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NPC AI Behaivior: Lessons Learned

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RISE of LEGION
#1 Posted: 2012.12.04 13:29
I am anxious to start blowing away all of these bright new rats, but I was wondering if anyone wants to add what they have learned so far about them? I don't sign on until after work.

Examples:

What activities take aggro? Does a dps rate affect their aggro?
If dps rate does affect aggro pull are things like overheating guns for a cycle or two worth it to play with them?
Will smaller ships pull aggro from bigger ships from things like ECM?
Does initial range during spawn matter any more?
Does the new AI affect when/if belt rats warp away?
How much does the AI affect their prioritization of optimals?
What kind of flight patterns do they seem to use?
How smart are they with their new 'multiple targets'?
What does it take to shake them off drones?
Do neuting rats go after ships with serious threat based on capacitor?
Do NPCs have a sort of 'fleet behavior'? Do they stay together as a group or can they be divided?
Do they seem to have a 'base location' where they don't like to get too far from?
#2 Posted: 2012.12.04 14:39
I was lucky to experience the new "NPC AI" which basicaly makes drones usless on "harder" missions. You put them out and rats go after them right away. if there are around 8 frigates they will gang your drones and you cant do anything about it.
If you were used to tank the whole room and if necessary to do a quick kill on the scrambling frigate (just in case you wont be able to alt tab back to the game and warp out) ... well .. it was easy. Now you will loose your ship due to the fact that drones wont last 30 seconds to kill that scrambler (if there are 4+ of them .. you are doomed).
The only thing this change has made is that drones are irelevant and for things you used drones, you will need another pilot.
Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
#3 Posted: 2012.12.04 14:46
this is why i dislike drones... for a major percentage of DPS on some ships, they are paper thin

expect a big HP buff to drones to compensate for the new AI
COME AT ME BRO

I'LL JUST BE DOCKED IN THIS STATION
RISE of LEGION
#4 Posted: 2012.12.04 14:47
I'm wondering if we could see something like battlecruiser support in system bouncing back and forth between solo sites and ratting to take out frigs and cruisers. This might end up being the optimal arrangement.
#5 Posted: 2012.12.04 14:48  |  Edited by: Mund Richard
In anoms, my best was shooting down a pair of frigs without issues (but the drones taking agro and one's shields going down).
With 3 frigs, I had to recall one.
When there were 4 or more, they spawned far away, and I sniped them with sentries.

Frigs away = no problem.
Frigs getting/spawning under guns = juggling drones or dead drones.
Berluth Luthian wrote:
I'm wondering if we could see something like battlecruiser support in system bouncing back and forth between solo sites and ratting to take out frigs and cruisers. This might end up being the optimal arrangement.

Optimal, except for the bounty payouts the BC gets. Roll
Second account in an AC Sleipnir...
"We want PvE activities to require active participation and mirror PvP more closely."
Stacking penalty for NPC EWAR then? Lock range under 9km from over 100 in a BS is not fun. Nor is two NPC web drones making me crawl 10m/s. PvP SW-900 x5: 75m/s.
RISE of LEGION
#6 Posted: 2012.12.04 15:00
Mund Richard wrote:
Berluth Luthian wrote:
I'm wondering if we could see something like battlecruiser support in system bouncing back and forth between solo sites and ratting to take out frigs and cruisers. This might end up being the optimal arrangement.

Optimal, except for the bounty payouts the BC gets. Roll
Second account in an AC Sleipnir...


Maybe interceptor then for fast warping between sites? The longer it would be on grid the more likely it would be to get a battlship tick or two.
#7 Posted: 2012.12.04 15:15
Sounds like even after the HML nerf, the Tengu's popularity will continue. That's certainly an unexpected development, but it is one of the few PVE boats of note that doesn't really need drones at all. Sad day for the Ishtar though.
Quality Assurance
RISE of LEGION
#8 Posted: 2012.12.04 15:28  |  Edited by: Berluth Luthian
Skippermonkey wrote:
this is why i dislike drones... for a major percentage of DPS on some ships, they are paper thin expect a big HP buff to drones to compensate for the new AI


Disagree. The HP on my EMP Large projectile ammo is pretty low too. Whenever it hits stuff it goes *poof*.

If you compare the isk/base(nonskilled)damage ratio of EMP L to berserker Is:
EMP L: 48 HP damage, sells at ~250 isk= 5.2 isk/HP damage
Berserker I: 48HPx1.3=62.4 HP damage, sells at ~75k isk= 1200 isk/damage

Lets assume your Berserkers are only hitting at 75% of the efficiency of their max base damage:
[1200 isk/damage -DRONE-]/[5.2 isk/damage]/[.75(drone efficiency penalty)]= ~300 (times drone must hit to have equal 'cost effectiveness' of standard projectile ammo)

300 drone damage cycles (assuming no modifiers)= ~20min of drone use.

In other words, if your T1 heavy drones can last more than 20 minutes in battle then they are paying off. If you are using T2 drones for missions and sites, this may not be possible any more. But a lot of T2 ammo just wasn't worth it against a lot of NPCs anyway.

