Regenerating Shields for WM, IS races, by Jason Cawley
Regenerating Shields for WM, IS races
By Jason Cawley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There have been some posts here recently about the general effect of the Regenerating Shields (hereafter RS) LRT. But I thought players might be interested in some greater detail about using this trait with two PRTs to which IMO it is especially well suited. Those being the Warmonger (WM) and the Inner Strength (IS) PRTs.
As the other threads have stressed, RS is most helpful when used on ships with good base armor, such as the cruiser, and when used early before the "monster missles" (doom, arm, omega) come out. The weaker period is the BB era, and especially the later portions of that era. To clarify this discussing of periods, I present a rough classification of game periods based on the type of ships used for main fleets:
- "Scout" Era - DDs and FFs, Weapons tech 10 or below usually.
- Cruiser Era - CAs, BCs, Metas, Rogues, Galleons, WPN 10-14
- Early BB or "Blaster" Era - BBs and some ships from the previous, WPN 16
- Later BB Era - BBs, WPN 20-26
- Nubian or Late Game Era - Nubs, some older BBs, most tech items available.
RS for most races is strongest in the second, and good in the last and the first; it is weaker in the 2 BB periods and especially so in the fourth one.
Now consider the RS WM. He gets two new hulls, the BC and the DN, at con tech 10 and 16 respectively. The BC comes out soon enough after cruisers to arrive at effectively the same time. It features 43% more base armor than the cruiser, 50% more weapons and weapons-possible slots, and about double the defense or electronics-possible slots. For a somewhat higher price to be sure, but in practice about 1/3 more cost per ship or so. Here are some sample BC designs for various achieved tech levels and roles -
- 6 collidial phasers or gatlings
- 3 sappers (tech 9)
- 2 manuever jets
- tech 9 ramscoop or alpha 8 engines (TGD possible though)
- 6 wolverine shields
- Tech required only 6/10-11/7-9/10/x/x
Without RS this ship has 240 shields and 1000 armor; with RS it has 336 + 1000, and 33.6 shield regeneration per round as long as the shields stay up. With the WM bonus speed is 2 1/4, allowing the range 3 weapons to cover the board on round 2 and even the gatling to hit a base that round. Firepower at range 3 (phaser version, which I happen to prefer) is 402 vs. shielded targets and 140 vs. shields down. The anti armor firepower is not great, but a stack of these can drop the enemy shields quickly and get some kills on enemy DDs and cruisers from round 1 or 2 on.
Early jihad missle BC
- 6 jihads
- 5 battle computers
- 6 wolverine shields
- engines as above
RS version gets 504 + 1000 dp + 50 shield/round. The speed is lower, but enough to hit a base round one. The elec is still using the no-tech systems, but more of them than a cruiser can mount thus assuring an initiative edge until the enemy has SBCs/elec 11. Vs. an unjammed target, the expected firepower is 205 to shields and 188 to armor vs. shielded targets and an impressive 752 to armor vs. unshielded ones. They thus work quite well with the previous class as a mixed "two stack attack" fleet.
Later versions of these ships might modify them as follows:
Beamer - engine upgraged to IS-10 (if NRSE) and the jets dropped as unnecessary; shields upgraded to bears, the freed rear slot used for 2 jammer 20's, and the weapons upgraded to blasters (6 hvy blasters and 3 tech 15 sappers, or all mark IV blasters possibly). Gives 700 + 70 / round shielding with RS, some jamming protection from enemy jihads and jugs, and much higher firepower (especially the anti-armor portion). If used against missle BBs, the jamming can even be upgraded to 5 J20s by reducing the weapons to only 6 blasters.
Missle - computers upgraded to SBCs (still using 5 to keep the initiative advantage vs. enemy cruisers), shields upgraded to bears but only 4 now used, 2 jammer 20's added, missles may be upgraded to juggernauts. Better engines of course as well. With those upgrades, these become quite formidable warships, easily outclassing cruisers of equivalent tech and fairly capable of standing up to small BB tokens when used in numbers.
