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Author Topic: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf  (Read 2169 times)

pairedeciseaux

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0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« on: July 14, 2020, 03:44:09 PM »

Building on lessons learned from my previous attempt at testing weapon (see: Thumper experiment), I have done an evaluation of medium energy guns on Wolf. Specifically I tested: Pulse Laser, Heavy Blaster, Mining Blaster and Phase Lance.

I used a heavily min-maxed Wolf loadout as a platform: 2 LRPD, the medium energy gun, 10 capacitors, 10 vents, Flux Distributor, Flux Coil, Reinforced Bulkhead, 2 unused OP except in the Heavy Blaster version.

Notes:
the Wolf loadout and fleet encounter simulated here may of may not be relevant to you
you can’t reasonably translate the results obtained on Wolf to other ships

Part 1 - attacking

The test fleet has 3 Wolves with steady personality.

There are 3 opposing fleets fought separately, providing a total of 12 matchups. I ran 12 repetitions of each matchups (not counting the rare ship escape) using the same method as in my previous attempt (3 concurrent Starsector instances, manual timers outside the game).

Opposing fleet 1: one Enforcer (same loadout as in my previous attempt), steady personality, this variant has 750 armor and 7000 hull

Opposing fleet 2: two Wayfarer, Standard variant, steady personality

Opposing fleet 3: two civilian Buffalo, Standard variant, steady personality

Adding the time to destroy the enemy fleet of all repetitions and of all enemy fleets together gives the following global ranking from best to worse:

  • (#1) 3 Wolves with Phase Lance, with a total of 2945 seconds, where the fastest
  • (#2) 3 Wolves with Heavy Blaster, with 218 additional seconds compared to #1, were so not too far from #1
  • (#3) the Mining Blaster version (814 additional seconds compared to #1) and the Pulse Laser version (835 additional seconds compared to #1) were slowest

I am surprised to see Phase Lance at the top, I almost never use it so I forgot about it’s damage potential. Heavy Blaster being in a good position is the expected result AFAIC.

Breakdown per opposing fleet:
Spoiler
1 Enforcer
  • 3 Wolves with Phase Lance, 1285 seconds, median time is 108, average is 107, very low dispersion
  • 3 Wolves with Heavy Blaster, 1413 seconds, median time is 108, average is 118
  • 3 Wolves with Mining Blaster, 1755 seconds, median time is 125, average is 146, high dispersion
  • 3 Wolves with Pulse Laser, 2054 seconds, median time is 167, average is 171

2 Wayfarer
  • 3 Wolves with Phase Lance, 1098 seconds, median time is 86
  • 3 Wolves with Pulse Laser, 1142 seconds, median time is 92
  • 3 Wolves with Heavy Blaster, 1158 seconds, median time is 95, very close to #2
  • 3 Wolves with Mining Blaster, 1413 seconds, median time is 95, high dispersion

2 Buffalo
  • 3 Wolves with Phase Lance, 562 seconds, median time is 47
  • 3 Wolves with Pulse Laser, 584 seconds, median time is 49, not too far from #1
  • 3 Wolves with Mining Blaster, 591 seconds, median time is 50, so close to #2
  • 3 Wolves with Heavy Blaster, 592 seconds, median time is 48, very very close to #2 and #3
[close]

Part 2 - defending

The test fleet has 1 Wolf with cautious personality. I used the same loadouts as above, plus a special one with no medium gun.

There is one opposing fleet, providing 5 matchups. I ran 48 repetitions of each matchups. I used a simpler method with 6 concurrent Starsector instances, manually writing down the in game timer displayed in the bottom left corner, at the end of each battle when the timer stopped.

Opposing fleet: 1 Drover with 2 Gladius wings, with steady personality.

Adding the survival time of all repetitions for the no medium weapon version (reference) together gives a total of 2744 seconds. In the ranking below, from best to worse, there are two main data points in curly brackets: {additional time compared to reference version, and percentage of samples surviving longer than 90 seconds}.

