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|ATTENTION : CLEANING REQUIRED !|
When your base reaches Level 50, your base can be attacked by ANY PLAYER L50 or higher. This is a huge change, and if you are not expecting it, can be a big shock that can take quite a while to recover from. It also increases the levels of salvages and bases you need to hit for alliance points.
Kixeye should do more to warn players (e.g., give them a warning notice when they turn L40), but they don't so hopefully you will find this page instead.
This page offers some advice on how to prepare, and how to deal with it when it comes.
I have to be honest - when you reach L50, it will hurt for a while. I know very few players who were truly ready, though some can do very well. It helps to realise that getting hit is part of the game - noone's base is safe from someone who is determined and has the right fleet - L80's still get bubbled. The main thing I can suggest is to plan for it and embrace the pain - your base will get hit more, that is a fact, so accept it, adapt, and view it as a chance to learn and improve your base. Remember - all L50's have or will go through the same pain, so if you can adapt faster/better you can gain an advantage.
Your base will get hit more if you are part of an Alliance, simply because Alliance players need to hit 5xL50 or greater bases per week (at 2 or 3 stars) to get their full quota of ally points, and many alliances expect their members to contribute in this way. Being part of ana alliance normally affords you some protection and advice from higher level players; also the bonuses that ally points bring (e.g., up to +20% accuracy) are tangible. Even if you are not part of an alliance, you will get hit more by players that want your res, or out practicing as they deem the lower 50's as "easy bases". If your alliance declares "Enemies/Foes for the Week", you will probably get hit more, as the enemy get double the ally points (now 400) for blowing up your base.
Preparing for Level 50
The main thing to understand is how you gain levels, so you can slow this down - you want to take as long as possible to reach L50. There is a whole page on [Experience] but in essence, you increase levels when you gain Experience (XP), and you gain XP in two main ways: banking [Resources] and spending [Resources].
Banking harvested resources (e.g., from you base's wind turbines) increases XP slightly faster than bringing in res from your ship's cargo (e.g., from hitting cargo fleets, mines, or bases), but if you have to spend res to repair after hitting, then the two methods essentially become very similar. If you fill your warehouses, then any new res you bring in will not count towards your XP. But if you base is attacked and they take res, then you have essentially gained XP for no benefit, so try to avoid this.
But more importantly, spending res on research, upgrades and building ships gains you XP at THREE TIMES the amount that the res increased your XP when you first bought it in. So be very, very careful what you research and build - only do what is necessary to prepare for L50. I have hulls and Specials I have still not researched at L60. If you work hard at the Campaigns, Forsaken Missions and Raids, you can get hulls that are better and that do not need research. Try to only build hulls that you really need and that will have a long useful life. I have built fleets that quickly become outdated when I got new tech - this was a waste of time, res and XP. Refitting will extend their life, but will also be wasting some res and XP. Try to only build Draconian or advanced hulls (e.g. Battle Barge A (available in the first Campaign) instead of Battle Barge) as these can be retrofitted to extend their useful life. Find "Campaigns" below. The same goes for weapons - I have weapons still not researched in my lab. Try to get the launchers if you can - they are a game changer, even on lower or mid level hulls (even Sea Scorpion), though are no good for defense (except on the Enforcer, where they are fantastic). UAVs are also pretty strong, can work on some lower to mid level hulls (e.g., Floating Fortress), I would say not as strong in attack, but quite strong in defense.
So what can you do to prepare for L50? the main thing, other than slowing your XP growth, is to prepare your base for defense.
Base defense after L50 is quite different because the type of attacks can be quite different. Bear in mind that when you reach L50, you will get flattened on a regular basis, but there are things you can do to reduce the frequency of a severe hit. Really, there are three types of hits you need to defend against:
- Low level fleets. These are essentially players of a similar level to you. Hopefully, you could defend against them when you were under L50, so you will still be able to defend against them after L50. If not, then do more research on [Base Designs] and [Base Defenses] and ask for advice/help.
- Mid level fleets. These range from Sawfish and Maulers up to Missile Cruiser X (MCX). With luck and planning, you should be able to stop them reasonably early on in your 50's, or at least serious deter them, or damage them in the process. You can deter them with drones - many mid-level players will give up and move on to easier targets - see more below.
- High level fleets. These range from possibly MCX up to Nuclear Cruiser, Hellstrike and Bezerker. It is very doubtful you will be able to stop these for quite a while - I am L61 now, and I have only just started being able to stop most of these fleets, but I still can't stop them all, and probably never will. Drones might deter a few high-level players, but most will drain them or have a fleet that can handle them (e.g. rockets).
