It’s been a while since I checked in, but there’s been some interesting happenings that I felt I had to report on.
First of all, there’s been a bit of a change to shield systems, so lets talk about that.
You know me… love a shield.
In fact, they are part of our clan’s tactical doctrine and have been since before I first climbed into a Warhorse.
Other clans have other doctrines. I know at least one that promotes crit-kill to win fights above all else, and it is the perfect counter for our shields because it simply ignores them.
Others go for speed and dodge. Its a good game of rock – paper -scissors that we all love.
The problem that we have found though, is that with the advent of all of the varied damage multiplying systems , our shields have become less effective. Where before it was just crit kill that could take a shield heavy mech out, now they can be destroyed by massive damage as well.
With hits going up into the tens of thousands of damage points, there is no way even a full set of Niode shields can mitigate the damage.
Ergo, Niode shields are only half as useful as they once were since there are now two legitimate ways to bypass them.
Bottom, said Pooh….
I mean, look at the kit on the market nowadays. Even a Red Ant can take down those gorgeous big 110 ton mechs.
I’ll cover that off later.
The point is though that any kind of augmentation to shields is going to be gladly welcomed.
I mean, I love a freebie. Who doesn’t?
And I love a shield.
In my books, that’s twice the loving…
Ooh – er Mrs…
But truth to tell, even though a quick glance through the shield catalogue showed some handy speed boosts, there were other things going on and I didn’t take that much notice. Plus one, two, four… even seven in some cases. Not to be sneezed at, but for some reason it just didn’t register.
Well, except for wondering how they’d done it. I knew it couldn’t be a resonance field of any kind because I’d have noticed the extra generators strapped to my mechs.
Teflon coating to allow them to slip through the air more easily? Perhaps grease of some kind?
I hoped it wasn’t any other sorts of certain lubricants… I mean I know I keep saying I love a shield, but there’s limits…
Suffice to say that the speed increase was filed away for further analysis (when I got around to it) and I prepared for war.
Less specialists than we could have hoped for, but even as our “Tail End Charlie” I got assigned one of the coveted slots with my cruisers. I had a new mech to drop into the line, a few equipment upgrades to carry out plus a fair swag of weapons to refit. You get that when you gain access to a new set of crystal weapons to pad out the good stuff. Missiles in this case, which was good for my Spitfire and Megazome classes.
As a defensive specialist, I spend a fair amount of time and niodage on my spec formation. There has been more than one occasion when my higher ups have raised an eyebrow when they have seen the diversion of funds from my main formation to my cruisers.
In most cases I have managed to keep them shut up by simply shutting out all comers during a war. Nothing like producing a clean sheet to keep the boss happy.
Enter one Randy Taylor Esquire.
Now I won’t have a word said against Randy. Sterling chap, a really stand up bloke who i have a lot of time for.
He was even my C.O. during FW3 when we teamed up with the Exiles. It stands out as the most enjoyable Faction War from my point of view to date. Of course that was back when he still had his mustache, which was legendary even back then.
That was before it gained sentience in its own right and headed off as a career pirate into the nether reaches of the universe. But that’s a tale that already been told.
Now Randy has another quality. He is determined and prepared. He is the prime example of something that I have been saying for years now with regard to specialists; any specialist can be beaten if you come at us with a valid formation and enough of a level advantage.
Randy has done so for more wars than I can recall.
Oh, to start off with he had a decent enough formation but he still couldn’t take me. He was determined though… every war, regular as clockwork he would try me again.
Then eventually came the tipping point. He had enough of a level advantage on me to take me out.
Suddenly my clean defensive sheets were a thing of history, and so it has continued every time he has faced me in battle.
So when the draw came out and it turned out that we were facing his Unicorn’s, I grimaced to myself and accepted the fact that there would be no clean sheet this war either.
Oh, I had fun. A few folks stopped by to try me out and were shown the error of their ways. One of our other opponents even had their own 70 ton spec up. Its always nice to be able to make an attack run without having to swap out.
But as sure potatoes are better off deep fried, day 3 dawned and we were facing the Unicorns.
And regular as clockwork, Randy came calling.
And to be honest, the battle started pretty much as I expected.
Now at my level I’ve been saddled with Formation Caelus, which gives me 6 ranks of 5 plus a useless rank of 4 out front. This consists my worst 4 mechs and they are there to hopefully get a lucky shot and break up the front rank of my opponent. It’s really rank 2 where the fun starts and I can go to work properly with my Infernos.
