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How do I get patrolling ships to attack?

 
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How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/11/2013 2:15:12 AM   
WCG

 

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How do I get a fleet to actually attack enemies when they're patrolling a planet or a system?

What usually happens is that pirates (I'm playing an empire in the Age of Shadows) send ships to drop troops and destroy my space ports or weapon bases. Even when I've got a whole fleet patrolling the planet, the fleet never reacts quickly enough. So I have to keep micromanaging it, telling ships which pirate vessel to attack, and then telling them the next vessel to attack, etc.

Shouldn't a fleet set to patrol immediately attack enemy ships? I've got long-range scanners, so it shouldn't come as a surprise. Usually, pirate escorts just damage my bigger installations, but mines are toast long before my fleet reacts.

Also, when my ships are injured (most of the pirates seem to use rail guns, so I get lots of injured ships, even when they haven't lost shields), I tell those ships to repair at the nearest shipyard. But then, when I give the fleet a command to attack a pirate ship, all those injured ships turn around and come back again.

It's just a nightmare of micromanagement. How do you experienced players do this? Do you remove injured ships from the fleet, then return them once they've been repaired? If so, how do you remember which fleet? I like to split up different classes of ships among the fleets, but as far as I can tell, there's no list of how many of each class is in each fleet (just tiny, tiny little icons that are way too small to give me any useful information).

Finally, how do you manage retrofitting? If I approve a suggesting from the AI, then every ship heads off to retrofit at once, leaving my empire completely undefended. But if I don't approve it, then I have to visit each one of my bases and each fleet separately to see if they can be retrofitted. (In fact, I'd much rather not retrofit a whole fleet at once, but if I have to assign each individual ship manually, it's even worse.)

Any tips? Thanks,

Bill


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RE: How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/11/2013 3:52:21 AM   
invaderzim

 

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Yeah, some of the things you describe like repairing ships and retrofitting are a micromanagement nightmare. (So is trying to play traffic cop directing 40 ships to refuel at one resupply ship.) I think the game design just needs improvement in these areas.

As for repairing, I've tried two things. One is that you can redesign some cheap construction ships (give them minimal to no cargo space) and have them follow your fleet around to do field repairs. If you put one weapon on them, they can join a fleet, so just give them one missile and design them to evade, but not to flee unless attacked or low on shields. Normally constructors flee when enemies show up, which is very annoying when you want them to repair your fleet.

The other thing I do is just name a fleet the Damaged fleet and assign all damaged ships to them. It's still a pain in the neck to get all the ships back to their original fleets though.

As for the patrolling issue, do your ships have proximity sensors? I think these help with automation. Aside from that, you can hit escape, options and empire options and toggle between "Engage nearby targets" and "Engage system targets". Adjusting fleet stance and posture may also help, but I dunno, I have trouble getting the AI to do what I want too.

< Message edited by invaderzim -- 6/11/2013 3:55:12 AM >

(in reply to WCG)
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RE: How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/11/2013 10:20:56 AM   
Bingeling

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: WCG

How do I get a fleet to actually attack enemies when they're patrolling a planet or a system?

I micro manage them to attack. Pirates don't last forever, and once you gain some control, their attacks disappear...

quote:


Also, when my ships are injured (most of the pirates seem to use rail guns, so I get lots of injured ships, even when they haven't lost shields), I tell those ships to repair at the nearest shipyard. But then, when I give the fleet a command to attack a pirate ship, all those injured ships turn around and come back again.

Giving a fleet an order gives that order to every ship. Which makes your repairers get a new order as well.

What do I do? I micromanage... I sometimes select the attackers by dragging a box around them, which gives a bunch of single ships attack order. Another solution is to move repairing ships to a separate fleet. If you base it at the colony they are defending, they should move there automatically after repairs. Just keep in mind that once they are "back" they will head for the fleet leader, which better not be in repairs still...

The key is getting a spaceport built on the colony. That way defenders can repair there, and the spaceport also is quite good at killing pirates.

quote:


Finally, how do you manage retrofitting? If I approve a suggesting from the AI, then every ship heads off to retrofit at once, leaving my empire completely undefended. But if I don't approve it, then I have to visit each one of my bases and each fleet separately to see if they can be retrofitted. (In fact, I'd much rather not retrofit a whole fleet at once, but if I have to assign each individual ship manually, it's even worse.)

Approving retrofitting is usually quite stupid. It will for instance make the explorer exploring 7 sectors away head home for repairs.

The fast way to do manual retrofit is to use multi select on the ship list. After sorting it in some useful way. For instance I often use cruisers and carriers (and capitals) in my main battle fleets. Destroyers or frigates are in smaller fleets usually in some defensive spots. All bases, destroyers, and frigates can be retrofitted by a few good selections in the ship list. Leave the cruisers, carriers, capitals out. The same for explorers and possibly construction ships.

I then worry about organizing a retrofit for my main fleets. These are the ones I don't want to retrofit at a small spaceport, and not all at once. If I got some destroyer fleet on a special mission, it is fair enough to do the above, then do the order for the fleet again.

And yes, with a large empire it could be quite some work to make sure that all are on the latest design. But does it really matter if they are not? You usually remember the important fleets...