Consider say the later beamer version being fired upon by a jug BB with 7 SBC and 20 jugs. Targeting is +92, -36 for the jamming gives +56. Final accuracy is therefore about 65%, giving expected damage through shields while they are up of 293 from each 6-slot, 195 from the 4 slot, and 98 from the small 2- slots. 11 such jug BBs stacked can therefore kill quite a number of these ships before they close (thus the higher jamming version possible above) but smaller tokens of 5 or so will get only 2-3 kills.
Of course one can also provide some early protection by using chaff; not all enemy missle BBs will have jugs rather than jihads, nor will all enemies use 7 SBCs and no jamming. Considering that the BCs cost about 1/3 what BBs do, with odds one can continue to fight with these in the early "blaster" BB era, though as jug BB tokens get large one will want bigger hull ships oneself.
Then there is the DN. Coming out at con 16, it will generally be available in time for the second BB era and if one is keeping up in the tech race may be available not long after jug BB tokens get large.
The DN has many, many design options. But the key points for RS races using them are the relatively high base armor of 4500 (about as much or more than most BBs they face will have even with armor added), up to 18 slots available for shields, and of course the big DN edge of 10 possible elec slots vs. 7 for BBs.
When using RS, one can simply skip added armor entirely for the beamer version of the DN. This allows weights comparable to armored enemy beamer BBs, and dp of 2520 shields over 4500 armor (w/ bears) or 3185-4410 shields over 4500 armor (using gorillas, with or without one of the front 5 slots used for more weapons - e.g. sappers). With a warp 10 engine and the WM bonus, speed 2 1/4 can be obtained without using the front slot for jets/overthusters. Then one can use 4, 6, or 8 jammers, add 2 computers to get an initiative edge vs. enemy beamer BBs if desired, or 2 beam deflectors; 2-4 capacitors can also be used.
Vs. a fleet that is mainly beam BBs, one might use - 2 SBC, 4 capacitors, 4 jammers, the full 18 shields, 6 sappers and 22 range 3 std beams - or 13 gorillas, 28 std beams and 5 sappers. These ships are light enough even to be overgated through 300/500 gates for the initial deployment to the front, when necessary, the same as other races beamer- jammer BBs with added armors.
For missle versions of the RS DN, one can stay with the no-armor added idea if resources are relatively tight, or add the full valanium despite the RS trait to get 6500 armor for a higher "divisor" against big enemy missles. 2 jammers can be used vs. all comp cap missle BBs while still getting higher initiative by using 8 computers oneself, or if the enemy adds some jamming and uses only 4 computers, one can use 6 computers and 4 jammers to retain initiative and get much better protection vs. his shots than he will have against yours. You get 6 comps vs. 3 jammers in that case, while he has only 4 vs. 4.
Personally, I recommend adding the valanium; the high iron investment a cap missle DN represents is worth protecting, and the limit on the number you can build is likely to be iron (not much different whether you add the valanium or not) rather than resources (valanium does add significantly to that cost).
Well then, one sees that the two main types the RS WM will use in the later BB era get protection values of 2520-4410 shield over armor of 4500 or 6500. Enemy BBs will likely have shielding of only 800, 1400, or 2400 (later) to compare to this, over armor values from 3050 (early, organic armor beamers) to 5000 (full valanium on missle BBs later). Thus one is hardly at any disadvantage; the elec war things are still all there is one's favor, the shields can often stay up longer (better shield - to - armor coverage), the higher firepower on the DNs of course is still there and complimented by initiative/e-war and/or capacitor/deflector availability, etc.
Thus the WM via his special hulls covers the weakest periods other RS races face. Only the later part of the early BB ("blaster" era) presents any problem. That is, after jug BBs are out and formed into fairly large tokens, and before one has DNs oneself to counter them. With a proper race design such a period is not likely to be too long (e.g. if one takes con cheap to get the DNs relatively soon) and some countermeasures are possible for that period anyway (5 jammer variants of the beam BCs, chaff to "tide one over"). So RS can be a fine choice for WMs.
