Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Revisiting Damage Over Time

The Dreaded DoT

Coming soon to a base near you! DoT! Why is the 'O' always small when we write DoT? Are we prejudiced against the word 'over'? Curious minds want to know!

Ok, so let's cover DoT so everything makes some sense. I'll use the blueprint that is causing a lot of consternation currently. I'll admit this also- one of my favorite past-times is not reading the release notes through and winging it on the shows.  Gives me a good  'feel' for initial reactions and makes me think on the fly. I got caught out looking this one over myself and it didn't really coalesce until the after-show. Oops. :D

Some basics first. This is what you need from the blueprints when wanting to calculate DoT:

DoT Damage : This is the amount of damage a single 'stack' will do over the time listed under DoT Duration.

DoT Max Damage : This is the maximum amount of damage the weapon can reach doing DoT damage.

DoT Duration : This is the amount of time each 'stack' lasts.


Now, let's get to what the hell it actually means using the print as the example.

DoT Damage : 540,000
DoT Max Damage : 60,000
DoT Duration : 45 seconds

Seems like those numbers at the top are flipped, yea? Not really. This is how it works:

We have 540,000 damage and the stack is active for 45 seconds. That means we have a DoT DPS of only 12,000. That helps clarify that print a lot better now doesn't it?

Since the max damage is 60,000, we can also conclude that we only need 5 concurrently active stacks to get to max DoT damage.

A few things to note:

DoT bypasses basic (building and ship) deflections BUT damage specific deflections DO mitigate the damage.

DoT works on 'stacks'. What that means is that when the weapon successfully hits the target a 'stack' is applied. Stacks can be 'supercharged'. Supercharge specials work, lancher supercharge specials do NOT.

Corrosive DoT stacks are supposed to ignore unreactive stats. There are conflicting reports on this. If anyone has some vid of testing for this, please send them on. :)

Another aspect that is heavily debated is whether Siege Battery affects DoT (and shockwave as the two are always compared as they are both secondary damage). I am trying to get clarification on how they are behaving (I actually know how they were intended, but... better to get accuracy instead of should be on this one - the article on T7 turrets should clarify that one). If anyone has some vid of testing for this, please send them on.

Tested and verified by Templar and Vengeful One (the apparent QA team of Kixeye!) - Siege Battery DOES affect DoT.

DoT can not be increased in any way. Perhaps we'll see a special Coming Soon that does the same for DoT that some do for Shockwaves.

Much like other damage in the game, the display amount is double actual in-game damage. Sorry.


There is the skinny on, and the short version of, Corrosive DoT. Hope it helps!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Where Did That Chameleon Go?

If the Pretender were a hull.

Raised in a secret facility built for experimenting on children, Jarod is a genius who can master any profession and become anyone he has to be. When he realizes as an adult that he's actually a prisoner and his captors are not... no... no wait... that's the show, right?

Oh  yea- The Chameleon!

I'm seeing a lot of hate geared towards this hull, and some of the criticism is justified. It does not live up to the previous generation of Generalist hulls in ability to conform successfully to specific metas and it also does not have the same flexibility as, say, the Zelos, however... it does have some serious value, particularly in a specific niche context.

That context is everyone's favorite - Expeditions! Yea, ok, that was sarcasm, but it does bring a certain value in that arena.

The other part of the contextual picture is this - a co-op campaign where you can gain tokens, and through those tokens, you can get one of these fleets out for free. Why does this make the hull and TLCs valuable? I'm glad you asked!

First, the fleet can be perpetually running in Generalist Expeditions for free premium resources. This is helpful during raids- particularly the longer ones. We all know the premium resource prices in the raid are... less than value oriented.

Second, you don't ever have to worry about the damage it takes. You can either park in a corner and wait for the expedition to time out and come back to your base fully repaired OR you can complete the target and let it coast getting premium res and it will come back fully repaired. How can you lose in this?

The tokens are not limited to 10 or less as some have been lately so you can stock up and save them until you have time in your shipyard or you have all the tokens to crank out a fleet.

Is the fleet ideal in any way? No. Is it something neat to have in the toolbox? Yes. Are they a great stand alone value? Not really compared to other options in the game. Since the tokens are essentially free with the Co-Op option I'd highly recommend doing the campaign. If you have a build that isn't performing up to snuff in the targets, now is a great time to stock up the tokens so you can tweak that build. It's actually a really good thing to have TLCs like this offered- one they don't really stress players out because they are optional, two they offer variety in the targets (though they DO need to make target requirements CLEAR) and three the co-op aspect beings back in a measure of the social aspect of the game- made even better with the addition of the world chat.

