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[Winter] Changes to NPC AI

First post
Author
Sentamon
Imperial Academy
Amarr Empire
#401 - 2012-10-30 05:21:00 UTC
What's the chance of improving the drone AI and giving us some extra options?

* Evasive when taking damage.*
* Return to Bay when shields are down.*
* Return and Orbit when shield are down.*

Just a few I can think off right on the spot.

Also, please please improve the drone interface. Right Click/Select belongs in spreadsheets, not in video game combat.

~ Professional Forum Alt  ~

non judgement
Without Fear
Flying Burning Ships Alliance
#402 - 2012-10-30 05:37:13 UTC  |  Edited by: non judgement
I did some testing with a Paladin and a Damnation. Released the drones and they worked well. Most the time the npc were switching between the ships. Damnation went after the (battle)cruisers and Paladin went after the battleship npc. I sent my light drones after the frigates and they were okay. I did have to pull them in a few times and use remote armor repair on the drones after finishing a pocket. I'm guessing most of the people complaining about the npc are talking about large drones?

I haven't tested the large drones. Do you guys find tanking the npc battleships easier without smaller npc? Just wondering because, I'm thinking it might be possible to use medium drones first to get rid of cruisers and battlecruisers then using the larger drones on the battleships?



I like the idea of the return when attacked idea in the post above.


Edit: In the second paragraph I'm talking about using a single drone boat to do the missions. I think heavies would get killed. What happens to the smaller drones in those missions?

Edit 2: I've done a few more missions. Heavies don't die that much. I had to watch them and call them back sometimes. The only time I lost drones before was when spider drones webbed them and killed them before they got back. It'll be the same now except, no more afk missions with droneboats. Plenty of missions before where you had to watch the drones when a new wave of ships came. I just have to take an active role in drone management. I used to do that before anyway, telling them which ships I wanted them to go after.
DJ LUKA
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#403 - 2012-10-30 08:52:32 UTC
I'm not so sure if someone has stated this already, but Smartbomb explosions aren't showing up. I'm not sure if that is covered under the 'ship explosions' issue or not.
Diamonica Norya
University of Caille
Gallente Federation
#404 - 2012-10-30 09:36:50 UTC  |  Edited by: Diamonica Norya
If the aim of this project is to make NPC's smarter while trying to avoid the complexity of re-creating the threat generation / aggro management model, then I think the project would have already failed because the two simply contradicts each other and in essence nothing would have changed positively about the actualy intelligence of the NPCs.

I think just to be fair to all Eve players who PVE so that the drone boat lovers don't feel that they are the ones who's been targeted with a nerf bat. You just need to implement one change along with this AI thing so it justifies a game-wide game-changing logical-revolutionary total-realism idea



Let all modules even if not overloading take random amount of "Heat" damage and degrade for any of the following criteria met:

  • taking excessive armor damage (passive modules gets affected by this)
  • activate the specific module for certain time past a pre-defined threshold (affects active modules)


This will create interesting scenarios where you can imagine all your realisms come true and have better immersion, to think that suddenly if you don't prepare repair pastes onboard and watch your modules such as shield extenders, CPU/powergrid/cap modules randomly went offline and suddenly lose your cap stable uber tank/dps ship's intended fit....
it will also attempt to balance out the upkeep for ships and encourage economy, you fix all afk issues and all perma cloakers will also have to watch out.

the downside of it is of course, realism means this can be more work for the weak hearted and less fun for the unimaginative, but hey, Eve is a simulator, not a interweb space ship game, it's all about serious business right!?

so CCP should seriously considering giving me a free lifetime subscription offer for this wonderful yet easily implemented idea which will revolutionize (err....thought games 15 years ago already use this idea) New Eden, this is probably too easy to implement and if my suggestion is taken, it'd still be in-time for Retribution's deployment.