Next I wish to consider RS as an option for IS races. The primary thought here is the availability of the special shield/armor and armor/shield parts. A wonderful feature of the croby sharmor, for instance, is that since it is considered a shield the +65 armor dp portion of it is *not* halved by the RS trait; it thus becomes a 84 shield + 65 armor part (+8.4 per round regen as long as shields hold).
The armor portion of the part "fielded kelarium" is halved, but then the shield portion receives the +40% bonus from the RS trait as well, making it a 70 shield + 87.5 armor part. While not stellar, that is still more than neutronium gives to other RS races in overall dp.
As many IS players no doubt know (and those who have fought them as well) the croby sharmor has an almost magical effect on the fighting ability of the frigate hull in the early game. The FF hull is the cheapest way to buy weapons slots in all of stars; it gets +1 init on the DD hull, and packs it's whole firepower into one large slot. In addition, fighting FFs are the lightest warships in the game, allowing one to move last in battle consistently and thus to choose the range.
The main drawback of the FF hull as a fighting platform is the fact that its defense slot can hold only armor or shields but not both, coupled with the low base armor of the hull. If one shields them, then the 45 base armor is all one gets. That means they cannot take a mine hit without being destroyed, regardless of how many are stacked and how well they are shielded. It also means the effective dp vs. enemy torp or missle fire is only 90 dp per ship, since the 1/2 damage directly to armor, through the shields, will get many kills long before the shields fall. 90 effective dp is not enough to protect or justify the expense of 3 weapons, an engine, etc. So while most races can and do use fighting shielded FFs to counter beam DD hordes, they make poor attacking vessels (bases tend to have the torps) and quickly become obsolete for all but minor skirmish roles.
Armored versions on the other hand (2 organic armor for 395 dp e.g.) have the problem of being unshielded, which means they can't stand up to jihads, take losses from beams from the first round fired upon, take more damage than shielded ships from mine hits, and the like.
But the croby sharmor eliminates this weakness. Even without RS, croby frigates have a nice balance of shields to armor - 120 over 175 dp. Vs. torps that gives a "350 dp divisor" for determining losses while the shields are up, almost 4 times what others get from shielded FFs. The armor is also enough to take mine hits - with one std engine and stacked 5 or higher, the per ship armor damage is only 50 dp, so 3 hits in a row can be taken without kills. Only 2 hits safely with rams, but still not vunerable to loss of a whole fleet to a single mine hit. And while jihad fire is not exactly something such a small ship likes, doubled damage is avoided until the shields fall, which with the excellent shield to armor coverage is almost until the whole token is destroyed.
When RS is added, however, these fighting FFs become still more capable. The armor is unaffected, while the shielding rises to 168 dp + 16.8 per round. In a typical combat that means an RS croby FF gets around 375 dp or so (two regens assumed) or 3-4 times their resource cost, comparable to what cruisers get for the price. So no one benefits as much from RS in the earliest "scout" era as an IS race; indeed they can often use the FFs well into the cruiser era.
The croby sharmor also makes a nice part for cruisers when coupled with the RS trait. A typical cruiser with 3 shields might get 180-300 shield over 700 armor for a std race. With 3 crobies instead, an RS IS race gets 252 + 25 per round over 895 armor. Thus rather than a lower armor value and a lower divisor vs. missle shots, the RS IS race gets more - in the cruiser era that is. One bear shield may be used rather than a 3rd croby to get better shield to armor coverage if desired; that gives 308 + 30.8 a round shielding (better than most will have on their cruisers) and still a superior 830 dp of armor.
But once the BB era is reached, of course RS becomes something of a liability. But not so much as one might suppose for IS race, at least in the earlier "blaster" portion of the BB era. Consider the following BB designs for RS IS races -
Blaster Era RS IS beamer-jammer BB
- 16 hvy blaster
- 4 tech 15 sappers in the rear 2-slots
- 6 jammer 20's
- warp 10 engine
- full bear shields
- *3* fielded kelarium
Gives speed 2 1/4 for round 2 shot at the far edge of the board, as is standard for beamer-jammer BBs in this era. The dp values of this ship are 1330 shields (quite good) and 2262 armor. That must be compared to the values a typical non-RS race will get on its beamer jammers - 800 shields and 3050 or 3100 armor (full organic or 4 neutronium, all that can fit while maintaining speed 2 1/4). The armor is only 3/4 as high, but the shielding is 66% higher and the overall dp is 93% as high (and the same if the shields manage to regen twice before falling).
