Saturday, December 30, 2017

I. Am. Not. Amused.

Repeating past mistakes... where will that lead?

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

I'm not exactly sure who the brain-trust is at the moment, but bloody hell, it's just after Christmas. It's time for good cheer, not smacking your customers upside the head. I don't even feel like making a funny from that, I'm just going to hop right in.

TLCs :

If I were running a business, at least one that wanted people to give me money, I would make sure I gave them every opportunity to do so. Why you would want to lock customers out of a possible revenue generating avenue (TLC's, FM, Events due to hull choice/limitation), I can't fathom. It is business suicide. Death by a thousand cuts. I would absolutely LOVE someone to explain to me the thought process behind all of these decisions that essentially limit access to players, thereby limiting the company's potential access to said player's wallets.

The Raid - Part I :

I have to admit, I loved the first two raids. In the first raid could do the Fang targets well and the players that got the Hunter fleets out were reaping the benefits. At this point I and many other players began asking what the repercussions would be of a target specifically designed around a particular hull. We were ignored.

In the second, the Hunters took over and performed exceptionally well in their target in the intended fashion in which the hull was designed- autoing. Again, the questions about targets designed with such specificity transitioning to the map and TLCs arose and was heartily ignored. The Hunter though, performed impeccably. I loved the hull, I loved the option, I loved that it worked as intended - at least as we had been led to believe was intended!!

In the final raid of the set, I was less than amused. The 'auto' target was tuned such that last minute changes to the builds were necessitated (huge thanks to THOR again for testing so much out!), not by the requirement for escalation weapons (they were pretty much needed as well), but in the mechanics that we dealt with in the targets. This is NOT how this is supposed to go.

This is not a raid set anymore, it has become individual raids with an enormous amount of pressure put on the players to 'keep up' month-to-month rather than allowing them to concentrate on, you know, playing the f***ing game. I really worry about how this is going to play out with a 4 month raid set while there is a concurrent FM change going on that the players are going to have to adjust to. This is a path of folly that is going to end up alienating even your most carefree spenders in the game.

The Raid - Part II :

Hope Release : This was a mistake. I understand that the company wanted to get these in people's hands before the ominous T7 hulls made their appearance, however, if you stop and think about this a moment, you'll realize that the reasoning behind that is self-defeating. The company knew the hull would have a limited shelf-life- why in the hell would you release it: 1. That late into its projected life-span; 2. Release it in a specialized PvP event that caters to PvP thereby devaluing that event and; 3. Why even create the need for the hull in the first place if the transition was immenently forthcoming? Is it truly that hard to balance PvP month-to-month? Try reading this and understanding the actual meaning of the word: READ ME

Trident? : This was a clusterf***. Again, changes to the FM necessitated the need for an anti-rocket countermeasure. There are two in the game. Why-o-why would you want to purposefully lock players out of an avenue of revenue generation?!? Particularly one that is universally perceived as a necessity of the game, AND, of which players essentially believe if you can not advance, you shouldn't even play. GIVE THEM THE MOTHER******* TRIDENT! Why is this so hard to understand? If you frustrate players, they DON'T WANT TO PLAY. You run a business based on players wanting to play your game, yet it seems you take every opportunity to push them out of the game. Why?!?

MOW and Ancillaries : Seriously? You haven't nickel and dimed us to death yet so you decided to kick us square in the balls and not only pull the MOWs, but then crudely (I mean CRUDELY) attempt to monetize Uranium, Titanium and Base Parts? Get the hell out of here with that crap. Players are refusing to buy the crapola 70 gold for $4.99 deal because they feel gypped and you think they're going to do this? I flatly refuse to do any of those. I will not buy the 70 gold bullshit offer and I will not buy uranium or titanium or base parts during a raid. You have absolutely CONVINCED me to either make sure I'm loaded up with crews and resources before a raid or just suffer through a couple days without. If that means that I get frustrated and don't want to play? I guess you won't be getting any more money from me either. See how that works?

Charged Armor : 12 Million points per. Because you obviously heard how much the community was begging to be shackled to a computer for 6 days. Because you clearly heard the community outcry that there needed to be an increase in total overall points for a fulfilling experience. Because you clearly heard the community begging you to increase the cost of a now-needed component in the game. Might I suggest: These Guys

Agility 4 : Sweet and short. Heavy PvP presence in the prize list. Very much used in PvP and an apparently required special for TLCs in some instances. Where the hell was it?!?

Generic Tokens : Remember when players would complain about build and refit times and the company would respond 'But... Tokens!'? Yea, well, where the hell did they go. Hull/Store raids used to have 10 days of tokens. Given the averaged loss in the FM and the averaged loss in the raids, you'd think they'd have done this because the builds times were reduced or something, right?

Other Tokens : Speaking of Tokens, those hull specific tokens? Cannoneer, a now tier B hull -maybe, 1 day token at 3 million points, the exact same amount per token as that JUST released Hope?!? Da fuq? Yet the King's Writ token is only 2 million points? Do you not see the apparent repercussions of shitty game balance sitting right in front of you as you write these numbers?!? Seriously - you may want to re-think Toking Tuesday going forward.