:P
Ru3en
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#405 - 2012-10-30 15:51:47 UTC
at the moment im driving several Dominixs accounts together in forlorn hubs.
they spider tank.. and guard each others...

until 5.Dec. Sad

the result of the patch for me will be:

- sell all Dominixs
- train for Amarr laser ships
- build up Geddon/laser dps/spider fleet
- install IS boxer to handle them
-> get more money then before

= awful NPC patch. Theres NO gain in player experience for me .. its just "nerfing the drone boats"
and forcing me as a multiboxer to find a new niche.
James Amril-Kesh
Viziam
Amarr Empire
#406 - 2012-10-30 16:24:14 UTC
Here's a select few posts from the other thread which you, FoxFour, seem to have ignored.

James Amril-Kesh wrote:
Dismissing people's concerns outright is not listening. Namely I'm referring to how it makes no sense that NPCs would switch to a ship that's killing their previous target who was slaughtering them by the thousands. You didn't really address how several of us have stated that this makes things more secure for many players who run anomalies in nullsec for example, when this group certainly doesn't need an extra level of protection. I've looked through the tread and also haven't found anything addressing how this will make things significantly more difficult for new players who are trying missions with their more experienced friends, and significantly more difficult if not impossible for groups of players to tackle sites like Dread Guristas Fleet Staging Point 3 without ALL bringing the tank required to survive the station aggro.

You're introducing a lot of problems for exactly what benefit? Can you honestly tell me what the actual benefit of this is besides "it might make things more interesting" which is itself rather doubtful?


Feedback from a tester:
Urgg Boolean wrote:
I've been away from the game a while as I have been putting in huge work hours,

But Okay - tested and reporting in now.

Feedback: the fun factor using my normal missioning combo of Snake with Drones + Repper Domi with self-armor-repper + drones = suckage.

My previous strategy was:
1) warp in the Snake, deploy drones, establish aggro.
2) Warp in with Domi with an eye on SNake and drones. Deploy Domi drones. Rep Snake/drones/self as needed

Specific concerns:
1) I did not test one of the missions with the extreme damping. I cannot imagine how bad it would be if you can't maintain a lock on the rats, and can't leave your drones out to fight.

2) Other primary DPS cannot be targeted by NPCs. Guns and missiles are not damaged and taken out by NPCs. Yet, my primary DPS, namely drones, can be eliminated by the NPCs. This is righteously unfair for drone boats.

3) I MUST carry extras. This means that I cannot carry a compliment of drones designed for efficiency and/or that fit the exact needs as they arise. Example: an NPC that requires Kinetic DPS cannot be handled by the kinetc sentries at close range, you must be able to switch to Gardes. But if I need to carry extra due to loses, I can't have full fligfhts sentries with different DPS modes. Or at least, I have to make a lot more compromises than I ever had to before.

4) I have no meaningful or realistic tools for the tank ship take and hold aggro. I spend almost all my time pulling in drones, waiting for aggro to switch back the a ship, then deploy drones again. NOT FUN.



Bottom line:
1) profound loss of fun factor for me.

2) feels like a lot more work, emphasis on work, not fun. If I wanted that much keying/mousing activity, I'd play a 1st person shooter.

3) I am heavily discouraged from using my drone boats.

4) changes feel like they are selectively nerfing drone boats which affects my attitude about the game.

As usual, this feedback will be ignored and the changes will be put in place.


In response to my quote above:
Misanth wrote:
Been wondering exactly the same.

All Guristas-anomalies and plexes will effectively help the PvE-guy by jamming the attacker. We'll need a blob of people just to get a tackle on.

DG Fleet Staging Point 3, the Maze, final part of Gurista Provincial HQ etc, all of those are usually tanked by a dedicated tank-ship, in first two cases you need to tank a station, in the latter you have a bunch of siege towers and alot of npcs to boot.