So- TL;DR - cool optional TLC that you can stack up some tokens cheaply and decide later if you want to invest in a build. Have fun pirates!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Bi-monthly Rai... er... I mean... Bounty 12

Why Bounty is Broken

So let's be blunt, yea? Bounty 12 is shit. It's broken. And it's not because PvP is broken. It's broken because of poor choices, self-serving pansy ass wannabe pirates and the fact that everyone has forgotten what exactly it means to be a damn PIRATE in this game.

I'm not even going to get in depth of why and how certain mechanics are broken, but I'm also not going to sugar coat this. This Bounty is a clear indication of where the game has gone wrong and the path choices that were made that were clearly not thought out beyond the 'now' and 'me' mentality. Some people need to get back to understanding that decisions should be viewed through the filter of 'long view' and 'big picture'.

 PvP is NOT PvE

Bounty is PvP. I'm sorry if that hurts your little feelings, but this absolutely basic premise seems to have been completely ignored. It was ignored in developing the rules for banking, it was ignored for developing the rules for guaranteed bounty, it is ignored in so many aspects of this thing it boggles my mind, but I digress. Let's look at specific aspects of Bounty and see if we can put them into this bigger picture for people by proffering a proper alternative.


Banking on demand is kind of meh. Being able to fully bank on demand is fully asinine. Being able to mutually hit one another at 9,000 bounty and bank to gain 4,500 each without losing bounty is beyond fully asinine.

This is supposed to be PvP. Part of the risk is losing your swag. Part of the reward is stealing someone's swag. If you are scared to death of losing your boutny and don't want to engage in PvP - don't play. Wait for the prizes in the raid. To cry and moan that you need to be able to bank on demand - after the incorporation of the auto-bank at 10k - is a clear indication that you probably don't PvP generally.

The base concept of Bounty was to equip those players that played PvP with the equipment, early, so that they could play that aspect of the game and engage one another at that level. Those that did not, could catch the blueprints at a delayed time.

This isn't supposed to be a handout. This isn't supposed to be a PvE event. I sure as hell do not want to be grinding a second raid. Stop, just stop this foolishness. This is absolutely exhausting.

If there is an insistence upon a bank-on-demand option in Bounty- associate a hard in-game (read: Bounty) cost to it in the form of a hard cap percentage to each bank that you do and bar the ability to bank while in combat - any combat. Hell, personally, I think if you pop a doorknocker onto your base you should get a 3 min banking delay if it gets hit, but... back to the hard cap:

For example, day 1 you get 5 banks? Cool. Bank 1 you only bank 90% of your total. Bank 2 & 3, only 80%. Bank 4 would be 75%. Bank 5 would be your last bank and at 50%. Day 2 would be Bank 1 - 90%, Bank 2 - 80%, Bank 3 - 75%,, Bank 4 - 50%.

Why you ask? Economics. PvP. Psychology. This would motivate players to bank by choice less, so that they don’t ‘lose’ bounty from banking, thus promoting them to carry a higher running total and fostering a higher overall ‘available’ bounty in play in the system (we'll get to the auto-banking thing... soon). It also may inhibit  players from banking between hits and preclude them from ‘taking their ball and going home’ by banking everything and doing something else. It should also foster a little higher ‘time at the keyboard’. This also will still allow those players that are very reserved and cautious to still have a goal (that increases over the days) they could conceivably bank at and ‘go to bed without worrying', but every base would still be worth something. The PvP risk and reward dynamic is returned to Bounty as well in this fashion.

Banking on-demand at the full amount is, at it's core, in direct opposition with the concept of PvP in this game. This also will absolutely exclude the need for the idiocy we saw last Bounty:

Guaranteed Bounty on Player Bases

Yea... so... I've admitted it. I was so incensed at that this short-sighted and ignorant mechanic was added to last Bounty that after the notes came out, I discussed the mechanic with a player or two and planned to take absolute full advantage of the mechanic. Much like players in this Bounty are taking advantage of that broken banking system and the archaic mechanic of starting a battle instantly if you enter your base to 'defend'. No, it wasn't an exploit. To be an exploit, the mechanic would have to be used in a way that the company did not foresee and/or in such a way that the mechanic was used outside the intended parameters that it was designed for. I can say with absolute certainty that the former did not apply and that the mechanic was used exactly as designed. For comparative analysis- I wonder how many players that complained about this mechanic being 'exploited' are setting up their OP with the full upgrades and armors and tach installations in order to make their OPs almost impossible to kill inside of a 5 minute hit. Do they draw a comparison between the two? Those setups certainly weren't intended when the upgrades came out as they didn't exist. Just sayin'- throwing stones and glass houses and all.

That being said, instead of trying to over-complicate this horrible idea in order to incorporate it again, just bin it. The design above for the banking system makes the 'need' for the existence of this abomination absolutely valueless. No, don't put it in the game. Regardless of any limits you try and place on it it is far, far too easy to take advantage of. Trying to add complexity to this mechanic in order to implement it instead of addressing the nexus of the need (as I did above) is exactly how this game's complexity has spiraled out of control.

