Attack Priority

Hi all,

Newbie here. :slight_smile:

I’m confused as to how the attack priority works. Let’s say you set it to attack cruisers at 80%, frigates at 50%, and fighters at 10%. What exactly does that mean?

Do you pick the closest enemy, and if for example, it’s a frigate then there is a 50% chance you will go after the frigate? In other words … Heads you go after the frigate, and tails you pick the next closest unit? Then if the next closest one is a cruiser you have an 80% chance of attacking it? And so on, etc.

The above is just a wild guess. Any help would be more than appreciated!!


As far as I can tell for firing, the attack priority appears to have something to do with accuracy.

At 50%/50%/50%, the craft seems to fire it’s weapon at whatever is ‘easiest’ to hit at the moment. In most cases, the easiest thing to hit is the nearest stationary floating space pig of a cruiser.

But starting at something like 70% attack fighters, 50% attack cruisers, a frigate will begin to fire it’s higher tracking weapons at fighters while still preferring to fire it’s slow 1.0 tracking plasma cannon at cruisers (when possible) - the gunners seem to understand the limitations of their tracking, at least some of the time.

By the time you hit 100% fighters, the frigate will probably be unloading every weapon on fighters at any opportunity. I don’t know what the various thresholds are.

As far as driving is concerned, the % has something to do with distance I haven’t determined yet. Units with 1% attack fighter orders invariably end up chasing fighters sometime before the fight is over, so if your ships do not have strong AA or aren’t in formation with other units, it might be more advisable to simply delete that order.

Thanks for the reply! But I’m still a bit confused I have to say. :frowning:

A few questions if I may:

Would 100%/100%/100% do the same as 50%/50%/50%?

How would you end up chasing a fighter (before the frigates/cruisers are destroyed) if you are only at 1%?

Any more insights or examples? :slight_smile:

Thanks again!

I don’t know the answer for either.

Chasing fighters though, seems to happen fairly frequently towards the end of the match. As to why, fighters tend to swarm in on the last few targets by then, so it might just be a matter of the volume and proximity.

Agreed that, even at 1% priority for fighters, sometimes a cruiser will wander off chasing fighters.

One thing I’ve noticed is that, between 1% and 100%, the behavior of a ship in relation to the set maximum range can be quite different.

A missile cruiser set to 2000 meters maximum range, yet 100% priority against cruisers; the missile cruiser will often run right up, and close in on the enemy fleet. Set the priority to 1% with 2000 meter range, and sometimes the same cruiser will avoid getting into range (~1200 meters), unless it is ‘cornered’ and has no place to go.

It appears to me that if you set your maximum range, and regardless of priority; don’t employ ‘keep moving,’ that a ship will run up and stay right at the set ‘maximum range’ to its given target unit. By adding ‘keep moving,’ it appears as though ships generally dodge in and out of the set range, to the tune of 500 meters or more, either way (inside or outside the set range).

Attack priorities are complex, and fairly subtle :smiley:
Basically there are two decisions going on here. What to attack (as in fly towards, to within the engagement ranges set) and what to fire at. These decisions are made separately by the ship, and then by each gunner.
The attack priorities are just one factor in determining what to shoot at or fly towards.
other orders can create complexity. For example, if you are ordered to retaliate against ships firing at you, those targets get a priority bump. if you are ordered to co-operate, those ships already under fire get a priority bump. Additional consideration is given to your chances of hitting (based on tracking speed vs enemy speed), and you recent experience shooting at that vessel. if your last five shots all did zero damage, you may well de-prioritize that target, given that you are getting nowhere.
The complexity of battle makes this quite hard to analyse in the middle of a major furball, but everything is taken into account behind the scenes.

Thanks for the answer cliffski.

So, do you have any advice on how to set the orders for a cruiser in order to:

  • Fire at fighters in range.
  • Not to fly towards fighters.

if its for ship defence, against incoming fighter swarms, just delete the attack fighters order. They wont go hunt them then (until nothing is left) but they should still take pot shots at any that get close enough, if they have weapons suitable to shoot them.

I may rename those orders to be ‘Pursue Fighters, Pursue Frigates’ etc, rather than attack, because it is a bit misleading.

Emmm no, that’s not true. If you delete the attack fighters order the only “weapons” that will shoot at fighters are the tractor beams.

If you don’t need the keep moving order you could do it by putting your ships in formation with a ship without the attack fighters order.


It would be nice if weapons with a tracking speed above 2.X or something would always take pot-shots at fighters regardless of orders, and if weapons with a speed below this never would.

Or, more simply, have a tracking speed larger than the speed of the target craft. That way it works across all different craft types and edge case situations like tractor slows.

It doesn’t solve problems like CDL’s or AA missiles being dumped on cruisers instead of fighters simply because cruisers are easier targets, though. To do that you would finally have to uncouple targeting priorities with driving instructions.

Do weapons have any chance of hitting a target that is moving above their tracking speed though?

It appears to be a static percentage.

I’m sure the missile speed drops the actual value further.


i have a related question to this:
is it necessary that the ship actually moves, when the calculation “tracking speed vs. ship speed” is done?

sounds like a stupid question, so i will explain:
let’s say a fighter is caught by a tractor beam, making it immobile. so the actual speed is 0, while the possible speed is whatever the engines can produce.
now i got the feeling that still some frigate aa missiles miss the fighter, while they should hit at least to 99%, given their already incredible tracking speed.
the second scenario would be, that the fighter’s engines are damaged and it gets caught by a tractor beam. again, the actual speed is 0, while the possible speed would now be reduced.
here i got the feeling that a lot more shots hit the fighter though the situation is the same.
this led me to the consideration, that the game perhaps only takes the possible ship speed into calculation, not the actual.

i hope my explanation is at least understandable, i guess it was just my imagination or bad luck. :slight_smile:


You’re forgetting about size - fighters are small. Miss-rates are high on small targets, even when stationary.

Shockingly it seems there is a bug, and the behaviour is not always as I described. Nevertheless, I am fixing it now…

If it gets to where a ship with no ‘attack fighters’ order will yet fire high-tracking weapons at fighters (if there is no one else around), that would be welcome.

The way i’ve experienced it thus far, there is no use putting ‘aa’ weapons on a missile cruiser. So, it’s been a sort of ‘all or none’ proposition; missile cruisers being missile cruisers, with no anti-fighter capability whatever.

Cliff, it will be great when this behavior is consistently changed, to how you had originally intended it.

Sweet, that illogical sort of behavior has been bugging me for a while. Looking forward to the next patch.

I hope you got a good way to identify what is a good weapon to shoot fighters and what not. I don’t want my cruiser missiles wasting shoots on fighters.