For example, me and some corpmate used to run the Maze with three ships. The tank having horrible damage output, but at least he took care of the station + whatever 30-40? odd t2 frigates. If you'd have to bring every-ship-fit-to-tank it, you'd have to scale up those three ships to nearly the triple. And then we havn't even touched the subject of people trying to attack you (kill your ship and/or fight over the plex) inside it, if they have to fit tackle it'll be even more ships. So you find these juicy targets running a plex, and now you need to wait for some ~10+ friends to show up in a specificly designed ship that you only use for these particular plexes, else you can't kill those players?

Like I posted earlier in this thread, it's really a major nerf to PvP, as well as it brings some unecessary bring-more-people-(with-gimped-setups) for PvE. Your last sentences sum it up well. CCP is introducing alot of problems, for exactly what benefit?


CCP FoxFour, if you're listening and if you care at all about the health of the game as opposed to your own little pet project, you'll step WAY back and reevaluate these changes. Again, I ask you, can you honestly tell me how this actually benefits gameplay?

Enjoying the rain today? ;)

Dinsdale Pirannha
Pirannha Corp
#407 - 2012-10-30 17:15:03 UTC
James Amril-Kesh wrote:



CCP FoxFour, if you're listening and if you care at all about the health of the game as opposed to your own little pet project, you'll step WAY back and reevaluate these changes. Again, I ask you, can you honestly tell me how this actually benefits gameplay?


Do you smell that?
What is that smell?

Ah yes, now I remember what is is.
That was the same smell that was on the UI feedback threads before the UI went live on TQ.
James Amril-Kesh
Viziam
Amarr Empire
#408 - 2012-10-30 17:28:34 UTC
Dinsdale Pirannha wrote:
James Amril-Kesh wrote:



CCP FoxFour, if you're listening and if you care at all about the health of the game as opposed to your own little pet project, you'll step WAY back and reevaluate these changes. Again, I ask you, can you honestly tell me how this actually benefits gameplay?


Do you smell that?
What is that smell?

Ah yes, now I remember what is is.
That was the same smell that was on the UI feedback threads before the UI went live on TQ.

Why is CCP so stubbornly against learning from their mistakes?

Enjoying the rain today? ;)

Arushia
Nova Labs
#409 - 2012-10-30 18:10:51 UTC
James Amril-Kesh wrote:
Dinsdale Pirannha wrote:
James Amril-Kesh wrote:



CCP FoxFour, if you're listening and if you care at all about the health of the game as opposed to your own little pet project, you'll step WAY back and reevaluate these changes. Again, I ask you, can you honestly tell me how this actually benefits gameplay?


Do you smell that?
What is that smell?

Ah yes, now I remember what is is.
That was the same smell that was on the UI feedback threads before the UI went live on TQ.

Why is CCP so stubbornly against learning from their mistakes?


Because of Incarna?
Tyberius Franklin
Federal Navy Academy
Gallente Federation
#410 - 2012-10-30 21:12:06 UTC
non judgement wrote:
I did some testing with a Paladin and a Damnation. Released the drones and they worked well. Most the time the npc were switching between the ships. Damnation went after the (battle)cruisers and Paladin went after the battleship npc. I sent my light drones after the frigates and they were okay. I did have to pull them in a few times and use remote armor repair on the drones after finishing a pocket. I'm guessing most of the people complaining about the npc are talking about large drones?

I haven't tested the large drones. Do you guys find tanking the npc battleships easier without smaller npc? Just wondering because, I'm thinking it might be possible to use medium drones first to get rid of cruisers and battlecruisers then using the larger drones on the battleships?



I like the idea of the return when attacked idea in the post above.


Edit: In the second paragraph I'm talking about using a single drone boat to do the missions. I think heavies would get killed. What happens to the smaller drones in those missions?

Edit 2: I've done a few more missions. Heavies don't die that much. I had to watch them and call them back sometimes. The only time I lost drones before was when spider drones webbed them and killed them before they got back. It'll be the same now except, no more afk missions with droneboats. Plenty of missions before where you had to watch the drones when a new wave of ships came. I just have to take an active role in drone management. I used to do that before anyway, telling them which ships I wanted them to go after.