Taken total effective dp vs. cap missles to be shields + shields + (armor - shields)/2 (to account for doubled damage once shields fall) the figures for the RS IS BB and the std race with organic armor are - RS IS = 1330 + 1330 + 932/2 = 3126 effective dp std = 800 + 800 + 2250/2 = 2725 effective dp So in that respect the edge is to the more heavily shielded RS IS one, by about 15%. And this ignores any benefit from regens. Still, the 3/4 armor value is something of a drawback vs. enemy missle fire, in terms of the early kills through the armor.
But how big a problem is this really, for this sort of ship design and before the dooms come out? Well, the figures and calculations for all that are somewhat complicated, so I will spare everyone the details and simply give the "magic numbers" :-)
Assuming the firing BB design is 20 jug-7 SBC, how many of the beamer jammers discussed above will be lost on average to through-shield damage for various sizes of the jug BB token? Token size firing BBs lost Losses/firing BB 16 none 0 16 -2 .125 23 -3 .13 32 -5 .156 47 -10 .213 Now, considering that (ignoring possible chaff) the jug BBs will get two such "approach shots", those figures are somewhat dangerous to be sure. But with a modest edge in odds (reflecting the far lower mineral cost of the beamer BBs) the 23 and under token sizes are livable, and even the 32 one probably so.
Facing full jug all computer BBs stacked 50 high, sure these ships will have problems. But that is not terribly common, nor likely to be possible at several areas on the map. And unlike other race's beamer jammers (which can lose all their shielding on the second shot even at 2 : 1 odds when facing jugs) one's shields are not likely to be dropped before one gets kills of the enemy, assuming one has some odds advantage to take on missle BBs with beamer ones.
BTW, for one's own missle ships, one should use full fielded kelarium when playing RS IS (until valanium becomes available that is). That gives 1540 shields and 2525 armor; many of the same points about coverage vs. cap missle damage apply. One may however prefer to go with some jamming, since the base armor is not really high enough to withstand jug fire without it. Thus one might use the following design -
RS IS jug missle BB - "attack" or "pocket" BB design
- 12 juggernauts
- 8 tech 15 sappers
- 4 SBC
- 3 jammer 20's
- full bear shields
- full fielded kelarium armor
- warp 10 engines
Gives speed 1 1/4, enough to shoot bases on round one. The less than full missles used allows the available iron to be stretched over more ships thus more dp. The jamming provides some protection vs. enemy base fire and helps cover the lower armor dp problem. The sappers help deal with enemy beamers by ensuring any that get close enough to fire will be shot at with shields down thus damage doubled. The overall shielding of a large token of such ships (considering the iron expense paid) should be quite impressive for the era.
Dooms and better missles however are a different story. The ships outlined above are not going to stand up well to doom fire or better; but then neither is any BB with only tech 10-13 defensive systems. By the time such weapons are out and being gathered into larger tokens, one will want to have gorrilla shields and valanium armor, and if possible jammer 30s. Then use full valanium on the missle BBs and 4 valanium on the beamer-jammers. One will then feel the effects of the RS trait weakness, to be sure. But the better defensive systems will make it a bit more livable.
One may therefore wish to design for such a need, e.g. not taking all fields besides wpns expensive, if one can manage that in ones RS IS race design. All this shows that these two PRTs can deal with the drawbacks of RS rather better than most races. The WM can get through the whole tech tree with only one short period of weakness - later in the jug era, with larger tokens out making BCs vunerable, but before DNs are available. The IS is not in quite that good a shape - from late in the jug era until the nubians come out, RS will be a weakness. But then the IS gets rather more out of the RS trait in the first 2 periods than most races do; and the earlier part of the BB era is quite livable if one uses the right BB designs.
I hope all this is interesting.