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NPC combat AI to be upgraded. Your thoughts?

First post
Author
Jenn aSide
Dreddit
Test Alliance Please Ignore
#121 - 2012-10-02 13:02:09 UTC
CCP Affinity wrote:


Yes I do read the posts :) and lots of us devs do live in HI SEC - but we have to move forward.. we can't just never update the NPCs because people are scared of the new challenge it might present.


Sigh

I'll say it again, Many of us are not scared of new challenges, we're scared of the unintentional consequences that can come with make making changes in a good way. Some of us simply think that trying to "retro-fit" new AI into old content (rather than building new content from the ground up, like was done with incursions and wormholes, content BUILT for advanced AI) is inviting these unintended consequences that could ruin the game experience for quite a few players.

This is why were are highlighting the potential problems, such as the unintended effect of giving null sec "ratters" more protection from pvp due to the possibility of npc pirates switching target to the guy (ganker) who is incidentally trying to save said npc pirates lol.

And that's just one off the top of my head.

"Moving forward" is fine, as long as it's moving forward smartly and with due caution. We appreciate the work FoxFour is putting into testing stuff like the DED plexes to make sure this doesn't kill high end null sec exploration, but many of us (myself included) think a better plan would be a more comprehensive review and then reform of old pve content, not some willy-nilly peicemeal change.
Katran Luftschreck
Royal Ammatar Engineering Corps
#122 - 2012-10-02 13:05:55 UTC
Zaraz Zaraz wrote:
Time to train up drone durability 5


And level 5 gives you a whopping +25% HP ... or you could just fit a Drone Durability Rig and get +20% HP for zero days of training.

As it is now, most drones don't last more than 2 or 3 hits from high level rats, and even if you're totally focused on them it doesn't help: As soon as you hit the "recall" order you drone first comes to a complete stop for a few agonizing seconds and then beelines right back to your ship, which gives the rat shooting at a pretty much flat shot on the drone the whole way back. On the tougher missions you can recall a drone at the first plink of damage and it still won't make it back in time before the rats pop the poor thing.

Point being: Drone Durability skill is going to need a serious buff when these changes happen. When you get +10% for the skill of whatever boat you're flying and slap another +20% in with a cheap T1 rig, spending all the time to train to all the way to level for only +25% total HP simply doesn't balance out in the grand scheme of things. That skill is going to have to give at least +10% per level now if they don't want to break drone warfare completely.

Oh wait, they do. Well nevermind, then.

http://youtu.be/t0q2F8NsYQ0

Katran Luftschreck
Royal Ammatar Engineering Corps
#123 - 2012-10-02 13:13:26 UTC
CCP Affinity wrote:
Yes I do read the posts :) and lots of us devs do live in HI SEC - but we have to move forward.. we can't just never update the NPCs because people are scared of the new challenge it might present.


It might be wise to consult with those whom vote with their money before going ahead and making decisions that will negatively affect their desire to give your company their vote.

http://youtu.be/t0q2F8NsYQ0

CCP Affinity
C C P
C C P Alliance
#124 - 2012-10-02 13:38:10 UTC
Katran Luftschreck wrote:
CCP Affinity wrote:
Yes I do read the posts :) and lots of us devs do live in HI SEC - but we have to move forward.. we can't just never update the NPCs because people are scared of the new challenge it might present.


It might be wise to consult with those whom vote with their money before going ahead and making decisions that will negatively affect their desire to give your company their vote.


Five 0 are reading all the feedback and making sure the concerns raised are included in tests they do. Unfortunately, we cannot halt all development until we make sure everyone is 100% happy with the changes being made, but what we can do is take your concerns on board and make sure we negate them prior to release.

♥ CCP Affinity ♥

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Game Designer for EVE Online

Team Astro Sparkle

Casirio
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#125 - 2012-10-02 14:27:18 UTC
So you might have to actually replace some drones... I have to replace ammo.. so go figure. So much whinage.
Martin0
Dorky Unicorns
#126 - 2012-10-02 14:29:17 UTC
Casirio wrote:
So you might have to actually replace some drones... I have to replace ammo.. so go figure. So much whinage.


