A Guide to Making NPC Combat Vessels

Discussion in 'The Shipyard & Guides' started by Blingon, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Blingon

    Blingon Member

    Players will often take Fleet commander as a way to lower enemy AI spawn on a map. In some rare cases, some players will choose fleet commander 2. But what makes a good NPC? What should it do?How do you build a ship with the purpose of using it as an NPC? After a server of playing fleet commander 2, its time to consolidate the findings.

    Super simplified logic train of NPC on attack:
    1. Load all the gun. they don't have to be fully loaded, but they are loaded.
    2. I will leave some power in engine so i can rotate/move.
    3. I will also charge some shields if i can, mainly the front, and if i have power to spare, maybe some of the sides, never the butt. but thats secondary. Shields are for losers, just like scanners.
    4. Does our fleet have a lock on any enemy? If yes, Am i range? If no, can i move?
    5. If i am in range, i may or may not move some tiles and fire all guns.
    6. If i am not in range, i will move in the direction of the enemy and acquire lock on.
    Current logic train of NPC on hold:
    I will not move and i will put all the power into shields. I will prioritize the front facing, then the port and starboard shields and finally my buttshield.

    With those Characteristics in mind, lets break them down into qualities you want in a ship.

    Because the AI like to load all guns, a ship with many guns will end up being very slow as an NPC. even if you are to use the "follow" into "attack" trick to prioritize more power to engine, it will still be slow. Thus, there is almost no point in making a "fast" NPC attack ship. if the plan is to use a ship as NPC, it is better to ignore initiative skills on the ship. however, movement skills will come in handy, allowing otherwise slow ships to get in range and fire off powerful attacks. Of course evasion is also a valid option if the purpose is to use it as a tank.

    if they are ships with guns on port and starboard, they will need to rotate. But if they are slow, they probably have low moves. For those ships, "rotation" is needed or you might have situations where they only fire 1/3 of total guns. It is Important to note that NPC ships have better or "old" power to move ratios.

    But those ship are currently not the ideal choice to begin with. because NPC have a tendency to charge only frontal shield, their sides and rear are often unshielded. As the NPC want to fire all guns, they will often end their turn with exposed sides facing the enemy ships. Thus Ideally, ships with only forward facing guns are the best candidates.

    On the topic of shields, one will have to be careful of shield overcharge and engine power. When building NPC ships, you should always check if power divided by six is equal or higher than the max shield level allowed on a facing. This is because if it is lower, it would affect the rear arch's shield when it is on hold. For example. if the engine is 30 power, you can only have 5 levels of shield. if you have 6 levels, it would have no butt shield because the front, 2 port and starboard side would have used up all the power. Thus it is important not to invest in too much shields ( especially sol ships).

    Because NPC never charge scanners, scanner skills are very effective on NPC that like to spear head an attack. but it is also a double edged sword for some ships as shots fired from range 4 is more accurate then shots fired from range 5 or 6.
    needless to say, you can't use active allocation skills like overload or targeting with NPC ships.

    Recommendation for Sol
    Bengu I-IV
    Liverpool III ( its a bit fragile?)
    Halifax ( a bit lacking on damage)
    Hybrid Orslo(its a tender, with 2 guns, that can probably heal 14 a turn when max leveled. probably the best NPC if you can get it past level 3)
    Typhoon (better in the rear than at the front)
    All of the Kumano if they are level 3 or more

    Recommendations for Genari
    Battalion (especially the 30 engine as it can support 5 levels of shields with no engine upgrades, but is a bit lacking in damage)
    Predator (its the most balanced of the Genari Frigates and can probably win against destroyer class AI if fully leveled.)
    60 hull Firebolt ( thou major investment in accuracy is needed for those missiles, but it is the ideal scout ship because of the scanner skill)
    Guardian ( versatile but very clunky)
    Victory ( the missiles are passable, but firing them from 5-6 range is not really effective, just use the guardian)

    What to consider when picking officer skills
    The ships I mentioned above are all potentially good NPC but their roles differ depending how you play, thus resulting in drastically different officer skills!