For all those 'pirates' calling foul because 'they' loved it and 'they' didn't 'exploit' it, I'm sorry. No. I'm not fooled and neither is anyone else. You can't go farming baby seals non-stop throughout Bounty for easy points because they are auto-repairing and are 30 sec 200 or 300 points. That is EXACTLY the sort of short-sighted, self-serving mentality that got this idiocy implemented in the first place. This is about as good a mechanic for this event as was the engineering design of the Ford Pinto for a car.

Live Edit: Came up with an interesting idea while discussing this- a LOT of people liked the flat amount added to bases- this one is simple- 2 types of OPP bases. First is normal points, no guard, 2nd is guard included and double the points. There you go and you don't have to be clubbing baby seals the entire time.

Outpost Upgrades

Do I need to explain this one? With new releases there are combinations that absolutely kill base hit attempts. And people still hold drones and drive up on hulls, insta-start battles, etc. etc. Makes for soooooo much fun hitting a real base.

Auto-Bank of 10k

The next rail-car in this train of thought would be the 10k auto-bank. This concept I do like, however, I am not the biggest fan of its implementation.

In the current PvP environment, the 10k works, only because PvP is so broken that you can guarantee a loss to an attacker through the combination of the bank-on-demand, the use of base guards to drive and chase the only real reliably viable base hitting combo in the game, namely the Sloth fleet, and the OP upgrades.

IF (BIG if) PvP is ever corrected, then this mechanic should be re-visited I think. While it's a great mechanic currently, it also precludes the 'big hits' some of the highest level PvP players crave. Given that these are also typically some of larger spending players in the game, it only makes sense to try and bring some of that back into the game. Maybe not to the extent that we saw previous to this current banking iteration. Yes, this won't be a popular position, but let's face it, this is supposed to be a PvP event, and PvP is traditionally the turf of these players. We can not cater events to just one segment of the players base, that is how overall balance is lost. So that there is ample opportunity for the 'smaller' players I envision a system where the auto-banking would look something like this:

5, 10, 10, 10, 15 thereafter until the next day cycle.

In conjunction with the changes above, this would allow ample opportunity for the smaller players to achieve plenty of Bounty and reach their goals, but if you are in the upper echelon and want 'everything' the possibility of opening up yourself to significant losses (and gains) will now exist.


When did we go to bi-monthly raids? As in other aspects of the game we are seeing rampant inflation in an event that really should not be this much of an event, ya feel me? Players are burnt the hell out. Auto hulls don't auto, so you have to drive and grind. Over and over and over again. Map targets are getting progressively more punitive at each release to the extent that the auto hull (a top tier hull that was an equal investment for players as the Hydra) was effectively locked out of the 103 base parts target forcing the use of the Hydra in those targets (the skill a/k/a driving hull). This all adds to the overall feeling of always having to do something, always having to engage fully, rarely relaxing and enjoying unless you can 'game' the system somehow and mitigate the grind.

This is causing terminal burnout in the community. Players are exhausted. The opportunities for 'fun' are becoming less and less. Adding to this perpetual feeling of grinding is all of this inflation which then makes players feel even more exhausted and frustrated. I would implore this - if the intent is to have a larger distribution of Bounty prizes than originally designed for when Bounty was first implemented- reduce the costs of the prizes, don't try and come up with complex 'solutions' by re-inventing Bounty monthly and impel more engagement by inflating overall prize costs. You don't re-invent PvP monthly, that's PvE.. oh wait...

Time Commitment

This clearly follows on the above section. Forcing engagement, while in some instances is great from a business perspective, must needs be tempered by the psychological pressure that can be put on a player and player base when said forced engagement is continual and persistent. Temper this. Re-evaluate the overall strategy of player engagement because currently the overall feel is one of burn-out.

Reward (Opp Bases)

Even with no guard fleets in these bases, the time engagement for some of these bases truly sucks. Honestly, I'm not sure how to easily correct this other than increasing the pay out. This could be done complimentary to a pricing adjustment, or can be ignored if the pricing adjustment is significant enough to offset this issue.


I'm tired of repeating this month after month. The locator sucks. Really and truly, how damn hard is it to code a random list from the whole of the world that you are in? (Here is a hint: it's not.) I mean, we already deal with tons of lag just trying to drag across the map (why are the Gantries still here again?) I think we could live with a slight delay of results while a proper randomized search populates the locator list.

