[Suggestion] Cautious Order

The idea of a ship withdrawing from battle at a set damage level is good. But I think that the current implementation needs some work to make it worthwhile using it.

My suggestion is to expand the Order to not only contain Withdraw from Battle at n%, but also to expand it to include a Rejoin Battle at n%

Eh. I’m not sold on the whole idea of retreating to repair, personally. At least in the current incarnation of the game. You’d have to stack so many engines on a cruiser to give it a chance to successfully withdraw that it wouldn’t be good for anything else. I think this is the reasoning behind the camouflage module, but my few experiments with that were miserable failures, so I dunno. Bottom line, ships have to be quick enough, or durable enough, to escape from a firefight in a damaged state for this tactic to be any good. Right now, achieving that with a ship that has any appreciable offensive payload seems to be impossible.

Or am I missing something? Has anyone had success with withdraw/repair tactics?

As a matter of fact, yes I do seem to have found that balance with my current design using the Rebel Minotaur Hull.

In my last battle, Rebel vs Rebel, 3 of these cruisers withdraw, taking their supporting Frigates too, leaving 2 other Cruisers to slug it out with the 5 enemy cruisers left - this was a Expert level battle so there was lots of everything.

The result was luckily that the enemy fleet split up and I was able to win through, just, but if the 3 repairing Cruisers - withdraw at 15% - had rejoined at 40% then I’d have had a much less costly win.

I think a better idea for cautious would be a “Withdraw if you are taking X much fire from the enemy” which would make cruisers actually able to break away from combat before getting annihilated.

I think that is actually a separate issue from what I’m trying to put forward. I do agree that such an Order would be good, thinking back to the last 4 battles I’ve played and seeing a number of Cruisers moving into optimum firing position for multiple enemy ships and dying due to it - might have been able to withdraw with your Order and survive.

What I’m trying to get across is that the Withdrawal of a ship from battle for repair based on the current Cautious Order is really only going to be of benefit IF it rejoins the battle at a later point; rather than the current situation where it tries to find the farthest point from the enemy and stays there.

I entirely agree with what you are saying. I would also like to see a time limit, so that a ship will eventually rejoin the battle regardless of repairs. This is because repair supplies are now limited. Ships sitting at the edge of the map, facing away for the rest of the battle seems wrong. If they are going to do that, they may as well hyperjump out.

Agreed, and after all they are a Warship and hiding at the edge of the map just isn’t right when the rest of the fleet is fighting.

Being a easy kill for the enemy is not a very honorable way to go either, if they’re going to go down then do so giving as good they’re getting to the very end; should be the aim of a Warship.

As an alternative to the timer suggestion, how about if Repair supplies run out the Cautious Order turns off and they rejoin the Battle to ‘do or die’

If the camouflage tool was triggered or at least interacted with the cautious command I think that’d play out better too. Eg if cautious condition hasn’t been met then chances of triggering the cloak are pretty low but once it kicks in it’ll try doing it as often as it can. From my limited experience with how it works now its just a random timer that needlessly triggers even before either fleet are within firing range.

assuming you have repair facilities on your ships (and there’s still repair resources left) they should rejoin when they are repaired - not sure if it’s “when they are totally repaired” or “when the damage % drops below the level you set” though

Simple fix 1 - only ships with repair modules can withdraw, they navigate back to the deployment area, then they automatically rejoin the battle when their repair resources are depleted. This assumes they havent already used their repair resources while in combat, and probably also means they’ll turn straight around and come back anyway, due to the time it’ll take them to get back to the deployment area.

Simple fix 2 - the withdraw command simply forces a ship to move back to the deployment area, then go back to their main orders.

Maybe the Cautious order should include a reverse range slider (don’t know how to explain it exactly). Basically, after a set amount of damage the ship can withdraw to use only it’s longest range weapons. A warships goal should be to stay in the fight as long as possible I imagine. It would be better if it could retreat and lob torpedoes than just get off one more volley of everything before being destroyed. I think this would make the order useful for ships with or without repair modules.

Good point regarding Ranged weapons, so a further refinement to the Suggestion:

A ship using the Cautious Order should withdraw from the Front-line to Long Range distance to Repair and/or use Long Range weapons. If repairs are undertaken and return the ship to a Damage state equal to or greater than a set amount, the ship returns to the Front-line. If the ship has neither Repair Module(s) or Long Range weapons then it just moves to Max or Optimum range of the weapons it does have.

Now that I think about it more maybe a whole new “maintain distance” order would be good in addition to the cautious/range combo. Think, for example, of a ship with only torpedoes. Right now they have no problem sitting around getting pounded by short range weapons when they should, if possible, move away from their enemy and fire from maximum range. New thread maybe?

I don’t understand why we have to tell a ship to protect itself, or to maintain distance from other ships, especially given the damage a core explosion can do. This should be default behavior and the orders we give should only countermand it. i.e. Hold position no matter what!

Right now we treat the ships like robot decoys.

EDIT to add an example: Imagine if when the enemy ships charged us (like they currently do in the survival scenario) our ships would automatically back off to maintain optimum range and minimize the risk of an explosion? Then, after the ship blew up, our ships would reform their formation.

Right now there is nothing so infuriating for me as my ships sitting like ducks as the enemy closes in right on top of them (not even attempting to back up) and just sit there as that enemy ship then explodes, blowing all their systems out. Worse yet is my ships firing their beams over and over at ships whose shields are reflecting them, when a ship right near by could be cored by those same weapons.

I am thinking we need a dedicated navigator decision tree that is separate from a dedicated target decision tree (like real ships do, navigator vs fire control chief)

Agreed! As things stand now, the automated execution of tactics leaves much to be desired, esp. at closer ranges. I think that Serpent’s proposal is a big step forward to a solution. A sufficiently sophisticated interplay between the decisions generated by two different trees would be superior to trying to fulfill two differing sets of combat imperatives - shooting vs. moving - from one set of data.

I also agree. Just because I want to target an enemy doesn’t mean I want to pursue them. Common case: I’m a cruiser with a slow, long range weapon, but I also have some defense lasers in case fighters come after me. I don’t want the cruiser pursuing or avoiding the fighters, I just want it to shoot at them. What I do want is to move so that my main target is within range of my main weapon.

I totally agree with the separate Navigation and Targeting engines.

1.12 fixes the keeping distance issue to a large degree. As for the ships moving towards their main target and shooting anything that happens to go past, my experience is that this is mostly the case - I cant remember a case of a cruiser wandering off to chase fighters when there has been a higher priority target in range. Thats just me personally.