Your ammo isn't 500k isk each round, and you can carry a lot of ammo, we can have only a few drones.
Bloodpetal
Tir Capital Management Group
#127 - 2012-10-02 14:31:14 UTC  |  Edited by: Bloodpetal
CCP Affinity wrote:


Five 0 are reading all the feedback and making sure the concerns raised are included in tests they do. Unfortunately, we cannot halt all development until we make sure everyone is 100% happy with the changes being made, but what we can do is take your concerns on board and make sure we negate them prior to release.



I think the bigger concerns at this point highlighted from the other thread (The main comment thread) - are that sites from 5/10-6/10, and 10/10s, etc are going to become way too overpowered to bring both DPS and Tank. Possible? Yes. But, unintentionally "nerfing" how fast people can do these sites is peoples fundamental concerns (always about the money).

What needs to be tested is bringing 2-3 man groups into 6/10s up to 10/10s and see how difficult it becomes to kill **** in realistic setups that can survive low/null sec.

Because, being forced to take 2-3 ubertanked battleship to take those sites is a pain the bigger and the more ships you need to take.

Also, as Foxfour has said is that they want to make PVE a step closer to PVP, and increasing the survivability of frigate classes would make PVE feel more like PVP, but that currently conflicts with the historical way that missions have been designed.

So, CCP Affinity, as you go, please look at designing missions where as a team you can go in with a few sizes of ships and viably survive and succeed to success. Not that they should be done without larger ships (not saying that at all), but think about it.

Where I am.

Bloodpetal
Tir Capital Management Group
#128 - 2012-10-02 14:37:41 UTC  |  Edited by: Bloodpetal
Martin0 wrote:
Casirio wrote:
So you might have to actually replace some drones... I have to replace ammo.. so go figure. So much whinage.


Your ammo isn't 500k isk each round, and you can carry a lot of ammo, we can have only a few drones.


Have you seen T2 Large Laser Crystal costs? lol

Get off your pity parade.

Not only are they expensive, they also break eventually. We should just ask CCP to have drones take "ammo" damage and eventually break. And before you say something about "noone uses faction lasers for missions" or some nonsense, noone is forcing you to use T2 drones.

http://eve-central.com/home/quicklook.html?typeid=23105
Imperial Navy Multifreq L
1.0 Amarr VIII (Oris) - Emperor Family Academy 818,999.95 38 2012-12-28 10-02 12:52:33


http://eve-central.com/home/quicklook.html?typeid=12820
Scorch L
0.9 Jita IV - Moon 4 - Caldari Navy Assembly Plant 944,998.00 ISK 269 2012-12-31 10-02 10:08:21

Where I am.

Bloodpetal
Tir Capital Management Group
#129 - 2012-10-02 14:45:36 UTC
Lord Okinaba wrote:
CCP Affinity wrote:


Yes I do read the posts :) and lots of us devs do live in HI SEC - but we have to move forward.. we can't just never update the NPCs because people are scared of the new challenge it might present.


Well I'm not afraid of new challenges. My concern is that currently, the drone boats only niche is PVE. They are very rarely used in PVP because missiles/guns are far more effective and reliable at applying damage.

If this new AI is too aggressive towards drones then it will only serve to make drone boats even more redundant.




You're scared, admit it. Scared that drones won't have somewhere special to be or something. We can buy them a little orphanage in Tibet and let them all go there and spend the rest of their mechanical little lives dreaming of Nirvana.

Seriously, the DRONES WILL BE OK. I promise! They will BE OK!

Pirate

Where I am.

Hulk Miner
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#130 - 2012-10-02 15:25:09 UTC  |  Edited by: Hulk Miner
A long awaited fix for the NPC's. I may go back and start running missions when they are not so predictable and unchallenging.
CCP FoxFour
C C P
C C P Alliance
#131 - 2012-10-02 15:27:11 UTC
Hey guys!

