Sunday, March 19, 2017

Gutting a 107 with 1 Ironclad

Gut Points?


by: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   



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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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




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






Friday, March 17, 2017

Pimping the 107 in Utopia

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


By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Set:


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



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



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



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



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



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



***********

South Set:


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


Video:

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





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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

A whole article as a veiled attempt at...


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




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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Always wear protection....

New Charged Zynthonite C1 Armors

by: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane  



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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

This armor can NOT be used on conqueror hulls.

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



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



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Utopian Turrets

Getting stuff to stick places...


By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   



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

Turrets:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turret Specials:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


***********


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

Orange! Orange for EVERYONE!!

A Needed Boon to the Game


By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   



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

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



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



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

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



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

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

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

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



Utopia... or Dystopia?

Our First Real Super Store


By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   




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

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

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

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

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

Basics:




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Middling:




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

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

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

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

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

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

Options:




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



Achievers:


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



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


Overachievers:




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

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

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








Thursday, March 9, 2017

Things I wish I knew....and some we see asked over and over...




Battle Pirates 101 - Knowledge is Power

By: Robyn Piatt     
a/k/a Robyn_P


Have you ever seen someone post something on chat or on a page somewhere and gone "OMFG how did I NOT know that". Why didn't they tell me that months ago??  


This is a collection of things that have been discovered and shared over the years by your fellow Pirates that walked the plank before you. Our intent is to help save you time, damage, and hopefully prevent some mistakes. It also includes some items that we often see asked about on the TFC page and BV page.

You may know all about them or you may not. If you know of a handy trick that is missing, please share it below so we can update the article. 

After we have collected the final list we will load the page to the website so other pirates may benefit from our knowledge! (Editor's note: This is where the community shines- helping one another overcome obstacles in-game.)


Crews


Crews are handy, in fact I don't leave home without one. Crews can make or break a TLC or a Raid. They can mitigate damage, cause extra damage and if used creatively, can give a boost to your fleet that will give you an extra advantage in certain situations. A few examples are as follows.


Silent Hunters - Although created for sub use. this crew has a speed boost that lasts  the full length of the battle, unlike some that give a boost just for the start. 

Remote Raiders - A crew for a UAV fleet but also gives a 25% combat speed boost .


There are crews that give extra building damage (psst...turrets are buildings) and others that give extra splash. Look at each crew and think of how that crew can be applied in your game play. As you can see in the above illustration, you have to pay attention to the wording and placement of the crew description in order to assess if the crew will work for your intended purpose.

Some crews give multiple bonuses and some give only one. Some crews apply bonuses to each ship/sub individually.  For example. Midnight Marauders (Thanks Xavier!) applies combat speed and extra damage protection as the individual ship/sub itself gets damaged. This can cause your fleet to no longer stack together. The Grease Monkey damage protection works in the same way. This is important to consider if you are using one of these crews in a target where precision driving is important and your ships/subs need to stay stacked.

If you have 1 minute left on the crew you can still hit a target and hold the crew bonuses for the complete battle. (Editor's note: This is a VERY important aspect in some situations.)The crew time does not run out in the middle of the battle. The same applies for repairing a fleet with a Grease Monkey. If you start a repair with a Grease Monkey Crew on, as long as you are not attacked the Grease Monkey crew applies the half repair until the fleet repair is complete. Do not stop the repair or it will reset. 

You can get 2 crews a day for FREE!! One for winning your first battle in the Arena and you can also make use of the free crew each day in the Great Hall (even if you have no Uranium).


Resource Gathering



If you need to collect resources (aren't walls a pain in the ass?) There are some options that can help make this a little less painful. 

You can collect extra Zynthonite and other resources (for walls) from the first level of the Snowfall Campaign. You initiate the campaign, finish the first level, abort the campaign and then return the fleet to your base. Rinse Repeat.

Another option (requires a fellow Pirate), is you can park a resource fleet in an FM target while a mate is doing their FM and gain resources when they finish the targets.

You can also use a dead fleet to collect resources. For example, lets say you are out hitting mines for base parts with your one Iron Clad.  If you add a couple of other large resource holding ships you can collect extra res. Although these ships may die in the first battle, you can return your fleet to your base drop the res and re-launch the fleet (with the still dead ships) and continue to hit Mines with your one Iron Clad.  This same process works in any target. Dead men may tell no tales, but a fleet with dead ships still collects its full compliment of resources!!  (As long as the lead ship has a wee bit of health on it)

The campaigns available during the raid are also good sources. You get crap all raid points but you can get a whole lot of res.