Conceptually, we don't want to think of drones as 'consumable' because you think of them more like modules or little support ships. However they are your source of damage and most other damage sources are consumable, non-refundable, and/or non-renewable. I'm sure the increasingly self aware NPC drones and other bionically enhanced factions would appreciate your anthropomorphizing of their brethren, but you should think of drones more like limited use ammo, in my opinion.

The problem is, if they become too consumable and you burn through them too fast you can be SOL pretty quick, but also, lost of drone losses equals higher drone prices.
Caldari State
#9 Posted: 2012.12.04 15:46
Berluth Luthian wrote:
Conceptually, we don't want to think of drones as 'consumable' because you think of them more like modules or little support ships. However they are your source of damage and most other damage sources are consumable, non-refundable, and/or non-renewable. I'm sure the increasingly self aware NPC drones and other bionically enhanced factions would appreciate your anthropomorphizing of their brethren, but you should think of drones more like limited use ammo, in my opinion.

The problem is, if they become too consumable and you burn through them too fast you can be SOL pretty quick, but also, lost of drone losses equals higher drone prices.


The argument for "drones as consummables" doesn't work, since so many ships can't carry spares. It is the equivalent of having a gun boat unable to carry any more ammo besides whatever is loaded into the turrets themselves, with maybe enough ammo in the hold for 75% reload, but not a full 2-3x reload, unless you're Amarr.

If CCP wanted drones to be consummables, drone bay has to go (or rather, be added to cargo hold), and drones would come direct from cargo, not drone bay. Then your theory is definitely working. Of course, drones will need to be made cheaper.

Also the shots/isk or damage/isk is a poor way to measure this stuff. Consider rails, that have very high rate of fire. They eat ammo like crazy. Now compare that to artillery - high alpha, low rate of fire? They eat a LOT less ammo. And then, compare that to T2 crystals for lasers, which last even longer. And yet, railgun ammo (javelin for example) and artillery ammo (barrage) costs the same, more or less, about 1k per shot for large size. So a Minnie arty ship will spend A LOT less ISK on ammo than a Gallente/Caldari rail ship, doing similar damage.

And when turret vs turret ammo is an obviously unequal comparison, how can you even try to compare drones to turrets, and treat drones as ammo when most ships with drone bays have no room for replacements anyway?
#10 Posted: 2012.12.04 16:07  |  Edited by: Mund Richard
Berluth Luthian wrote:
If you compare the isk/base(nonskilled)damage ratio of EMP L to berserker Is:

You might as well compare an Iteron V's cargo to that of a Viator without looking at the bonuses and fittings, and come to the conclusion the later one is useless. Roll

Let's say a Mach let's say does some 900 dps ~2.7k volley every 3 seconds, 140 ammo used up at most a minute.
And a flight of Berserkers 450 dps, 1800 volley, every 4 seconds, 5 drones used on a drone ship.

And I'm still comparing apples to oranges and it's still meaningless.
*cough*
One has all the issues of drones, the other has none of it, and twice the dps above the ease of use?
So the ammo costs more over time if you take care of your drones?
Guess what!
You also make twice the isk from bounties!
Subtract the cost of ammo, and you still make much-much more a tick.
So an ISK investment into Berzerkers pays off after X mins compared to ammo.
What about the time I invest into farming PvE content, does it pay off there as well, compared to the Mach's ammo?
No.

I liked the starter joke though.
"We want PvE activities to require active participation and mirror PvP more closely."
Stacking penalty for NPC EWAR then? Lock range under 9km from over 100 in a BS is not fun. Nor is two NPC web drones making me crawl 10m/s. PvP SW-900 x5: 75m/s.
RISE of LEGION
#11 Posted: 2012.12.04 16:28
Jame Jarl Retief wrote:
Berluth Luthian wrote:
Conceptually, we don't want to think of drones as 'consumable' because you think of them more like modules or little support ships. However they are your source of damage and most other damage sources are consumable, non-refundable, and/or non-renewable. I'm sure the increasingly self aware NPC drones and other bionically enhanced factions would appreciate your anthropomorphizing of their brethren, but you should think of drones more like limited use ammo, in my opinion.

The problem is, if they become too consumable and you burn through them too fast you can be SOL pretty quick, but also, lost of drone losses equals higher drone prices.


The argument for "drones as consummables" doesn't work,...And when turret vs turret ammo is an obviously unequal comparison, how can you even try to compare drones to turrets, and treat drones as ammo when most ships with drone bays have no room for replacements anyway?


I agree with you guys...most of my analysis is apples and oranges. But, my question to you is how survivable do you expect your drones to be? I'm a young minmatar pilot and it probably shows, but it seems that we have two extremes when it comes to profitability of farming with a drone boat...

If drones can tank and need no micromanagement, then the upper limit of their profitability is their dps.
If they have a weak tank and micromanagement drastically cuts their dps, then they become a terrible source for damage.

The thing I think that is another aspect is that most drone boats are built to also be heavy tanking ships. To give a ship both a source of dps that highly difficult to counter and is accompanied by a large tank would be overpowered.

