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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Skills and Story Points (07/08/19)

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Author Topic: Effective use of Escorts  (Read 779 times)

NZK

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Effective use of Escorts
« on: September 27, 2019, 05:38:58 PM »

Hey,

Was just wondering about the mechanics of escorts, taking into account there different capabilities. 

Does a frigate kitted out for fighter defence need to be micro managed, in order for it to be held in position to protect a larger ship?
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wei270

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2019, 11:37:04 PM »

escort will assign the required escort to the ship if your other ship don't currently have an order.
and in my experience the AI is kinda sloppy when piloting the ships when your main ship decided to back off because AI thinks he does for what ever reason,( happens alot) the escort frigate actually don't respondent well. What the escort frigate should do is back off with the main ships, but what it actually does is keep in position and wait for its own AI to process where it needs to go.

This is very problematic, as your main ship probably bigger than your escort frigate backed up in the first place is because the opposite AI probably has some serious firepower, but your small frigate is still holding positing and processing its own situation and often gets destroyed in the process.

If you want to fix this issue i suggest only give this order to frigate you know that is not gonna die. ie most phrase ships.

That being said i wish there could be a new command that assign fighters as heavy, median or light escorts instead of ships. that way your bigger ships can get the fighter protection it needs with out some of the questionable AI behaviour.
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sotanaht

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2019, 02:29:55 AM »

Didn't there used to be a way to assign fighter escorts?

Even without the AI not knowing when to retreat properly, escort just tends to be suicidal regardless.  Because a Frigate or Destroyer fixed in position relative to a cruiser or capital is just going to die because it can't dodge or escape.  They can't really close and attack either, so they pretty much just sit there looking pretty waiting to die.
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Bradley_

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2019, 07:07:30 AM »

As soon as you get your hands on a larger ship you ask yourself "can I save PO on PD on my flagship and have PD escort?" There are two answers to that and both of them are NO.

So if you are on the bridge of the all-in damage cruiser, the escort duty is in the hands of AI. And no, AI can't handle it.  If you give the escort order it will stick to the right of you or to the left of you, not actively charging missiles while you are venting, it also won't fall back if under pressure from larger ships oven if it means death. And if you don't give the order, they will fly away as soon as the action starts.

But do not feel disappointed about your good idea not being possible due to AI, because it's actually a horrible idea. Even if there would be a living captain in that escort ship, wich knows what do you what from him. By fitting a frigate fullPD and a cruiser fullDPS you merge two units into one. And it's a clumsy unit too. Your cruiser can't take down even a single salamander, your frigate will die even to a single lasher. So they have to constantly babysit each other. And what's the benefit from this? You get two more heavy blasters on your apogee? Two more HVD on your dominator? Two more IR pulses and a few OP on your aurora? Not only the benefit is small, you also will have to vent your increased flux from those weapons. Wich means your escort isn't pressuring the enemy because it has no assault  weapons, your flagship isn't pressuring the enemy because you are venting, and also you are getting surrounded because your ships can't fight without each other. Ridiculous.

In reality self-sufficiency and sustained firepower is what wins battles. So put only one burst PD on your wolf, don't put burst PD on your temptest,  have flaks in those medium ballistic turrets, have those large PD and burst PD on your cruisers, have your escort not babysiting you, but keeping busy enemy escort or flanking the enemy. Basically, have as much PD as you need for self defense and have as much fire power as you can sustain. And if you still need extra antifighter or alpha, use fighters or bombers. At least that is my experience.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 07:16:25 AM by Bradley_ »
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sotanaht

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2019, 08:14:15 AM »

As soon as you get your hands on a larger ship you ask yourself "can I save PO on PD on my flagship and have PD escort?" There are two answers to that and both of them are NO.

So if you are on the bridge of the all-in damage cruiser, the escort duty is in the hands of AI. And no, AI can't handle it.  If you give the escort order it will stick to the right of you or to the left of you, not actively charging missiles while you are venting, it also won't fall back if under pressure from larger ships oven if it means death. And if you don't give the order, they will fly away as soon as the action starts.

But do not feel disappointed about your good idea not being possible due to AI, because it's actually a horrible idea. Even if there would be a living captain in that escort ship, wich knows what do you what from him. By fitting a frigate fullPD and a cruiser fullDPS you merge two units into one. And it's a clumsy unit too. Your cruiser can't take down even a single salamander, your frigate will die even to a single lasher. So they have to constantly babysit each other. And what's the benefit from this? You get two more heavy blasters on your apogee? Two more HVD on your dominator? Two more IR pulses and a few OP on your aurora? Not only the benefit is small, you also will have to vent your increased flux from those weapons. Wich means your escort isn't pressuring the enemy because it has no assault  weapons, your flagship isn't pressuring the enemy because you are venting, and also you are getting surrounded because your ships can't fight without each other. Ridiculous.