Map Speed


The map speed of your fleet is governed by the speed of the slowest ship in your fleet. While this sounds confusing its really simple. Think of it this way, if you are driving around a fleet of Ferrari's and your lead ship is a Pinto, the Ferrari's can only go as fast on the map as the Pinto can (which is not so fast). If you are just beginning to build a sub fleet and don't have a phantom sub flagship yet, you would want a Gunboat for a lead ship with a map speed of 50 rather than a Skirmisher at map speed 43. The same theory applies if you are trying to hide what is in your baser fleet, pick a fast ship to hide the other ships. 

Shipyard 


You can use the Shipyard to view items you don't currently own (even upcoming FM and Raid Prizes when they have been loaded).  



While in your Ship Yard make sure you select the Show unowned components box. You can then select the desired Hull/Component. The Hull/Component is displayed in red but you can create, view and save the build so that you can use it later when you have obtained the blueprint.


Shipyard Upgrades


When you are upgrading your Ship Yard you are unable to refit or build any ships until the upgrade is complete. Up to a certain level you can upgrade your shipyard immediately with the required Base Parts.  When you do the last level of the upgrade its a 7 day upgrade. You can mitigate this by saving 2 x 1 day Structure Tokens from the FM from the last weekly. Once you are ready to start the next weekly you kick off your upgrade and immediately use last weeks tokens. Once the upgrade has started you then complete your weekly as normal, applying the additional Structure Tokens as you earn them. This takes a 7 day upgrade down to 3 days.  You may also have 1 hour structure tokens from your daily campaigns as well you can use.   

Do not plan your Shipyard Upgrade to cross over a raid.  You can earn ship build tokens in the raid but there is a cap on how many you can store and you have to use them in order to claim the additional tokens. If your Ship Yard is in the middle of an upgrade you cannot use or claim additional raid tokens. Plan the upgrade accordingly. 
  

Skinny Builds


Currently the VXP Weekend generally runs the week after the raid. Everyone gets a nice new hull in the raid. Some Pirates tend to put in a full build in their shipyard and then before they are halfway through their build, the VXP weekend starts and the Pirate is frothing at the mouth because everyone is getting their ships ranked and said Pirate cannot take part with their nice shiny new hull. If you are trying to get some hulls built before the VXP weekend, build the hull with just a thud cannon. This may allow you to get a couple of empty shells out to suicide on VXP targets. When the VXP weekend is over, you can put the ships in for refit and save some serious ranking time. 

Plan your builds and don't build anything in one massive build unless you have tokens to finish the build quickly. Yes, I know that some Flagships take a huge amount of time and that can't be helped, but don't build the Flagship with all the specials and weapons as one build. 
Try to limit your builds/refits (other than the initial hull) to no more than 2-3 days where possible. A 14 day build in one go, or 7 x 2 day smaller chunks takes the same time to build. Breaking the build/refits up into pieces allows you to take advantage of something that may come down the pipe. New content may be added to the FM or there may be a new "OMG I have to have this or I am going to die" hull in a TLC.  You may also need to throw something in for a quick refit to adjust to a TLC or a raid. Limiting your build/refits to smaller time chunks lets you react quickly to something instead of being upside down and locked into a 14 day (or more 😭) build.  


No Armor Before Ranking


Unless you are using tokens to complete a build and have VXP tokens for instant rank avoid building with armor where possible until your ship is ranked. Armor points detract from VXP points when ranking on the map and increase repair time if you are coining repairs during the VXP weekend. It's quicker and cheaper to build and rank and then refit armor (Editor's note: You also will reduce your overall build time if your R&D is completed. You only have a 6% reduction in build time from R&D, but you have an 8% reduction in refitting. The gain adds up quickly!). 


Ranking


If you missed the VXP weekend but have a new ship and are having to rank on the map (I feel your pain), when you first hatch your ship, go out and hit the lower targets for ranking (Editor's Note: This does not apply to T6 Conqueror and Defender hulls!!). Don't go out and immediately start with 75 elites. Hitting the higher targets will result in more damage and much longer battles due to lower reload times until you get a few stripes on your ship. I generally load a salty crew and take my ship out and hit 40s for the first crew. They are quick to die, give almost the same vxp as a higher targets and I can rack up a quick 1500 points per ship in the first run.  When you get a little rank you can then go out and rank on the higher targets.  

You can mitigate damage in the higher targets by running a counter measure ship in with your ranking ship. 

If you are running a salty crew but don't want to drive, hit the cargo and then join the battle and hit start and then let the ships auto. Then you go back on the map ready to move the ship to the next target. This saves the battle timer counting down and believe it or not, can significantly add to the points when running a salty. If you hit the 40s first, by the time you are back on the map your ship is about ready to move to the next target.

VXP Weekend and You


Ships use Veteran Experience Points to gain rank. Rank gives you better firing and turn speed and is a night and day difference from the naked hull stats. You can rank on the map (BORING) or......

