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Drones: Making Them A Viable Weapons Platform in EVE (Mockups 2.0)

First post
Author
Louis deGuerre
The Dark Tribe
#41 - 2012-12-13 16:01:10 UTC
There is no need to post 'smart comments' about how the drones UI is working fine and does not need improvement as the poor CCP chap involved in testing them lamented at length that testing drones for weeks was pure torment.

So word of god is drone UI sucks.

Let's move on and post something constructive.
War Kitten
Panda McLegion
#42 - 2012-12-13 16:05:48 UTC
Doddy wrote:
I don't see where the main points of drones are coevered here. Drones can be set to assist/defend. Drones can be launched and auto-aggro an enemy that the ship cannot lock (either through lock time or ewar). How are we going to do either of these things if the launch step is missed out ......

These suggestions are half assed, the only real way to "fix" drones is to give them a full gambit like system that you can set yourself. And that would be an expansion in of itself, far from a quick fix. It also lends itself towards automation, which ccp are desperately moving away from.


This.

The OP's suggestions fail to recognize the usefulness of assisting drones to another player, ability to guard another player, and being launched but not aggro'd yet on aggressive mode. These are important functions that make drones the interesting and flexible weapon system that they are now. Removing the ability to launch, orbit and assist just makes them fancy missiles.

Yes, the UI could use some help in the launching, grouping and feedback realms, but losing functionality for simplicity is not the way to go.

I do like the idea of drones being the thinking-man's weapon system, where we can program them ourselves in some manner, but that's on the dream list.

I don't judge people by their race, religion, color, size, age, gender, or ethnicity. I judge them by their grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, clarity of expression, and logical consistency.

Rek Seven
University of Caille
Gallente Federation
#43 - 2012-12-13 16:08:07 UTC
I we are talking solely about drone UI, then for me it's simple. Add something similar to the ship wheel where i can preform actions with one click of the mouse.
Katran Luftschreck
Royal Ammatar Engineering Corps
#44 - 2012-12-13 16:09:54 UTC
Donnero wrote:
I want a feedback which drones got the aggro, if your drones are far away its often to late to call them back when they getting fire.


Yes, make them flash red when someone is trying to target lock them. Because if we have to wait until rats actually start shooting at them (and we do) it's already too late.

http://youtu.be/t0q2F8NsYQ0

War Kitten
Panda McLegion
#45 - 2012-12-13 16:13:22 UTC
Rek Seven wrote:

Decent mechanics? Please explain what is decent about the drone mechanic... Launch drones > click engage > retract drones Ugh



You're missing:

- Assisting another player - one person can determine where multiple flights of drones go.

- Assisting another player - assign your drones to the inty for decloaking duty at gates.

- Aggressive mode, orbiting you - The instant a tackler or E-war boat does something to you, they get drone-loving.

- Guard mode on another key ship - same as the one above - pick on that ship, get drone aggro.


Drones weren't just easy-mode for ratting and missions.

I don't judge people by their race, religion, color, size, age, gender, or ethnicity. I judge them by their grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, clarity of expression, and logical consistency.

Doddy
Excidium.
#46 - 2012-12-13 16:16:43 UTC
Rek Seven wrote:
Doddy wrote:
Rek Seven wrote:
Scrutt5 wrote:


Its only mission runners who cant afk mission anymore complaining from what I see !



Wrong. The drone UI is carp. Fact.


This thread is about mechanics, not UI though. Everyone knows the UI is bad, why not fix it instead of removing what little decent mechanics drones have.


Decent mechanics? Please explain what is decent about the drone mechanic... Launch drones > click engage > retract drones Ugh

Both the mechanics and the UI need improving.


See you did it again.

Launch drones >click engage>retract drones

Launch drones >set to assist (or defend) and get on with your real job (like logi)>retract drones

Launch drones > leave orbiting on agressive to auto-aggro on targets you could not otherwise lock (ecm drone protection vs gankers ftw)>retract drones

So its incredibly basic with three possibilities but op wants to remove 2 and make it completely basic and just another weapon system. Removing drone mechanics just so npcers have one less button to press is beyond a backward step. Instead ccp should be adding lots more.
Rek Seven
University of Caille
Gallente Federation
#47 - 2012-12-13 16:19:47 UTC  |  Edited by: Rek Seven
War Kitten wrote:
Rek Seven wrote:

Decent mechanics? Please explain what is decent about the drone mechanic... Launch drones > click engage > retract drones Ugh



You're missing:

- Assisting another player - one person can determine where multiple flights of drones go.

- Assisting another player - assign your drones to the inty for decloaking duty at gates.

- Aggressive mode, orbiting you - The instant a tackler or E-war boat does something to you, they get drone-loving.

- Guard mode on another key ship - same as the one above - pick on that ship, get drone aggro.


Drones weren't just easy-mode for ratting and missions.


Oh my comments were not to 100% support what the OP has said. I'm just posting my opinion what should be done with drones.