The problem was that at Randy’s level, he is hitting me with ranks of 6 (and seven of them at that!!!) and outgunning me massively. My front four got a few shots off but they went down with relative ease. My Infernos caused some damage but in the end they went down as well and Randy still had a full front line.
I tried to slow the rot when my third rank came forward, and we entered a period of protracted firefighting with very few hits landing but a lot of shots being traded. We finally scored our first kill and I had an even fight of 5 versus 5. I lost another inferno but we took his line, Aurora taking 2 kills from that rank then another from his second rank but we were definitely on the back foot.
I punched out and rode the chute down as the last 2 mechs in Randy’s second rank drove into my fourth rank, and it was obvious that although my formation would make a valiant stand, Randy had us yet again.
The problem was that nobody told BOB.
BOB Squad (short for Battle of Britain Squadron) form the core of my fourth rank and are comprised of my elite Spitfire mechs, named, appropriately enough, Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster. They are flanked by a pair of Martlets (a lot of you would call them Wildcats… OK, Smilodons… who cares, there is no such thing as national boundaries when it comes to mayhem…)
Anyway, BOB strode forward and let rip with a rate of ordnance output downrange that I can only describe as being traditionally associated with a battle cry of “LETS ROCK!!!”
It is the type of munitions expenditure that has been known to give accountants a coronary on the spot and to make veteran pilots call for the nearest toasting fork and a bag of marshmallows…
Sod it, I’ve had enough of describing the fight to you, watch it yourselves.
Suffice to say that although we lost one of our Wildcat flankers, Randy’s squadron advanced not a single yard more.
Oh, there were more battles that day. A few of his clan-mates came calling, and although they tore a decent chunk out of forces they had no victories.
For the first time in a good few wars, I managed to turn in a clean sheet when the final whistle blew.
Something tickled in the back of my mind and I had to check the historical records for dates. It somehow seemed very appropriate that on the eve of the anniversary of a certain battle that So Many owed a clean defensive sheet to So Few…
The problem was, I didn’t know how. Something had changed to tip the balance back in my favour, but I couldn’t honestly tell what. It was only after the war had ended that I had a decent chance to review the tapes.
So here are some stats for that battle with Randy.
At the time of the battle, Randy was over double my level… I was giving up over 140 levels of piloting experience.
At the point at which my BOB Squad engaged (and I had already lost 3 ranks), Randy had 36 mechs left. Admittedly 2 were damaged, but even taking those out of the equation, that is equal to my entire force before battle had been joined.
Randy lost the 2 damaged mechs plus another 2 before he took the Smilodon, leaving me with a line of 4 versus his lines of 6. These 4 mechs stopped 32 for no loss.
During that latter part of the battle, a total of 184 salvos were traded. 22 of them were where Randy’s forces fired. Of those, 7 struck true for an accuracy rating of around 32%.
Of my 162 salvos, 87 inflicted damage. A little under 54% of my shots were good hits.
But just look at the difference in fire rate between us! Over 7:1 in my favour, even if at times he had a 6:4 advantage in chassis in the line.
Some of you will probably point out the fact that my line is Niode where Randy’s is Crystal, and of course we all know that the general rule is that Niode mechs pack more weapon slots than their Crystal counterparts. And a higher weapon count in turn leads to some unknown value in speed increase when it comes to rate of fire.
I’ll point out in return that you have forgotten the level difference and the fact that mechs gain weapon slots as they advance. True, the Freon and Krampus only gain them once every 7 levels, however by my reckoning, Randy’s Crystal mechs would have had 45, perhaps 46 weapon slots at the time of this fight compared to the 42 my much lower level Spitfires had.
So how exactly do you explain that disparity in rate of fire?
Go back and look at the shots that landed. Observe how much shielding Randy has compared to me… and now imagine the speed bonus now associated with that.
I’m not going to tell you what I have in the way of equipment on those things. Suffice to say I believe in quality and am prepared to pay for it.
What I will say is that even with the rest of the kit, my Spitfires suddenly found themselves with a speed increase of around 25%.
It may not seem much in actual numbers, but that 25% speed increase was enough to tip the scales.
Yeah… love a shield… especially now they are lubricated…