Each month Kixeye runs a VXP weekend over the first weekend after each raid. There are special targets on the map that pay really high VXP.  Different types of targets pay different VXP for damage dealt or damage given. If the targets have ships in them, killing the ships pays the high VXP.  Targets with only turrets/buildings and no ships do not pay high VXP unless your fleet dies. Killing buildings in these types of target do NOT pay VXP in BP land. This is where you hear the term "Suicide VXP Run" and the like.  Suicide VXP is where you take your fleet in and park it under the biggest gun in the target just to murder it to get max points.  In the current 100 VXP targets you get no points for actually killing anything, even if you take down the whole target. 


If you decide to spend some coin on the VXP weekend and end up coining your repairs while running a Salty Dogs crew, you can double up on crews to save additional coin. This requires 2 fleet slots. One with your fleet you want to rank (fleet 1) and an empty fleet slot (fleet 2 ).  In the crew spot for fleet 1 you load your salty dog crew.  Go out with fleet 1 and suicide the fleet on the VXP target and once dead, recall the fleet. Don't repair the fleet on the map.  Let the fleet return to your dock and then remove the ships from fleet 1 and put the ships in fleet 2.  In fleet 2, you load a Grease Monkey crew and then repair the fleets at half cost. Once repaired (at the lower rate) you remove the ships from fleet 2 and put them back into the fleet 1 with the Salty Dog crew and go out and do it all over again.  Essentially you have 1 crew on a fleet for the extra VXP and 1 crew on another empty fleet slot and you move your fleet back and forth between the two to take advantage of both the higher VXP and the half repair at the same time. 


Turret Building


With the introduction of base parts its now easier (and sometimes even free) to equip turrets or upgrade low level turrets. If a new weapon comes out and you want to refit it and all the associated accouterments (Editor's note: Have I mentioned I like a diverse and extensive lexicon?) like yesterday,  look at how long it will take with the amount of base parts you have. If the new weapon and goodies are a total of 13 days to build and you only have 10 days in base parts, build it in chunks.  Equip the turret with the new weapon first and then what you can with the base parts you have. Then, you can either go out and get more base parts to finish or you can finish it off the slow way. Doing it this way will allow the new weapon to fire immediately in battle instead of waiting for the whole thing to finish the slow way. 


Rockets


Rockets play an important part of the game. Don't underestimate the use of rockets (or forget them), especially pinches. Small long pinches are quick to build (15 minutes) and can be used to stun torpedo towers in FM targets and Mines. Keep a stash of rockets handy for the raid as well. You can build them during the month and building them does not interfere with anything else that is building. Sometimes a pinch can save massive damage to your fleet. Make sure to check that you have a rocket loaded out after any base hits. 


Sacrificial Ships


You may see this mentioned with in the game. A sacrificial ship is where you send in a special ship in with your main fleet. This ship's sole purpose is to take fire from a particular turret/torpedo tower/ship and (probably) die in the process. You can use quick repair ships or you can use a ship that is built to handle specific damage.  Using a torpedo tower as example, I may send in a gun boat to attract the fire from a torpedo tower while I sneak up on the tower and take it out with my other ships. 

Tanks


Build and use a tank where ever possible. Tanks are used as a shield to take the damage and protect your fleet. Using a tank allows you to run unarmored fleets behind the tank and saves ship build and repair times on your main fleet. You can have different tanks for different parts of the game. More on Tanks and how to operate them here: Tank Breakdown

Daily Campaigns


The daily campaigns can be completed once a day to win a Re-enforced Chest. You don't have to complete each daily campaign, you can pick and choose the ones you want to complete and skip the others that may cause more damage than you are willing to take for the reward.  

You can store as many daily Re-enforced Chests as you want. Most chests award a combination of Resources, Base Parts, Uranium and sometimes Tokens. A good option is to store some chests prior to the raid so that you can keep a stash of (hopefully) Uranium available for use during the uranium dry spell while the raid is on, (especially Tech Store raids that are 6 days long).  If you are full or close to full on a particular resource or tokens, the chest will top up the resource but will not over fill the resource (this includes Base Parts and Uranium)

The Reaver Tide campaign requires that a guard be in place for the final encounter. The ships that attack your base require another ship to target off of. Your guard can consist of a single gunboat but a ship must be present in the guard and the guard in the defend base mode in order to complete the campaign.  You might want to also re-locate your Launch Pad if it at the edge of your island. There is a ship in the second wave that has a particular interest in the Launch Pad and if you move the LP out of the way on your island it won't get caught up in a long repair.  Don't put it on the edge of your base as there are ships the enter at different points and drive to your channel entrance. 



Anti Missiles - Why do they miss?? I have 10 of them across my fleet



This is one of the things that people struggle with. We see people with fleets with multiple anti missiles of different levels across all of their fleet. Sometimes more is not better. People also tend to add lower level antis on a build to fill up room as well. It is better to have less of the higher level antis that will fire, than to add a lower level anti missile that may fire instead and effect the chances of hitting in incoming missile. The below image should help illustrate how anti missiles work. 