In reality self-sufficiency and sustained firepower is what wins battles. So put only one burst PD on your wolf, don't put burst PD on your temptest,  have flaks in those medium ballistic turrets, have those large PD and burst PD on your cruisers, have your escort not babysiting you, but keeping busy enemy escort or flanking the enemy. Basically, have as much PD as you need for self defense and have as much fire power as you can sustain. And if you still need extra antifighter or alpha, use fighters or bombers. At least that is my experience.
Right answer, wrong reason.  The answer is "no" because it's not worthwhile to waste even a frigate slot in your fleet on PD. Just ditch the PD entirely and you will be better off.  "As much PD as you need for self defense" is always 0.  You do not need PD.  You have a shield, it's generally more efficient and doesn't cost you any OP.
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Bradley_

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2019, 08:16:29 AM »

Predator or prey?
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TaLaR

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2019, 08:54:28 AM »

Right answer, wrong reason.  The answer is "no" because it's not worthwhile to waste even a frigate slot in your fleet on PD. Just ditch the PD entirely and you will be better off.  "As much PD as you need for self defense" is always 0.  You do not need PD.  You have a shield, it's generally more efficient and doesn't cost you any OP.

Player can make do with just the shield. AI can't. So at least pair of PD lasers or Vulcans to cover rear is standard for DE/Cruisers. AI also gets distracted by Pilums way too much (despite them being mostly harmless), so at least ships that can put some PD/LRPD without harming the build should do so (2-3 frontal LRPD on Falcons/Eagles, not leaving small slots empty on Conquest, etc).

Heavy PD that is not Flak or Vulcan is not AI usable - http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=16654.0 .

For player piloted capitals (mostly Conquest), going IPDAI + IR pulse is also a good option - with character skills it's decent enough PD that only uses otherwise trash slots. And doubles up as close-combat anti-ship. Completely shuts down Doom's mines too, since IR pulse has enough dps and doesn't run out of charges.
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Serenitis

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2019, 09:14:54 AM »

Didn't there used to be a way to assign fighter escorts?
Target the ship you want escorted.
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Bradley_

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2019, 10:46:49 AM »

Don't you have to pilot the carrier to do that? Do you want to pilot a carrier for the sole purpose of escorting some other ship? Great feature, allowing to micromanage fighters only from a carriers bridge.
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Thaago

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2019, 11:23:51 AM »

Escorts will stick to your rear flanks and shoot at ships that come near/block them from getting to you. They are very rigid in that role. As long as thats what you want/need, they are fantastic. If you want a ship to fly next to and focus fire with, not so much.

So: I would never use a normal frigate for an escort. They are much too reliant on speed/maneuvering for their defense and venting, so will die without doing much good. Specialty 'tough' frigates can do however: centurion, monitor, brawler all work pretty well, though with different focuses. The brawler's main weakness, its backside, is taken care of by it sticking to you like glue, so it is a good gun option. Monitor is all defense: its their to stall the enemy AI and just tank shots until you've dealt with whatever is in front and then turn to blow up the flankers. Centurion is a jack of all trades, but it has really nice stats and can mount a kinetic/he/ion cannon combo.

A nice tough destroyer that is designed to push enemies back rather than kill is good: this is one of the few roles that the Enforcer is actually good at! They make good companions for Dominators and Onslaughts as they are strong enough to push back frigates. Just be aware that their firepower and shields suuuuck, so something else will need to kill the flankers.


...
Right answer, wrong reason.  The answer is "no" because it's not worthwhile to waste even a frigate slot in your fleet on PD. Just ditch the PD entirely and you will be better off.  "As much PD as you need for self defense" is always 0.  You do not need PD.  You have a shield, it's generally more efficient and doesn't cost you any OP.

This is a very fringe view that I do not at all recommend following. MANY ships have exposed sections of their shields, and even omni shielded ships are frequently in situations where turning the shields to face the missiles is suicidal. Nearly every ship needs enough PD to handle stray pilums and salamanders coming from the back/sides - that doesn't mean PD in every slot, but it means some.