  • (#1) 1 Wolf with Pulse Laser, {1585 seconds, 33%}, survived for the longest time, median time is 77
  • (#2) the Heavy Blaster version {981 seconds, 21%} and Mining Blaster version {925 seconds, 21%}, survived measurably worse than #1, but interestingly enough both versions had very close performance, median time is respectively 66 and 67
  • (#3) 1 Wolf with Phase Lance, {642 seconds, 17%}, was measurably worse than #1 and #2, median time is 60, so half-way between #2 and #4
  • (#4) 1 Wolf with no medium gun, {0 seconds, 0%}, median time is 56, longest surviving time is 76, it was a slaughter

I find the percentage used above meaningful: a ship that last longer will help your fleet some way or another. In order to further illustrate that #3 is not close to #2, I should add that with both Heavy Blaster and Mining Blaster around 75% samples survived longer than 60 seconds, but with Phase Lance only around 50% did.

Comments

Again, beware, the Wolf loadout used for this evaluation is relevant to me, but may not be relevant to you. Also those test battles certainly don’t recreate all situations that Wolves might encounter in a real campaign. And… what matter is real gameplay you have and value, not those numbers or rankings.

Here the attacking battles had the Wolves in numerical superiority. Which provided good flanking opportunities. If the test fleet had 2 Wolves instead of 3, it would have been much different.

Having said that,

What an interesting situation we have here: the best tested attacking weapon is the worse tested defending weapon at the same time. That’s probably why, I guess, a long time ago I stopped using Phase Lance. Because I like having my AI Wolves survive tough fights. Though I should probably use it on other ships. To its credit, in all attacking matchups it has the lowest median time and lowest minimum time of all. And the time dispersion is always in a good spot, which means it was consistent, reliable in all those attacking contexts.

Heavy Blaster looks like a good compromise, for most situations, including when you expect your Wolves to deal damage to ships with respectable armor. Which is exactly how I have used it since a long time, mainly on player-piloted Wolf.

Pulse Laser is a reliable all purpose weapon that won’t endanger Wolf too much, compared to all other options tested here. It is effective against ships with lowish armor and fighters: it scored second place against Wayfarer and Buffalo, after Phase Lance and before Heavy Blaster and Mining Blaster. Once armor gets thick, Pulse Laser struggles to pierce. All of this reflects my real campaign experience with Pulse Laser on AI Wolves.

Mining Blaster is not a bad option damage-wise. In the Enforcer and Wayfarer matchups it proved less reliable than Heavy Blaster: much higher dispersion of samples. Specifically in the Wayfarer matchup, the median time is identical to Heavy Blaster, but its samples are spread out… which translate in a worse total time. Interpretation: in similar matchups you may expect identical overall performance as Heavy Blaster, but when it misses its target or when damage is absorbed by shield, there are real consequences on Wolf. In other words, Mining Blaster may be used when it has a really high chance to hit armor/hull, and should not be used on Wolf if you value reliability.

(I will provide full raw data and statistical analysis CSVs if people are interested)
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Thaago

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 04:54:22 PM »

As in the other thread, thanks for doing tests and laying things out! The details in the numbers confirms my opinions pretty well: Wolf with Pulse laser just can't effectively deal with heavy armor. The phase lance's good performance is nice to see.

My main critique here is using only 2 small slots and at the same time using reinforced bulkheads. Thats in my opinion not a very realistic loadout, and it is especially weak vs fighters.

I very much think the addition of an Ion Cannon to the front small, maybe switching the lrpds to regular pds, definitely dropping reinforced bulkheads, and maybe adding Unstable Injector (which is really good for skirmishing wolves) could potentially really change the tests.

Missiles... on the one hand, having them off makes the test much 'cleaner', as they are very swingy and could potentially drown out the main gun choice (though from your numbers, I don't think so). Otoh, they form a large part of the Wolve's firepower, so its another tick in the 'not quite realistic' column. I'm unsure if it would be better to put them on.
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RustyCabbage

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2020, 07:14:43 PM »

This is a nice post.

I'm curious how a Wolf equipped with an Antimatter Blaster would do. Obviously quite terribly against the fighters, but they've always compared similarly to Phase Lances whenever I tried, so I wonder how they'd do on the attack side.

Thaago

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2020, 07:52:35 PM »

An AM blaster in the medium? Interesting! Their DPS and efficiency really aren't so far behind an IR pulse in terms of flux budget and they carry the armor penetration (I was playing around with them on Shrikes and Centurions in campaign - player shrike with 2x am blaster if you can't find a heavy blaster is actually quite good). Maybe AM blaster + 1x IR pulse + 2x pd laser? Due to range I'd probably stick on Unstable Injector anyways.

