I see you've been following in the wake of the Solace. Well, you won't just always find me captaining there to tell you of the glory of Austria, but sometimes I'll engineer on the Flying Adventure. Captain Drogvaethor's Spire. I tell you, I nearly fell overboard laughing when he first told me that he was going to fly that "big tower-like-ship", and had secured some victories with it already. That was a while ago already, and while we still have regular arguments about how awful the Flying Adventure looks like in comparisation to the Solace, I find myself reluctantly bowing to the Spire. It probably takes a while to learn to fly it right, but it excels in the hand of a captain that cares for it. You won't make yourself a name for fancy maneuvers with the Spire, but for careful planning, strategy and cunning. Don't take the Spire lightly, it's a tacticians tool and excels at that.Ship Stats and Resilience
Hull Health: 500
Hull Armor: 650
Balloon Health: 1200
Acceleration: 1.2 m/s²
Radial Acceleration: 3.7 deg/s²
Vertical Acceleration: 2.9 m/s²
Max Speed: 26.5 m/s
Max Turn Speed: 12.8 deg/s
Max Vertical Speed: 10.5 m/s
Mass: 170,000 t
Hull Profile: 1377 M²
Balloon Profile: 992 M²
Careful here, Spire's aren't meant to be chasing around other ships. You're a threat, but not one to stalk after that ship in front of you over half of the map while giving up cover and exposing yourself. It's speed matches that of a Junker, but every other ship, including the Galleon, is faster. Move out of danger with your engines, or use them to bring you in a favorable long range position to wreak havoc on your enemies over half of the map. Much like the Galleon, a Spire doesn't need to be moved much in favorable circumstances. Still, given your slow speed, it might be better to fight it out in close quarters when you find yourself attacked on close range, than try to fly away. In the best, and not so unusual case, you'll snipe your enemies from afar though.Hull
Don't rely on your hull to take too much of a beating. One good hit of a mallet and it's nearly up fully again, which makes it very quick and efficient to repair, but also forces one engineer to constantly watch out for it. It makes for a very easy target, because of it's huge hitbox. Vertically it's very difficult to miss a Spire's hull. Horizontally, it has a slender profile, like a Goldfish or Junker, but again, you can't move sideways fast enough to make good use of that. Take cover whenever you're able to, clouds, debris, rocks. If you've just got your balloon visible and your front gun at the top operational, you'll be able to do some damage already. Other than that, a Gatling will make quick process of your Hull Armor, and so will a Mercury. While it's Hull Health isn't all that bad though, try to not rely on the Spire taking huge amounts of damage. It's fragile.Balloon
Your balloon can take some beating, and this will be crucial for movement with the Spire. Considering you can't strafe left and right like faster ships, you'll have to go for up and down and make the enemies shots pass right trough under or above you, or hit the balloon where it doesn't hurt you so much. Still, this requires high doses of Hydrogen and Chute Vent, that will in turn damage your balloon. In any case, you're in charge of the whole process on the top deck of the spire: You can apply the relevant captain's tools at the helm, step back from it while you're flying higher, and give the balloon a quick hit with the mallet. Or ask your top engineer to take care of it when the top gun reloads.Engines
The Main/Accelerating Engine is a little tricky, because it's halfway down the Ship, next to nothing. It is possible to give it a quick hit with the Mallet whenever one passes by, but Engineers will mostly be using the ladder on the Spire to quickly alternate between the Turning Engines next to the Hull at the lowest section of the Ship, and the Balloon on top of it. The Turning Engines are thus very easy to take care of, easy to be fixed while waiting for the repair cooldown on the Hull. The Main/Accelerating Engine will have to be served by someone stepping down from the top deck. Guns
All the gun positions of the Spire are very close to the Hull, so they'll often soak the AOE damage from enemy fire. If things are dire, expect to have the medium guns all around your hull to not be operating and keep a close eye on their status before you turn your side-flamer or carronade around to get rid of that nasty Pyramidion that's going to ram you. However, the Spire comes with 3 Light Guns and 1 Heavy Gun. Top Deck:
1 light gun facing front (together with the heavy gun at the lower deck), 1 light gun facing starboard.Middle Deck:
1 light gun facing port, one heavy gun facing front (together with the light gun at the top deck)
Now that's quite clear: Your front guns are meant for offense. Putting something defensive, short range on top would be a waste. You can do incredible amounts of damage if you use the heavy gun at the middle deck and the light gun at the front deck. Think of synergy and damage types that work together well or can disable parts of the enemy ship well on their own on long or middle range. A easy example is coupling a Mercury Field Gun with a Typhoon Heavy Flak. The Mercury destroys the enemies armor, the Flak tears trough their Health once the armor is gone. Works the same way if you replace the Mercury with a Gatling, but needs a much closer range. Similarly, you can destroy a enemy Balloon with 3 hits from a Lumberjack and then destroy their Armor with the Mercury while they're crashing into the ground. Long range is where the Spire is best, bring ships down before they've even got a chance to spot.
