Register Register

Author Topic: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip  (Read 4361 times)

Jellico

  • Spatium Magister
  • Freelance Writer
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4436
  • BattleMechs are the lords of the battlefield
DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« on: 04 January 2014, 15:31:06 »
Tiamat Assault DropShip, TRO3085Sup



Apparently Word of Blake realised that even with its mystery fleets it would not have enough firepower to take on the Clan navies. That is where the Tiamat came in. Designed to stand up to smaller WarShips it would be a formidable platform. Unfortunately the technology of the day wasn’t up to the task (no Sub Capitals), and when combined with the needs of the Jihad it would take until 3075 for the first units to launch. A unit unique to the Manei Domini, the Tiamat was apparently produced in greater numbers than could be manned. Rather than let it be used by “frails” the excess were modified into Caspar II units. In both of these forms they have played merry hell across the Inner Sphere and have since been taken into service by the Republic of the Sphere.

The Tiamat comes in two forms. The first of which is manned. At 36,000 tons it is huge for a combat ship and you can see why this option is rarely explored. To be this big a ship needs armour, lots of it, and the Tiamat certainly has lots of armour. But to carry that armour the Tiamat needed a massive internal structure. 15% of the mass of the Tiamat is used for structure to achieve armour at 0.6% of total mass. In contrast an Overlord A3 has a ratio of 8%: 1.1% or a Merlin has a ratio of 4%: 2%.

So if one doesn’t get protection from a super ship what does one get? Where a Merlin devotes 5% of its mass to weapons and an Overlord devotes 30%, a manned Tiamat devotes 42% of its mass to killing stuff. Now it must be pointed out that part of this is the effect of Sub Capital weapons. These weapons are huge, demanding large hulls and even larger ones if effective numbers of weapons are desired. The Tiamat has those in spades. A truly insane number of heavy SCCs sit in the bow. These are supported by arrays of SCL3s in the bow and fore quarters. There is even a dinky Kraken, presumably for some kind of nuke. AR10s and Piranhas line the flanks. Some ignorable conventional weapons fill in the gaps while each arc contains a four gun Laser AMS array, not quite enough to be more than a frustration. The downside of all of this is the Heat Sinks. When firing the big guns it can only fire the nose and one fore quarter at once. Naturally at 28 points per bay per shot the AMS is going to spike the heat even more.

Rounding off the ship is a useful sized cargo bay and a mere 6 ASF. The lack of small craft is a bit of a disappointment for a craft this size, but I guess the Manei Domini never intended to board anyone.

After the Jihad the Republic of the Sphere adopted the manned Tiamat (Tiamat II) as its own to build up its own fleet. In 3112 a new variant was introduced. This ship abandoned the Kraken missile launcher in favour of a Naval C3 computer. This is both an obvious choice and a problem. With C3 systems on the Republic’s Interdictors and Dragau IIs it makes sense to link in their Tiamat IIs. However Tiamat IIs fight best at short ranges. This ranges the question, which of these craft is spotting for which? At best the accuracy gains are minimal. Fortunately the Kraken was no great loss.

The Caspar II variant beefs up the engine for more thrust. The cargo bay and a number of weapons are given up for various computer systems for controlling the Tiamat and its automated fighters. The ship gains extra ECM from the Caspar II system and there is no longer a crew to kill. The vicious bow SCC bay is very much reduced as are the SCL bays. The AR10s are removed and Piranhas are repositioned. Heat load is reduced but so is the number of heat sinks.

So how does one use a Tiamat. For starters this isn’t a WarShip. It has no real stand off capability. Every attempt should be made to get in under 20 hexes and get those Heavy SCCs into play. The SCLs are formidable but horribly inefficient. Having said that, the SCLs will be murder on ASF when switched to AAA mode. As a rule the Tiamat has the armour to ignore most DropShips. It can even duel with a Tiahou with a very good chance of success. This is its main feature, the ability to take punishment. The only quick way to take one out is a cruiser. Play to this strength and use the Tiamat to draw fire while the smaller craft do the attacking. Also consider working in swarms, though outside of Terra I am hard pressed to think of a situation where this will be likely.