Build and Repair time on Auto Hull :

I think this is self explanatory. Sure, it's about the same build time as past hulls... except... less tokens... except... the necessitating of two fleets per cycle... except... concurrent refit/build requirements to the FM fleets. See where this is headed? And you thought I was flipping my **** above for no reason, yea?

Oh! Lest I forget- because of the ever increasing amount of health these ships continue to have (because, you know, designing balance within the confines of the mechanics of the game is apparently too ****ing difficult) there is an annoying little niggle of math that is starting to rear its ugly little head. (Thanks to Rooster of SDS7 for helping me test this out.) You know that little .5% disparity between Siege Battery and Front Line CM and Garrison Battery in the Turret Defense statistic... it makes a difference now. Given the absolute bollocks of a repair efficiency ratio on this hull, and watching this trend continue, I foresee this becoming a serious decision in special choice going forward.

Auto-Hull Offered First :  

Didn't we try this before? How'd that work out again? Is there a reason this company insists on repeating decisions that failed before rather than repeat those decisions that actually produced success? Clearly someone needs to look at 2016 and then 2017 and then go look at the P&L statements. Even a 12 year old could deduce the apparent trends and draw a decent conclusive analysis.

Clear as Mud : 

Communication is at about an all-time at-the-bottom-of-the-sty-covered-in-shit low. References to things that are non-existent persist. See that raid briefing? Recommended level to hit in raid? Where the hell do I find that? I mean, seriously, if I don't know what the hell the level is, nor where to find that information, do you really think a casual player is going to be able to find that information out? And why the hell do we still have level limits on raid targets? Where is the info for the level references? Given the enormity of players that you have driven out of the game, you'd think you would incorporate some options for those players to come back without being utterly and completely boned and lost.

What about the next raid? Do we presume we are seeing the raid targets as part of the 120's currently on the map? Do we presume that the VXP weekend was foreshadowing Zoe and that fat glowing moldy bastard having some illigitimate devil spawn and we'll see Reaver targets that are 'Legion Controlled'? Wtf is up with the weird ass missiles you can't shoot down in the 120? And what's with the flying red-nosed penis in there?

Speaking of questionable communication... what about that POS special you pushed out for the Bucc? Still zero clarity why we had such a (on its face) POS special pushed. Anyone have some dice to throw? You'll probably have as much of a chance of pulling a good answer out of the air as getting any direction from these guys.

The FM : 


Seriously, you've botched this thing so many times this year now I'm beginning to think you're doing it on purpose to **** with the players. WHY do I need 2 zelos to walk through those targets? WHY are they changing again? WHY are you making the 'fun' option in the FM punitive to do? WHY are you hamstringing the 'fun' options in the game for every damn thing? And why in the hell wasn't this communicated BEFORE it happened? Hell, WHY hasn't it been communicated YET?!?! We don't know if this is intended, a bug or some super secret plan to re-tune the FM early. C'mon!

Let's just gloss over the fact that just two weeks ago the IB fleets that are currently getting pummeled were offered in game for purchase for about $90 US. That isn't chump change for most people. We don't want to mention that point, yea?

Bounty : 

Has anyone in the company tried to actually hit a base during this bounty? I mean a decent base? with the venerable Bus/Writ fleet? Yea, great "PvP" event. And the plethora of Jackpots on day one and next to nothing since? What about all those players that have to work and start the Bounty later? If anyone thinks that the first huge big batch of jackpots is somehow going to 'trickle down' they clearly do not understand the mechanics of the bounty function, nor the current status of PvP. That we have explained it ad nauseum on the shows and the company still doesn't understand... Smh. I don't want to hear statistics like 'we saw a X% win rate blah, blah, blah.'. Go out into the game and WATCH what is actually going on. You have the power and ability. Use them properly.

PvP : 

I can't even. There is so much screwed up in PvP that I don't really know where to start. The abhorrent extreme swings in balance suck. The basic ideas inherent in PvP are boned because FvF is completely botched. You have required such specialization that you can't even have a fleet capable of stemming off a snipe. Something needs to be done to bring the WHOLE back into balance. Players that coined up fleets get LIVID getting sniped by some dweeb hiding under a bubble. Their very niche fleets are absolutely vulnerable because you can't have a 'sub-hunter' taking up a slot. Sniping has become a bane in the game and the 'adjustment' to the sub repair requirement was crap. It does nothing but hurt players trying to complete TLCs or targets now. Bases, hulls and defenses have become so complex and complicated players spend hours trying to puzzle through everything which is exacerbated by the company's insistence on obfuscation and information suppression. We won't even touch upon the fact that the company releases new content faster then Trump jumps onto twitter when upset. This is the TL/DNR version btw.

