Top of the morning!
We have another event on the way, Lightning Raid, that looks to be solely about destroying Operations Hubs. From the teaser information, these will not be the same as what we faced in the last event. MagicSarap has stated that there are no plans to include Typhoons in this raid, so there will be nothing familiar to fall back on. Having taken part in the Preview Servers, here’s what I’ve seen and what I expect to be dealing with.
The Operations Hubs
Hubs will consist of the central Hub, surrounded by up to four defense platforms and up to four torpedo towers. This part is the same as before. The key difference is that you can no longer destroy the center, but rather must protect it. Once the defense platforms are destroyed, you will begin a download of information while the Hub summons reinforcements in the form of Draconian fleets. The download is paused for as long as any Drac ship is still alive and you win the battle by completing the download. In the preview servers, it would take three waves of ships before the download was complete (OK, the Preview had us uploading a virus but I imagine the process is identical).
The defense platforms should be more or less the same as what we faced in Lightning Run and what the Draconian Outposts have. On higher levels, expect the cannons to be able to out-range SFB3 Assault Missiles. Damage from them should be fairly minimal and they’ll likely have low health compared to Lightning Run. High evade and solid resistances will work well against the missiles and cannons. Evade will also help reduce the damage from the torpedo towers.
The Draconian Fleets
This is where you’re going to sustain most of your damage. You will likely face three waves of increasing difficulty. The largest hull in each wave will be making a bee-line for the Center Hub and will only attack you until it gets within range of the Hub with its Siege Missiles. At that point, it will attempt to destroy the Hub. These ships need to be your primary target because you will lose the battle if that Hub is destroyed. In the Preview Server, they came equipped with rockets so blitz fleets need heavy explosive resistance.
The smaller hulls will generally have SFB3 Assault Missiles and will attempt to destroy you. If you have high enough evade and half-decent missile resistance, you should be able to ignore them until you destroy the Hub-Hunters. Of course, if one’s in your way, don’t hesitate to destroy it and save yourself a little damage.
In order to do well, you’re going to need high evade, strong resistances and high DPS. You won’t be able to get all that on a Forsaken Hull so just go with the best FvF hull you have (Sea Wolf, Sea Scorpion or Hammerhead). For prize hulls, Battleships would be ideal due to their slightly higher ballistic and penetrating resistance, high evade and extra ballistic range.
Because your biggest challenge will be the FvF aspect, you’re going to want the highest DPS possible. Assault Cannons are probably your best option. They fire fast, deal good damage and have high accuracy. The fast reload means you can afford to skip on the AL and just go with HB3. Cannon System 3 probably won’t give you the range you need at higher levels to avoid the Assault Rockets so I wouldn’t recommend it.
If using Forsaken hulls, it might be difficult to get your evade into the high 40s or low 50s. If you can’t, you’re better off using your special slots to boost your resistances. Compound Armor is good if you have it, otherwise go with either Layered Armor 3. If you have D4-M armor, use that to boost your missile resistances a bit too. Otherwise, use the strongest armor you have.
If using Drac hulls, such as the Battleship or Strike Cruiser, you’ll have decent evade and an extra special slot to work with, as well as built-in resistances. You’ll definitely want Guidance Scrambler 3 and D3-E or D4-E armor, if you have it. Most Drac hulls can get over 50% evade, which will allow you to survive much longer against missiles, cannons and torpedoes.
If you don’t have the evade armors and can’t get the evade higher than about 40%, you can consider using Engines instead of Guidance Scrambler. While you’ll take a few more hits, you’ll also get in range of your enemies faster and hopefully be able to sink them a little sooner.
I’ll note that without Engines, you can probably expect the Dracs to get a few shots off at the Hub before you can get in range to destroy them. That’s OK. It has a lot of health and as long as it’s still standing at the end of the battle, you should still get full points. Keeping your damage to a minimum is more important than keeping the Hub at 100% so I wouldn’t recommend dumping GS3 in favour of Engines unless the Dracs are managing to destroy the Hub on you.
The Dracs will come front a different corner each time, much like they did in Lightning Run. The pattern should be predictable. You should keep your ships as close to the Center Hub as you can and return them there after destroying each wave. This will make it quicker to engage the next wave when it arrives. Since you likely don’t have engines, you’ll need as many extra seconds as you can get. Once you’ve identified the spawning pattern, you can move your ships directly to the next spawn point to save even more time.
Remember to target the largest ships first. These are the ones that will destroy the Hub if you let them and will typically be either Battleships or Dreadnoughts armed with Siege Missiles and Assault Rockets. Don’t get too close or the rockets will tear you apart.
In the last event, the guards did not have any detection. People were able to use subs to destroy the fleets without taking any damage. It’s tough to predict whether that will be the case again but if you have Cudas or Spectres, it’s worth a shot. Just remember that the torpedo towers will have detection and be able to hit you. Be sure to take them out first.
Good luck and happy raiding!
Until next time,