Ok, that's it. This is partially why I rarely write. The only time I am 'passionate' anymore in this game is when things are really borked. I'm exhausted. I don't have the time to commit needed to maintain he level I expect since so many things have been 'adjusted' to maximize engagement (and likely h0ped for coining). Is there more? Sure. But I can barely see past my eyelids, so it's time for bed. G'night my fellow pirates.

LIVE EDIT: Wow... this is interesting. I'm actually very curious now about something having had an opportunity to review the comments and hate mail (and mail agreeing).

Clearly, I believe that a PvP event should revolve around, you know, PvP, and approached this in that mindset.

Also as clear is that there are many players who disagree. I'd love to hear what those that disagree think that the Bounty should entail then. I mean, I don't mind that you think I'm a douchebag or that my view doesn't count because of my position or whatever... that's fine, BUT I want to know why. Why is my premise wrong? Why shouldn't this be a PvP event? Why is banking 100% at-will good for a PvP event? Why should PvP not have a basis of theft of another player's swag? You may think I don't take certain things into consideration, but... maybe... I do. ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


There have been many questions sent to me of late; -
  • What blueprints have what stats?
  • I know I need "x" stat, but which one is better? What's available?
  • Is there an alternative to Frostler as the site is unavailable?
  • How much damage does my turret give out per salvo?

The main thing I say to them, "Have you tried Wayne's page, Ahoy-Me-Arty?". Curiously, the most common answers are "No, I've never heard of it!", or "I just can't use it".

So I took some time and made Wayne come up with a nice overview for people to reference: 

His site can be found at and consists of... some really cool stuff. :)


First off, let's address his <Calculators>. Wayne has quite a few different calculators. By default, when you click the "Calculators" link on his homepage, it will present you with the General Calculator. As you can see from this image, there are radio buttons. If you click the radio button next to the header it will change what calculator is shown i.e. clicking the one next to the Spawn Timer will change to show you when the next spawn is due and what type of spawn it will be.

Whilst we are on about calculators, he has created a nifty <Turret Calculator Page> which when populated will give you damage per projectile of whatever turret you want to build. You will need to populate the cells next to each header (by selecting from the drop menu) in order to see you result and if you have any retro to any of the components you are adding, you can change the little boxes next to the items to reflect it.

As you can see from this sample, I have added a Howie 6 and some components with the damage output against siege battery and without it showing at the bottom. As of today (22/07/2018), these calculations are correct and have been checked and verified by a few good players, myself included.

Raid Calculator 

Wayne also compiles a Raid Calculator each month that will calculate how many raid points are needed to get your “Wish List”. Just select how many you want using the dropdown list and it will calculate the required points for that blueprint. And at the top of the screen it will show you the total of points needed for all your requirements.


Wayne has also addressed the "Blueprint Stats" question. He has created another MS Excel spreadsheet at <Blueprint Breakdown Page> that can be manipulated to show what blueprint has what. By clicking the <select> it will populate a list of stats that you can choose from. The list is in alphabetical order going from Accuracy to Weight.

Once you have selected your stat, the spreadsheet will show only those blueprints that have that particular stat in.

A new version of this blueprint breakdown page is under development that will highlight those blueprints that are retro-able and filter between armours, specials, CIC's and weapons.

If you just take the time to visit his page you will see he has plenty more to offer than those that I have listed here.

Much like Huggy he creates all these pages on his own so therefore keeping up with the ever changing information from our beloved Kix may lead to some items being missed, or changed. He is constantly updating and changing things, so if there is a broken link within this blog, just go to his homepage and you will find it there and if there are any errors, smack him upside the head and tell him what's broke. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Happy Sailing Prof

Fair Winds and Full Sails

By: Brian Randich

As many of you have seen, Larry, aka the BP Professor, recently quit the game. He was more recently known as a town hall member, a host, and one of the mainstays of the Battle Pirates Crib show. Before that, he was known for his blog. While it was not updated recently except for the announcement of him quitting, the blog holds a wealth of information and tips collected over the years. It had tips and builds for the raids and what to get, explanations of mechanics (and the first explanation of how vxp affected reload after it got changed to 75%), and personal thoughts and ideas about the game and the direction it was taking. It was a one-man TFC before TFC existed.
I don’t know how I first found his blog. I think I googled “Battle Pirates help” or something similar. The first memory I have of seeing an article of his was the Riptide raid tips back in April 2014. As a new-ish player who had no idea what to do, I started to learn from what was out there. I liked the way he explained things, and it made sense. I looked back through the archives and found his old articles, and while some didn’t exactly have use at the time (old raid tips/prizes), I learned quite a bit, and I started to form a base of knowledge on this game and what to do going forward.
Here are a few links I found to be helpful, or at least entertaining, along with a brief description:
This is how I learned to build ships. While a lot of ship-building changed with hull classes, these ideas still hold true. Figure out what you want a fleet to do, then build it to do that. It’s easier these days with hull classes and weapons and specials given out with hulls.
This is how I learned the equation to find a weapon’s actual reload, how much Kix screwed up that math relating to reload, and how important rank really is.
The professor does not mess around.
Even though his blog updates became further and further apart due to real life and disillusionment with the game itself, the professor was a prominent community member. With a mix of math, knowledge, and humor, his blog was a great read, and he was someone I aspired to be like in the game and on the shows.
Happy sailing, prof.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Defense Calculator

