I also hope that the target tuning does not go up so much as to shut out some of us of lower skill level, and as I always like to remind pirates that ones base level is not necessarily an indication of skill or tech.

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  8. Agreed on every point, the finesse required to keep repairs reasonable in the raid meant that the Icebreaker was very much a skill hull. More concerning however is the new 112; I sincerely hope this isn't indicative of the damage we can expect on the next raid, and is instead a one-off way of getting vxp tokens.

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  9. Great article here and and very good point what got me was that i busted a gut to get the icebreaker at 90 mill in the first place and it seemed it was going to be the fun hull for the upcoming raid i managed to have three built for the raid with tokens and time frame etc but when the raid came along i found them a huge disappointment for what they where and watching previews etc what was most annoying was the cost to get them in the first place and how the actually performed during raid yes the raid was great as different and multiple fleets could be used and that concept was fine by me but on saying so the icebreakers at 90 mill and time and effort put in to getting them ready i think they were very lacking

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  10. They are using live targets to upset the balance to shut the game down. Only frickin idiots like me trying to beat the system. If they offered me the cream of a raid for 500 coins, I'd do it in an instant. Therefore I could relax with my 6 year old instead of him saying "you playing that fucking game AGAIN Dad" Seriously he questions it without swearwords lol

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  11. Just an excellent article. I had good success in the A sets with the IB... doing the 80 for instant repair and the 83 and 85 together for 3 coins. So when the 112 was presented I was very pleased... until I tried it. Wow the level of care in driving is much more exacting than the raid and more so than we have seen in any other "skill" hull. The problem now is that without half repair I cant get enough runs in the 112 to get good. Your video was also helpful in path-ing for me.

    I hope the IB flag will provide protection against the coldsnaps... but in any event the damage output for these targets does not scale properly.

    I am really anoyed at Kixeye... first for misleading with cost of the IB, second for initially implying that the charged armors would be worth the cost... and now for presenting what is likely to be a model for a future FM that is doable with technology (citadels) that is clearly should be dated.

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    1. I had good success with the charged armours .. I used both types and if I got hit by all the coldsnaps could still do a target ... The wife used just charged M and couldn't Handel the coldsnaps at all ... But that being said the coldsnap seemed to mainly effect my M charged armour pool lol

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  12. Well written! I'm glad I devoted my shipyard to other things besides the icebreaker. You point out one flaw on Kix's part and that is they don't truly understand their own game at times... blitz hull and auto were apparently lost on 'em

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  13. As I have maintained, if you do the Preview... USE THE WORST HULL BUILD POSSIBLE. It will help you in the long and players will thank you for it.

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  14. This was worse then the ironclads imho. At least the ironclads were able to auto the B sets for less then 1 min of damage sometimes. and I was able to do a whole A set with my ironclad fleet blitzing the target for 6-7 coins repair. The Icebreakers was 6-7 coins just for the 83. A B set was 3 coins for the set on auto. This was possibly intentional cause they wanted more to be enticed to blitz the 89 target.

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  15. Commenting here as requested from the TFC Facebook page:

    1. Did your build and then not use your IB fleet in the raid.

    Yes. I had 4 IBs "mostly" built - some were missing a few rockets, but all had defensive specials and a charged missile armor.

    2. Do you feel the outlay was worth the return.

    Not at all.

    Counting the IB, weapon, special, plus 14 charged armors (7 missile, 7 explosive - as we had no idea what we would need) - I spent 240M points in the previous raid preparing for this raid, thinking that I would be in good shape. Instead, I had a hull that had to be driven with far greater precision than Hellwraiths, with far worse results when an error occurred. I immediately stopped using them, did not redeem the Vassago, and will not continue to refit the existing IBs. I expect to scrap them when the existing FM targets change out.

    3. Having seen the performance did it STOP you from wanting to collect the left side prize pool.

    Yes. I also encouraged my alliance members to not bother with the IB.

    4. Did the performance stop you collecting the Vassago's IB Flag version from the locked store.

    Yes. I only have time to build and rank a single fleet per cycle, and this set me back considerably. I can't waste the build time on a flagship hull I won't use.

    5. Are you rethinking you prime raid fleet options still even though we are 1/3 way through this cycle.

    Already did. I switched to monos, have a Gridiron building, and will do my best to be ready for the hull raid.


    While I know it is theoretically possible to drive the IB in 80s, the level of precision required is so ludicrously fine and the penalty of error so massively great that the fleet - for my level of skill + internet connection - is completely and utterly useless. Combined with the advertising of the 80s as being appropriate for the IB, and the amount of build time invested in the fleet, nearly made me rage-quit on the first day of the raid. If my existing FM fleet hadn't been effective, I may have done so.

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  16. By the end I was doing 2 sets of 80,s per fleet if IBS .... That's with getting hit by about half the coldsnaps ... 83 got real easy after I started pinching the island and rushing it mainly to kill the Mort but took the lot out and to take time with the coldsnaps on edges ... Also helped to wait for patrol fleet to be dieing from coldsnaps since they were closer u had room for error ... Also found u could prep out the missiles and free the fleets and the patrol fleet citadels would kill the coldsnaps for you but who's got time for that ... As for the 112 that coldsnap has serious power .. 1 fk up costs me 3/4 of fleet lol but a good insentive to not fk up ... Found its best to be turning away from the coldsnaps for best chance at outrange

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  17. disappointed with the IB's, took a lot of effort to get, so did not bother going for the flag.
    Will switch to monos and hope those perform well

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  18. 1. Did your build and then not use your IB fleet in the raid.

