Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Unreactive and You

Clarifying the Unreactive Stat

by: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Another day, another mechanic. Today we'll be talking about the Unreactive mechanic. Y'all can blame Jeff from the TFC page for precipitating this atrocity.

Seriously, until a thread, and it's pursuant discussion on the TFC page, illustrated the ambiguity that this mechanic held, I took for granted that it was clear to everyone. I think it is one of those mechanics that I overlook explaining because of familiarity with it. If you guys ever have a subject you'd like me to cover, feel free to let me know because, clearly, I'm clueless about what you guys want to know about. Now then...

The Unreactive mechanic is one which can reduce the duration of stacks. We generally have held that it was percentage based, but after testing a few old hulls that were not fully unreactive, I found that there were some weird discrepancies. I dug a bit through some old posts, some old correspondence (and I'll have to admit, some old datamined info that was floating on the web) and I am confident that I have the actual mechanic down to even the small minutia... I hope.

We should start with stacks so we have a better understanding of Unreactive and what it does since stacks are the nexus of its ability. Generally, a stack is simply a 'count' that is used to help determine effect timing or duration of a special effect of a weapon that affects a targeted ship. Shockwave and slow down are a good examples of special effects that use stacks in their mechanics. Each one has a 'running total' of stacks that affect their abilities against an enemy hull or trigger an event against an enemy hull. After much debate and review of many videos, I am fairly confident that the mortars that the Gluttony fires in the new targets for the upcoming Raid are what slows/stuns our fleets and given the reaction of different hulls, they are stack effects.

Each stack has a base set duration against an affected target. This is the basis of how all stacks work. For launchers, you have to have X amount of 'live' stacks in order to produce a shockwave. For slow effect, the duration of the effect is the length of the stack. For compounding effects (slow stacks, accuracy debuff stacks, corrosive stacks, etc.), each stack has its own individual duration and the cumulative total effect is dependent upon how many are active stacks at any one time and affects the intensity of the effect.

Now that we understand stacking, we can delve into the Unreactive stat itself.

The fact that a stack has a set duration, combined with the testing and info I've found, indicates that the Unreactive stat is not a percentage based one, but rather, it is a flat value. For example, the Rhino has a value of 0 making it fully, or 100%, unreactive, much like the Fangtooth. Unreactive doesn't affect the magnitude/intensity of the effect, only the duration of the effect through the Stack mechanic. This distinction is important.

Unreactive then does not reduce the set duration by a percentage, but rather replaces that duration value by the value given the hull to its Unreactive stat if it has one. This is makes more sense with regard to what we have seen in the past with hulls like the Interceptor.

A clarification here, I think, would be prudent as well. Unreactive does NOT reduce the 'intensity' of an effect. It merely reduces the duration of how long that effect will last, provided the effect is a result of a stack. It does NOT mitigate field effects. However,

Unreactive does not mitigate or prevent fields from working unless the field is applying a stack. If field effects are the mechanic that you wish to mitigate you would want to equip your hull with a special that provides field resistance, like Shielded Tactical Systems.

Fields are applying their effect as long as you are in them, so Unreactive doesn't help to reduce the duration of the effect. That's why Field Resistance is the proper choice in that situation.

So let's do some examples....

Launchers tend to accrue stacks on a hull they 'hit'. If enough live stacks are present, they trigger a resulting shockwave. However, if that enemy unit was 100% Unreactive (a zero value for Unreactive), then the Launcher should never trigger the Shockwave since the stacks would never accumulate.

Similarly, this applies to other stacking effects like the Disruption Missile D53-D. It has a "Slow Effect" that applies 5% per hit, up to 35% max. This means that each stack is applying a 5% slow, with a maximum stack count of 7 (5 * 7 = 35%) so long as all the stacks are live.

Now say that the duration of a stack is 10 seconds and the reload of the weapon is 10 seconds (no VXP). That means that on a per weapon basis, it applies 1 stack per cycle (provided the enemy doesn't have Unreactive as a stat).