    NPC for Corner Campers. (High repair skill, high levels of evasion, shield overcharge, accuracy, weapon range +2, scanner+1)
    • Many enjoy the safety and security of a corner of a map.
    • Most of the ship used by corner campers utilize long range weapons paired with high power scanners. Scanners will be vital in acquiring lock on for the NPC
    • Most of the Sol ships will be able to corner camp with plasma beams.
    • Genari devastator and Great Wing can also utilize their range advantage.
    • these ships will not move that much, the NPC they bring along should not move that much either.
    • NPC will position itself between the enemy attacker and the player controlled ship. This requires them to be front-line ships that can take the beating and hold their ground.
    • Slow, low movement ( its actually a good thing since the player ship does not move), hard to re-position in asteroid fields. while close to the tender, they are unlikely to benefit from them
    NPC for defense ships ( repair levels, accuracy, move skills, rotation, range+2)

    • most defense ships are sturdy front-line ships with good shields and hull, likely attrition based
    • the player is likely drawing fire from enemy NPC and enemy player
    • defense ships have Lower damage output compared to other ships of the same class
    • NPC should be positioned behind the player's ship, safe from enemy fire and will help engage the closest target to the player's ship or fend off an attack from the flanks.
    • NPC require come micro managing from the player as they are likely to get out of position. if they stray too far, they will become the target for enemy ships
    NPC for Hit and Run or Missile Boats( scanner, accuracy, range,shroud)
    • The player ship have higher initiative, usually
    • the player like to pass turn
    • the player usually have no power or low power to scanners
    • The player will attempt to retreat after an attack run against a target.
    • the NPC will likely be a corvette or frigate as they have the mobility to function as a scout.
    • The NPC's purpose is to locate the enemy and soften them up for the hit and run attack, thus scanner skills are very valuable
    • it should have some defensive capability such as repair and shields, as they are likely on the frontline.

    Issue of most Destroyers as NPC
    Destroyers are cheap ships that players can get early. but inevitably, they will move on to light cruisers and larger ships. usually, players will turn them into NPC if they have fleet commander. But looking at the the weapon hard points of those ships, especially the Genari butt cannons, they all want to rotate and expose vulnerable facing with no shields . it does not take much to fry their engines and leave them adrift for the rest of the game. Recently, with the addition of the Typhoon class destroyer, it become possible for sol to have a NPC that can function as a back line attacker. However, take caution when using other Destroyers as NPC.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
    Belitzar, MLocke, Nahia and 2 others like this.
  2. Nahia

    Nahia New Member

    Nice and very interesting article.
    About Typhoon beeing a back line attacker, how would one do that?
    Do i let the typhoon in "hold position mode" or should i give him the attack order ?
    If set on "attack" he will move probably ? On hold position he will shield itself, but will he be able to power weapons ?
  3. Baalrog

    Baalrog Member

    Hi Nahia,
    if u want the ship to attack u have to set it to attack and it will acquire what it sees as optimal attack distance and then shoot at at nearby target, usually the closest one.
    If u set it to hold it will power all shields and stay where it is. U can sometimes combine commands and it will do as it has power left. But as commands are usually followed in allocation phase, a basic change can only be done then.
    Important to keep in mind is, that u need to give the main command before allocation phase as AIs are faster than u are in allocation phase. Best method is to pass after ur turn and then give the command before u finally end ur combat phase.

    So main factor is the 1st command given.

    Cheers Baal
    Nahia likes this.
  4. Nahia

    Nahia New Member

    thx again Baal :)
  5. Blingon

    Blingon Member

    Nahia, what you want to do is position your main ship infront of the typhoon then set the typhoon to "attack" or "follow" before the next allocation phase. the most important part is you have to have vision on an enemy. AI only attack things the fleet have vision on, if nothing is in sight, the AI will attempt to find the enemy, which would make it go out of position. Ai control and positioning takes a bit of practice, but once you have it down, it opens up a lot of strategies
    Nahia likes this.
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