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Author Topic: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot  (Read 1140 times)

BFEL

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Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« on: September 09, 2023, 03:10:16 AM »

So I've read a little bit about how people pilot ships (mostly the Doom, everyones favorite) and have looked at my own skill issues of just generally not doing half as good as the AI at basic combat.

I've also recently found two ship designs that I can reliably pilot to similar or better effect then the AI. Problem is both of those are massively overtuned, op superships that are virtually unkillable for different reasons (one is the Zeus, a paragon variant with more forward firepower and a shield system that gives 10x absorption but disables weapons and can be freely toggled, from Ship and Weapons pack, and the other is my new favorite "armor/hull regenerating Kassadari Onslaught Drift King", which uses a plethora of effects from mods to turn the slowest ship in the game into a zippy ramship)

So at least from what I've seen its virtually impossible for most players to outperform ai in the pure mainstay flux war type combat that most of the game revolves around, but specialist weird stuff is obviously better in player hands?

Is this a fair assessment? Are there any Ace Pilots out there who can reliably take out Paragons with their sexy custom Kites? Or is manual piloting a niche for abusing ai doom mine style and nothing else?
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Grievous69

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2023, 03:30:20 AM »

So at least from what I've seen its virtually impossible for most players to outperform ai in the pure mainstay flux war type combat that most of the game revolves around, but specialist weird stuff is obviously better in player hands?
No, not even close. AI often makes little mistakes that leads it to death. Refusing to drop shields, overcommiting, not commiting enough, poor ship system usage. It's not hard to be smarter than AI when managing flux, especially with flux hungry weapons. Only thing AI does very well is shield flickering, and even that isn't perfect.

Not sure what fighting Paragons with a Kite has to do with the rest of the post.

You can take any ship with a mobility system or lots of missiles and make a big impact on the fight, doesn't have to be a "broken" ship.
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Nettle

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2023, 04:04:25 AM »

You can pilot any ship and have it perform better in your hands than that of an AI, that being said, as a player you will get the most value out of piloting high-mobility vessels that can put your human decision-making skills to good use, mostly identifying opportunities to strike isolated/vulnerable targets. Even if you don't have a feel for manual piloting just yet, keep getting in-combat experience and you should get better at it. Or don't, there is nothing wrong with leaving it on autopilot and focusing on giving out orders. Leadership skills and holding comm relays should help with having plenty command points.
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BFEL

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2023, 05:55:54 AM »

Not sure what fighting Paragons with a Kite has to do with the rest of the post.

It was kinda a extreme example of a "someone really stupidly good at piloting", it was meant as hyperbole.

As for the answers given, I guess I just suck atm. Currently still have major problems winning 1v1 in the simulator if I pilot a "normal" ship, even ones that the AI effortlessly crushes with.
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Grievous69

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2023, 06:15:54 AM »

Don't worry about it, most of the fancy videos you see are from people playing the game for a very long time. I remember when I just started playing I constantly kept dying in my flagship to lame pirates. It's just a matter of getting used to the combat and watching for that flux meter.
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SCC

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2023, 09:33:30 AM »

For what it's worth, I'm very good at the game, but I pilot ships myself because I find it fun. I did not pilot my ship at first because it was the optimal way to play, but because it was the most fun. Then I became good at it, because I had practice.
If you don't think you can make as much of an impact as an AI ship, don't try to. Fly one of the smaller ships that you take a liking to. Preferably something faster - it's typically more forgiving of mistakes, as you can back off.

Thaago

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2023, 04:09:44 PM »

Piloting in this game has a high ceiling with any ship but takes a lot of practice because it involves so many elements. I'd say most people who fly regularly get better than the AI in a reasonable amount of time, but before then it can be painful to see your ship getting shot up so badly. Easy mode is really great for this as it makes the player ship do better.

If you haven't already, I recommend doing 98% of your weapon firing on auto. Missiles and strike weapons like AM blasters are some of the few exceptions, or niche situations like shooting down missiles with non-pd weapons. Concentrating on flying and shield use gets a lot easier without also worrying (too much) about aiming.

Another thing to work on is 'when to vent'. It's very hard one answer systematically, and getting it wrong means the ship takes a lot of damage (hence why the AI is shy about venting), but getting the answer right is a massive increase in performance.

Good luck spacer!
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IDA Frigate Captain

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2023, 05:14:29 PM »

<- finds the learning curve too steep, hasn't self-piloted a single time in my entire first playthrough.

That included recently defeating the S-modded [ABSOLUTELY REDACTED] fleet with my fleet of:

1x Paragon (survived)
3x Onslaught (2 destroyed, 1 survived on less than 1% hull!!!!!)
1x Legion (survived)
1x Astral (destroyed)
1x Conquest (destroyed)
4x Eagle (destroyed)
4x Tempest (destroyed)
3x Monitor (destroyed)

and a special shout out to the Nav-buoy and ECM-equipped Prometheus and Atlas that were pulled in at the very end to cap objectives after all my frigates were lost.
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My first thought in winning the flux war - which dumb ass engineer put shields and weapons inseparably linked to the same flux system?!

xescape

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2023, 12:50:19 PM »

Computers are better than humans at many things. For example it knows all the available values (opponent weapon stats, your own armor stats, etc.) and can multitask perfectly (with omni shield, etc.). Tbh in a 1v1 between two comparable ships randomized, I'm not even sure the human pilot has any real advantages against the AI. The biggest human advantage imo is having a plan. For example your strategy may involve venting or boosting in under specific conditions and your loadout is customized towards that.