If the enemy had an Unreactive value of 5, then the stack duration would only be 5 seconds. The result being that the weapon wouldn't be able to accrue as many stacks as normal (due to the Unreactive stat reducing the stack duration), and therefore, not reach max stacks on its own (because it is constrained by the reload time). A little complicated, but understandable if you go over it a bit.

So theoretically, say you equipped enough of the same weapon to a hull to just reach max stacks against a normal hull that did not have an Unreactive stat- if you ran into an hull whose Unreactive stat was lower than the weapon's stack duration, you wouldn't be able to reach the maximum stack count (or it would be a lot more difficult at the very least). Since the stack count doesn't reach the max count, the duration of the effect wouldn't be as high either or you wouldn't be able to produce a shockwave.

(Side note here: There is a little caveat with launchers/throwers that produce shockwaves- in the past, if you could get your supercharge up high enough to 'one-shot' a shockwave, we have seen shockwaves produced on Unreactive hulls. There may be an odd mechanical caveat here, but I have not delved into that enough to clarify it.)

So, to clarify one of the current big questions. Unreactive affects stackable effects, but not because it directly affects the effect itself, but rather, Unreactive affects the stacks on the hull. If you want to affect the effect itself directly, then you would want to deal with that effect with specificity, such as Agility 4 against slow and stun. This is why we are seeing 'weird' things in targets such as the Fangtooth not slowing down or getting stunned with no Agility 4 equipped on it and other hulls with Agility 4 slowing down or getting stunned. Additionally, repeated testing indicates that the mortars in the new Raid targets are what is causing this effect and that it is based on a stacking mechanic.

I hope that clarifies this mechanic for everyone. Good luck in the next Raid set folks!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Preliminary Look At The Fangtooth

First Impressions : A peek behind the scenes...

By: George Argyropoulos 
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

As many have noted after the BP Crib show, there was a closed test server for the Fangtooth. I want to make this absolutely clear: THE TARGET WAS A PRELIMINARY TARGET!!!! We were there to test the Fangtooth, NOT the target. We are not sure what the final target will be, nor what changes or adjustments will be made to it before the next raid set. Hell, we don't even know if it will even be a similarly based target yet, so this discussion is purely speculative at this point.

What we can say and presume is that Kixeye is good with regard to these early previews in not changing the basic idea, so we do have at least a basis for discussion. I don't want to really dwell on the target other than to say that the Mad Genius designer, Robot, is the brain behind it which likely means that the target will be puzzle-ish for us to figure out, but it also means that there are solutions to be had.

There are a lot of builds floating around for the Fangtooth (Ren has a good video right here that you can watch/listen to), and since we do not have anything solid as yet to base final builds on, those builds vary widely. I will preface by saying this; In the test server, there were (that I know of anyway) 2 players that got their damage down to bare minimums (instant repair in-the-base runs). Both of their builds are very similar in design, but, keep in mind that both of these players can drive subs pretty well. Yes, I was one of them. The other was The-Pain-Train (yes, THAT Pain-Train). I will include both builds and discuss why I think they worked in the target we tested the Fangtooth in.

The Fangtooth has some interesting abilities but is also a little tricky in its use if you aren't careful (hence the 'skill' hull). One aspect that has been getting a lot of chatter is the Dread Aura. The additional torpedo range of the sub makes me place the Dread aura as a secondary usage mechanic in my mind. It is akin to the Phoenix's Point Defense System in that I did not want to rely on it at all and wanted to maximize the usage of the spectacular range ability of the sub to mitigate any opportunity of the enemy to damage me.

The unreactive stat of the hull is interesting. We have found out that the Fangtooth is fully unreactive, which may give us a clue about what we may see in the targets or Raid Set upcoming. This may be a concern for players that have secondary or tertiary tech such as the Generalist line or the Hellwraith and/or Tideseeker.