I don't think any of the current features should be removed.
Doddy
Excidium.
#48 - 2012-12-13 16:25:13 UTC
Rek Seven wrote:
War Kitten wrote:
Rek Seven wrote:

Decent mechanics? Please explain what is decent about the drone mechanic... Launch drones > click engage > retract drones Ugh



You're missing:

- Assisting another player - one person can determine where multiple flights of drones go.

- Assisting another player - assign your drones to the inty for decloaking duty at gates.

- Aggressive mode, orbiting you - The instant a tackler or E-war boat does something to you, they get drone-loving.

- Guard mode on another key ship - same as the one above - pick on that ship, get drone aggro.


Drones weren't just easy-mode for ratting and missions.


Oh my comments were not to 100% support what the OP has said. I'm just posting my opinion what should be done with drones.

I don't think any of the current features should be removed.


I think you have misinterpreted my post on decent mechanics. I did not mean that drones mechanics are decent and don't need changed, i meant that the op is wanting to remove what parts of drone mechanics are decent (the ultra basic AI parts) and just leave 1 single mechanic (the no AI at all part) with a marginally more useable UI.
Rek Seven
University of Caille
Gallente Federation
#49 - 2012-12-13 16:27:16 UTC
TBH i kind of skimmed through the OP's post, as you can probably tell. Smile
Doddy
Excidium.
#50 - 2012-12-13 16:38:36 UTC
The idea of groups being like launch buttons on UI is fine, and if you could program those buttons you would be laughing.

So group 1 could be set to launch and attack selected target like the op wants, or could be automatically set to assist, or automatically set to launch and orbit on agressive. You can then make the options as complex as you like. ECM drones programmed to launch and jam anything that has a point on me, logitics drones programmed to launch and answer rep broadcasts in fleet, logistics drones programmed to rep self (surely it is time this worked btw). It all depends how much automation you want in game.
Rek Seven
University of Caille
Gallente Federation
#51 - 2012-12-13 16:50:14 UTC
Yeah, another nice programmable behavior would be that drones disengaged their current target and attacked anyone using a specific module on you. E.g. if a falcon jams you, your drones immediately go after the falcon.
Mire Stoude
S0utherN Comfort
#52 - 2012-12-13 16:50:59 UTC  |  Edited by: Mire Stoude
Irya Boone wrote:
All drones doing the same amount of damage ( now everyone using gallente drone because they doing more damage ) so increase...


I like this, but I think it would be better if all drones just did omni damage and we kept the speed or damage trade-off the same.
Renier Gaden
Immortal Guides
#53 - 2012-12-13 17:28:22 UTC
Very good suggestion OP.

On option 2, the Drone Bay should only have one button by default, although having an option to split it into multiple buttons might be a good idea for drone boats. You should change Drone Groups the same way you change ammo. Right click on the button to get a list of groups. If no groups are setup the button should launch a random selection of drones from your drone bay. The drone bay button on the HUD or in the Ship Fittings window should open an interface for creating Drone Groups which are saved to the ship.

When you deactivate the Drone Bay module you should be able to immediately que up a new Drone Group, but not be able to launch them until your first group has returned to the Drone Bay. Also have an Abandon Drones option when you right click the Drone Bay module which would then immediately allow you to launch the new Drone Group, at the expense of losing control over the ones you abandoned. Scoop to Drone Bay option should also be there (I have scooped drones from exploded ships and redeployed them during a battle before when my Drones were dead.)

When Drones are launched without a target they should orbit your ship in a defensive manner and then attack people who shoot at you. However, their should be an option to change the default behaviour to attack what you shoot at, or attack what you target (behave like other weapons), depending on setting.

I think they recently changed it so if you hit warp, your drones try to get back to the drone bay before you leave if they can. The same should work for Jump. If the drones are close enough (orbiting your ship) they should enter the drone bay. If you hit Jump when you are out of Jump range of the gate the drones should try to get back to your ship before you reach the gate and jump out.
Renier Gaden
Immortal Guides
#54 - 2012-12-13 17:51:48 UTC
Funky Lazers wrote:
Marr Aridia wrote:
Here's a mock up of how I imagine Drones to be most effectively managed as a weapons platform in EVE..

http://pbrd.co/UEEAlF


Yeah, good stuff!
While I support this, I think it's too much for programmers to handle.
They can't fix 2-3 years old bugs (like camera reset after relog), I guess you can't expect them to do this in a good quality.

Mayby some jobs are too small? You ever do a big house renovation and then never get around to doing that last little touch up for like 3 years?
Merouk Baas
#55 - 2012-12-13 18:47:22 UTC  |  Edited by: Merouk Baas
Personally, I would suggest the following:

1. Tiericide the drones so they all have the same damage / defenses / speed, but different damage type, and provide intercept, combat, ewar, and repair versions of each size (S, M, L).

2. Currently we can bind F keys to "Launch", "Attack", "Return" and the various modes. And we can put drones in groups. I would like to be able to bind F keys PER GROUP, so that F9 launches my warriors and F10 launches my Ogres. And superload the keys: Press F9 and the warriors launch. Press F9 on a target and they attack it. Press F9 again while they're attacking the target and they return to bay. With the corresponding drone icon appearing and disappearing on a target like a weapon icon.