The port and starboard guns are a different matter. Given that the Spire is amazingly quick to turn, you will always have a chance to aim your front guns at the enemy and hardly have to rely on the medium guns to do your offensive work. Still, your front guns may be rendered useless up close, depending on your setup. (Lumberjack and Flak have a arming time, if it isn't reached the damage is greatly reduced - you won't reach it shooting at a ship directly in front of you, they'll be ineffective. A Heavy Carronade is only effective at medium ranges and mostly you won't want to get up that close. For a Hwacha you'd have to get even closer, even if it offers wonderful protection in close quarters.)
Personally I find that the port and starboard guns on the Spire can either be used to complement long range firing, for instance by putting a Beacon Light Flare Gun at the starboard slot and thus making it impossible for other ships to hide, but are much better suited for close quarter defense. Flamers and Carronades should do well to busy enemy ships that get too close, although note that a flamer will not be a threat for a experienced crew, and that a captain with a Drogue Chute can take the effect of a popped balloon much lighter. The Spire isn't really made for close combat with it's fragile hull. Have the enemy come to you, and snipe him down on the way. Works much better!
Of course I don't want to talk you out of your Hwacha and Gatling Spire, but the chance that you can sneak up on a enemy ship unnoticed is rather small.
Note that Lesmok Rounds can increase accuracy on long range!Examples on Loadouts
- 1 Light Gun: Starboard
- 1 Light Gun: Front
- 1 Light Gun: Port
- 1 Heavy Gun: Front
The Spire's role is somewhat predefined. In close combat, it can act as a support ship with it's multitude of weaponry, but that would be limiting what it can truly achieve a lot. It's not exactly a predator moving around the map, but a sniper hiding between some debris or just at the edge of some clouds. It can't take much damage, and it's too slow to dance around enemy ships and keep them from hitting. Thus, it has to go for long range sniping. If I know that I've got a skilled Spire behind me, I'm not afraid to advance straight on on two enemy ships. Chances are that the Spire will disable one of them even before I'm in reach.
Still, there's a rather fine selection of long range weaponry to allow for several viable Spire builds, and especially if you get caught up in close quarters with it your light weaponry will make a huge difference.
The Spire excels when you have both your front weapons, in this case the Mercury Field Gun and the Typhoon Heavy Flak Cannon pointed at one target. Choose weaponry that can disable different components of the ships on it's own to keep the enemy engineers busy at their posts, or maximize a single damage type to quickly tear away important parts of the enemy ship. ( e.g. ; Step 1, take the armor down with the Mercury Field Gun, Step 2, shoot their unprotected hull to pieces with the Flak)
A working loadout should be the following:Top Deck Front Gun:
Mercury Field GunTop Deck Starboard Gun:
Barking Dog Light CarronadeMiddle Deck Port Gun:
Dragon Tongue Light FlamethrowerMiddle Deck Front Gun:
Typhoon Heavy Flak Cannon
It's simple and effective, mentioned above already. New Gunners might have trouble with the Mercury Field Gun, but it's usually easy to fit in and rewarding to work with. The Flak is only effective at long ranges, and it doesn't do a tremendous amount of damage to a ships armor, that's why the Field Gun complements it just perfectly. Both weapons allow for shooting over half of the map and have a rather clear firing arc. As long as the ship is held still, and that'll be the case half of the time if things are going good, gunners should have no problems hitting their respective targets.
Let's have a look on the single guns and their tasks on their respective positions:
Top Deck Front Gun: The Mercury Field Gun is able to destroy most armors with 2 concussive shots. Evenly important is it's ability to destroy most other components with 1 to 2 shots as well. You've got a Goldfish approaching you on long range? Aim your Mercury on it and destroy their front gun. A ship's fleeing from you, searching cover? Take out their Engines.
Top Deck Starboard Gun: There we've got a Light Carronade for defensive use. It takes down balloons fairly quick, about 2 clips of it should bring the enemy ship in trouble. The reasoning behind putting the Light Carronade on the Top deck is that from this position it'll be able to shoot at enemy ships above and under the Spire, giving the Spire time to get to a little better position while the enemy ship is busy trying not to crash into the ground.
Middle Deck Front Gun: That's the tool for finishing the job. The Mercury Field Gun on the top deck softens up the enemy ship either by making them unable to move or attack by shooting their components, or straight chipping away their hull. As the explosive damage of the Flak is especially good against Hull Health, it's a very satisfying combination.
Middle Deck Port Gun: A flamer. Not a very good weapon against experienced crews, but I find it still proves a minor distraction any event. The reasoning behind this is that if a ship is that low on us, they've got their front guns aimed at our hull and barely a chance to miss. A carronade could still pop their balloon from here, but I'd sooner try to disable their guns and ships with some flames. A rocket launcher might also work for that, but I don't trust them that much yet.