A nice addition to the hull, and one that made it much more fun to drive, was the little perk of staying submerged unless forced to surface. I can't tell you how much difference it made in making the driving less annoying.

One trend that seems to be continuing is the repair times for individual hulls. I think this plays a part in how we perceive the event targets as punitive in nature. If the individual repair times were halved, but base minimum damage were increased (or some variation/adjustment)  perhaps this perception would change. Currently when a player messes up, or lags, or mouse clicks don't register, or a dead turret fires, or whatever... players are looking at 75%-100% damage of a fleet. This fosters great resentment, particularly after CS treats you like you just stole their morning paper... but I digress...

Let's look at the builds, yea? These have both been adjusted from what we had run to add the charged armor. (Build links are at the bottom of the article.)

Clearly, the new torpedo is heavily used. It is accuracy based and does a lot of damage. I like it... until I see the 'escalation weapon... which I don't want to see.

Charged armors. Le sigh... Yes, the build uses it. Hopefully the targets are tuned such that these become 'luxury' items again. For now, I assume that they will be as required as they were in this past raid set. If you do not have a full complement you are going to have to give up DPS in order to fit conventional armor on.

For the specials, I'm taking Kixeye at its word that Torpedo Tubes is the better performer and equipping those.

The current favorite armor special is Ablative Panels III. Unless we see something else worthwhile released, I don't see this changing. We don't have any concussive resistance armor special available to us as yet, which leaves us to manipulate that resistance in other ways.

I used Sonic Targeting III so that I could see my enemy as soon as possible. This seemed to help a lot and I think it also helped mitigate the use of Hydraulic Resistors instead of Mag Drive II by possibly allowing me to react quicker. Further testing is required. Hopefully we get a better special for this soon or this special ends up in the Retro Lab. Why isn't this in the Retro Lab with a Scourge Sub target upcoming?

I picked Hydraulic Resistors mainly for the additional Concussive resistance that it gives to help raise that number up a bit. The depth of the dual nature of the damage in the last raid illustrated to me that even though we presume a dominant damage type, the secondary one can have a significant impact on your fleet. In my build I used a V torpedo to bump the speed up a tad. After we see the targets, I may use a speed upgrade on 3 of the hulls and match the 4th by manipulating the weapons payload. I also will be testing the need of a full complement of charged armor. Perhaps with OP10 we will see enough wiggle room to possibly use a scourge speed armor in one slot.

Sealed Fire Charge makes a reappearance in this build. While the added projectile speed is a very nice buff, the critical hit and damage this special affords to torpedoes can not be overlooked.

That leaves the last special, the 'odd' one. I'm not sure how many people used it, but I found it very interesting that The-Pain-Train also used it in his successful build as well. Coincidence? We won't know until we see the actual raid targets, but for now, this is where I am heavily leaning.

To compare the two, this is The-Pain-Train's build. As you can see they are quite similar. I'm not sure our success was tied more to the build or more to the driving, however, there were some vary capable players in this testing so I am prone to believe it was a combination of the two factors.

Some points he mentioned and that we discussed, while based on the target we had seen, likely will carry over into the final target. Much like some of the past targets we have seen, you likely will want to target and activate small groups of enemies at a time so that you are not overwhelmed and to allow your weapons to kill off your enemies without becoming overburdened. Also of note, players should remember that there is Thermal AND Sonar in the game. Too often something that simple is overlooked rather than taken advantage of. Given the history of Sonar and Raid targets, the choice of Cat III seemed obvious to me at the time. Speed seemed to be a rather heavy factor in the targets. Again, after we see the final target we can determine just how much speed we will need. We can also determine if we can adjust enough through the use of crews in order to compensate a compromise build.

That's the quick and dirty of what has been deduced from the preliminary information that we have. I'm sure the targets will change (since Robot likes to torture my old ass) and we may have to adjust these builds accordingly. Hopefully we will see another Test Server that Kixeye allows us to share info from, or, perhaps we will see an open Test Server when the targets are closer to completion.