So at L50, your focus should be to reduce the frequency of a severe hit by stopping low level fleets and as many mid level fleets as possible. Below are some strategies:
- [Drones]. Sure, some higher level players hate them, but they are a tool, so I would say use them. They can make many attacks more time consuming/boring/a hassle, which deters enough players for me to suggest you try them. Seige Drones do very little dammage to ships, so are not much good, though they can still deter and distract some players that don't realise this. Blitz drones do reasonable damage, but by far the best are the [Piranha Drone Module] - they do a lot of ship damage and are the fastest to repair, but then they won't be as useful in Forsaken Missions and Raids, but I think they are still worth it. Pirhana drones are also the only ones that appear in Forsaken Missions (the others are only in raids), so if you can get them, go for it. A couple may not be enough - 4 or more are ideal. I've seen bases with 3-4 arbiters full of drones. Expect experienced players to 'drain' or 'bleed' them - sit ourside your base for ages with a cannon or rocket fleet and kill all the drones, then send in their base attack fleet, but for each of these players, there will hopefully be a few that give up, and it is still of benefit to slow them down like this as it gives you sector / Alliance time to respond to the attack by guarding your base, and hitting the attacker. If you build the arbiter with an anti-mortar or anti-missile, then you can actually stop the drones releasing by clicking on the open ocean (i.e. moving), and then release new drones by clicking on a target again. So if you are in your base when attacked, you can prevent a bleed, or even make them think you are drained and then release the drones when they are comitted :) Be sure your arbiter cannot be sniped from outside the base, and that it does not have any movement so it can't be drawn out.
- Flack and bombard rocket turrets are increasingly becoming ineffective as many attacks are from other weapon types (particularly Launchers and Rockets) and many higher level fleets can overwhelm with volume. They are good against UAVs, though I have not seen many UAV attacks, and a UAV fleet will probably be quite high level and get through anyway. So I would say don't build them or change them to something that is useful more often. Ideally, don't put too much time into researching and building them in the first place. The Coaxial turret is great, but it is Teir 4 on Forsaken Missions, so could be out of reach.
- Howitzers and Sentinels (excluding Sentinel 5) are pretty ineffective in L50+ bases. So ideally, don't put too much time into researching and building them in the first place. It can be hard to accept at first, but the Howtizer gets outranged by pretty much anything, and when it fires, it only hits one ship, and the sentinel has ok range, but weak damage and again only hits one ship at a time.
- Use Cerberus Rockets (in the channel) and Victory Mortars (near the Outpost) as a great combo. You should be able to find some examples online (hopefully someone can link to them here), but the idea is that the Cerbs are quite painful (even for most high level fleets) so they make the attacker stop - hopefully long enough for the Vics to hit (which are also quite painful). Both Cerbs and Vics have splash, so hit multiple boats at once. Ideally, the attacker will have to choose between painful Cerb hits and painful Vic hits. In reality, some attackers have anti-morts, so try to overwhelm these with slide loader and with a couple of boats of mortars (I still use 2 old Levi+Mortar in base defense at L61+, but I'm aiming for a DNX). This can be enough for mid-level attacks, but most high level fleets will be able to kill a Cerb and move on before the mortars hit. In this case, try mixing up turrent specials (Lead Panels, Reactive, etc), try having some Cerb turrets all come in range simultaneously so they have to stop for longer, and try adding 'stopper' ships too (e.g. painful rockets or ballistic these can even get quite a long range).
- Aim for some Level 6 [Wall] as even one row of this can block all splash, including the radioactive splash from launcher overloads. Start by just putting one row of it between each turret.
- Have a complimentary defense fleet. A mix of defense types (reactive, ablative, high evade) and attack types (drone, ballistic or rockets, mortar, UAV) is ideal.
- Some 'stoppers' (ballistic (ideally Chain Gun) or rockets) and some mortars are important. Most weapons will be outranged by launchers, missiles+SFB3 or UAVs, but you can still use them as stoppers, overwhelming mortars etc.
- Launchers are not much good as defense as you need multiple ships and they are spread out to the overload wears off too quick (with the exception of the Enforcer which is fantastic).
- I haven't seen missiles be all that effective vs mid levels, and pretty weak vs high levels. Drac mortars are much lighter - this will become important later, as you will run out of weight for your fleet - D71 mortars (Campaign: Shell the Shore) are probably the best for this.
- Drones are mentioned above.
- As of Aug 2014, the most common attack by far (~75%) is launchers, so high evade is very important, and high Radioactive resistance is desirable (but not as easy to get, and not as versatile). So the older Rampart and Goliath 9-40% Evade) are not much good any more - they are pretty outdated tech, so finding a good ballistic hull is harder, but options include Battleship (Campaign: Eye of the Storm, Pack 1), Juggernaut, Juggernaut X, Strike Cruiser X and maybe Strike Cruiser, Battle Cruiser, BCX. A great mortar hull is the Dreadnought X (especially R3).
