While analyzing durability, it became clear to me, how an inaccurate measurement for durability hull points are. We all know that armour is a big part of it, but how big? And how much does hull points mislead?
The magic line
As I guess all who have played a match or two have found out, the difference between hull 3 (or, 2, as no ship has hull 3) and 4 are staggering. This is the effect of the crippling roll.
As you can see above, the amount of damage the ships can suck per point is for most fleets actually higher for the corvettes, than for the frigates (with PHR as the notable exception due to the crazy frigates – we get back to them later).
This is the magic line in effect. This continues to have an (albeit slighter) effect as we look at bigger tonnages because it is in reality a hull tax levied on all ships which we could call…
The crippling tax
This is not liberalist propaganda but rather a look at the consequence of the crippling effect.
All ships of hull 4 and above will get to roll a crippling roll when they have taken at least 50 % hull damage. A crippling roll averages 1,75 points of damage.
So when calculating how much damage you need to take down a ship, you can in effect reduce its overall hull with 1,75. Percentagewise, this is a bigger hit if you have 10 hull (18 %) than 15 hull (12 %).
This also means, that when comparing ships of the same armour but different hull, the hull value will cheat you. A ship with 15 hull would seem able to sustain 50 % more damage, than a ship with 10 hull. But since they both pay the same crippling tax in effect their respective hulls when on their way to destruction is 13,25 and 8,25 meaning that the bigger ship is actually able to sustain 61 % more damage.
Frigates of steel… or composites
This brings us to the PHR frigates. Compared to UCM they have two “small” advantages; one additional hull point and 1 point better armour save. How much does this really mean? Quite a lot, actually.
As it can be seen, a PHR frigate needs an average of 5,74 hits to be destroyed whereas a UCM frigate needs 3,33. The PHR is an impressive 72 % better!
How does this scale?
Let’s – once again – let’s look at a chart.
The picture here matches what we already have looked at – Corvettes are disproportionately good at absorbing damage owing to not having to roll crippling damage rolls and ship designations are progressively relatively stronger, which is caused both by a general increase in armour save and the crippling tax. This can also be seen in the chart below.
So in short, hull points are misleading. Even combined with armour it is hard to read properly. The simple way to think of this is to simply deduct 2 hull (or 1,75 to be exact) and use that number for comparison. Then the difference between hull 4 and 8 is suddenly not 100 % more durable but 178 % more (assuming identical armour saves).
What can I make of this?
The main lesson is that hull points are misleading and that the true durability of a ship is a lot more complicated – and here I have not even got into the fact that different fleets perform differently against one another (likelyhood of critical hits compared to armour save, mostly).
Going solely for durability, you can use these numbers to quickly see which ships are a good deal (durability for the points) and which are less so. But that neglects other important factors; damage capability (the flip side of durability, you can say), manouverability and ground-control capacity – what I would characterize as the four main elements of a fleet.
This did get me dreaming of another small tool – a tool to compare two armies and see who had the better damage vs. opponent durability factor, who had the best ground control and who had the best manouverability. That could make for some interesting analysis tool – also as a tool to characterize specific lists. I might get around to this sometime in the future – we’ll see.