Acronyms/Abbreviations


There are a lot of acronyms/abbreviations  in use in BP (and you thought the military was bad for them). Some you can figure out after seeing how they are referenced but there are some that are not common. There are a couple that are used all over the place and all the time....even by Kix. One is PvE and the other is PvP

PvE = Player versus Environment. This is you (the player) against the environment (Kix). FM Strongholds, Campaigns, Raid Targets, Mines and Drac bases are examples of Enemy targets. Basically its anything that kix puts on the map for you to attack or attack you.

PvP = Player versus Player. This is where you attack another player whether it's a players Fleet, Base or Mega Hull. (BTW I am STILL looking for Stu's mega coords)!!


The TFC website has an abbreviation page that will help deciphering them all. 


Flagships


Now and then Kix releases "special" ships called Flagships. These are ships that can only be used in the Flagship position (first slot in a fleet) . Each Flagship have built in bonuses (Flagship Effect)  that add extra defense or offensive capabilities. All Flagships are equal but some are more equal than others.  Some Flagships only benefit ships of similar type. For example, the Harlock's Citadel only applies its Flagship Bonus to other Citadels. Some, like the Savage Kodiak and the High-Lander's Nuclear Cruiser provide a Flagship Bonus to any type of ship in the fleet. Pay attention to the Flagship Bonuses and look for ways that you can benefit from some of these. 

You can skinny build a "multi use" Flagship with one anti mortar (Kix always requires some type of weapon on a hull),  an Engine and Hull Streamlining (for map speed). Building the Flagship in this way will allow you to add the Flagship to the fleet and go out and hit targets without the Flagship charging into battle. If the Flagship does not have any offensive weapons on it the Flagship will not move towards the targets unless you move it, If you are hitting the target on auto the Flagships stays in its starting position. 

As you get more advanced with your driving skills you can have a Flagship in a fleet along with a Tank and other ships. Your Flagship carries the extra bonus, the tank mitigates damage and the rest of the fleet does the killing.  An example of this is you could use the Savage Kodiak + your tank + your mortar fleet in the FM. You keep the Flagship in the corner (using a macro such as these or regular keyboard controls) so it does not take damage. The Kodiak helps against the Dead Eye Executioner missiles in the current targets.  A damaged flagship will still "share: its flagship effect even if its almost dead. If you kill your Flagship by accident (D'ohh), you can return the fleet to your base and put a little health on it to launch the fleet again and hit the next target. 



100% Defense Handicap


When a Hull has 100% handicap any Armor or Armor Special that gives and additional % defense will be ignored.  Take the CL3 Armor Special for example. Normally this special gives an additional Ballistic and Radioactive % damage reduction on top of any already on the hull. The % does not apply to a ship with a Defense Handicap. It is 100% ignored. 

Defense bonuses from turrets (Siege Battery) and others such as splash reduction, evade, fleet speed and turn speed are not included in the handicap. 

Additional % defense reduction from crews will also be ignored by a hull with a 100% handicap (Editor's note: Contrary to many attestations, this has been verified with Kixeye- Crews do not impart a resistance buff on 100% Defense Handicap hulls.). Steel heads gives a % of reduction of multiple damage types but do nothing for a hull with the 100% handicap. 


Base Repair Timer


Timers within BP operate on "Earth Time" that is one second on the timer = one second on earth, this is NOT the case with the Base Repair Timer.  Not too long in the distant past Kix changed the way that our bases repair to allow for a quicker repair if you coined the repair. Because of this change, the Base Repair timer will show one second as taking 3-4 seconds. This does not affect how long the base takes actually takes to repair. It is still repairing correctly one second at a time. The timer displayed is just slowed down. 



Maintenance


Monday nights (subject to public holidays in the US) at 9 pm PT is dedicated to server maintenance. This happens just about every Monday. Sometimes there is down time and sometimes not. The game will display an in game message starting at about 30 minutes prior to the maintenance. Plan any battles or campaigns keeping this in mind. While the game is down a maintenance graphic will be displayed on the game load page. Generally the maintenance down time is limited to an hour but shit happens and sometimes it takes longer. There is also a message pinned to the top of the Battle Pirates Forum page as well notifying the player base of any outages (planned or unplanned).  


Game Updates 


Game updates generally happen on Tuesday mornings at 9 am PT. This is when new content is loaded for TLC's, new functionality and raids. This update is usually about 20 minutes and although the game is usually open battles etc are usually suspended while this happens. To read about the game updates you can find the release notes pinned each Tuesday after each release on the Battle Pirates Forum.

Thanks to all that provided input for this article. Please add anything you think would be of benefit below or on the TFC FB page and we can get this out on the website.


Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit!!