- I am seeing UAVs as an increasingly effective defense - even a floating fortress can wear down mid to high level ships surprisingly quickly - a big bonus is that they ignore evade. Try to position the UAV hull out of range of launchers, but where it can harrass them along a good stretch of the channel.
- Eventually aim for an Enforcer above all else. Personally, at L60, I got an Enforcer+Launchers, Harlock's Atlas + UAVs, 2xLeviathans+Mortar (to be upgraded) and a small ballistic and I am stopping all Nuclear Cruiser fleets and most other things - but it took 10-20 levels of work to get there (I was caught by surprise back when the change was L40).
- Get better defensive tech as you can, via [Forsaken Missions], Raids and Campaigns - see below.
- Harpoons (FM Tier 3) are pretty good against mid level fleets and of a litttle help vs high level (replace some Vics).
- Two Napalm (FM Tier 4) with range booster and good base design will stop almost all mid level fleets but suck against high level fleets.
- Meteor mortars (FM T4) might be okish vs mid, but are pretty ineffective vs high level fleets. Not recommended.
- Sentinel 5 (Campaign: Death Grip, Pack 2) is pretty painful vs mid, and somewhat against high (maybe replace some Vics).
- The Disruptor (Campaign: Hunt the Nemesis, Pack 2 - not as hard as you might think) is fantastic as a 'stopper' and a 'slower' (replace some Cerbs).
- Halo (Campaign: Eye of the Storm, Pack 2) is pretty good if you can slow them enough (replace some Vics).
- Javelin (Campaign: Boiling Seas, Pack 2) is pretty good if you can slow them enough, but it only hits one ship at once and has a very slow reload (replace some Vics).
- [Campaigns] are often a great option as you know what you will win, some of the tech is very good, and some is not too hard to get. A hilght from each campaign: Battle Barge A, Leviathan A, Floating Fortress A, Rampart and D2E armour (very useful), Mauler, Battleship, Mercury, Goliath. Also the best place to get the Disruptor, Halo and Javelin.
- [Forsaken Missions] can be very valuable. While it is difficult for lower levels to do FMs, the reward is quite high - done right, you can get a lot of resoures, uranium and blueprints. It is discouraging that the blueprint awarded is random, but this essentially just means you have to commit to doing the FM for multiple weeks to get a good result. If you stop at Teir 3 for multiple weeks, then later you will have to re-do all the Teir 3 work to get to Teir 4, but will not get the Teir 3 rewards (because you will get to the point where you have them all). For this reason, I suggest within a few weeks of getting Teir 3, that you try going all the way to Teir 4. It is possible to get to Teir 4 by hitting only Level 27 [Military Strongholds]. There is a chart on the MS page that shows how many MS of a certain level you need to kill to get a certain Teir. So for Level 27 you need 164 for Teir 3 or 295 for Teir 4. While that sounds insane, you can get to the point of having 6 fleets all on auto (click attack and ignore - don't go in a drive) and hitting 1-3 before coming back for instant repair. Seige and Blitz drones work well for this, even pirhana in the right setup. Fleets can be SeaWolf or BattleBarge (BBa is quite useful with the retrofits - get it in the first Campaign), even Leviathan, Sea Scorpion or Hammerhead (again, try to get the advanced variants to you can Retrofit them). Thud with Hardened barrels and Engine 2 or greater works quite well, though watch a few attacks - at least one boat should have enough range to hit the far turret, or they will flounder for ages turning around, and take a lot more damage. Also experiment with the best direction to attack from. In general, at under L50 aim for Teir 1 and 2, and over L50 aim for Teir 3 and 4 togeather.
So in summary: accept that you will get flattened more. Try to stop low, then mid, then high levels - don't even try to stop high levels to begin with. Try ~4+ drones as a deterrent. Measure your success against the % damage you inflict (in the Battle Log) on different fleet types. Learn and adapt.
[ Article dated AUGUST 2014 ]
Dealing with Level 50
Bear in mind that when you reach L50, it will hurt for a while. The main thing I can suggest is to embrace the pain - your base will get hit more, that is a fact, so accept it, adapt, and view it as a chance to learn and improve your base.
If your base gets hit, you can always repair, so there are only 3 things that are really that annoying about getting hit:
- If your dock gets hit, you need to coin or wait for 2 hours for it to repair. This may be the biggest annoyance, especially if it happens when you were away and and come back for an evening of gaming. Here are some tips:
- Coin and move on. This is obviously what Kixeye want you to do. 40c for an evening of gaming maybe acceptable for some. But will not be for others, which is understandable.