Here is a CHALLENGE to Kixeye: Get PvP base attack/defense somewhat balanced in the next few weeks. Idgaf how, just make SURE it works. Then have a PvP weekend event with these stipulations:

1. 2 coin on the map repair of any Baser fleet. Let the dead fleet sit on map in case of lag or disconnection or allow the same in base.
2. Instant repair of base and defending fleet when a player is online or logs in.
3. Suspend Medals. This is for fun. Make it so there is no ancillary 'loss' tied to this.
4. Block sniping of fleets.

Run it. Watch the numbers. Look at the participation. Look at the profit. Thank me by sending me gobs and gobs of gold. THAT will get players PLAYING FOR FUN again. Learn from Black Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?). Learn from the complaints. Learn from the loss of players. But for the love of all that is holy, LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES! Stop repeating them!!!

PvE :

Similarly to the PvP bit, this is the ultra fast version. PvE is completely and utterly screwed. Worse than PvP if that can be believed. Balance is out the window and replaced by specific niche requirements. Previous class builds are negated at the outset. They are relegated to grind options only. You know how fun that is during a raid that requires hundreds of millions of points to 'keep up'?? The addition of escalation weapons and specials was stupid and unnecessary. The requirement of building both fleets of a cycle is insane. WE WANT TO PLAY THE GAME. The way PvE is going is abhorrent. I want tokens. I want old fleet TLCs. I want free time in my shipyard to do FUN things like play with those old hulls to experiment and puzzle out options for all the f'n CHORES I have to do. (I do have an article started about Expeditions - and it's actually a positive one, but I have a little bit of a different take on them than others). In the old days one of the most fun things that we as players would do is come up with these odd and fringe builds and have some fun whacking each other and the random target or three. FvF is dead outside of sniping because both PvP and PvE are completely and utterly fucked.


Yea, I can't even continue this. I hate writing these types of articles and unfortunately it seems that I am doing so more and more often. This article came out 6 months ago... and so many issues are still applicable. Not a good trend. Is this a bit rough and blunt? Yea. Partly because I'm really, really annoyed at what is continuing to happen and partly because I'm still recovering from having to fully strip this lappy down and replace mb, cpu, memory, hdd, etc., etc. It may have spilled over a little.

Happy new year everyone!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Buccaneer and Pac-Man Combo

Blame Robyn for the title!

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

It's been an interesting Raid. I'll admit, I have found some annoying things and some disturbing things in testing this raid. It certainly isn't as consistent and relaxing as the previous two were. If I can, I'll try and write up an over-view of the Raid this week should some free time show up.

That said, I'm here to discuss the Buccaneer and the Pac-Man combo. I'm not sure who first noticed the carry-over acronym of the weapon/special combo, but I do know the first person that pointed it out to me was Roo, so blame her.

Brian took a lot of time analyzing the math behind the new special as compared to what we currently have and wrote it all out and explained it all in this article. Thing is, as I was contemplating the article and looking over the results of the ACP vs. Strike Warhead testing (ACP lost hard), I realized that all that we covered was the mathematical analysis. We need to take that analysis and apply some game theory and BP sense to it now. Is the MAN really that bad? Should you skip getting it?

The primary issue we came across when analyzing the new weapon and special is that we kept seeing similar results to this:

As you can see, the AL2 build is absolutely killing it on DPS - and that's before rank! Why in the WORLD would you want to build using the MAN special?!? That DPS on the AL2 build is more than DOUBLE the MAN equipped hull.

Wellllllll... funny you should ask. I mentioned earlier that I had done some testing of the ACP vs. the Strike Warhead special. (Big thanks to THOR-1SP again!) What I found was that, with both builds being identical but for the special, even with the perceptually and numerically small increase in damage, the time to kill the enemy was shorter with the SW special than the ACP. This led to less damage. To the tune of an average 1h 1m to the SW equipped fleet vs. 2h 20m to the ACP fleet on auto.

This got me thinking of the new MAN special and Brian's article, and here's the thing - I think I'm going to heartily advise everyone to get the special - even for your Cannoneers or Ironclads, possibly, especially for them, because given the abhorrent discrepancy between the DPS numbers on those builds, I can only conclude one of two things happening here.

1. It was an oversight and the special will get seriously buffed.


2. There is going to be a mechanic in the targets that will mitigate pure DPS making 'cumulative damage' far more important (changing time to kill as seen in this raid with ACP vs SW).

Given that there has been ample discussion about the special and comparisons to the old available tech and the raw numbers produced therein... I'm really leaning towards the latter. I think the special came out just as intended and that there was no error. In which case, I can only conclude that there will be some mechanic in the target that is going to dampen pure DPS builds. The only thing I can conclude at the moment only having seen the PAC2 is either deflection armor for buildings/turrets, or, splash damage reduction equipped buildings next to turrets, or some combination thereof mitigating the 'base' damage of any build and making the critical hit (and it's doubling), well... critical.