Dragon_Bane's Build

The-Pain-Train's Build

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Curious George and the Case of the Curious Shroud...

A Case of Pirate Abuse : Reina's Rage

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

I wish I could admit otherwise, but I'm not a big coiner. Honestly, there are times I'm not a little coiner either, so getting around to testing some of this stuff for you guys, sometimes is a little slow. Particularly when I'm trying to cram in refits and catch up on the game, write up something and do some other mechanics testing or builds for other things. I really should have gotten to this one a bit sooner, and I really should have looked into some of the complaints I was messaged earlier.

In this instance I do feel I need to apologize because putting it off was a mistake as testing revealed some rather interesting things, and those tests actually helped reveal a very neat, but not (at the time) documented mechanic in the RR/R fleets.

Well, it was documented, but wasn't originally listed in the print (it is now). It is a given that anytime errors or issues are found, it takes a company a some time to find the resources, investigate and correct these types of things.. I should have gotten to this sooner. Sorry guys. That said - I have to give a huge shout out to Kix right here because even with the crazy internal pace that they had going on, Bounty, to Raid, to new tech, etc. - When I had my data, they took the time to listen and dig and respond to get the information out to the community. It was a bit odd in testing and the way some of the 'way points' fall, I can see why there was a ton of confusion with regard to whether the RR (Reina's Rage) was cloaking 3 (or reportedly 4 times).

The answer is, yes, it can cloak 3 times, but ONLY under specific circumstances. I'm going to have to crank some math, or really, have Brian from the TFC crank out some math to see if 4 is realistically possible. Maybe for the TFC show on Saturday.

So after some testing, and I'll be honest, harassing some of the Devs, I think I have a handle on how this mechanic works. The mechanic is known as "Health Trigger Reduction" and it works like this...

Firstly, it is multiplicative in nature, not additive, so in a fleet of 5, the reduction would be a max of 40.95%. That means on a Reina, with 4 Rages in the fleet, it would look like this:


The base value for a triggering event for the Reina's Rage is 100,000 in damage. If you adjust this by 40.95%, the new triggering point is now 59,050 which would allow a RR with a 187,500 base armor to shroud 3 times. To get 4 it would take 236,200+ armor points and some very skillful use of the shroud mechanic.

This means that if you lose a Rage or have less than a full fleet, the triggering points change based on the amount of RR/Rages you have in the fleet!!

The stat has been added live into the game already (I think on Friday or Monday) and looks like this:

And that's that. A quick overview of the mechanic, the quick response from Kix and now, hopefully, full understanding by the community!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Zelos Stepping Stone

Another Look at the 88 for Noobs

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

In the last article, Doing the 88 NOOB Style, I ran an 88 with Tier 2 tech or below to illustrate that newer or returning players had an easy avenue in which they could successfully engage the FM and help them advance a bit more quickly. It resulted in an 88 being done with no Phalanxes in the fleet, with only 2 hulls, for about an hour of damage. At the time, I did not have a Zelos built to do a secondary run with that and take advantage of the Duality Countermeasure of the Zelos. Shipyard time is pretty tight and, well, I like to play the game too, but I received a LOT of requests to poke at it when I could so....

I got around to it. The Zelos performs as well as I expected. I purposefully built the Zelos poorly using a quick build so that players that choose this avenue can get up to speed quickly and get the Judgement mortars in T3. This will allow them to only have to build one Citadel with the Pandemonium mortar. The 88 gives you in the neighborhood of 9 million points, so, Kixeye has addressed the need for players to get ahead in the FM with the change to the 88's several weeks ago.

The Citadel is the same as in the last article.

The build for each hull is about 10 days each with no engineer and zero R&D completed. The link to the fleet is here.

Just some quick tips that you'll see in the video:

Engage and destroy missiles early since the fleet has zero phalanxes. As you gain tech and improve your tank, you can adjust your approach accordingly.

Until you get some CM specials on your tank, and improve its efficiency, try and keep it between the enemy and your DPS hulls.

And a nice little trick to mitigate damage is to avoid letting the Arc missiles fire at you at all. If you approach from the 'far' side of the island, you can avoid them altogether.

Hope this helps boost some players into higher levels of the FM. The 'fleet' takes 20 days or less. and here is the video (which is kind of a walk-through as well):

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Anatomy of Design : Phoenix

A Look Under the Hood

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

It's been a while since I've done an actual Anatomy of Design article. Part of the reason was the roller coaster ride of the Monolith, part of it is this silliness of an escalation weapon and special. No, I'm not a fan. Maybe more on that later, we'll see how I feel by the end of this.

So we finally have the Phoenix, the Gutspill's Phoenix and all the escalation mess released.

<sarcasm font> 
</sarcasm font>

Now we can finally begin...

9/14/17 Edit : At the end of the article, I have an early raid video of this fleet doing the 106 target!

DPS Build : 

You can build the Gutspill's as either a DPS configuration or an Anti configuration. Personally, I went with mine as a DPS in case something unforeseen happens and I lose my lead ship.

1. Weapons : 

I chose the Manus as my weapon of choice for the 'final' build because of a few things. My fleet is fast enough that I can kite anything in the targets we've seen, so that larger one shot damage is a boon with the damn drones. Additionally, since the missiles don't actually batch-fire all together evenly, there are 'gaps' between the missiles fired from the different positions on the ships (See AoD : Apollo for a good example). If the mechanic is working properly, because of this 'layered' firing pattern, you can get the critical hit bonus from within the same group of missiles fired.

An additional consideration was that bitter son-of-a-bitch in the 103's - Rudolph the red-nosed hulk. Apparently having had enough of being picked on in his youth, it seems our dear friend Rudolph contacted Carrot-Top for a 'Roid hook-up and has now turned into the jacked schoolyard bully waiting to take your lunch money and shove your head in the toilet.

Having the Manus on these hulls, and in this amount, should bring Rudolph to his knees more quickly than with the Talons. Since it is a target wherein the longer you are engaged the likelier it is that you will take damage, it makes sense to want to kill this son-of-a-bitch as fast as possible.

In order to fit everything, one of the weapons remains a Talon missile, however, I am not convinced you need all that charged armor on this fleet, particularly given it's ability to kite. If you forgo the second 'set' of armor, you can fit every slot as a Manus.

2. Specials :

Funnily enough, my specials have not changed since my original article from the Phoenix preview in June. Even then people were not thrilled with my choices and I understand this may be a little 'off' from builds that you've seen, but let me go through the specials and I'll comment on each.

Agility System 4 : For both the evade and stun resistance. This one is a universal given.

Carbon Fiber Casing : Clearly for the reload and damage. The reload is particularly helpful with the Manus. This special is also a universal given.

Reactive Armor 3 : Most of the drone damage at distance is penetrative in nature. This is a little bit of a toss up with the new Alloy Armor CoM. If I had tokens, I might experiment, but, since the weight change isn't enough to afford me another Manus with both sets of charged armor, I don't see the need to refit this out at this time.

Magnus Drive 2 : This is the first one that people looked askance at me for, but I think now that people have seen the benefit of the additional speed, it is, in my mind, still the clear choice. It allows you to kite and maneuver far better than SS5 because of the distance you can keep between yourself and the enemy.

Siege Battery 3 : Yes, I know Garrison Battery is a quicker build, however, in this build, overall, SB3 makes for a lighter fit. This is due to the hefty weight of the Manus. It also helps out with a tad more building damage than GB, but it does have a slightly lower Turret Defense than GB. That said, given the targets, I believe that a stronger offense weighs more heavily than the paltry .5% difference in Turret Defense.