    Yes. I have 2 IB's complete and skulled. While I was able to do tier 5 without damage.... 1 tiny mistake is very costly. After 1 set i parked my IB's.

    2. Do you feel the outlay was worth the return.

    Not at all.

    3. Having seen the performance did it STOP you from wanting to collect the left side prize pool.

    Yes. I did end up collecting the left side to unlock the store.

    4. Did the performance stop you collecting the Vassago's IB Flag version from the locked store.

    Yes it did. I had the points but decided to spend them on 4 charged armors instead. That's how much I thought the IB flag sucked!

    5. Are you rethinking you prime raid fleet options still even though we are 1/3 way through this cycle.

    Yes. Currently building monos, with the Gridiron flag.


    I'm an old player.. 200k ID. I've taken it up the ass for many years now without much complaint. I even really enjoyed the first Scourge raids!! But this IB crap along with the content overload lately. ( I don't care if we get tons of tokens.... it's still too much ) I am very disappointed in the game right now and find myself not wanting to log in. For me, the game is at an all time low right now.

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  19. i just wanted to tell you that i am one of the guys that did the " A-set " and the lvl 89 with three Zelos ( https://www.dahippo.com/bp/ship/#!y4300I011111111114E2U6P6A34000000002P2P2P2P2P2P2P2P2P2P00I011111111114E2U6P6A34000000002P2P2P2P2P2P2P2P2P2P00I011111111114E2U6P6A34000000002P2P2P2P2P2P2P2P2P2P0ZZ0ZZdD ) had instant repair in all target if i didn't do any mistake

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  20. 1. Did your build and then not use your IB fleet in the raid. >>> I used it in B sets as 2 much damage in A sets
    2. Do you feel the outlay was worth the return. >>>NO (emphatic)
    3. Having seen the performance did it STOP you from wanting to collect the left side prize pool. >>> no
    4. Did the performance stop you collecting the Vassago's IB Flag version from the locked store. >>> the bad performance is what prompted me to take the vassago in hope of better perf.
    5. Are you rethinking you prime raid fleet options still even though we are 1/3 way through this cycle. >>> monoliths dont seem to be worth the yard time vs existing good centinels.

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  21. 1. Did your build and then not use your IB fleet in the raid.
    I buldt 4 hulls for vxp weekend, but have only finished one as a tank. Will probably never bother to finish the rest.
    2. Do you feel the outlay was worth the return.
    NO
    3. Having seen the performance did it STOP you from wanting to collect the left side prize pool.
    Not really, as I want to collect as much tech as possible. You never know when you need it.
    4. Did the performance stop you collecting the Vassago's IB Flag version from the locked store.
    Yes. Since I didnt have enough points to get all prices and armor, I skipped the Vassago to get more limited armor,as I will porbably never build it.
    5. Are you rethinking you prime raid fleet options still even though we are 1/3 way through this cycle.
    No. My plan was always to go for the "skill" hull (monolith), and I will continue on that path even if my old h cit fleet did better last raid.

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  22. 1. Did your build and then not use your IB fleet in the raid.
    Nope, used it the entire raid. I was mad at first, and then starting thinking about things the IB was good at: kiling things quickly. I built my 4 IB with 1 Phalanx 4 and 1 Gale 3 each, so I figured out in the 83 and 85 targets if I used it to kill the fleets, executioners and then inch to take out any mortar or those long range missile turrets that spread by splash killing a coldsnap. Once this was done, I retreated and came in with my Hcannon/Cannoneer fleet and after getting past the mines I set them on auto and they killed the rest of the target damage free.

    2. Do you feel the outlay was worth the return?
    Not really... I think 10% increase in range would make this hull more viable

    3. Having seen the performance did it STOP you from wanting to collect the left side prize pool?
    Had already claimed the left side, so I claimed the right side.

    4. Did the performance stop you collecting the Vassago's IB Flag version from the locked store?
    Nope, claimed it and just skulled it in the VXP weekend. I might be screwed as I don't have any extra charged armor for it

    5. Are you rethinking you prime raid fleet options still even though we are 1/3 way through this cycle?
    Can't rethink at this point... gonna have to stick with what I learned at the end of the raid and make it apply

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  23. 1. Did your build and then not use your IB fleet in the raid. Yes, built 4 IBs tested out in raid and crapped my pants. Glad I had Harlock Cits and tank or I would have quit the game then.
    2. Do you feel the outlay was worth the return. No way.
    3. Having seen the performance did it STOP you from wanting to collect the left side prize pool. Yes
    4. Did the performance stop you collecting the Vassago's IB Flag version from the locked store. No, I still grabbed it thinking Kix might come to their senses somehow.
    5. Are you rethinking you prime raid fleet options still even though we are 1/3 way through this cycle. I'm on the fence, thinking about quitting now actually...I have 4 monolith blanks built for ranking but I'm worried kix is going to throw another curve ball and tired of wasting money.

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  24. 1. Did your build and then not use your IB fleet in the raid. Yes, built 4 IBs.
    2. Do you feel the outlay was worth the return. NO.
    3. Having seen the performance did it STOP you from wanting to collect the left side prize pool. Yes
    4. Did the performance stop you collecting the Vassago's IB Flag version from the locked store. YES. Went for mono flag instead.
    5. Are you rethinking you prime raid fleet options still even though we are 1/3 way through this cycle. YES, and it seems it's a crap-shoot as to what will work next time as kix stiffens the targets.

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