I still do keep direct control over my drones save when under heavy jamming/damping. One thing I've been finding is that when the drones are pulling aggro, which still isn't happening against some spawns or BS rats at all really, I can't seem to pull it back. I can recall them to drop the aggro and they don't get it back, but this seems to have been identified as a defect. If fixed I'm not sure at this point how to actually pull aggro off of them.

Being solo in a rattlesnake I've yet to reliably pull aggro off of the drones in a lvl 4. Recalling is lost DPS from your primary weapons system so my real issue is becoming a question of if the hit to drone boats, while manageable, can be overcome in a way that makes them worth using over other options while solo.
Dinsdale Pirannha
Pirannha Corp
#411 - 2012-10-30 22:48:29 UTC
Tyberius Franklin wrote:

I still do keep direct control over my drones save when under heavy jamming/damping. One thing I've been finding is that when the drones are pulling aggro, which still isn't happening against some spawns or BS rats at all really, I can't seem to pull it back. I can recall them to drop the aggro and they don't get it back, but this seems to have been identified as a defect. If fixed I'm not sure at this point how to actually pull aggro off of them.

Being solo in a rattlesnake I've yet to reliably pull aggro off of the drones in a lvl 4. Recalling is lost DPS from your primary weapons system so my real issue is becoming a question of if the hit to drone boats, while manageable, can be overcome in a way that makes them worth using over other options while solo.


There are so many holes right now in the AI that any testing is garbage.....HOWEVER, if CCP fixes the "sacrificial drone" loophole, and does NOT fix the fact that any flight of drones is insta-attacked when released (I have run multiple missions in an Ishtar, Vargur, and Navy Domi, and is has been without fail the case) the all solo drone boats are doomed.

I can't comment on drone boats RR'ing each other, since I am down to one account active, but I can guarantee that if CCP does not get its collective head out of its butt, solo drone boats will be a thing of the past very, very quickly.
LuckyQuarter
Lucky Galactic Expeditions
White Light Liberation
#412 - 2012-10-31 05:31:49 UTC  |  Edited by: LuckyQuarter
I've read through all 21 pages of comments here, and I'm still unclear if it is a safe investment to upgrade from a myrm to rattlesnake for l4's in the near future. Sounds like I may need to hope CCP modifies the new AI....or just give up on the idea of a rattlesnake and become another lemming player using the ship of the month (mach).

I'm not sure how the option of having drones return to bay or take evasive action when being aggro'd would appy to warden/garde sentry drones which would be the key drones when using a rattle. Perhaps if the concern here is simply that users are abusing drones to go AFK for long periods, the answer is to limit the number of npc's that a drone will automatically target in a row but otherwise do not allow npc's to target drones for the normal mission/pve ai. E.g. Drones will no longer auto aggro and will return to orbit or otherwise do nothing if the have automatically targeted 20 npc's in a row....the counter would be reset whenever the player manually asks the drone to engage a new target. Twenty targets - depending on the specific drones, the size of the npc's, and other specs, this could be anywhere from at least a few minutes for a horde of frigs in a mission to probably no more than a couple hours for a miner that has gone afk in a belt. That should be sufficient to prevent abuse and would not require missioners to constantly recall drones which has a significant impact on mission completion time. Twenty should also be sufficient to not get in the way of how drones are used to help extract ships from heavy ECM situations.
Adigard
RubberDuckies
#413 - 2012-10-31 11:10:19 UTC  |  Edited by: Adigard
LuckyQuarter wrote:
I've read through all 21 pages of comments here, and I'm still unclear if it is a safe investment to upgrade from a myrm to rattlesnake for l4's in the near future. Sounds like I may need to hope CCP modifies the new AI....or just give up on the idea of a rattlesnake and become another lemming player using the ship of the month (mach).


