The description of “Attack Frigates” (for example, goes for fighters/cruisers as well) says: “To avoid engaging these ships, delete this behaviour”.
Which it did…way back before version 1.3x.
Right now removing the behaviour causes the ships not to fly towards the target ship class, but they’re still shooting at anything in range, even though they don’t have attack orders for it.
This greatly messes up the post-combat statistics, as all the missed shots from my cruiser lasers (when aimed at fighters) distorts the big picture (I want to know how well the guns perform against the target groups I assigned them).
Also, it (slightly) preoccupies weapons, most noticable when they have a slow refire rate. When an enemy frigate comes in range, but my ship just fired its missiles/laser/whatever at a fighter, the frigate will have the opportunity to close in fast and be the first to shoot. This is not what I intended
If this behaviour is by design, I would like to suggest a “Do not shoot at X”-behaviour.
And they shouldn’t, either because they don’t have an attacking order for those ships, or because they’re explicitly told not to shoot at them with a new behaviour directive.
(See my first post above for reasons why).
I don’t want cruisers with anti-cruiser weaponry to shoot at fighters (or frigates for that matter). If i wanted them to shoot at frigates (or fighters), I’d add an order to do so.
Ships shooting at fighters with weapons not meant for that purpose skew the stats for those weapons. This results in weapons that are expected to miss rarely (against cruisers) to get a 50% miss-ratio because they were taking potshots at fighters.
Ships that just fired at a non-target can not shoot right away if a target enters range during the weapon cooldown. I want my ships to hold fire on their big guns until their designated target class is in range.
A good argument has been made for implementing an ‘ignore X’ order in terms of firing, or at least having two orders ‘fire at x’ and ‘pursue’ X’. This would be a major change to the strategy of the game and requries a lot of thinking about it from me. I’m not saying it won’t happen, I’d like to do it (and do minimum fire ranges too) but it will need a gap in ‘the list’ to open up.