Personally I mostly autopilot when my fleet reaches a certain size because my ships like to get themselves killed when unsupervised.
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Grievous69

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2023, 12:58:17 PM »

Tbh in a 1v1 between two comparable ships randomized, I'm not even sure the human pilot has any real advantages against the AI.
That almost never happens in a real fight but let's entertain that scenario for a second. The things human can do which AI either can't or can't well enough:

- Take advantage of target's blind spots
- Use system in non obvious ways (most common with burn abilits and using it to outflank a ship or avoid fire=
- Spam missiles (AI is conservative)
- Much better timing with strike weapons (I'd honestly say this one is the biggest difference)
- In general, using weapons non optimally, such as wasting a ton of HE dmg on shields, or low dmg kinetic on armour
- Aggressive vents (doable with AI but nowhere near perfect timing as the player)

There could be something else but yeah, AI is reliable but can't think ahead and pilots safely, which it should be doing don't get me wrong.
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SCC

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2023, 01:05:42 PM »

For example it knows all the available values (opponent weapon stats, your own armor stats, etc.) and can multitask perfectly (with omni shield, etc.).
In some specific situations, the ship AI can make bad decisions despite "knowing" everything. Sometimes it even gets overly fixated on a specific issue to its overall detriment.
Tbh in a 1v1 between two comparable ships randomized, I'm not even sure the human pilot has any real advantages against the AI.
Well, yes. The knowledge when to vent, when to be aggressive, when to take damage on the armour instead of the shield, when to use your ship system, what weapons to use, at what ranges...

Thaago

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2023, 01:55:35 PM »

The AI has a reaction time, as determined by semi-random intervals between its AI checks (and I believe the different routines for evaluating different factors are separate as well, but am less certain of that). This can be very noticeable once a person realizes what is going on, and a human is usually faster.

The AI is also notoriously bad at getting its shield usage right in terms of target selection of what to block - 1 v 1 it is usually passable, but in more hectic battlespaces it can take a lot of unforced damage to the hull while at the same time taking a lot of unforced damage to the shield.

It takes a lot of practice, but a 'good' pilot can comfortably and quickly win a 1v1 with an identical AI ship, taking little damage in the process. I'd say they should be able to win a 2v1 against with a "normal" ship vs mirror enemies (so not using allies as distractions, having a numerical/speed/s mod advantage, etc etc) and much higher odds with "playerbait" ships.
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FooF

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2023, 08:06:01 AM »

The AI is notoriously bad at pressing attacks during prime opportunities. I’ve seen so many ships back off at like 1/3 flux even when its target is overloaded. Players can over-commit, sure, but the AI can make some maddeningly poor decisions when it comes to follow-through. Also, the AI is hyper-sensitive to missiles.

But, that keeps most allied ships alive (better to be too cautious than lose ships all the time) so I don’t fault the AI so much as I realize that a human can understand the “big picture” much better.
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Daynen

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2023, 10:43:04 PM »

Watch the AI handle Gryphons with reapers and tell me how badly you wish you were the one in control after it pops your own frontliners.  No way in HELL am I letting the AI run around like a drunk cockroach piling up D-mods on my flagship.
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basileus

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Re: Manual Piloting vs. Autopilot
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2023, 11:23:26 AM »

The one suggestion that I have is you could consider moving to a smaller ship rather than trying to pilot your best ship.  That may steepen the learning curve to becoming an ace pilot, but it will also greatly decrease the costs in time and credits if your fleet isn't depending upon your personal heroics to win.  Moreover, once you do graduate and are ready to fly a capital ship, the game will sure seem a lot easier if you've cut your teeth on a lighter class.

It may not even be necessary.  I continue to fly a particular frigate for everything except a couple of end game encounters, and I can swing fights for just a few DP.  That means I don't carry around a penalty to my soft caps skills for when I don't want to fly manually (which is most of the time).  I only pull out my Omen when I'm disadvantaged or bored.

Yes, I can decisively swing fights flying an Omen, which means the player isn't exclusively relegated to the hard carry role.  You can also play high level support with control either by disabling key ships, like my Omen, or by kiting--or even using missile spam--to split up the enemy fleet in such a way that the rest of your fleet enjoys tactical superiority.  Most people use missile spam to kill the enemy, but as has been mentioned prior in this thread, the AI is pretty dumb when it comes to handling missiles, so you could also use them to potentially control a few dangerous ships by pinning them in their deployment zone, while your fleet cleans up everything else.

Of course, I suspect most people would prefer charging in and being super hero to cravenly kiting enemies around; however in the mod I play most often, the Redacted are significantly more deadly than vanilla and I'm not opposed to limited shenanigans in the early mid-game to field some of their ships and cut out a lot of the grind.
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