Some experiments on Armor Penetration

Not sure how much of this is already known, but I’ve been doing some experiments on attacking armor using the Emerald Nebula scenario and a modded beam laser, and I’ve learned a few things. First, direct damage has only a minimal effect on whether a shot does damage to armor - if a 1000 damage weapon has an armor penetration of 1, most armors should withstand it.

Secondly, it seems that to reliably damage armor, a weapon must have an armor penetration no more than 90 lower than the value of the armor it’s attacking - any lower than that, and it starts becoming reliant upon increasingly rare critical hits. —Update: Seems I was basing this part on the incorrect understanding that whether a shot penetrates armor is determined by the strength of the armor module it hits - it is actually determined by the “Average Armor” of the ship as a whole, which can be displayed by clicking on an icon in the upper-right hand corner of the ship view. Thus, to penetrate armor without crits, your armor penetration must be higher than the average armor of the ship.

I started researching this mainly due to the ready effectiveness of fighters in large numbers vs cruisers - from this data, it is clear that you need enough fighters to rapidly drop armor into the 100-range - once this occurs, the remaining armor should fall rapidly.

Anyway, hope this helped!

Did you count the actual amount of crits? Or did you count the time it takes to crit something to death? If you did second, here is the explanation.

The current released information is that critical rate is always 3%.

Armor resistance is reduced as the armor gets damaged.

Therefore, while having higher armor penetration does not mean more crits, it does mean they will deal normal damage sooner.

This also mean that you can mix a few high armor penetration weapon with lots of low armor penetration, and an armor ship will fall just as fast.

I made a ship which has 74 average armor (in bottom right corner of ship design page). This means that even the Cruiser Proton Beam with 73 armor penetration can’t do damage to it, which is the highest armor penetration in the game. It gets the “no effect” when it hits. The only way to kill the ship is to get those “lucky shots” or critical hits as you call them. The ship also has 3 nanobot repair systems, so lucky shots get repaired. This ship survives a really long time. But yes, eventually the lucky shots will kill it when the repair systems run out of supply.

Here is the design of that ship:
Order Temple Cruiser (13% armor boost)
12 x ultraheavy armor
3x nanobot repair system
1x reinforced power plant
1x reinforced crew module
1x supercharged engine

If you replace the nanobot repair systems with more armor, you will end up with 84 armor, but it won’t make the ship last longer. You only need to stay above 73 armor to keep all weapons from being able to damage you. So, nanobots are the way to go to keep you above 73 armor for longer.
If you add less armor and more nanobots, the armor will drop below 73, which will allow the Cruiser Proton Beam to damage it.

Fighters are this ship’s biggest enemy as well as any weapon with a high rate of fire. Because the more shots, the more chance of it being a lucky hit.
Another way around it is the order “retaliate”, because as you can see, this ship doesn’t have a weapon.

Your armor tank should try to carry a weapon though, because the enemies ships are less likely to target a ship with no offensive weapons. So consider throwing on a MWM or anything to draw fire.

Actually didn’t realize armor penetration was calculated from “Average armor” - thought it was just based off the armor strength of whatever armor module got hit. Definitely changes my understanding of penetration chance, though it still seems like the critical rate is non constant - there was a point for a certain armor penetration & damage during my research where roughly half of the early shots did armor damage and the rest had no effect. Certainly seemed to indicate a non-constant crit chance.

Actually the ship WILL last longer, since the average armor value of the ship will drop when it takes damage. So a 74 armor tank will drop below the 73 mark when taking lucky shots, which will then progressively allow more weapons to penetrate its armor as it takes damage. The higher the starting average armor, the longer it takes to drop it to levels where the beams can penetrate it.

Against focus fire, you need a certain bracket about 73 to give time for nano to used up it’s supplies. Otherwise once it crits down to 73, proton beam hits, beam laser hits, and it’s as good as dead.

Tanks also need 1 weapon to draw aggro. Otherwise they will be ignored as the enemy fire at your other ships.