Think of it like this- if your weapon did 100 damage but the splash or deflection mechanic cut it down to just 10. You could have a hull that did double the DPS, that would be 10 v. 20. Your crits though, would get you 110 damage 12% of your shots, or you had another hull that was doing more crits (say 12% vs. 22%) at less DPS your actual cumulative damage is likely much higher and thus time to kill the target becomes much shorter likely mitigating your damage in the process. Maybe Brian can do more math...

If that is the case, this special then becomes very much more important than we have made it out to be- especially for the lower level hulls IF the mechanic is present throughout the whole of the targets in the next raid.

The final caveat? Dude, the raid isn't even over. My tinfoil hat could be on too tight and I could be completely off base. It could be a completely worthless special, however... I'm not going to pass on the special. Just food for thought.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A grenade by any other name...

The Scientific Method of BP

By: Brian Randich
a/k/a Brian_R

PAC2: We’re Running Out of Names for Weapons
So, there’s a new ballistic weapon out on the market, a new siege hull, a new special, and our first tier 7 hull. Most of these new items don’t stray too far from the norm. The new hull weighs enough that you’ll need the most recent dock upgrade, the new weapon is better than the old ones, and the special. . . wait. We have a lot of good siege specials, between siege battery, siege targeting, other building damage things (high velocity rounds, etc.), and reload specials. Once we get a few basic assumptions out of the way, things get. . . interesting. I’ll be doing some math on the PAC2 with a couple of simple layouts, then go deep on the math of the new special, the mass augmentation nexus. By the end, I will tell you to get the special and to NOT get the special. It’s Schrodinger’s special. (Hey, I used its/it’s properly!) But what we go through along the way will reveal quite a bit about how one can truly maximize damage in practice.

PAC2: PAC Harder

The new cannon works similar to the first PAC. Good damage, good reload, everything looks fine. The big change is the probability of secondary fire, the big blue blast that destroys a bunch of buildings (which I will call the hadouken). People tend to avoid questions about the dps and instead ask “How long will it take to get a hadouken?” While people will say to wait two minutes for a guaranteed blast, I’d rather not do that, and no one is sure if that will work with this current gun yet. Besides, we can figure out about how long it would take to get a hadouken with binomals!
You might remember from a previous article, but binomals are a way to tell the chance of a certain number of successes (x) happening in a certain number of trials (n) with a given probability of success (p). We’ll use another neat trick of probability here, and say that 100% - chance of failure = chance of success. Here, failure means we won’t get any hadoukens in one salvo. First, we can assume 8 guns per ship and a full fleet for 40 guns. So, 40 trials (40 shots), a 0.8% chance of success, and no successes. Next, we’ll try 35 trials for 7 guns per ship, and 21 trials for 7 guns and 3 ships, which seems like the most practical amount for raid one of the new cycle in January.
1-(binompdf(40,0.008,0))=0.275, which means a 27.5% chance to get a hadouken in any salvo.
1-(binompdf(35,0.008,0))=0.245 (24.5%)
1-(binompdf(21,0.008,0))=0.155 (15.5%)
Now, take 100% and divide that by 27.5% (or 24.5% or 15.5%) to determine the number of salvos you would need to get a hadouken on average. That ends up being about 4 salvos for 40 and 35 shots, and 6 salvos for 21 shots. If you start the clock on your first shot (one salvo is used), multiply your reload time by 3 or 5 as appropriate to get the time needed for a hadouken.


While I certainly would not try to some specific build advice before we have seen any targets (we don’t know about how much ballistic vs. radioactive damage you need, for example), there is one question that came up. Autoloader 3 is heavy, and it’s not likely to have all 8 PAC2 cannons on the ship with all the other best specials, so here’s the math for 7 guns with Autoloader 3 vs 8 guns with Autoloader 4:

7 guns and AL3
8 guns and AL4
Avg damage/shot after crits
Reload bonus
Reload time

MAN, This Special is Lackluster

Now for the actual target of my well-calculated ire: the mass augmentation nexus. With 10% ballistic critical chance, 100% ballstic critical damage, and 40% splash, this looks good, right? Not quite, when compared to the other specials you already have (remember to check your Forsaken research tech for the best autoloader). Now, here’s a few assumptions that I will use for the remainder of this article, which I think are reasonable if you can get all the new stuff right now (maybe not for raid one, but probably for raids two and beyond):

  • Your ship is skull rank, and the player has R+D 30 for 12% critical chance
  • Your special is at r15 (get on that, you can get two done in a month)
  • Four specials are already used for speed system whatever, a turret defense special, a defensive special (LA3, CL-3, etc.), and a range-enhancing special (Cannon System 4, Nuclear Accelerator,etc.)
This leaves two specials for offense, and I’m holding the other four constant, so I don’t have to worry about them now. I’ll be focusing on specials that increase building and/or ballistic damage, specials that increase ballistic reload, and other specials (where the nexus will go). I’ll be listing each special, what it does, and its effect on dps.