EDIT: Spelled out:

F9 and no drones in space - the selected group launches and follows the aggressive/passive setting, attacking or orbitting
F9 and drones in space but not on a target - drones return to hangar
F9 and drones in space with a target selected - drones attack target
F9 and drones currently attacking a target - drones return and orbit
F10 and the F9 drones still in space - error - only one group of drones can be active.

Can basically control them like we control a weapon, where one key pressed repeatedly fully controls that weapon.

3. Nanite paste should repair drones in the bay (not sure if it currently does), it's certainly expensive enough that we'd only use it in case of emergency.
Clystan
Binaerie Heavy Industries
#56 - 2012-12-13 18:57:31 UTC
Herzog Wolfhammer wrote:
Would be outright wonderful if we could script our own drone commands, like a little text entry box, and a scripting language we could learn. All would be run from the clients, with a wide range of "directives" and "subjunctive algorithms". Set thresholds for them, return automatically on certain conditions like damage, target priority, etc.



I don't expect it to happen soon.




https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=1772981#post1772981

I posted this awhile back.

I agree with the "don't expect it to happen soon" analysis :)
Spurty
#57 - 2012-12-13 19:51:12 UTC
Good concept. Looks clear and follows the existing weapon systems

What we have now, where we have weapons central (ish) but drones ... er .. where the hell did my drones window go to now?!?!? over wherever and having to keep right clicking and stuff = schizophrenic combat for drone boaters.

There are good ships,

And wood ships,

And ships that sail the sea

But the best ships are Spaceships

Built by CCP

Roosevelt Coltrane
Rupakaya
#58 - 2012-12-13 20:05:05 UTC  |  Edited by: Roosevelt Coltrane
You would need customizable Icons and the ability to create groups of mixed drone types. Not only do my Wardens look like my Grades look like my Bouncers, but ships like the Vexor or Myrm often launch groups of mixed drone types( 2 heavy, 2 med, 1 light).

Find a way to fix utility drones. Most EWAR drones are pretty useless due to a combination of being weak and having a stacking penalty.
Renier Gaden
Immortal Guides
#59 - 2012-12-13 20:54:23 UTC  |  Edited by: Renier Gaden
Scrutt5 wrote:
Eve is a PvP game.

As far as i'm aware, drones in PVP perform as they always have.

You mean poorly?

In many PVP battles drones don’t even get deployed because there is not enough time with everything else going on, and in many more cases drones are deployed but get left behind because when you got to run you don’t always have time to mouse through a submenu to get the little buggers to return to drone bay.

They may do ok if you are gate camping, provided you don’t jump through after someone and leave them behind, or in large extended fleet battles where you have time to deploy them, but in many small skirmishes the battle is over so quick there is not time to deploy them. I hate having to go through sub menus to deploy a weapons system. The whole Deploy Drones, wait for the buggers to get out the door, and then tell them to shoot something. I agree with the OP. Why should it require two commands (with a pause in between) to activate a weapons system? It might work if drones could warp along with you, or follow you through gates, but as it is, you don’t deploy drones while on a roam until you are committed, otherwise they will get left behind.
Marr Aridia
Viziam
Amarr Empire
#60 - 2012-12-13 20:57:26 UTC
Thanks for your feedback everyone. Some really good suggestions in this thread!

RE: How to group your Drones..
Using the weapons console would be relatively easy. When you undock for the first time weapons that aren't group take up the whole console. Just as this happens, the same would be true for Drones. You would need to simply drag and drop the various drones on top of each other for them group up, just like weapons. This becomes very important for the next part...

Someone raised a good point about my massive oversight towards assist and defend. My bad, and agreed - a solution is required.

So, my solution to that issue is to continue taking advantage of the existing way in which weapons are used.

Each module - whether it is an INDIVIDUAL drone or a GROUP of drones could look like the following:

Module Mockup v1.0

As you can see from the mock up whether you deployed a single or a group of drones you could decide whether they were to launch in Attack / Defend or Assist mode.

More importantly - this continues to consolidate the mess which is target management whether it is for engaging with your drones, defending or assisting them. Simply lock up your desired target, select the group of Repair Drones which you have set to "Assist" and hit F1.

How do I know my drones are being attacked?
I've also added 'Flashy' tactical feedback. So that when your drones are attacking their module flashes Green. When they themselves are under attack, they will flash Red. When they are returning OR switching targets they flash Yellow.

What about the health bars?
Mousing over the module will give you the health feedback on that group or individual drone.

What about when the drone(s) dies?
The module stays in place until all drones in the group are killed, and then it shows an empty slot.

So, what is the real benefit to PVP/PVE?
By making these more like other weapons systems it introduces some consistency with the gameplay. Not only that it means that when you are rocking out a small drone frigate that only has a couple of drones, alongside a compliment of weapons - you're actually able to launch and use the drone as effectively as possible without having to take your eyes off your target.
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