Taking out a Tiamat is hard. They are relatively very tough. But while they are more efficient than a small WarShip, small DropShips are more efficient than Tiamats. As you can see above the Tiamat’s armour is actually light for its mass. Additionally the stern is wide open. The manned ship is vulnerable to attacks along the aft quarter hex line while the Caspar II is vulnerable along the aft hex line. The Tiamat has the thrust rating to make it hard to get a DropShip there, but fast ASF can abuse initiative to get in and stay there. The Tiamat will have to use its escorts to clear its tail in this case, and unfortunately the heavy armour means there is plenty of time to do this. Another option to consider in the case of the Caspar II variant is boarding. The Caspar IIs programming will force the Tiamat into some unexpected manoeuvres which can be exploited. Ultimately this is a big and powerful DropShip and there is not quick and easy way to kill it. A big and powerful force is the only answer.

So to summarise, the Tiamat is the most formidable DropShip in the game. However to achieve this distinction it is highly inefficient. This is both a plus and a minus; it can easily overwhelm the unprepared, but can be taken cheaply by those who prepare for it.

Welshman

  • Chief Wrangler
  • Battletech Developer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10188
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #1 on: 04 January 2014, 20:38:58 »
Thanks as always, Jellico.

This was an interesting project to work on. As has come up in many of the recent Battle Armor threads, we (the designers) try very hard to not make hyper optimized designs.

This was the exception... The Word is the closet thing we've come to a "big bad" in the game and there was a conscious decision to give them highly superior equipment. The Caspar II system couldn't be as good as the original Caspar system, so the ships had to be better.

The Tiamat was the only time I've ever just gone to town in designing a DropShip. Every effort was made to give it as few flaws as possible and make the ultimate DropShip.

And ghu I hope I never design a ship as deadly again.

-Joel BC-
Catalyst Freelancer

"Some closets will never contain Narnia, no matter how many times we open the door." - Weirdo, in relation to the power of hope.

SCC

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7620
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #2 on: 05 January 2014, 04:25:26 »
Can some one check my math, with a SI of 75 as a Sphereoid DS it can mount 270 tons of armor (75 * 3.6) which is 0.75% of it's weight, so it could carry more armor?

Addationally what's the flaw in DS design that drops armor percentage as the DS gets heavier? Or rather that drops the SI to armor percentage ratios?

Dragon Cat

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 6095
  • Not Dead Until I Say So
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #3 on: 05 January 2014, 05:13:48 »
And ghu I hope I never design a ship as deadly again.

Never say never...

Nice article Jellico

Jellico

  • Spatium Magister
  • Freelance Writer
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4436
  • BattleMechs are the lords of the battlefield
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #4 on: 06 January 2014, 03:07:36 »
Addationally what's the flaw in DS design that drops armor percentage as the DS gets heavier? Or rather that drops the SI to armor percentage ratios?

Large ship, bigger surface area. More armour to achieve the same effect.

The Tiamat was the only time I've ever just gone to town in designing a DropShip. Every effort was made to give it as few flaws as possible and make the ultimate DropShip.

And ghu I hope I never design a ship as deadly again.

Not that deadly. The pound for pound deadliest DropShip is still the old Noruff.

The Tiamat's size is what makes it deadly. You can't put a dozen sub capital weapons on a DropShip and it not be deadly.
But by the same token, a buffalo is the deadliest animal in Africa, but no one seriously puts it in the same terror inducing league as a Lion.

I know this is going to induce a flood of "look at my 100,000 ton DropShip" posts, but over about 20,000 tons DropShips get boring. Bays of 5-10 heavy weapons OSKing fighters. Heavy SCCs encouraging combat under 25 hexes. They are like very very fat men with very very short, very strong arms trying to slap each other into submission.

SCC

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7620
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #5 on: 06 January 2014, 04:55:12 »
Nah, my problem had to with the way armor is worked out, armor is based on SI and SI is a percentage of the units weight, basically, what I didn't realize is that when you double a units weight you double the weight of it's SI, but not the SI value and thus max armor doesn't double, so making the unit twice as big doesn't give it twice as many tons of armor

A 100,000 ton pocket WS should have lots of all-up capital missiles and be a stand off missile platform, in fact at that size a swarm of them could take on a WS, but they'll need to stay of shooting range if possible

And the 24 hexes of Medium-C weapons comes close to 20 hexes of Long weapons, such as Anti-Shipping missiles, and as I can fire 6 AS missiles at once that makes up for the slight accuracy loss

Welshman

  • Chief Wrangler
  • Battletech Developer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10188
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #6 on: 06 January 2014, 16:28:41 »
over about 20,000 tons DropShips get boring. Bays of 5-10 heavy weapons OSKing fighters.

Yes, this is very true. As I designed the Tiamat, I had more than one occasion where I found myself saying "What the... I still haven't used all the tonnage?"

