So many wasted missiles!

When firing off missiles at long range, especially against frigates, it’s very common for multiple cruisers (even when not set to cooperative) to all target one frigate, have 3 waves of missiles in space, and have the first take the frigate out. End result: 1/3rd efficiency on the missiles. The rest of the missiles start the bolshoi ballet on ice, which is pretty, but it means that cruisers are overkilling, and unlike beam weapons, there’s a huge penalty.

Possible options:

  1. In-flight retargeting of missiles to other nearby targets, perhaps with the cruiser missile target laser only?
  2. Better non-cooperative missile target selection. Get your own frigate!

I think that suggestion #1 is better than suggestion #2. The second path, trying to make cooperative cruisers divide up their missile attacks based on expected hits, runs into essentially the same problem: an overly simplistic ship behavior that causes problems. If cruisers were set to divide their missile attacks among available frigates, frigates with sufficient anti-missile defenses may prove invulnerable to them - and we’d find ourselves wishing we could just tell our cruisers to gang up on one frigate and overwhelm its defenses. A more sophisticated way to decide how many missiles to fire at a frigate might work (having the cruiser groups learn from failed attacks and allocate more missiles to the next volley, for instance), but at that point, I think, we might be investing too much AI in the cruiser and taking the game away from its roots.

Missiles that acquire new targets if the target they are heading for is destroyed could be cool though.

or, alternatevly, dont use Cooperative and Vulture orders?

XPav indicated reference to non-cooperative cruisers as well; oddis.

I’d be in favor of simple retargeting by the missiles thenselves if their primary target was destroyed to then move onto the nearest enemy ship and either hit it or run out of fuel trying.

An interesting addition to this would be allowing a single missile launcher to target a different ship with each warhead. This would be very important for frigate or cruiser sized anti-fighter missiles. If those are ever to be worth while, you will want to have four live warheads that each can target a different fighter (since even one hit would be crippling or lethal). Decoys are not useful on an anti-fighter weapon since fighters have no point defense.

It was worse when those orders were used. 15 cruisers all unloading on one poor frigate.

Without the orders, it’s better, but once a certain amount of a stacked frigate screen is gone, they still all seem to pick on certain frigates, to their own detriment.

Cliff: how about adding a ‘missile retargetting uplink module’. If this module is present on a ship then all missile fired by that ship will be retargetted if the current target is destroyed. It takes up a slot, so its something you would have to think carefully about using only in certain circumstances.

That’s a cool idea daveybaby. Like other modules, it basically means paying more to make your weapons more effective. It even has a real-world analog: fly-by-wire missile systems. Given this analogy, I’d suggest it be less about credit cost and more about crew cost.

Alternatively, instead of making it a secondary module, make it a different type of missile weapon. Like in the real world, you can have dumb fire rockets (straight line, hit whatever gets in the way), heat-seeking or laser-guided missiles (finds the target, but can be easily confused), and fly-by-wire (expensive, requires human control, but can be retargeted).