So if you don't know who I am I am the guy that is making this change. Just to be clear the dev blog about this can be found over here and the feedback thread for it can be found here.

I have been attempting to follow that feedback thread primarily and I apologize for not reading this thread and commenting on it sooner. I would prefer if you had additional feedback that you posted it in the feedback thread above.

Now, down to business. I have read a good portion of the thread, if I don't answer your question directly sorry. I will however try and answer as many questions as possible.

I have read a few posts stating that devs don't play the game, or that we don't play a specific area of the game such as high sec PvE, or null sec PvE. I can't even begin to tell you how wrong you are. Just in the game design department alone we have people who play both of those areas and much more. This is also not a change we just willy nilly said "well we have nothing else to do so let’s throw darts at a board and pick something random." This is a change we really feel is needed and really believe in.

As most of this thread is focused on the concerns of drone users let’s start with them. I don't think I made this entirely clear when I posted the dev blog, but one of the factors that go into an NPC picking a target is the sig radius of both the NPC and the target. The NPC prefer to shoot things matching their own sig radius. This means that if you are in a BS with drones, the cruiser and BS sized NPCs will much prefer to target you while the frigates will probably prefer to switch to your drones. In other words; even when the NPC decide to shoot your drones they don't die nearly as quickly as when you accidentally kill the wrong trigger and a whole new wave spawns shooting your drones. Is that a buff to drones? I don’t know, but it sure is a change.

I also don't think I made it entirely clear as to how much threat generation matters to this new NPC. One of the really cool things you can do is take two ships with less tank than is currently required, when one tank is failing do something to generate a lot of threat and have the NPC switch to you. I know, this whole concept of managing aggro is new to EVE but other games have been doing it for a long time. With how smart you guys are, I have faith you will quickly come up with ways to beat the new AI far faster than we can.

One of the things I have been doing is using a flight of light drones to kill the frigate NPC and then going with sentry or heavy drones because once the light drones are dead the cruisers and BS basically don't care about drones. Also, a smart bomb is nice for dealing with large numbers of frigates in close.

I am actually currently of the opinion that these changes are making missions two easy in some cases. With how the NPC acted before, all you had to do was bring one tank that was good enough to tank them for the entire time. Now all you need a tank enough to survive until you get them to switch targets. I have seen people run missions/PLEX with dual rep Dominix and maybe a bit of RR on a second one. You can now do the same with 0 local rep, some RR, and replace the local reps with drone damage mods. The result? More DPS from you primary form of DPS (your drones) and this fantastic ability to control aggro.

People in wormholes and Incursions have been dealing with this new AI for some time now without much of a problem. I have seen wormhole setups that use drones be of great success. The NPC I am giving the new AI to will have a lot less hate towards drones than the ones in Incursions or wormholes. This means drone setups should be even more viable than in either wormholes or Incursions.

So drone users, please hold on for just a bit and as soon as our test server is up with these changes I will let you know. Once you have had a chance to test it, died/failed miserably, and tried a new setup I would love some feedback.

To give you an example of how these changes have made things too easy in my opinion. I tanked the final room of The Maze, specifically the citadel torpedo launcher that does something like 180k EM damage, with a single flight of light drones. o_O That will probably change, but my point stands. There are plenty of options still out there for drone users.

Admittedly for those that solo missions in a ship that has no drones this change means nothing at all. It has the largest impact on drone users and groups of players.

Think about this. If we had this AI in from the beginning and came to you and said "hey, we want to swap the AI out to something that will pick the first target it sees and never changes" I am pretty sure we would be laughed at... a lot.

Are there going to be people that die to this change? Yea, especially to that crazy citadel torpedo launcher that exists at the end of The Maze and other anomalies. Just like how peopled died to it when we first introduced it. What I advise is that players take extreme care when they are doing any PvE content in which they previously did with more than one ship and/or with drones. Don't trust the guides online, don't trust what you know. Approach it as new content.

If you are aware of any specific content in which you fear will be unplayable after this changes please bring it to my attention. I am playing through and testing as much content as I can get my hangs on.

What other things are being brought up as concerns?