[Edit]
Just played around a bit: AM blaster in hardpoint, ir pulse, 2x pd, sabots, maxed vents and caps, unstable injector. Actually quite effective! For duels it needs the sabots because shields, but in asymmetric situations its quite nasty. I miss the ion damage of an ion cannon, but the relatively good efficiency and heavy alpha damage has a charm all its own.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 08:10:23 PM by Thaago »
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Grievous69

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2020, 01:52:19 AM »

I'm actually not that surprised on the attacking part. Enforcer currently has 1.2 shields, it's only normal for it to be overwhelmed with 3 Phase lances. And tbh the next two tests are so easy I don't even know what it changes. I don't think I've ever thought in campaign ''damn, I wish that frigate could kill that Wayfarer faster''. Sure it's better for them to be fast but it's even better for them to be reliable and survivable. I think you'd see very different results vs more equal fleets, everything except the Pulse laser you listed is a win more weapon, or snowball weapons whatever you prefer. Horrible efficiency with burst = sucks against anything that can withstand the first shot. Also I'm not saying measuring time to kill was wrong, but most of the people have problems with frigate lifespans in campaign. That's at least 90% of the complaints I've seen. Usually you'd also have support Wolfs but I see why you didn't include these weapons here. So that's why I think your second defensive test is far more important.

I was also really surprised that the Mining Blaster performed similarly as the Heavy Blaster. I guess one shot deletes any fighter, saving you flux in the long run. And I agree with Thaago, you're not really gonna be using that medium to kill fighters, there are small mounts for that. If there was an IR Pulse Laser there, the defensive test would be very different I think.

But very good job running all of these fights, sorry I've been a bit critical.
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Mondaymonkey

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 07:33:06 AM »

Not surprised with anything. I am not a big fan of a wolf, but if I use it - it always phase lance + lrpd + random things.
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Scorpixel

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2020, 10:12:20 AM »

Are only 2 lrpd really enough for a wolf to do anything? Would rather to squeeze some more dps and op with normal pd, along the ion cannon mentioned above. It really changes everything to have some emp on a ship that either bullies weaklings or flank actual threats, no matter the main gun.

If going for long range wolf we might as well go full meme with triple tac and graviton.
Edit: This is a very serious build, it's almost as useful as a single xyphos (not a wing, just one)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 12:09:23 PM by Scorpixel »
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Mondaymonkey

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2020, 11:05:29 AM »

triple tac and graviton.

Thank you for laughing a lot. I mean it!

Quote
Are only 2 lrpd really enough for a wolf to do anything?

Well... just try it... They are fine in both anti-fighter and suppression role. Will no shot any missiles, tho'.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 11:07:34 AM by Mondaymonkey »
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Scorpixel

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2020, 12:07:39 PM »

Well... just try it... They are fine in both anti-fighter and suppression role. Will no shot any missiles, tho'.
Certainly pressure is the thing they can actually do, but effective against fighters really? It's not like i ever tried to keep wolves beyond midgame so i wouldn't know, as they have the unfortunate tendency to just get flanked and die no matter how easy the fight
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wei270

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2020, 02:14:24 AM »

Pulse Laser is actually one of the most flux efficient medium weapons, and flux efficient = dps in alot of cases. the reason i don't like it though is that it looks ugly as *** on a wolf and a lot of other ships.
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Grievous69

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2020, 02:23:24 AM »

Pulse Laser is actually one of the most flux efficient medium weapons, and flux efficient = dps in alot of cases. the reason i don't like it though is that it looks ugly as *** on a wolf and a lot of other ships.
I mean it's not hard being the most efficient medium energy weapon when every other assault option is horribly inefficient. For the right reasons mind you, but just saying.
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Thaago

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2020, 09:36:47 AM »

It also depends on what you're fighting. The 100 penetration of the Pulse Laser is really poor against armor and even hull of heavily armored ships. In that case a phase lance or even one of the blasters is actually better in terms of flux efficiency.
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TaLaR

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Re: 0.9.1a weapon testing - medium gun on Wolf
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2020, 09:57:29 AM »

While vanilla uses fewer officers, in Nexelerin even low level fleets have officers for most ships, often with armor skills. At which point a ship MUST have high-damage-per-shot energy weapon or HE, or even killing a basic frigate will take ages.
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