Damage-Increasing Specials

DPS effect
Siege Targeting 4 (r15)
165% damage
Siege Targeting 3 (r15)
93% damage
High Velocity Rounds
80+55=135% damage

Normally, we can assume 100% damage. With these specials, your damage becomes (100+ bonus damage)%. Take that, divide it by 100, and you get the boost it gives to dps. (100+165=265. Then, 265/100 = 2.65) So, Siege Targeting 4 at r15 multiplies your dps by 2.65, and so on down the line.

Reload-Increasing Specials

DPS effect
Autoloader 4
66% reload
Autoloader 3 (r15)
136% reload
Autoloader 2 (r15)
93% reload

Here, it’s important to note that the Buccaneer has no ballistic reload bonus. From the BP Professor’s rank formula (Base weapon reload * ((1-rank)/(1+total reload bonus) = Reload) and holding the rank constant, each of these specials increases the denominator. 100% reload would take the bottom from 1 to 2, halving your reload and thereby doubling your dps. (.75/1)/(.75/2.36) = 2.36, so Autoloader 3 at r15 multiplies your dps by 2.36.

Now, for the other things people might put onto their hulls:

DPS effect
Mass Augmentation Nexus
10% crit chance/100% crit damage
Countermeasure Loaders 4
25% reload
Siege Reloader
75% damage + 10% reload

The mass augmentation nexus probably needs some explaining, so here’s another table, with a simple 10,000 damage shot for easy math:

With special
Crit chance
Crit damage
Damage per shot (on average)


With critical hits in games, you deal increased damage when you land a critical hit, and normal damage when you don’t. Normally, you crit 12% of the time, and don’t the other 88% of the time. When you crit, your damage is doubled. (12% of the time * double damage + 88% of the time * normal damage = 12% * 2 + 88% * 1 = 112% damage on average * 10,000 = 11,200 damage per shot on average) Run that calculation on both sides, divide 14,400 by 11,200, and you get dps multiplied by 1.29 for the new special. Now that we have those three set up, let me order them all, from best to worst, based on how much they increase dps, with the new special in red.

DPS effect
Siege Targeting 4 (r15)
165% damage
Autoloader 3 (r15)
136% reload
High Velocity Rounds
80+55=135% damage
Siege Targeting 3 (r15)
93% damage
Autoloader 2 (r15)
93% reload
Siege Reloader
75% damage + 10% reload
Autoloader 4
66% reload
Mass Augmentation Nexus
10% crit chance/100% crit damage
Countermeasure Loaders 4
25% reload

Second from the bottom. For 15 million points! Your Forsaken researchable tech at the start of the game is better than this! Even if you don’t have a particular item or have weight issues, you can still do better than the Mass Augmentation Nexus. Don’t get the new special, it’s trash, end of story.

“But the new special has splash! You can hit more turrets!”

Well done, and very observant. Sadly, probably not enough. Let’s take this against Autoloader 3 at r15, which you clearly all have, and can get it to r15 in time even if you wait a week. Let’s assume you can hit one more turret with this than normal, doubling your damage output. Two birds, one stone. However, there is a decrease in damage out from the center of the splash radius. It’s why there’s sometimes that swear-inducing turret in the back of a turret cluster in the FM target that barely clings to life after you mortared the rest of them to death. We don’t know how low that goes, but we can calculate what it would need to be to matter. We will assume this is on the edge of the splash range, as the 40%*6 = 2.4 extra splash radius should matter. Take the 1.29x dps from the new special and assume a direct it and an indirect hit for less damage and see how that compares to the 2.36x dps from Autoloader 3. Since we don’t know the percentage damage dropoff at the edge of the splash range, we’ll call it Z. Add 1.29x dps for the direct hit and 1.29x dps times Z and set it equal to 2.36x dps.

(1.29 + (1.29*Z)) = 2.36, Z = 0.83, so minimum splash damage would need to be 83% for this to matter. We don’t know this number, but I don’t think that’s the case. With two more hits, this number would have to be at least 41%, which seems more likely.

As promised, I’m going to tell you to get the new special. Why, when it was just mathematically proven how bad it was? Kix tend to have a history of increasing the power of certain things, especially new weapons and specials, when they just aren’t as good as older tech. Remember the Monolith? I do! If you want splash, think about what you’d put on your mortars and go from there, those specials tend to have much more splash.

So, if it’s so bad, why does it exist? I’m going to go with laziness. This type of special worked for torpedoes (Sealed Fire Charge) and depth charges (PBX Payload) because there was only one offensive special that was any good. The rest wouldn’t stack, and you’d be so much better off with a defensive special rather than the small damage increase from concussive upgrade that it wouldn’t be worth the damage. The designers knew it worked in the past, but didn’t understand why. One concussive-damage increasing special locked you out of the rest, and there wasn’t any one that gave us extra ship damage. Our builds often had a spare slot, but the only other option we had was the PBX Payload or similar for more damage. Since our specials for siege are very focused, very different (most only increase one stat), and very powerful (they do their one job very well), there’s enough room for all the best damage-increasing specials to join in. You get to have speed, good defense, good range, AND good damage, all at once! As shown above, nearly every other special is better than this. I wonder what they’ll learn from this.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Winter Is Here Captains

Winter State of Game

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

The Winter State of Game is out and it's a doozy! I'll go over it and throw in my thoughts here and there and everywhere. I'm going to combine the in-game SotG with the Forum posting and make some educated guesses in a few places. Ready? Let's go! (Kixeye release info is in Green so you can skim or skip it if you've read them all.)