Null sec ganks of people running PvE content. This does have an effect on that no doubt. To be honest yes this means you will no longer be able to do this solo in a stealth bomber. I however just tested it and was able to tank six frigate NPC in my nemesis long enough for another character to jump into the system and warp 73au. I might be wrong but...

@CCP_FoxFour // Technical Designer // Team Tech Co

Third-party developer? Check out the official developers site for dev blogs, resources, and more.

Jenn aSide
Dreddit
Test Alliance Please Ignore
#132 - 2012-10-02 15:38:32 UTC
CCP FoxFour wrote:
Hey guys!

:(


Blood Raider Naval Shipyard (BRNS) and Angel Cartel Naval Shipyard (ACNS), I really REALLY want you to go do those and see how it goes, please let us know. BRNS specifically is a crap your pants experiance, try it.

I'll make some replies to other stuff later, but this post did kind of answer one of my questions about drones, if cruisers and BS don't much care to aggro drones Ima go super slaughter Forsaken Hubs with the drones I don't get to use now lol.
Jenn aSide
Dreddit
Test Alliance Please Ignore
#133 - 2012-10-02 15:43:39 UTC  |  Edited by: Jenn aSide
Hulk Miner wrote:
A long awaited fix for the NPC's. I may go back and start running missions when they are not so predictable and unchallenging.


They might eventually get there, this change doesn't do that and I don't understand why people think it will. Read FoxFour's big post, if it goes in as it is, it may end up making missions MORE "predictable" and safer (due to threat management) the way Incursions are totally predictable and safe. That is if it goes in as stated, we still need to test it.

I am going to **** PVE lol. I'm almost excited to see December now, iskies , they are going to be great!
Tyberius Franklin
Federal Navy Academy
Gallente Federation
#134 - 2012-10-02 17:47:58 UTC
CCP FoxFour wrote:
Hey guys!
Lots of words

Your post makes me want to get into the test server more than ever at this point. From this description it still looks like drone boats are only the way to go if you can't fly anything else with the same proficiency. I wonder how well light drones will last if frigs, especially elites, tend to like my drones more than my ship. Past experience indicates it's not long, and smartbombing is not wise in highsec.

I can see using ECM or RR as viable counters, but it's an interesting compromise that only affects drone ships and means sacrificing slots for mods a gunship wouldn't need while in many cases the drone ships already have one less slot than other equivalent ships of the same type.

In groups, the dedicated tank may still remain, just now with more of a focus on actually pulling aggro, but will that be enough with gimped DPS output to keep rat focus off of any RR support that may be needed? So many questions.

Perhaps these are minor concerns that won't play out but that's all the more reason we need to have a chance to test this on the test server. Really can't wait for the opportunity.
Chi'Nane T'Kal
Interminatus
#135 - 2012-10-02 18:20:46 UTC
Why the new thread? A link to the dev blog discussion thread would have made more sense, no?
Sinigr Shadowsong
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#136 - 2012-10-02 19:45:16 UTC
CCP FoxFour wrote:

Wall of text.

Have you tested carriers with the new AI? It's signature is way to big to interest Rats :(.
Are NPC consider signature radius of ships or only base signature? I mean will they treat specially targets on MWD?
DarthNefarius
Minmatar Heavy Industries
#137 - 2012-10-02 22:27:22 UTC  |  Edited by: DarthNefarius
Lord Okinaba wrote:


Well I'm not afraid of new challenges. My concern is that currently, the drone boats only niche is PVE. They are very rarely used in PVP because missiles/guns are far more effective and reliable at applying damage.

If this new AI is too aggressive towards drones then it will only serve to make drone boats even more redundant.



I think from what I've read of DEVs posts that there is a Drone hate slider with the AI... in Inucrsions and WH's it is fairly high.
From what I've hear it will be in comparision higher in Missions then what it is now &it'll be around 1/2 the Incursion drone hate on the meter. While Domi's & drone boats are not at all favored in the Incursion communities it mostly because in competition turrents are much faster & although often a few drones get killed by the eysters its never all the drones unless there was a failscade
An' then [email protected], he come scramblin outta the    Terminal room screaming "The system's crashing! The system's    crashing!" -Uncle RAMus, 'Tales for Cyberpsychotic Children'
Adigard
RubberDuckies
#138 - 2012-10-02 23:43:36 UTC
CCP FoxFour : This is a change we really feel is needed and really believe in.