The Stats That Kixeye Cherishes

By: Wayne Gilliver and 
George Argyropoulos

Let me make this perfectly clear: Kixeye doesn't generally like us ripping their stats apart to the basics at times. I think in this instance though, we will be forgiven!

A lot of angst has been floating around because trying to calculate exactly what s going on with turret damage is a bit... complicated. I wrote an article a while ago reviewing that here and that engendered some good discussion and a lot of questions, so...

Wayne Gilliver and I have been hard at work over the last couple of weeks creating a calculator to show just that. What's happening. Wayne busted his ass taking this to the next level and I hope everyone can benefit and enjoy!

Special thanks go out to Templar and Vengeful one for testing and catching a few things!!

This version of the spreadsheet is only version 1 so therefor may contain some issues like Salvos and Critical hits, but rest assured, we have made sure Executioner2 and Howie6 figures are correct insofar as we could putting this together. Please have some patience and help us get this into full gear for you.

The calculator calculates DAMAGE PER PROJECTILE which is what is important in the game for PvP as that is what you need to know to know if you can break a deflection value.

CURRENTLY: We put in a mix of values because Wayne and I have different retro levels on items. What we would like to eventually do is have ALL the values at an R15 level (both weapons and specials) so if you find that some of the numbers are off please let us know. If you are like Venom who has this down to the minutia, please let us know what part needs to be updated and if you have the values for the R15, please include them for us to update the calculator.

Because of how we had to set it up and the amount of diversity in the turrets, critical hits will show for anything you put in. TURRETS DO NOT INHERENTLY CRITICAL HIT!!! You have to have a special that does it or it has to be part of the weapon, such as the Vulture Missile. I would hope everyone using this can make the distinction and keep this in mind.

Additionally : Do to a few things behind the scenes, in order for the calculator to work and not run super slow, you can put options in that you can NOT in game. Again, I presume everyone will be mindful enough to check in game if the build you are calculating is a legal build.

Please message Wayne or myself with your thoughts on this calculator and errors that you think maybe in there. Or post a comment on the TFC page where this will be posted as well. We are still working out a few bugs and errors should be apparent.

Waynes file can be found at

You can view his complete website with MOAR calculators, a turret builder/planner and more by clicking this image:

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tweaking the Buccaneer

A Lazy Pirate's Observations

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

Let me preface this by stating: I mostly auto my Buccaneer targets. For the most part, I like to auto anything in the game that is abnormally time consuming or annoying. It began with chores. This is supposed to be a game. To me that means whiling away my free time playing something enjoyable and fun. 

Chores were too many taking too much time. We started seeing raids climb into the stratosphere in terms of points requirements, and hence, seat time. It used to be that you could invest in the top tier stuff and have the reward be a quick raid. No more. Now it is a grind at any level. So I began heavily leaning towards auto hulls for the raid when that became a truly viable option.

That all said, my Buccaneer build from the first raid to today has revolved around that concept. They were initially tuned to run on auto in the S targets in the raid. They perform very well when driven.

What I have observed from the first raid to the last raid is that the targets for the Buccaneer seem to be tuned far more towards resistances than charge. This is opposite of what I've observed in the Hydra targets.

That is not to say charge is meaningless, only that the targets seem designed to deplete your charge about halfway through the target. Given that this is an auto hull and tested observations, the conclusion is apparent. 

>>>Charge still works to mitigate damage but the targets are designed in such a way as to deplete your charge quickly. You can take advantage of this and minimize damage in the targets by jumping out halfway through to recharge your armor.<<<

My clear presumption here is that this trend will continue into the next raid. With that in mind, I decided to use some of my Buccaneer tokens from last raid to tweak my build. I have 2 versions based on the same idea and will likely test the theories out on the first day of the raid. 

In addition to tweaking the resistances, I and a few others (Thanks to Templar and Vengeful One) also tested the way critical hits worked in game. Apparently, and counter to what many of us thought, if any blueprint states a +X critical hit modifier, it is reflecting the actual critical damage. It is not increasing the critical damage by an additional amount. That means that MAN special is truly only giving you a +10% critical chance and the 40% splash. That's it. Your critical damage is not increased by the special.