Another AI related question...do ECM or logistics drones have the same aggro pull as combat drones?
#12 Posted: 2012.12.04 16:34
Shock horror, a missioner might take along a buddy in a destroyer.
#13 Posted: 2012.12.04 16:45
Berluth Luthian wrote:
I agree with you guys...most of my analysis is apples and oranges. But, my question to you is how survivable do you expect your drones to be? I'm a young minmatar pilot and it probably shows, but it seems that we have two extremes when it comes to profitability of farming with a drone boat...

If drones can tank and need no micromanagement, then the upper limit of their profitability is their dps.
If they have a weak tank and micromanagement drastically cuts their dps, then they become a terrible source for damage.

The thing I think that is another aspect is that most drone boats are built to also be heavy tanking ships. To give a ship both a source of dps that highly difficult to counter and is accompanied by a large tank would be overpowered.

Any ship can be made as tanky as you like, costing you dps. This is true even for a droneboat.
How you got that they are MORE tanky than the rest, I have no idea, when comparing a Domi with a Hyperion or Mael.
That some people fit it cap stable with no drone damage amp or omnidirectionals, is a different matter.


Drones aren't a great source of dps even before the micro (well, garde IIs with 3 damage amp are sexy, but sentries are a different breed than the rest), and they are the easiest to get rid of.
Ships that are not a drone boat often have room for just one full flight (and rarely half again if not a caldari ship), so for them, any drone lost is loss of dps.
Hence balancing drones around their survivability on drone boats is a bad idea, would nerf these other ships as well (ofc not the 0mbps Tengu)
"We want PvE activities to require active participation and mirror PvP more closely."
Stacking penalty for NPC EWAR then? Lock range under 9km from over 100 in a BS is not fun. Nor is two NPC web drones making me crawl 10m/s. PvP SW-900 x5: 75m/s.
Shadow Cartel
#14 Posted: 2012.12.04 17:16  |  Edited by: chris elliot
Mund Richard wrote:



Frigs getting/spawning under guns = juggling drones or dead drones


Meanwhile, wormholers point and chuckle.
#15 Posted: 2012.12.04 17:25
chris elliot wrote:
Mund Richard wrote:



Frigs getting/spawning under guns = juggling drones or dead drones


Meanwhile, wormholers point and chuckle.


Riiight, there's something I have yet to try, living not only outside civilization, but totally off the map in *somewhere*.
"We want PvE activities to require active participation and mirror PvP more closely."
Stacking penalty for NPC EWAR then? Lock range under 9km from over 100 in a BS is not fun. Nor is two NPC web drones making me crawl 10m/s. PvP SW-900 x5: 75m/s.
RISE of LEGION
#16 Posted: 2012.12.04 17:30
I'm going to look when I get home, but I feel like in my limited experience with drones that there could be better hotkey management , especially if you are going to have to juggle them more.
#17 Posted: 2012.12.04 17:35
Skippermonkey wrote:
this is why i dislike drones... for a major percentage of DPS on some ships, they are paper thin

expect a big HP buff to drones to compensate for the new AI


pretty good idea
#18 Posted: 2012.12.04 17:59
Kara Books wrote:
Skippermonkey wrote:
this is why i dislike drones... for a major percentage of DPS on some ships, they are paper thin
expect a big HP buff to drones to compensate for the new AI

pretty good idea


Or just T2 drones getting T2 resist profiles (or in fact just buffed overall, though it's the same result-ish, but leaving a resist "hole", exlosive for gallente, EM for Caldari would be still cool, not as much with Amarr doing laser damage but being explosive resist buffed, and the same the other way with minmatar),
along with better travel and no/less sig bloom on MWD, maybe immunity to (npc?) scram/web.
"We want PvE activities to require active participation and mirror PvP more closely."
Stacking penalty for NPC EWAR then? Lock range under 9km from over 100 in a BS is not fun. Nor is two NPC web drones making me crawl 10m/s. PvP SW-900 x5: 75m/s.
The Fourth District
#19 Posted: 2012.12.04 18:04
So far from NullSec anomalies I have not had too much trouble with the AI shooting drones, as long as I watch for when they take damage it seems okay.
I would imagine in larger numbers frigates would be killing drones at a faster speed.

This also could be because I am only using light drones and most of the DPS is coming from my guns.
Lieutenant Turelus
Caldari Independent Navy Reserve
The Fourth District

I post on my main... shocking I know!
#20 Posted: 2012.12.04 18:47
Doddy wrote:
Shock horror, a missioner might take along a buddy in a destroyer.


Of course, how can everyone be that stupid that only your magnificent intellect can see a solution.

1. With new NPC AI that destroyer would die very fast. So perhaps you need a logi to rep your dessy that kills NPC frigs. Everyone flies with 3 PCs, 6 clients and 5 displays anyway, right?

2. For all the whining, for was majority of carebears highsec L4 missions produce a rather modest amount of isk and dualboxing it (or having a friend along, like that ever ever happens in EVE) would destroy ISK/hr.
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