And some of us simply wish this change wasn't being made in a vacuum...

CCP FoxFour : This means that if you are in a BS with drones, the cruiser and BS sized NPCs will much prefer to target you while the frigates will probably prefer to switch to your drones.

This test apparently was done with light drones... my findings (posted in that other thread) with medium drones had remarkably different results, but the server's been down for a while so I can't actually finish testing. Also, the general feedback I've heard suggests staying motionless with sentries killing Cruiser's and BS's while leaving your cadre of frigates in orbit as a type of insta-CONCORD protection from PvP interlopers in frigates.

CCP FoxFour : Also, a smart bomb is nice for dealing with large numbers of frigates in close.

Doing this in high-sec, of course, will eventually result in the loss of said ship... but there seems to be considerable controversy in the other thread about how successful this tactic would be in the DED 10/10 missions.

CCP FoxFour : I am actually currently of the opinion that these changes are making missions two easy in some cases.


Welcome to unintentional consequences? This, coupled with the lousy drone interface system is my biggest complaint. Not that "zoinkies, we've got to adapt to change", but that this is a pretty massive change with very little short-term gain, until you guys get back to it and iterate more in 18 months...

CCP FoxFour : You can now do the same with 0 local rep, some RR, and replace the local reps with drone damage mods. The result? More DPS from you primary form of DPS (your drones) and this fantastic ability to control aggro.

Stealth Dual AFK Domi buff?

CCP FoxFour : People in wormholes and Incursions have been dealing with this new AI for some time now without much of a problem. I have seen wormhole setups that use drones be of great success.

Comparing apples to a fruit cocktail doesn't... exactly work, but I understand the thought process behind the comparison, even if I don't like it. I think it's worth pointing out though that the average WH pilot seems to ignore drones. Average, of course, does not apply to Drone boat proteus WH salvage fits, and the like.

CCP FoxFour : So drone users, please hold on for just a bit and as soon as our test server is up with these changes I will let you know. Once you have had a chance to test it, died/failed miserably, and tried a new setup I would love some feedback.

My current disdain is based on the test I ran, but again... not done with testing.

CCP FoxFour : Think about this. If we had this AI in from the beginning and came to you and said "hey, we want to swap the AI out to something that will pick the first target it sees and never changes" I am pretty sure we would be laughed at... a lot.

And yet, 100% of the content designed over those years would have been written with these changes in mind. Now we've got years and years of existing content with a new AI bolted on top. That's one of the big complaints people have.

I'm not as angry about these changes as these posts may appear, but it just seems like a really poorly thought out idea to me with little to no real 'gain' until whenever you guys get back to it and iterate more.
Nestara Aldent
Citimatics
#139 - 2012-10-03 00:37:49 UTC  |  Edited by: Nestara Aldent
Train drone durability 5 guys.

With that skill and HP bonus given by a droneship, your drones last quite a bit, and very rarely you'll lose it in missions. Sometimes when I mission in a droneship, I just dont care about their aggro, and let them be hit, it takes quite a bit they to lose shields.

So deploy them, if they get aggro (and you'll know, bc the rats wont be yellow boxing red boxing you!) get them in, redeploy. Easy. Just that means, no more ez-mode afking or botting with a droneship. And if you dont wanna micro, dont use droneship (pet class!).

This is unrelated, but I've been laughed at for having drone durability 5 ("one of those useless skills" one guy said). OFC when rats had (and still have) abysmal AI!
Derath Ellecon
Lotek Academy
#140 - 2012-10-03 01:04:18 UTC
Adigard wrote:
Lots of words



Good post. Fox also asked for feedback in the feedback thread. I would suggest posting this there so it is sure to be seen.