So this brings me to the current tweaking of the hulls. We had the opportunity to earn a new styled charged armor in the FM. The new Charged Zynthonite C1-CR brings a new aspect to the charged armor family. It offers a dual defensive buff at the cost of both charge pool and damage reduction.

Interestingly, it stacks with the regular styled charged armor in such a way that the higher damage reduction number is used when they are combined on the same ship. This brings up interesting design opportunities.

The main question when looking at this armor, to me, was whether to swap out all four armors to maximize my resistances across the hull, or whether to swap out just two in order to boost my radioactive resistance a bit and use the higher damage reduction number to my advantage.

My conclusion is that I am likely going to swap all four out. If I were to hop out halfway through a target (presuming the same mechanic as last month's raid) to charge my armor, then I'd likely just swap two panels out and minimize my damage by maximizing the use of my charge.

I don't plan on doing that however. I plan on flat out autoing those target while I play in the Hydra targets. I have two builds listed below. I will be testing this a little the first day of raid merely to ascertain the viability. I'll more than likely tune my own fleet towards full auto.

In either case, the Boon will continue to use the Lowered Cannon Mount to scoot ahead of the other hulls and tank some damage. Because of it's health and repair efficiency I'd also swap all four of the armors on the Boon regardless of the build path. If you are planning on hopping in and out, keep in mind that the Boon is significantly faster and you'll have to stack up somewhere upon re-entry.

Because of the nature of the MAN, I've decided to forgo that special and go back to the Auto-Loader 2 I discussed pre-raid. I'll be implementing this change for the whole fleet. If I get a critical, the damage remains the same, so I'd rather increase my 'chance' for a critical by shooting more. While I'm not rolling a critical, I'll be doing more damage per second.

Where I can, I'll likely fit a couple of the new cannons on as well. I never got around to refitting those on before last raid. Hope this helps and good luck!!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

So how does Turret Damage Work Again?

A Quick Peek at Turret Damage Calculation

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

With the introduction of the new armor in the FM hot on the heels of the new Howitzer turret release from the raid, there seems to be an awful lot of players scrambling to understand just how damage calculations work on turrets.

Some of the damage calculations are not what many would consider intuitive in nature. There also seems to be some confusion with regard to how some of the bonuses stack and the interaction within bonus types. Let's see if we can't shed some light on these things.

To preface, I have asked a lot of questions trying to get a clear understanding for dissemination to the player base. This is, as much as I've been able to, verified information and MY understanding of the mechanics and functions of all of this.

Fire Supports :

The first thing we need to cover is the Fire Support auras and how they stack. While the display shows an additive stacking within the bonus group in the turret stat block, it really isn't - sort of.

What the Fire Support does is multiple off of each other so that if you have 5 Fire Supports, the math would look like this:

Howie VI BaseFS1FS2FS3FS4FS5

You see the interaction here? The bonuses build off of each other. Where a straight additive 75% would net you a total of 186,791.5 damage, you really get 214,688.24 damage.

Uncle Ren Pro Tip: An easy way to do it is  FSBonusFSFields  (ex. 1.155).

Group Bonus : 

***Edit 3/26/18 - I and some other players (including one of the Mod team - Thanks Templar!!!) have been testing this and while the intent was for the Group bonus was to be additive stacking(1.5 instead of 1.25*1.25), it is stacking just like Fire Support. ***

With the introduction of both the Executioner II and the Howitzer VI there came a new damage bonus called Group Bonus. These are bonuses that are applied with specificity to the group the weapon is in (ex. T7-Ballistic). These work exactly the same as Fire Support bonuses. Group Bonus is additively stacked and then applied multiplicatively, calculated like Fire Support so these look like this:

Howie VI BaseGroup 1Group

The Rest :

Is calculated as we intuitively would. Base * 1.xx for the calculation. You can see a complete calculation for the Howie VI below. So, for example, the A-T Transformer Would be 106,738 * 1.35 to get your resultant damage. Calculations for the intuitive ones would look like this:

Howie VI BaseHBSForsATT

Supercharged EM Rails III :

This is another one that seems to have caught a few people out. Many believe that this special is +300% applied to a critical hit allowing you to multiply the calculated damage by 5 (200% +300%=500%). This is incorrect.

Part of the issue is that players are basing the 300% against a typical critical hit and then taking that critical hit and assuming +300% against that. In reality, the special is tied together and the stats are co-dependent because turrets have no inherent ability to critical hit in the first place so the +300% is the critical hit multiplier, hence, X * 4 instead of X * 5.

Soooo... :

This is what the calculation will look like for a Howie VI sitting in 5 Fire Support fields, with a Forsaken faction bonus, 2 Howie VI weapons built (group bonus 50%), an AT-T transformer, and Heavy Ballistic Shells with a critical hit from the Rail III.