If CCP leaves the current version of the AI intact (the one on Duality, because no one believes they'll go back to the TQ version of the AI) the rattler will be a fine ship. In roughly 60% of the missions you'll run you'll never notice a difference because the AI is just that poorly implemented.

In the remaining cases you'll launch your drones, and the rats will swap and you'll have to pull your drones in. Then you'll need to launch a flight of light T1 drones, wait for the rats to kill one, then pull them all back. Once that little maneuver has been completed you can use your standard T2 drones to clear the room.

If CCP further modifies the AI and inflicts it on the user-base without testing (there isn't *that* much time between now and then) then all bets are off because we won't know the new behavior.
Dinsdale Pirannha
Pirannha Corp
#414 - 2012-10-31 15:45:35 UTC
Adigard wrote:
LuckyQuarter wrote:
I've read through all 21 pages of comments here, and I'm still unclear if it is a safe investment to upgrade from a myrm to rattlesnake for l4's in the near future. Sounds like I may need to hope CCP modifies the new AI....or just give up on the idea of a rattlesnake and become another lemming player using the ship of the month (mach).


If CCP leaves the current version of the AI intact (the one on Duality, because no one believes they'll go back to the TQ version of the AI) the rattler will be a fine ship. In roughly 60% of the missions you'll run you'll never notice a difference because the AI is just that poorly implemented.

In the remaining cases you'll launch your drones, and the rats will swap and you'll have to pull your drones in. Then you'll need to launch a flight of light T1 drones, wait for the rats to kill one, then pull them all back. Once that little maneuver has been completed you can use your standard T2 drones to clear the room.

If CCP further modifies the AI and inflicts it on the user-base without testing (there isn't *that* much time between now and then) then all bets are off because we won't know the new behavior.


Yeah, but we all know that the sacrificial T1 drone loophole is the first thing in the AI CCP is going to "fix".
I have run umpteen missions on Duality now, and not once has an NPC targeted a second release of my drones, unless that NPC was part of a new spawn, and the current AI does that already.
Jacob Holland
Weyland-Vulcan Industries
#415 - 2012-10-31 18:19:14 UTC
I'm not sure that drone boats are going to be the worst hurt by this change...

The Golem in particular... Marauders in general already take a lot of micromanagement (select target, activate weapons, select different target, activate tractor beam, select different target, activate tractor beam, select different target, activate weapons, select different target, ativate salvager, select non-target, lock target, select different target...) and the Golem is particularly sucky in this regard because not only must the weapons be deactivated and a volley count kept but the Target painters need to be switched around ahead of the weapons. Not only that but unlike the turret Marauders it cannot attempt to remove all of the frigate sized targets while their transversal is low and is therefore particularly reliant on drones for anti-frigate work.

If, added to all of the micromanagement issues implicit in the operation of a Marauder, the drones must be constantly monitored and maintained, sent to specific targets and recalled...etc.

Light drones in use by a good drone pilot in a well-skilled drone boat are one thing, less well skilled drones without bonuses (or full Drone Durability) are very fragile indeed and regardless of how good the experience of killing NPCs might become the experience of constantly losing ships because a Guristas Koyukan or an Angel Viper has you scrammed and you have no way of actually breaking his tank is going to get old very quickly...
Tyberius Franklin
Federal Navy Academy
Gallente Federation
#416 - 2012-10-31 19:48:47 UTC
Jacob Holland wrote:
I'm not sure that drone boats are going to be the worst hurt by this change...

The Golem in particular... Marauders in general already take a lot of micromanagement (select target, activate weapons, select different target, activate tractor beam, select different target, activate tractor beam, select different target, activate weapons, select different target, ativate salvager, select non-target, lock target, select different target...) and the Golem is particularly sucky in this regard because not only must the weapons be deactivated and a volley count kept but the Target painters need to be switched around ahead of the weapons. Not only that but unlike the turret Marauders it cannot attempt to remove all of the frigate sized targets while their transversal is low and is therefore particularly reliant on drones for anti-frigate work.