Return of the 4 Month Raid Cycle :

 -  Return of the 4 Month Cycle: We're slowing down the pace in 2018 -- instead of four event cycles in the year, we're moving to 3. Garrison targets move exclusively to the FM cycle, with periodic updates through the year to keep things interesting and new Garrison prizes in each cycle’s raid. The 3 cycles are Siege from January - April, Assault from May - August, and Skirmish from September on.


- In 2017 we took our 4 target types (Siege, Garrison, Assault, and Skirmish) and gave them their own 3 month raid cycle. As we progressed through each cycle, we learned that some target types are easier to transition into than others. Further, instead of creating another three month cycle where you did nothing but Garrison combat, we are moving Garrison into its own Forsaken Mission cycle. This means Garrison is now officially outside of the raid structure (more on this below). Finally, we’re expanding the length of each of the three remaining raid cycles to 4 months, similar to the pace we had in 2016.

Siege now runs from January to April, Assault now runs from May to August, and Skirmish is September on. The new Garrison cycle begins in March, and runs offset from the regular raid cycle to ease pressure on shipyards, every four months as well.

The basic structure remains the same: The hull, weapon, and special are earnable, then the flagship. After the flagship we then offer some optional escalations. Along the way we are re-introducing the concept of refittable TacMods, in the form of a specialized “battle bridge” structure on your hull called a “CIC” (Combat Information Center).

Each CIC promotes the styles of gameplay the hull is best at and allows you to create specialized fleets. Examples include the Forsaken (Auto) hull getting a series of defensive bonuses from its matched CIC (Impact CIC), whereas the Draconian (Skill) hull will get a series of utility bonuses from their matched CICs (Mercy and Capacitor CICs). CICs have limited ability to be used on other hulls, and there will be multiple CICs for each cycle hull. CICs are tuned for refitting, allowing you to shift your fleet specializations around as needed.

This is all made possible with our expanded cycle time of 4 months. We will be posting a hull lifecycle plan shortly as well as a longer explanation of CIC TacMods.

So there is a whole bunch going on here. Let's break it down.

Raids will now go back to a 4 month cycle. On its face, this seems fantastic as it will give us a little more time to build for the raids and possibly get some better value on the pain in the ass escalation items that seem to be the new norm. I'm still not a fan.

What we have to see though is how this plays out with regard to build times, target escalation, number of targets, seat time for the raid and above all else- how this is going to interact with the FM coming out of the raid cycle and going into its own cycle overlapping the raid cycle. I am a little concerned that there will be some increased pressure with regard to builds/refits given the escalation releases and the timing of the FM cycle changes, particularly with Kixeye admitting that there are cycles that are harder to transition into. The layout looks like this:

Siege : Jan-April
Assault : May-Aug
Skirmish : Sept-Dec
FM cycle changes: March, July, Nov (the release notes state Oct, but that isn't quarterly)

There is also an addition in there about a CIC (Combat Information Center). While it is named an 'information' center, the description is that of a Tactical Module. Given my concern about build and refit times, I am REALLY concerned about this one because the notes specifically reference that. To wit: CICs are tuned for refitting, allowing you to shift your fleet specializations around as needed. That makes me very leery, that said...

The CIC idea does sound like an interesting concept and may bring back a bit of the freedom we lost in build design adding some depth to our build options. Given the little hint of some of the names (Mercy and Capacitor CIC) it may be a very interesting add-on, however, I again lean back to build times. Players are already frustrated with build and refit times, particularly when fine-tuning. Adding yet another dimension to that is going to cause an issue. So long as this doesn't turn into a multi-faceted, overly complex system like the Voltron fleet did, and build times overall on the PvE side are addressed, this sound like it could be very interesting. I believe this is one of those things wherein it can be done very well and add some fun into the game, or it can be screwed and completely wreck the game. Honestly, I think I'd rather see this introduced on the PvP side first since players familiar with PvP are already familiar with 'odd' mechanics. We have the Prideful affect there already, the range stack of the Sloths, the stacking auras of the Voltron fleet, etc.  As I said, sounds cool, but I'd like to see this elsewhere before we start messing with FM and Raid fleets.

Of note here: "...and new Garrison prizes in each cycle’s raid.". Given the position of the FM in the game, I really, really hope that the prize costs associated with the FM prizes that will be offered in the raids are going to be low and very reasonable- and also available in the FM immediately thereafter. Considering that we will likely have the continuing limited item costs and 'regular' new items in the raid, the addition of FM items in the raids will add even more pressure onto players in an already time abridged format.