Howie VI BaseFS1FS2FS3FS4FS5
Carry OverFaction + GroupGroup 1Group 2ATT +HBSRail3 + .853.00

I hope this helps players better understand the interactions of the bonuses and how to calculate them for turrets and clarifies some of the questions floating around right now.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Early Bird FM 117 Review

In the murky water of the seas, the 117 looms...

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

As many know, I've been trying to test the new 117 FM target as my Inferno Dragons build and see if anything pops up.

Rum Runner and Padre Prince were kind enough to run a few of the tests for me concurrent to my own testing. They'll confirm - this is a pain and pricey!

That said, I have gotten a fleet out. I'm not sure it's a 'best build' though. There were some assumptions I made that were not completely accurate when tested and there are some wonky results that make some of the selections questionable.

That said, what I'm going to do here is go over the build and the theory behind it and then some observations about the target and hopefully it will help you decide which way you want to build your fleet and perhaps find a better combination, because I'm about burnt out tweaking this fleet.

The Build :

(Currently I am running this build EXCEPT I have replaced the ES4 special with Lowered Explosive Mount.)

This is the Huggy's link for the build.  I'm still toying with a few things and I believe that rank on this hull is absolutely essential. This has hurt me in testing because I just didn't get them ranked fully during the VXP weekend. For now, let me explain the build as it sits. There are 2 pairs of hulls in this fleet and both run on the same theory.

This is the Huggy's link for the build with the Savage lead.

FLCM and SB4 :

Two hulls have Front Line Counter Measure. Originally this was for two purposes. The first was because I was running a Sprint on 2 of the hulls.

As most of you know, I run the Phalanx and Sprint ranges in such a way that the Phalanx would have priority for firing. In this target that might not be all that important as the primary missiles do not seem to have flak evade.

I also found that if I kept the fleet moving, the use of Gales in those spots mitigated more damage than when I ran the Sprints. Weird, yea?

That said, the second purpose is one that seems to work fairly well. Offsetting the firing of the Gales. With one pair firing at a further range, it allows for a bit of overlap in the reloads while the other two hulls use Siege Battery 4 for increased building damage to help my Time To Kill (TTK), which works well because of...

Damage Density :

As we covered in a previous article Spread and Splash - A Story of Co-Dependence we reviewed how spread and splash work and their interaction. Given the strength of the walls I wanted my design to focus as much damage as possible where I hit. For that I needed low spread and high splash - exactly opposite of what the rocket inherently has.'Stock' values (15 splash, 150 spread) are a Coverage Efficiency of 25% and a Damage Density of 12.5%. This build (32.5 splash, 75 spread) brings that up to 108% and 54% respectively. Think of it as 'focusing' your rocket damage.

What the numbers don't reflect however is that at target point, 100% of every rocket will have the splash radius overlapping said target on the inside of the 50% splash mark ensuring optimal damage at the target point.

To do this I used Explosive System 4 and Narrowed Firing Aperture to reduce my spread significantly and increase my splash to get the desired effect. This also allowed me to use Siege Battery 4 to increase my building damage significantly as well which in turn helped increase my actual damage density and reduce my TTK.

What that really means is that every time a rocket lands, more of the 'inner circle' of splash damage (damage drop off is linear remember) covers the spread area increasing the damage done in that area allowing me to kill an intended target much quicker, which enabled me to forgo rocket reload and...

Magnus Drive 3 :

I use Mag3 in place of the special that was released with the hull. Again- I do not know if this is the 'best' build- it's just what I've built. The reason I wanted Mag3 was that, initially, it seemed as though we would not be able to shoot down all those mortars, which have YUGE splash and spread, so I wanted to be as far away from them as possible when they landed so I was at the tail end of the splash radius. It also allows me to mostly outrun the coldsnaps.

One thing I did note when using Mag3 over other options was that it changed my targeting on the incoming mortars so that I had a better chance at firing at the tail end of the mortars rather than waste all my salvos on the first ones out- which had a better chance of falling away from me and causing less damage. I don't know if I'm paranoid, but it looks like the first half of the volley of mortars fires with less spread than the last half of the volley. I'll try and test that out in the future.

Given how dependent this hull is on rank, one possibility for a build would be to add another Gale or two which may mitigate more damage that this current setup. Unfortunately, I don't know how that would affect my TTK on the turrets, but if the additional Gales can counter all the mortars, you may be able to run RF-X engine instead and bring the TTK back to the same area. If I hit the lottery and can refit to this idea, I'll test it and report back, or, if anyone is building this fleet in the article and wants to test that for all of us, please let me know the results!!

MX3 v. AA3 v. RA3 :

This one is a very interesting conundrum. On first blush I was very tempted to go with AA3 because of the mortars. What I've found through testing, particularly when you have a full complement of armors, is that AA3 is the worst of the three. Counter-intuitive? Yup.