There are in general a few 'levels' of PD to shoot for, depending on what you want:
1) No PD. Player only, and a risky/annoying option at best. Ok for SO destroyers, but even then its annoying and of marginal benefit.

2) Light engine/side PD: enough to stop 2 Salamanders and stray Pilums. Enough for ships with good coverage shields. This is perfectly acceptable on most ships. Not effective against fighters, so have main/secondaries that are.

3) Anti-strike PD: enough to stop a barrage of 8 harpoons or 2 reapers or 3 wings of strike fighters from the front. This level of PD requires some investment, but means that when the ship is at high flux it is not vulnerable to HE strike. Very useful for fighting carriers, stations, and remnants: stations will spew out unlimited missiles (harpoons are nasty when unlimited), while Remnant destroyers often pack dual reapers and love to fire them - quite dangerous. This level is also enough to be decent anti-fighter in terms of DPS, especially when backed up by main/secondaries good in that role. With this level enemy carrier fleets are not a threat as long as your ships stay reasonably together.

4) Dominant PD: enough to stop nearly anything. This is hard to achieve and perhaps not even worth it, but Onslaught from the front/sides and Paragon all around can achieve it with an officer. Takes quite a few OP and probably a hullmod or two, but doing this makes the ship completely immune to all strike weapons, and usually immune to fighters just from the shear mass of flak/burst PD. Carrier fleets become trivial, including Astrals, as they have nothing that can hurt the battleship even when massed. Able to beat even 'cheese' fleets such as Reckless Falcon (P) swarms through sheer PD dominance.

Usually I go level 2 on individual ships, though I love making PD nets with midline ships that become level 3 when overlapping.
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Igncom1

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2019, 11:34:17 AM »

I suppose escorts can be whatever you need to be escorted FROM. Be it enemy fighters, missiles or straight up other ships.

For PD you might want to get some midline monitors. They have two flak cannons BUILT IN, and are very effective at using them.
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NZK

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2019, 12:11:24 PM »

Thanks for the reply‚Äôs guys.  Still trying to get used to some of the nuances of the game, and stopping myself from trying to play it like Sid Meirs Pirates :)
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Ebola

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2019, 12:28:29 PM »

Escort Duty can also be a way to keep a ship safe(er) while keeping it in combat, either because it took a lot of hull damage already or because it's outclassed and would surely die alone.
As for PD: Try going PD only on a Conquest. Silly, but it does annihilate smallfries.
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Bradley_

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2019, 12:55:23 PM »

Well, going full ANYTHING on conquest would be strange, as it has two sides. But that what makes it unique, you can have a dedicated PD/close combat side while your artillery side is at full firepower. But still one rarely needs aegis/devastator cannons.
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sotanaht

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Re: Effective use of Escorts
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2019, 02:08:23 PM »

This is a very fringe view that I do not at all recommend following. MANY ships have exposed sections of their shields, and even omni shielded ships are frequently in situations where turning the shields to face the missiles is suicidal. Nearly every ship needs enough PD to handle stray pilums and salamanders coming from the back/sides - that doesn't mean PD in every slot, but it means some.
Salamanders are harmless.  It takes at least 4 of them to kill any of a capital ships engines (maybe more, I only know that I've seen 3 hit an odyssey at the same time and have no effect).  The enemy is very unlikely to fire that many together at one ship in the first place, and if they do the odds of hitting are small, and even if they hit it's unlikely to result in anything of note.  Frigates and to a lesser extend Destroyers are too agile to actually hit the engine.  Even the AI will probably (completely by accident) turn or strafe out of the way. 

Pilums are a frontal threat.  Keep shields up and face the enemy (which the AI will always do), and they will never hit anything but shield unless the ship overloads.  If the ship overloads, than it's going to die pilums or no pilums.

Either way, PD is a complete waste of OP that could go into something that helps the ship do its job, like more vents/caps, hardened shields, even auxiliary thrusters would be preferable.


Now to be fair, in situations that are dramatically different than what you can expect from the campaign, like for example with the fleetbuilding tournaments, MAYBE even some missions, PD might be useful.  In the campaign where you are 100% of the time looking for ships to punch above their weight, PD is a handicap.  I personally think that PD is in desperate need of either across the board balancing (MAJOR buffs only), or some sort of extra niche like being made into a hard-counter for fighters.

Of course, from the perspective of AI fleets, having PD installed on basically every ship prevents the player from being able to use certain cheese strategies easily.  The AI is never going to use those in the first place though, so you don't need to worry about countermeasures yourself.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 02:13:15 PM by sotanaht »
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