The loadout of a Spire, at least the Light Guns for the sides have been tough choices for me. In my opinion they are more for defensive work, because a Spire turns fast enough to give it's front guns a good fire solution, but I've seen other captains including them successfully in offense, especially with popping balloons. That requires to be much closer to the enemy though, and for me that's not where I'd like the Spire to have. Of course, you may come to different conclusions on it, and I'm sure that the Spire has many varieties to offer that work just as good and have slipped from my vision so far. Don't take my words on the Spire for a Bible, try to understand my concept and loadout, and then try to find your own way with it. Engineering on a Spire
Engineering on a Spire is fun. It's a beautiful ship to run around on, it doesn't look very gracious from the outside, but it certainly has a nice interior. You'll begin to like that spiral staircase, trust me!
Given that it is a very fragile ship and all of it components are fairly close to the Hull, it'll suffer heavily from AOE damage and even more heavily from having it's hull exposed. It's a tough job keeping a Spire alive in a firefight, but very catching. Up the ladder to the top deck, give the balloon a hit with the mallet, quickly rush to the starboard gun to shoot a salute to the passing enemy.
- Helm (Not a component, strictly speaking..)
- Front Light Gun
- Starboard Light Gun
That's where a good part of the action takes place. Here's the Captain, close to his sturdiest maneuvering tool on the Spire, the Balloon. If things aren't too dire, you can usually expect your Captain to take some care of the balloon. However, as the Gunner will usually sit in the Heavy Gun it's usually one of the Engineers firing the Top Front Gun. Make best use of it as long as your ship isn't in trouble, it's very important for the Spire to have both guns firing. If you're in a very good position and don't plan on leaving, chances are that the Captain takes a turn on firing the Top Guns too. If you need to get down to the hull, you can jump down the ladder with some practice. It's possible to get stuck in it at the end though, so watch out!
- Front Heavy Gun
- Port Light Gun
Whenever I had to be on this deck, things were going bad. We were either under heavy fire and our Heavy Gun destroyed by it, or we had enemies on two sides, which forced me to take Port Light Gun to fend them off. In any case, this deck can be quickly reached by running up the staircase next to the hull. Remember that the Hull of the Spire is quite fragile though, so you might sooner ask another engineer to take care of the guns on the middle deck and stay at the hull.
One engineer should almost constantly hang around here. The hull of the Spire is quick to repair, but almost as quickly shot down again. There's no flying around with half of the hull repaired on a Spire, that's just too dangerous. You'll still experience long periods of just hopping around the ship doing nothing, because if the Spire has a got a suitable position, it might just snipe every enemy down that tries to approach it. The turning Engines are very easy to reach though, and if you're needed on the Top Deck for a shootout you can access it easily with the ladder.
The Spire is unforgiving if you're not fast enough. Once you're in a firefight, parts of it will constantly take damage, and by parts I mean quite everything aboard the ship. Any AOE hit to the Spire's Hull is bound to inflict some damage on components. If the Captain helps out with the balloon and the Gunner takes care of his own guns, it won't be all that stressful though. Buffing isn't a very big topic on the Spire, because you can't cure it's lack of speed that easily with buffing it's engines. Buffing the hull is of tremendous importance, of course, and buffing the guns is as usual, a boon. If you're more into relaxing though, bring a Mallet instead of the Buffing Kit. Considering how often the components will at least be somewhat damaged, you'll have a much easier time with just hitting them once and moving on.Gunning on a Spire
On your left, that's what we call the middle deck. Consisting of the portside gun and the heavy gun, I recommend this to be the best place for the Gunner. The Heavy Gun should be your tool of choice, and if you take care of both the guns on this deck, you'll save the Engineers some trouble. However, down here you'll have to work in unison with whoever mans the front gun at the top of the ship, only then the Spire does the damage it's supposed to do. You'll often see shots coming from the top deck towards what you're aiming at, so you'll perfectly know when your counterpart on the top deck is doing it's job or not.
It's very likely that the guns will just be divided - The two on the top deck manned by one Engineer and maybe the Captain, and the two on the middle deck by a Gunner. Your Captain or Crew might have different wishes on this one, so make sure to ask. But generally, just sit in the heaviest gun on the Ship and do what you can do best!
Remember that, depending on the Loadout your Captain has chosen, your effectiveness might decrease the closer your target gets. Heavy Flak and Lumberjack have a arming time, if this arming time isn't reached those weapons do less damage. In the event of a enemy ship being very close, and you having a Flak or Lumberjack, it might be a good idea to switch to one of the sidearms until you're in minimum reach again.
(Reached 20.000 Words limit here! Thanks for reading so far, and please continue in the next post if you feel like it!)