Guided Missile System : This is the one that I keep getting questioned on. In the early days people were insisting on Counter-Missile Extender. The problem I had with that choice was that at rank, it only increased your reload on the Talon by .05 seconds while giving up on a hefty amount of accuracy. Even with the Manus, it is only a .09 second increase.

The next one to look at would be the new special that came out with the Manus, Advanced Optical Tracking. While the projectile speed is nice, given the agility and speed of the fleet, I don't feel like it is even an issue. The 1.91% higher accuracy boost for the GMS, even though it sounds tiny, is what wins me. Still. Having seen how much difference a mere 5% makes in the game, and playing with the numbers from this article, I think that the better bet is still GMS, particularly as it saves me refitting a slot.

Anti Build : 

I only have one ship in the entire fleet built like this. There are only a few changes from the DPS build.

The Countermeasures : Duh. I have one Gail 3 on here for the cheese balls, and I still drive to avoid them, so 1 seemed enough for me. The Phalanx 4 and Phalanx 3. Given how few missiles we see in these targets, the Phalanx 4 should be enough on it's own, but 'just in case' I threw a Phal3 in there as back-up. Because of the range disparity the Phal3 should (hopefully) never fire. Using the Phal3 as the back-up allows me to also squeeze my missile load out on this hull so that I have four Manus on it rather than one.

The Special : Frontline Countermeasure System. Why this instead of shuffling out GMS for CME? Because the drones. Because Rudolph the Juiced up Hulk. I'm not too worried about building damage, but I am worried about accuracy. This affords me to keep my GMS and still boost my countermeasures.

That's it! The design and thought process behind it. Huggy fleet build link here. As always, hope it helps!! Now... to rant or not to rant... yea, I think so. It's an issue that has not reached a critical mass and hopefully this gets some eyes on it early before it becomes problematic.


<rant mode>

So, here's the underlying issue that doesn't seem to be getting discussed much yet anywhere but in comms and after-shows where players like to pop in and vent their frustrations. (Really, you guys should come on the open mic shows and not just the after-shows!!)

The escalation thing is already old. Let's be honest - we have a basic escalation item immediately or soon after release of the new meta hull, namely, the bloody flagship. I've touched briefly upon that issue in this article, but I don't know if this particular pink elephant is even acknowledged as yet.

In order to perform in any sort of acceptable capacity in each raid set, you need the flagship. Note, I did not say 'want'. My 'want' is acceptable performance in a raid set. That want necessitates a flagship.

The other issue of this escalation 'idea' is this: Kixeye designs these targets already knowing what the end resultant power of the fleet will be. Kixeye has stated that with regard to the targets, over the course of the 3 month raid cycle, they will "tune them up a little bit". If you want the 'easiest', or most cost-effective build for a raid, guess what? You're refitting.

Let's break this down a little so we have a frame of reference:

Month 1;
The month previous to the start of the raid set:
- You get the hull, weapon and special - typically locked behind other prizes.
-  At some point, the 'secondary' hull is released.
- Scramble to build ships for the first raid of the set.

Month 2;
The first month of the new raid set:
- You get to chase after the Flagship of your choice while scooting for the actual prize of the raid.
- You scramble to get as much of your dedicated fleet out and ready for the next raid.
- Escalation #1.
- Scramble to build the first escalation introduction (flagship) to your raid fleet. (Have you even finished the rest of the fleet yet?)

Month 3;
The second month of the raid set:
- The first month you may actually have your full fleet built and ready... maybe.
- Immediately after the raid, and your possibly -just- completed fleet, 'escalation' weapons and specials are released. Srsly guise?!?
- Escalation #2
-Scramble to refit your fleet to the now escalated optimal build... you know... 'just in case'.

