I’ve been playing the scenario missions again since the 1.15 update and have been noticing that the Targeting Prioritization does not seem right, at least for Cruisers.
Here’s a specific situation I just watched in the 1st scenario - I’m playing Rebels; and AI is Alliance…
I’m on a fast road to defeat - 1 Cruiser left and some fighters. My last cruiser has 3 enemy cruisers in range - 2 of them have shields down and have taken moderate damage at most, and the 3rd cruiser has just come into range thus has not taken damage and has full shields. My cruiser takes the odd pot-shot at the 2 shield down cruisers and concentrates it big weapons onto the Shielded cruiser, and dies without honor…
My Cruiser is fighting with the following Orders:
As the last ship, I would expect Co-op and Rescuer to no longer have any effect.
All 3 cruisers are outside minimum firing distance, and inside maximum firing distance of my cruisers’ big weapons.
I’ve noticed this too. In my case, I have coop on my cruisers. No one seemed to be firing at the same target. They also had vulture, and when shields went down on one, they continued to fire at separate targets.
It could be the retaliate order, or it could be a range-related thing. The orders such as co-operative and vultrue work by effectviely making ships appear much closer than the are, so if the intact ship is waaay closer, then its possible for the big range difference to over-rule the vultureness. Does that sound like what you’ve seen? or were they roughly similar ranges? Ships do not pick new targets with every shot, so could it be that they are just maintaining earlier targets for a while, when the other ships were not in range?
Thinking back over the last battle and I’d have to say no. The ships involved on the Alliance side were a pair of Alligator Cruisers and a Shark Cruiser. As you’ll recall of the First Scenario, the Alligators are Middle-order and the Shark is at the back of the deployment. So, in simple terms the following is the positions that developed:
My Cruiser (x) had been exchanging fire with the Alligators (A), and the Shark (S) had moved into the AI’s front line during this time. Once the Shark appeared to reach the Cruiser Engagement Threshold, it became the priority target.
My experience is that targeting orders do not work too well with each other - I think the problem is that ships with multiple orders do not prioritize them in the way you would - with the end result being that having multiple orders makes a ship prioritize targets in a way you don’t want.
After playing for I while I usually don’t assign more than 1 target prioritizing order to ships, and rarely more than 2 - For example, I might give my core ‘line’ cruisers co-op, while I might designate certain ships to have ‘vulture’ (I would make the ship’s design with this role in mind). If I have some fighter defense frigates, I would give them ‘rescuer’ etc. I find that, at the very least, my ships will focus fire on single targets almost all the time with this method.
Lastly, I don’t give ‘retaliate’ to any ships that I expect to fight as a group (for me I would only use it on heavy cruisers that can dish out a lot of damage individually)… ‘retaliate’ often just ends up distracting the ships with everything that might be attacking them, and they don’t target co-operatively as a result. Which is really my point about giving a ship too many target orders; in my experience it just makes their target prioritization erratic.
Edit: Another thing you can do to make ships fight more cooperatively is to assign every ship into 2 or 3 groups, and then link them together using the ‘escort’ or ‘formation’ commands. I personally prefer the ‘escort’ command for most cases, as it gives much more flexibility when a group is composed of ships of different weapon ranges, however ‘formation’ is useful for when, say, you have longer ranged missile ship(s) behind a tough cruiser and you want them to stay behind at a set distance. In my experience, grouping ships in an intelligent way like this can make a big difference.
It’s just an optimisation in the code itself. The code doesnt track a separate prirority and distance. It squashes them together to make the maths quicker. But that doesn’t actually change the way it works.
Actually as I type this I can think of all sorts of improvements to this… I should have another rewrite of the targeting stuff