If, added to all of the micromanagement issues implicit in the operation of a Marauder, the drones must be constantly monitored and maintained, sent to specific targets and recalled...etc.

Light drones in use by a good drone pilot in a well-skilled drone boat are one thing, less well skilled drones without bonuses (or full Drone Durability) are very fragile indeed and regardless of how good the experience of killing NPCs might become the experience of constantly losing ships because a Guristas Koyukan or an Angel Viper has you scrammed and you have no way of actually breaking his tank is going to get old very quickly...

Mauraders at least have the advantage of not suffering a primary DPS reduction in ALL circumstances like drone boats. Outside of Ewar they will be able to deliver the DPS of their weapons systems as designed. Droneboats, should the issue with subsequent waves of drone not gaining aggro be fixed, will not have the same luxury unless a reliable means of drawing aggro away from drones is discovered for both the cruise and BS hulls that make prolific use of them.
Dinsdale Pirannha
Pirannha Corp
#417 - 2012-10-31 20:51:17 UTC
Jacob Holland wrote:
I'm not sure that drone boats are going to be the worst hurt by this change...

The Golem in particular... Marauders in general already take a lot of micromanagement (select target, activate weapons, select different target, activate tractor beam, select different target, activate tractor beam, select different target, activate weapons, select different target, ativate salvager, select non-target, lock target, select different target...) and the Golem is particularly sucky in this regard because not only must the weapons be deactivated and a volley count kept but the Target painters need to be switched around ahead of the weapons. Not only that but unlike the turret Marauders it cannot attempt to remove all of the frigate sized targets while their transversal is low and is therefore particularly reliant on drones for anti-frigate work.

If, added to all of the micromanagement issues implicit in the operation of a Marauder, the drones must be constantly monitored and maintained, sent to specific targets and recalled...etc.

Light drones in use by a good drone pilot in a well-skilled drone boat are one thing, less well skilled drones without bonuses (or full Drone Durability) are very fragile indeed and regardless of how good the experience of killing NPCs might become the experience of constantly losing ships because a Guristas Koyukan or an Angel Viper has you scrammed and you have no way of actually breaking his tank is going to get old very quickly...


I tried a Vargur in several missions.
The last one was Sansha L4 Vengeance.

A couple things:

1. The test itself was pretty valueless, since the HUD coding was broken, and not showing which NPC's were TD'ing me.
2. Point #1 being said, the Vargur was pretty much toast anyway, because even if I could identify which ships were TD'ing me, the guns could not reach them anyway because of said TD'ing. That meant I had to rely on drones to wipe out the TD'ing frigs and cruisers. But given the drones were being insta-popped, the boats was useless.

I had every mid-slot dedicated to tank, and the initial spawn in Vengeance still had way more firepower than my faction shield boosters and hardeners could handle. The only reason the Vargur got out of that mission was because there were no pointing frigs, only TD.

There are going to be a lot of tears and rage posts when this disaster hits TQ.
Charlie Jacobson
#418 - 2012-11-01 01:40:37 UTC
I picked one hell of a time to start training into a Dominix :<
DJ P0N-3
Table Flippendeavors
#419 - 2012-11-01 13:01:39 UTC
Charlie Jacobson wrote:
I picked one hell of a time to start training into a Dominix :<


There, there. Every time something gets upended in a patch while someone has just started training into it, an angel gets its wings.
Lipbite
Express Hauler
#420 - 2012-11-01 17:44:05 UTC
Checked Duality. NPC frigs in L4 missions chew drones like there is no tomorrow. It's normal to lose 2-3 drones out of 5 during single NPC group fight. Rattle, Dominix, Gila, etc. mission farmers (i.e. my missioning alt) are f****d.

Could be nice to have ability to inject new drones from cargohold into drone bay without returning to station.