The Tiamat is deadly because it is huge. And it's also why doing it again would be boring and ruin the uniqueness of the Tiamat.

-Joel BC-
Catalyst Freelancer

"Some closets will never contain Narnia, no matter how many times we open the door." - Weirdo, in relation to the power of hope.

Jellico

  • Spatium Magister
  • Freelance Writer
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4436
  • BattleMechs are the lords of the battlefield
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #7 on: 07 January 2014, 17:31:23 »
Lets take a look at the relevant weapons.

Code: [Select]
Weapon Damage/Ton
SCL1         0.06
LSCC         0.09
Piranha 0.15
Barracuda 0.06
White Shark 0.06
Killer Whale 0.06
AR-10 0.05

MSCC 0.10
HSCC 0.09
Stingray 0.14
The top group are long range weapons. The bottom group medium range weapons. Weights include 10 rounds of ammo and minimum HS. I have had the Barracuda doing 22 points of damage to account for the -2 to hit.

The first thing to notice is that full capital missiles suck. SCL levels of suckage. And because their ammo weighs so much they just get worse as you carry the ammo loads that make them useful

On the other hand Piranhas rock with great damage to weight ratios. However there are two problems. The first is AMS. The second is accuracy. In a real game with ECM and Evasion in play vanilla long range weapons have trouble hitting targets in the long range bracket. Try using an Arondight in a fire support role and you will soon find the Piranhas to be useless while the AR-10 Barracudas do most of the work. It is why I see the Arondight as a middle range platform and the Excalibur and Mule as long range platforms.

So we move onto SCCs. Surprisingly they all have similar ratios. Not as good as the SubCap missiles, but still solid. Plus they bracket so you know they are going to avoid that accuracy issue. So why would you go HSCC rather than LSCC? Gunners. A LSCC needs 3.5 gunners to match a HSCC. Or an extra 17.5 tons of living accommodations. And you are still only doing 70 points of damage. The hex tuple array of the Tiamat needs 42 tons of crew. To do it with LSCCs requires 147 tons of crew. You can see why so many SCC DropShips choose to go heavy and charge in to short ranges.


So in summary, yes you could load up on missiles and try to stand off. But there are lots of issues with missiles to make it less than optimal. Likewise there are issues with the long range Sub Caps to make a player think twice.

SCC

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7620
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #8 on: 07 January 2014, 19:50:59 »
Great analysis Jellico, but for Large Craft, such as DropShips isn't there a 20 rounds of fire minimum?

Welshman

  • Chief Wrangler
  • Battletech Developer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10188
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #9 on: 07 January 2014, 20:55:51 »
Great analysis Jellico, but for Large Craft, such as DropShips isn't there a 20 rounds of fire minimum?

Ten rounds...
-Joel BC-
Catalyst Freelancer

"Some closets will never contain Narnia, no matter how many times we open the door." - Weirdo, in relation to the power of hope.

SCC

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7620
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #10 on: 07 January 2014, 22:35:54 »
What numbers do Anti-Shipping missiles get when plugged into the formula you used?

Prince of Darkness

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1533
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #11 on: 08 January 2014, 01:15:21 »
Addationally what's the flaw in DS design that drops armor percentage as the DS gets heavier? Or rather that drops the SI to armor percentage ratios?

Around 'bout 49,000 tons dropship structure and armor become so heavy it's not worth it- law of diminishing returns and all that. 

The article is alright.  Sentences are dry, and really nothing could be gleamed from the information provided that can't be found by looking at the tech readout.  For instance- why is loosing the Kraken-T a good thing the the republic variant?  This is an article that really needs more explanation behind it.
Cowdragon:
I'm going to type up your response, print it, fold it in half, and look at it like a I would a centerfold. THAT's how sexy your answer was.

SCC

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7620
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #12 on: 08 January 2014, 02:04:21 »
@Prince of Darkness the question I was asking was why the Tiamat had such a low percentage of it's tonnage in armor, and the answer I came up with, as posted above, is: the Maximum tons of armor you get based strictly on your SI, and while the percentage of your tonnage that is SI doesn't change as the DS gets bigger, neither does the TONS of armor you get to put on it

Wrangler

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 17156
  • Dang it!
Re: DropShip of the Week: Tiamat Assault DropShip
« Reply #13 on: 08 January 2014, 23:22:02 »
Thanks again, Jellico for your insight and well written write up for the Tiamat.  Welshman, you did a awesome job making this bird.  we do need casually, a big bad one to look up and say, "Time bring the guns to bare, boys and girls." 
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants

 

Register