- Use your radio tower to ensure you are emailed when your base is hit. Then you can click repair asap and you will have your dock when you need it. With some tinkering and googling, you could even have your email send you a text when this type of message arrives (can be quite tricky). Unfortunately, Kixeye's emails are rather unreliable. KIX warning emails and texts used to work, however, as of this writing, AUG 2014, it is pretty darned broken.
- Provoke an attack of your base before you sign off, so you can repair while your away (by attacking a player base, or stealing their res, etc). This can be unpredictable - people don't always hit when you expect, but you might find some particulary agressive alliance - use them to your advantage. You could also ask in open chat for a 'base test' aka - ask for someone to attack your base to test its defenses. If you move your dock out of the way, most 'testers' will leave it alone. You could ask a friend to attack, even open up the wall for them - this is called getting a 'frubble' ("Friendly bubble") and is generally considered a shameful thing to do in many circles.
- As an aside, I personally do hit bases to try to get my alli quota, but I do my best to try to avoid hitting the dock. You only need 2 stars, which means over 50% dammage and destroy their outpost. Anything else is unnecessary for ally points, though 3 stars will give you more medals (though for L50's, it will probably only give 1 medal if you are lucky). I think this is nice ettiquette to avoid the dock, but I have not seen a huge number of players do the same.
- You should experiment with where you put your dock. If you put it right beside your outpost, it is almost guaranteed to get hit. If you put it at the far end of their attack path, it might fare better. Some people put it as far away from the base entrance as possible - out in open water - this can work - if the attacker only cares about the ally points, they may not bother to travel over to it. Though try not to put it due North - many players peek a base from the north (to stay more hidden), so they will hit it by mistake.
- You lose resources. This can be quite a hassle if you are newly L50 and you struggle to collect resources, although it is less of a problem now that many people are leveling up their fleets and leaving open cargo around - they often want it taken to it will respawn (though ask them in chat to be sure). Some tips:
- Don't build too many warehouses. Every destroyed warehouse loses you 10% of your resources (The outpost loses you 20% (or is it 30%?)). After L50, I would suggest you focus on upgrading your warehouses to a high level instead of building new ones, possibly even scrap some warehouses.
- Plan for being hit. Take into account the duration of your bubble and how early in the week it is (ally points reset on Monday, so you will get hit more early in the week). Collect res only when you are going to need it for something, and ideally, only when you won't loose it.
- Provoke an attack of your base before you collect res, so you don't loose much and you can collect under a bubble. See above. Again, try to get attacked on your own terms and use it to your advantage.
- Stash your res. This can be great if used right. Start building something before your base it hit so your warehouses are empty, then after the hit, cancel the build and get a refund. Again, it works best if you can control when you get hit. This is another good reason to leave some things un-researched. You get a refund based on the percentage completed - cancel half way through and get 50% back, cancel immediately and get 99% back. So this works best with tech that takes a long time to build/research. It also works best if you are not trying to build/research anything useful at the time. You can do this with Tactical, Naval, Weapons, Advanced, and also ship builds, but not with the Retrofit Lab. Tactical is best as it has very long research times (up to 14 days) and some reasonably expensive items (~30 mil of each res). But Naval, Weapons and Advanced have items that are about 3 days and 20-30 mil of each. Shipyard is generally the last resort as you always have hulls you want to build. Be careful you don't cancel more than your warehouse can hold or you will probably loose it - you can temporarily 'overfill' warehouses if you cancel a shipbuild (which can be useful if you need to build something more than your warehouse can hold), but this does not reliably work by cancelling any other activity, and if you reload Battle Pirates, the excess will be gone.
- Protect items you want undamaged - put them at the end of the attack path, or in open water as far from your base entrance as possible. Though this won't work so much if your base is routinely 'flattened' completely.
- Your building/upgrading stops while its damaged. This can also be a hassle, and can slow things down considerably. Some tips:
- Use your radio tower to ensure you are emailed when your base is hit. See above for details. Don't count on this notice working reliably though. [It used to work well but the email and text msg notices broke in early 2014, Kix has attempted a fix to no good effect.]
- Again, provoke an attack of your base before you sign off, so you can repair while your away. Most buildings repair immediately, but they need you to click that repair button.
- Protect items you want undamaged - put them at the end of the attack path, or in open water as far from your base entrance as possible. Though this won't work so much if your base is routinely 'flattened' completely. I've sometimes moved an upgrading turret close to my outpost so it got damaged less.
Good luck, and have fun - try to think of it as a challenge you want to beat, and measure your progress in small steps.