(in reply to WCG)
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RE: How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/11/2013 2:26:03 PM   
WCG

 

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Thanks for the replies! I just wondered if I was missing something.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bingeling
I sometimes select the attackers by dragging a box around them, which gives a bunch of single ships attack order.


Actually, this is something I didn't know. That will be helpful, when I want a fleet to attack a target without those ships which are heading home for repair.

Thanks guys!

Bill


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RE: How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/11/2013 10:06:09 PM   
turtlefang

 

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The attack and defensive stances are not working well. Even if a fleet is "on patrol" at a spaceport that gets attack, it will usually just respond with one to three ships trying to defend the spaceport.

Bingeling is correct - you have to micromanage it and give all the ships an attack order to get them moving.

Retrofitting. I never authorize a general retrofit recommendation for the reasons you cited. I usually try to do it one fleet at a time - say, have five fleets of cruisers, and retofit on fleet at time. When that one finishes, then the next.

Ocassionally (very ocassionally), if I am at peace, don't have much pirate activity, I will tell all the cruisers to retrofit (or whatever it is). But that is a very rare exception.

(in reply to WCG)
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RE: How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/12/2013 4:23:10 PM   
Plant


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After a while I usually turn off prompt for retrofitting.
As for injured ships, it depends. If they got hyperspace, off to the starports they go. If hyperspace is damaged, and no starport in system, then I either send a constructor ship or scrap immediately depending on circumstances. If one damaged ship is away to be repaired, I drag box the ships near the planet to attack, not select fleet to attack.

(in reply to turtlefang)
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RE: How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/15/2013 11:19:34 PM   
WCG

 

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Thanks again for the replies. I'm doing OK, I think. But I've got a big fleet sitting right on top of my newest colony, with orders to patrol the planet. But even micromanaging it, I can't seem to get anything built there (a spaceport or a defensive base) because pirates always destroy it (even though their ships immediately die).

And the pirates seem to have a never-ending supply of ships, while mine are always needing repair it seems.

Speaking of which, I took a capital ship from the pirates and found another one, plus a powerful cruiser - all more advanced than anything I can build. Than another pirate faction attacked me with a capital ship, wiping out most of a fleet all by itself before I could get these ships to the location.

Bottom line, I captured that one, too,... but the battle ended up with all of these ships dead in space, crippled, needing massive repairs. Heh, heh. Meanwhile, that pirate faction is sending wave after wave of escorts ships (luckily, not all at once) into the solar system nearby.

They are not, so far, attacking these crippled capital ships, or I'm sure I'd lose all of them. I'm not sure they can even see them, since the final battle took place in space just outside the solar system they've been attacking. But as I say, they seem to have a never-ending supply of ships. As many as I kill, that doesn't seem to slow down the reinforcements at all.

Fun times!

Bill


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RE: How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/16/2013 10:57:38 AM   
DarkThug

 

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I face the same issue here with patrolling fleet.
What I noticed is that most of the time when the pirate arrive, the ships with "no mission" will respond to the threat first.
So I found that issuing the defending fleet to simply move to said colony and leave them there on "no mission" will increase the chance they actually respond to invading pirates.

Your best bet is still micro management though. So you can make sure "ALL" ship respond and they focus fire at enemy one by one.
As Bingeling said put down a strong enough spaceport at colonies as soon as possible and the pirate will stop bothering you.

(in reply to WCG)
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RE: How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/24/2013 8:16:57 PM   
Vedric

 

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Hey WCG. You are absolutely correct about the response time. I hope that it gets fixed because it really detracts from the game having to constantly micro them.

As pointed out above, do not use patrol. Use the move to order. Set a home base for the fleet so it will return back to the planet if it jumps away. Another advantage of using the "move to" order is less fuel usage. Equip the ships with energy collectors and they will use zero fuel while waiting. First go in to the Options -> Empire Settings and make sure you set up engagement stances. The field "Other" controls the "move to" order I discussed above. There is a Auto and Manual field and each controls how the fleets act in either mode. You can set it up so that ships that come out of construction yards don't take off on their own but if you give them the move to order they will engage targets of your selected range.

Also, turn off auto-retrofit for all your state designs. Do as Bingeling suggested and use the ship list. Just shift or ctrl select whatever ships of a given class you want to retrofit. This allows you to select which design you want to retrofit to. This is nice when you have several designs of a size class because the auto-retrofit will just overwrite to the latest which might not be what you want. I manually retrofit everything but passenger ships, colony ships, freighters, explorers and mining ships.


The UI could use a complete overhaul but with the advice given in this thread you should be better able to enjoy this great game.

Edit: Fail! This was in reply to WCG.

< Message edited by Vedric -- 6/24/2013 8:20:29 PM >

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RE: How do I get patrolling ships to attack? - 6/24/2013 8:46:44 PM   
crusender

 

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has you do say which version of the game you play, i will presume lasted one (Shadows whit lasted patch), at 1.9.0.6 they add a new options in Engagement Stance settings for manual command, i set them to engage near target, then set fleet to partol the starbase a build on the planet, more that 95% of time (5% of i dont know if it bug or because i change setting take time to take effect) the whole fleet engage any enemy close to the spaceport. it not better that micromanagement but when empire become big or busy at other spot it help a lot.

(in reply to Vedric)
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