Garrison Becomes the FM Cycle :

There was a lot of feedback that a dedicated Garrison event cycle at the same time as weekly FM play was not fun (“Three months of nothing but mortars” as one player put it). We will remove the Garrison from the raid cycle and place Garrison on it’s own “FM cycle.” Garrison hulls and gear will remain available in the Event as prizes.

Garrison can be some of the most fun targets in Battle Pirates. The “mostly buildings, sometimes ships” gameplay works at most range and weapon types. But Garrison also suffers the most when the targets don’t change for months on end. So our solution is to spice up Garrison every four months and offer specialist hulls for new top targets.

The Garrison/FM cycle begins in March and updates every three months (March, July, October), offset from the regular Event cycle to reduce pressure on the shipyards. Just like with the regular raid cycle, we will be phasing out top targets and bringing in new ones throughout each cycle. During this new cycle we will offer one new T7 hull, weapon, special, and CIC battle bridge that is optimized toward these new top targets.

The goal is to promote more variety of Garrison gameplay and provide a set of T7 tools to attack them. Because of this, we’re committed to maintaining all three hulls (codenamed “Xavier, Ygritte, and Zaphod”) as viable throughout the year.

If you choose to invest in each new hull that comes through, you will find your ships optimized for the newest targets. The FM is about efficiency when you do it week after week, so our goal with Garrison in 2018 is to provide higher efficiency as the goal in the newest targets. In most targets the newest hulls will play the fastest. Your older T7 Garrison hulls will work as well, just not as efficiently.

Thanks to CICs, we expect smart players to find a way to mix and match their battle bridges to create surprising Garrison hybrid fleets. Since we are committed to all Garrison T7 hulls being viable throughout the year, this is an expected outcome of this new cycle!

Well... this is... interesting. I don't really recall "...a lot of feedback that a dedicated Garrison event cycle at the same time as weekly FM play was not fun", what I personally recall was that there was a large amount of Garrison TLCs following immediately on the heels of the Garrison raid concurrent with an early change to the FM. Perspectives vary I guess.

I'm not sure how I feel about this one exactly because I think much of how this will play out is going to rely heavily on the build times and the CIC thing. Given the timetable, unless build times actually come down for the top end hulls and items, I foresee problems. The FM/Garrison change is, on its face, going to necessitate an additional 2 fleet changes in the year versus the previous set-up, unless the CIC thing is going to achieve that through very quick refits. Side note:Use the full name for the hull. Zaphod Beeblebrox just sounds cool. Better than Ygritte. ;)

IF, big if, this allows for more subtle tuning of the FM from change-to-change, this has the potential to be very good for the game. IF, however, we see the huge swing in change like we just saw in the FM every 4 months... this is going to suck. That's as plain as I can make that.

I'm hoping this change doesn't add another feeling of 'raid time' to the game. I do like the fact that they are setting the cycle offset of the raid cycles, but again, I need to see how this plays out. It could mean that we can manage our shipyard time better, or, it could mean a LOT of stress on the available build time for our fleets. Given the overall reduced payouts of build tokens, I really hope it is the former rather than the latter which would exacerbate the token situation that currently has many a player pissed off. I am cautiously optimistic for now.

Edit: I guess I wasn't clear about why, even with my concerns, I was cautiously optimistic. It is because of this: There are three hulls that, at least by the notes, will be doled out over the three iterations. One is a Forsaken hull (auto), one a Draconian (skill) and I'm guessing the third is a Generalist. If the formatting idea remains the same, we should be able to just concentrate on one and focus on the CICs... at least that's the way the notes read. Since all we got was a tease, we have no idea how many of what we'll need as the quarter turns. I want more info.

Expeditions Embarking Soon!

- Expeditions Embarking Soon: Expeditions provide automated resource gathering. Choose an Expedition, assign a fleet, and fight a single battle to set the resource gathering in motion. How you do in the target determines how quickly you get the resources -- shoot for the best run you can get, just like in Blitz. Periodically your fleet will return to drop off resources and then leave to gather more without any further action from you. When your fleet is recalled or finishes its Expedition, it returns fully repaired.


- When we sat down to look at reducing the amount of time you spend gaining advanced resources (Uranium, Titanium, and Base Parts), we realized that the best way to reward expert players was not to ask them to do the same combat many times, but to give many results from the same single combat. We also wanted to remove repair from being a limiting factor on resource gain. Basically, we wanted to find a way to create “Resource Blitz” without requiring coin.

Enter Expeditions. Select one of the three resources. Then select a fleet to go get that resource. Then fight a single battle for that resource. Based on how well you do, a cycle time will be set for you to get that resource. Without any further action, your fleet will automatically go back and forth, collecting that resource (off map) and returning it on schedule.