The other two have yielded some interesting results. They seem to be performing neck and neck when running a Dragon fleet. One will outperform the other by small amounts and they also perform differently in different positions in the fleet (which interestingly enough- is repeatable often).

What gets really interesting is when you run a Savage flag. In that instance, the MX3 reliably outperforms the RA3. Again counter-intuitive. One would think if the Savage reduced the projectile damage a significant amount that the RA3 equipped hulls would clearly outperform the MX3 hulls when running just Dragons. Instead the biggest disparity I've had between the two specials was about 600 damage. Typically they have been around 50. This is another area where improvement can be found.

Charged Armor :

Needed? Yes. I found that 3 Charged X and 2 Charged M was the happy balance point in testing. I tried a few other configurations and did not find a better combination. If you plan on running a Savage with the fleet you may be able to toy with this as well, but I'd hate to have to refit AGAIN once the Flagship comes out.

Phalanx, Gales and Sprints :

As I mentioned above, I forewent Sprints and rely on speed. I'm running only 2 Phalanx 4's in the fleet. Between the remote targeting evade and semi-decent driving I'm finding that even with the occasional 'oops!' in the target the 2 Phalanx work fine which lets me load up on the Gales. I do run 2 Gale 2's though just as another offset cushion to the reload of the Gales.

Random Thoughts :

I hate to say this, but this is easily the most refit and tweaked hull I've had to play with. That is not good. Part of the issue was, and is, the large changes in performance and mechanic interactions with the addition of rank and charged armors. What was working early in the build, did not work later when there was some rank and armor. This is a very poor interaction for the player and thought should be given when designing a target and hull. Unless there is some avenue in which to test builds out, players will be chasing down poor build paths until the 'final', and planned, interactions become clear. I think part of this issue is that the targets are tuned for full ranked hulls (which mine are not as yet) and testing is done on final versions and no thought or planning was given to the interim time a player spends with the fleet and target. It may be an oversight or something that never manifested in testing but should be looked at in the future when developing targets and hulls.

The other aspect that troubles me a bit is that this seems to be exactly what many players complain about - you have to have a top flight build in order to perform even acceptably. Many players complain about the complexity involved in building a fleet and that for many targets you have to have the 'perfect' build in order to succeed or a degree in math to understand what is happening. This target reflects that sentiment.

If you haven't gathered yet, I am not 100% confident in this build because the damage still seems too high given the application the hull is intended for. I know I don't come up with the best builds, but generally speaking, I think I come up with acceptable performing designs and am confident in those designs. This one sets my teeth on edge for some reason. Perhaps because I can still see many items/ideas I'd like to test or possible flaws in my analysis. We'll see...

The Target :

The 117 is, as everyone is aware, a new target and not at full strength yet. This is worrisome given the damage I'm taking and that I will need at least 7 (SEVEN!!) of these targets to fully complete an FM mission when there is even 1 new item added into the Tier 5 Prize Pool (~3.5 million points). I am less than amused. If this were a target where I could do 3 and be done, perhaps the damage would be appropriate, but as it stands now, given that the target is not at full strength, I do not think the payout is appropriate for the anticipated damage output of the target.

There is a new mechanic in these targets that took some of us by surprise. There is a secondary missile that fires from the missile turret. It fires when the primary missile is shot down and targets the hull that shot down the primary missile and can not be countered. I have tested a Zelos running with my Dragons and had some decent success, however, I am NOT going to be driving my FM like that.

Another new twist is the insane projectile speed and flak evade of the mortars. A picture is worth a thousand words and the picture above does that and more. What makes it even more vicious of a mortar is the insane splash radius and spread of the mortar with no appreciable splash damage fall off.

The target itself is also a fairly good sized target. With the ECMs in place, it certainly is not a blitz target like we expected when we saw the Inferno Dragon. This does sadden me some, but, you can still blitz it and with the hull's native Remote Targeting Evade you don't get dinged up too badly, sort of, but certainly not what I'd consider acceptable, particularly given how many I have to do to complete my FM.

The path - this is where I think improvement likely can be had. I think once we find the 'right' path some of this damage may come down. For now, this is the path I'm using and when I go into the target I target the opposite side mortar (you can see me doing this in the video) so the turrets get targeted and killed as well as the Mastadon before I go through the next gate. You can watch the video here:

And I've added a video of a run with the Savage. Hopefully after this VXP weekend I'll get some runs done with full VXP on the fleet and see how much this improves...

I hope this helps some of you finalize your builds and helps you succeed in the new FM targets. I wish I had some more time to write more, but alas, I do not.

If you find something that works well or any good tips or tricks, feel free to post them in the comments, on the video or on the TFC page for the community to see. Good luck fellow pirates!