Month 4;
The last month of the raid set:
- You're scrambling, again, to have your fleet ready for the raid. Wait, wut??? Again? It's only a 3 month raid set! Why are we refitting for the last raid? I thought that they didn't tune to the escalation... yea, I can't even finish that sentence. Of course they are 'tuned' around the final power level of the fleet. You can't program a target in a vacuum, and foreknowledge is prejudicial in any decision making. 

You'd think that if it really wasn't necessary to refit to the escalation weapons, Kixeye would just skip this silliness and pump out some more fun PvP content, or -gasp- let people get some PvP stuff out. My conjecture is this: Why would work product be produced if it is of little to no value in the game? Logic.

I would really, really, REALLY like to see this idea killed off. Actually, I'd like to see both ideas killed off, or adjusted heavily. The escalation weapons and specials, if anything, need to be introduced much earlier in the raid set, if not removed altogether.

The flagship... I just do not understand the hefty premium we are paying to  build these. The idea behind the premium cost of flagships was because of their generic boosts to anything in the fleet. Their versatility as well as their buffs. The flagships of today carry the premium costs of past flagships, but are niche and exceptionally narrow in their boost ability, generally limiting that boost to only the same family of hulls and for a certain particular purpose. Can I see 2 or 3 days added overall for something so specific in nature? Sure. 9 days? No.

The promise to conjoin reduced build times with the advent of the 3 month raid cycles has never been realized, and this 'escalation' idea is a part of it. I think if we look back and compare overall build times in toto, we will see that we are now spending more time overall on raid fleets for a shorter raid set duration. This is a very troubling trend and I hope someone takes a look at this before it becomes a more serious issue.

</rant mode>

Raid 106 Target - I am still only running one of each of the charged armors:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Breaking down the 113... Again?

How the %$#& do you kill those bloody Coldsnaps?!?

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Back in June, I wrote an article on the 113 FM target. It was an article that walked through the 113 to familiarize people with it as well as show some successful builds.

Since then, I have see many people state that the targets have changed, it's impossible without top fleets, and worst of all... no one is showing us how to do them.


Ok, so this time, rather than discuss builds that have been discussed ad nauseum, I'm going to offer a full hand-holding walk-through to take everyone through the 113 and spill the secret to the turret cluster on the left of the gate. Ready?

This was my first attempt at explaining this to someone. It grew from here.

That led to more question which led to this video...

That is the video I take the stills from. I understand some people like the video, and some like the articles, so, who am I to tell you what to do?

First thing is the stack. I know a lot of people don't like doing this, and you don't have to, but I'm a lazy ass pirate, and I appreciate it when you can just stack you fleet and get down to business...

The next is a cool little tidbit of information. When these first came out, I sometimes half killed the closest turrets and then had to stack off and hit the back three. This little tidbit saves you from doing all that.

The next few stills should be self-explanatory. I don't know that anyone had questions with regard to this back side, but here are some of the stills for the back end...

Now we get to the goods. The damn mother%$#&ing coldsnap to the left of the damn gate. Am I right? Well, here it is, step by step.

First, you want to identify the little triangle that is sitting behind the Torpedo Tower:

Once you identify it, you want to come in perpendicular to the right corner of the triangle.

So, now you have your fleet up against the wall. You want to select just your Zelos and start it to turn to the right towards the cluster of turrets. Once it has started to turn, stop it by hitting the down arrow.

At this point, you want it to look like this and then click just behind the Zelos so it attempts a 180° turn. This makes he Zelos 'creep' forward and doing this with the use of the down button you can move pixels at a time so you can hit the turrets without activating the Coldsnap.

Then the cluster to the other side is handled just like the others - target the furthest one out.

Then you can go inside and have some fun with musical mortars. You can set off to the side, target the building that controls the shrouding, and let mortars rain down upon your enemies. They will kill as much as possible from the inside. Kill the torpedo tower, and then head outside to kill the last cluster.

From the outside you can smash the last turret cluster.

And there you have it. Hope this helps some peeps get better in the 113's!!