Your Expedition fleet will continue to do this automatically: leaving for a set amount of time based on your combat performance in the target and then returning with the resource. The fleet will continue gathering that resource until you recall the fleet or an overall resource timer ends.

When the fleet is recalled or the overall timer ends it is available immediately and fully repaired for your use.

Players may choose to unlock more than one slot for each Expedition resource, embarking multiple fleets to gather resources. However, there is a catch -- each time a fleet drops off resources, the total amount of resource per trip decreases.

The goal is to give all players a basic, easy-to-understand system for automatically gaining resources, and also to give those of you who want a little more strategy and complexity the option of managing multiple fleets at once.

Look for a video and write-up on the forums explaining Expeditions and the strategies behind automated resource gathering.

Well... this is interesting. This is where I am going to have to extrapolate and guess. There are several things alluded to in this release and we'll have to take it one at a time.

You apparently fight one battle to 'set' your gathering ability. It looks like they are flipping the script a little here and taking the blitz idea and molding it into something new that doesn't require coins. I like this. Much better than their previous idea of coin blitzing resources. The main 2 questions I have here is this: Given the issues with lag and memory leakage in the game, do you have the opportunity to retreat and re-do the reference battle, or are you stuck with a one-and-done? Are there going to be targets tuned for each meta hull-set? For example, the Fang and the Hunter? Do you have to repair the fleet before it embarks on the expedition?

On a very positive side- this goes on automatically and you aren't tied to your computer for hours doing chores. Hopefully this means you can get on and actually play the aspect of the game you want and be able to engage in the social aspect of the game more since you won't be concentrating on driving inanely complicated chore targets.

The next thing we see is that the fleet you choose to do this looks like it is going to be tied up on, essentially, a mining run. Do we have to stop the run to have access to the fleet if we need it for a TLC? (I'm assuming yes because of the mention of recalling the fleet.) Can we resume gathering if we need to stop at some point? How long is the 'Expedition'?

The unlocking of another slot is interesting. Do we really want both fleets tied up? Maybe. Are the 'reference' targets evenly balanced for both meta fleets? What is it going to cost to unlock the slot? Res or coin? This will be interesting and if coin will be even moreso to see what value we get for said coin.

"...each time a fleet drops off resources, the total amount of resource per trip decreases." This little tidbit is very interesting indeed. It sounds like they have incorporated diminishing returns on the resource gathering. I'm not sure exactly how that will play out, but I hope that it doesn't diminish to the point where you have the fleet out gathering a pittance making it a fruitless endeavor. If it gets low enough wherein doing the map targets is more productive, the whole concept goes out the window. It would seem much easier to have just designed targets that players could just auto for a reasonable amount of damage and either slow repair overnight or -gasp- coin reasonable repairs. The raid targets were supposed to be tuned down for the map... but never were.

The flip side of this is that it seems as though this reinforces the idea that we have to build both fleets in order to excel and enjoy all aspects of the game without suffering punitively. Something that Kixeye has vehemently denied in the past (ok, context: vehemently has been mostly on the forums through the old CM, a mod or two and very much by some very vociferous players). This addition seems to wholly contradict that position.

I look forward to the post and possibly the video, but I do have to elucidate a particular point - this is coming about to correct an issue that was Kixeye's own doing. I hope they keep that point in their minds as they balance and finish this new addition to the game and ensure that the players are not penalized in any way for an issue that they had no control over.

Lower Weapon Build Times :

-  Lower Weapon Build Times: Starting with this release we will be setting all pre-T6 weapons to a lower build time to allow you to finish your fleets much quicker. Further, T1-4 Research weapons have had their build times cut by a large amount to promote early-gameplay.


- Earlier this year we established a new set of rules for weapon build times to bring back down total fleet build time. After watching how it performed, we’re reducing all pre-T6 and a few remaining T6 weapons to this new formula, resulting in many times being cut by half or more. This should shave many hours off most hull builds.

To promote newer players, we also cut build times to the bone for Research weapons, giving players in that area of the game a considerable leg-up to get to the mid-game quicker. Early game blueprints will use the new formula but not be so dramatically reduced.

I love this for the lower players, however, it is not nearly enough. I don't mean that in an accusatory or confrontational way, it's just that the game has progressed in such a way that new and very low players (and absolutely returning players) need to be brought to a point in the game where they can feel relevant in the game, have access to many aspects of the game, not feel useless or trapped and see the light at the end of the tunnel rather than have a feeling of hopelessness. Given the rest of the release, I was hoping to see a reduction game-wide with a heavy hand on the lower tech tree items, including hull build and repair time. Time will tell I guess. Perhaps Kixeye can start running old TLCs (NOT ramped up versions) for old chore fleets and/or offer them in TLOs for a reasonable price. Not $100 for an Ironclad or Cannoneer fleet but $5 or $10 for the fleet (since the builds are always sub-par and will require refitting et al).

I hope this was a quick overview and I hope it opens some discussion up prior to releases so that Kixeye can see what concerns the community has before these hit the game.