R-factor, what does MWM mean? I’ve seen it said before. Is it multi warhead missile? but yes, it would be better to have a weapon to draw fire. Although, often the tank gets fired at the most, even without a weapon. The main problem I run into is ships using retaliate, which adding a weapon would possibly fix.

yes you are right Jukelo, but I meant 84 armor doesn’t last longer than 74 armor with nanobots.

Good point 123stw, maybe I should change it to:
13 x ultraheavy armor
2x nanobot repair system

So there is more margin for error

You got it, multi warhead missile :slight_smile:

and if you’re not using missiles, then throw something else on, no point of having 1 mwm in your fleet lol.

You still need 1 weapon to draw aggro, and 1 engine so it can move with your fleet.

Fleets using armored tanks must engage, even if it means at 0.05 speed. If you stand still someone else can shoot at your tanks while remain outside of your DPS ship’s shooting range.

Yes the engine was already on there, I didn’t give the complete list, just the part that changed.

This would be the complete list:
Order Temple Cruiser (13% armor boost)
13 x ultraheavy armor
2x nanobot repair system
1x reinforced power plant
1x reinforced crew module
1x supercharged engine

And then either replace an armor or a nanobot with a weapon would work.

My tank looks like this

7x Ultra Armor
1x Cruiser Missile
1x Micro Crew
1x Nano Repair
1x Engine 2

2588 cost, 79.61 defense, 0.06 speed.

EHP/Cost = [(79.61 - 73)337 + 49033 + 737 + 412]/2588 = 7.19
Overload Threshold = 1526 EHP

EHP/Cost = [74.02 - 73)3312 + 490332 + 73*12 + 793]/4427 = 7.77
Overload Threshold = 403.92 EHP

Personally I prefer the speed, area coverage, and overload threshold over 8% EHP/Cost. If you don’t care for overload threshold, you may also try this.

6x Ultra Armor
1x Cruiser Missile
1x Micro Crew
1x Nano Repair
1x Engine 2

2327 cost, 76.75 defense, 0.07 speed.

EHP/Cost = [76.75 - 73)336 + 49033 + 736 + 793]/2327 = 7.63
Overload Threshold = 742.5 EHP

I hadn’t really thought about leaving slots empty for the tank, good one :slight_smile:

The Temple Cruiser is great for this role, but there are others.

Ideally, you want a ship that provides enough power - a minimum of 9.1 so you don’t have to use a power module, like 123stw implies. You could have a weaponless cruiser far from the bulk of your fleet sitting in a corner to draw ships to it, but it still prevents more damage to your fleet when its in front drawing fire with a weapon. A spread wall of armed armor tanks is very difficult to break. Unfortunately, only the Order or Alliance can do this affordably.

The Order’s Temple Cruiser, or the Alliance Python/Shark are the candidates (I don’t know about the Swarm or Nomads). 123stw covers the modules used, costing between 2300-2600.

The Empire’s Imperator and the Federation’s Buffalo can armor tank with a weapon, at the high cost of ~3250-3550. The Federation’s Tiger can do this at the same cost with a power generator, though the Tiger can use high power weapons as result. The Rebels and Tribe cannot omni armor tank with a weapon.

Any armor boosting cruiser does work well as a weaponless armor tank with 5 Ultra Armor for ~1840, while the Rebel’s Valhalla and any Empire cruiser just barely gets it done with 6 Ultra Armor at 2050-2113, respectively.

The only way I’ve found to deal with armed armor tanks backed by plasma/missile spam is to use overwhelming firepower…

To make a good tank, put a supercharged engine on it, advanced armor repair, a crew module, basic generator, a beam laser of some kind (if the enemy has tanks as well, the beam laser will cut through them), and enough ultraheavy armor to bring your average armor above 73. Always use the hulls with the highest armor bonus percentage, no matter what (it makes your tanks cheaper and stronger).

Beam lasers are the only effective counter to tanks I’ve found to date. Especially if you use proton beams… one lucky shot with a laser and it’s game over for the tank.

If someone is using tanks backed up by spam, use tanks as well. The enemy should waste enough time targeting your tanks for you to kill theirs. Then it’s like neither of you had tanks to start with… :stuck_out_tongue: