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Update - 

Testing goes on with the RattV and while that's not the focus of this thread, the behaviour of the AI is. 

I'm finding the total effect of the new AI to be excellent. Numerous one-on-ones vs. Class 3 ships have given me a strong appreciation for the individual skills of AI Captains; and HOW they apply their protocols dependent on ship type. 

For example, the 3rd Rate is slow, awkward and trends to downwind tactics - its captain undoubtedly knows that going into the wind is not helpful with such a lumbering vessel. She hits HARD though, and WILL try to suck the player into close-range action where it can pump a broadside into your hull. I was caught by surprise when it suckered me into following him into a downwind parallel; I lost quite a bot of armour before gaining separation - and gave up a ton of structure through the stern. Terrifying in the moment - an excellent tactic for the 3rd Rate.

The Bellona is of course always a tough fight, and unlike all other Class 3's is largely impossible to kill without at least one rep - for me anyway. They're using a mix of upwind and downwind tactics and can be extremely canny when it comes to forcing the player into a potential head-to-wind stall - while maintaining the inertia to capitalize on it, either with a broadside or boarding. They haven't managed to complete the trap yet; in the first case I managed to squeak past at 4.1kts, thanking Poseidon that the RattV accelerates well. :D They hit hard AND accurately, targeting your ship for maximum damage. They'll also hold fire if you're angling off, and blast when you round to fire. BLOODY tough. While they have wide firing arcs, I don't see a particular increase in firepower - which is good, since they're already nightmares at the broadside. I haven't lost to one yet but it's been DAMN close.

0AEEFEAA287CC5874AB69E4EB1C8C9F0FE9F5B7E

Like...THAT close. :D

Wasas are the dogfighters of the Class 3's; again a unique set of tactics emphasizing their maneuverability and quick firing. Very canny, VERY frustrating when attacking from upwind. They'll round up, spoiling your hit on his sides. They'll 3-point, giving you both broadsides in double-quick time. They'll sucker you in, trap you, force you into unneeded damage. One thing I've noticed with them: they can get rattled. Last fight, my enemy was tough, crisp and accurate, until I blasted him down to 1/2 armour, gave him a solid stern rake and his broadside bounced off. Then he seemed to become uncertain, firing wildly, keeping his distance, making mistakes. It didn't last long, but it really seemed that his cool was blown for a few minutes.

Connies are...well...Connies. Upwind-fighting, evil, sneaky insta-boarding bastards that have perfected the upwind ram as much as an AI possibly can. Staying upwind on these buggers is critical, but they're fully capable of rounding up, closing the gap FAST and forcing you into the wind where they WILL take you - every time. I lost a beautiful Gold Indef to one; I'm no beginner at boarding but it took me down - I need to take defensive boarding lessons from Tenet; he's a bloody master at it. So far I haven't lost a RattV; its manoeuverability and high-fighting ability trumps the Connie's excellent upwind fighting and trapping skills.

Results: I am LOVING the new AI. The same old boring 'Steer-him-off, broadside-then-rake' predictable AI are gone; replaced by a much cannier, complex AI that is still predictable, but takes much greater advantage of ship-types. While I DO see that all ships have wider firing arcs, they're not nearly as wide as some people fear. Also, I still see no indication at all of increased firepower or accuracy. If there IS any change, it's minimal, to maximize an individual ship type's advantage against the player.

So far, I give the new AI 4 out of 5 stars - there's always room for improvement but it's pretty excellent.

Cheers!

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We love how reduced turning skills became the magic button and actually increased complexity and tactical depth (allowing you to make choices when fighting Bots).

We do feel that turning debuffs for lower level ships can go even lower. As even pro players could not rake NPCs consistently. (Now you can)

Additionally we plan to add more defined roles AND adding elite NPCs with epic loot. 
+ will address the wide horizontal shooting ark as it seems to be an annoying factor for many. 

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23 minutes ago, Teutonic said:

Could the ai damage be tuned down slightly?

the problem is they use unlimited double ball and charge aswell as medium cannons, so the damage feels higher, but its actually not.

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55 minutes ago, Wyy said:

the problem is they use unlimited double ball and charge aswell as medium cannons, so the damage feels higher, but its actually not.

but the damage is higher if unlimited double and charge are used. So please reduce the damage :) 

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3 hours ago, admin said:

We love how reduced turning skills became the magic button and actually increased complexity and tactical depth (allowing you to make choices when fighting Bots).

We do feel that turning debuffs for lower level ships can go even lower. As even pro players could not rake NPCs consistently. (Now you can)

Additionally we plan to add more defined roles AND adding elite NPCs with epic loot. 
+ will address the wide horizontal shooting ark as it seems to be an annoying factor for many. 

Can I suggest to reduce a little bit also the reload rate of 7th rates … newbies cannot board or rake (or outmanouver) properly enemies and these NPCs hit quite hard on a basic cutter with no upgrades

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42 minutes ago, toblerone said:

Can I suggest to reduce a little bit also the reload rate of 7th rates … newbies cannot board or rake (or outmanouver) properly enemies and these NPCs hit quite hard on a basic cutter with no upgrades

I agree with this. While I prefer the much harder, more challenging AI, new players are going to have a problem. I've also felt right from the beginning that class 7 ships are overpowered historically, both in firepower and performance  - even the dinky little Pickle is no 'Barrett's Antelope' as it were. 

I've restarted my game and character about 3 times now - 4 full grind-ups to RA rank and every time I'm surprised and perturbed how difficult the first three ranks are to achieve - and that was before the changes to the mission system. Now it's going to be much, much harder. 

Quite personally - and this is merely a personal opinion - to assist new players I'd love to see the return of Rookie Brigs, placed on short runs around national ports in OW - only attackable by Class 6-7 players, though I doubt that's possible. Players in Class 6-7 ships anyway - that is do-able. They would represent new AI officers in the best ships they can afford (in other words cheap, leaky crap), just learning their trade. Lousy - if any - loot to discourage experienced players, but just enough XP to give new players a solid and pleasant learning experience.

Edited by Captain Hammered

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4 hours ago, Wyy said:

the problem is they use unlimited double ball and charge aswell as medium cannons, so the damage feels higher, but its actually not.

Honestly these two perks should be free to players just like we have limited chain shot and now the free fleet perk.  Maybe have it where you learn double ball at level 5 or double charge at level 7 etc.  There is no reason for them to be perks if AI gets them for free and it's a limited use item so they should be something that all ship captains know.

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5 hours ago, admin said:

We love how reduced turning skills became the magic button and actually increased complexity and tactical depth (allowing you to make choices when fighting Bots).

We do feel that turning debuffs for lower level ships can go even lower. As even pro players could not rake NPCs consistently. (Now you can)

Additionally we plan to add more defined roles AND adding elite NPCs with epic loot. 
+ will address the wide horizontal shooting ark as it seems to be an annoying factor for many. 

Excellent. I feel the game is moving in the right direction. 

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Would it be possible to have various engagement philosophies that are random, rather than just one main one all the time? You could set up machine learning algorithms to take data from human players, drop them into a database of sorts (UDC?), whereby the AI is randomly given a philosophy from say thirty different engagement styles at the beginning of the engagement?

For human players, we wouldn't know what we are getting and might add to the experience of "what do we have this time?" Right now, AI behavior is a bit predictable.

 

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On 4/10/2019 at 1:30 PM, Lucky Jack said:

Would it be possible to have various engagement philosophies that are random, rather than just one main one all the time? You could set up machine learning algorithms to take data from human players, drop them into a database of sorts (UDC?), whereby the AI is randomly given a philosophy from say thirty different engagement styles at the beginning of the engagement?

For human players, we wouldn't know what we are getting and might add to the experience of "what do we have this time?" Right now, AI behavior is a bit predictable.

 

I agree in principle - it would be great to have a widely-varied and complex AI system that could include - if I'm reading you right (and how I personally imagine it) specific AI behavious such as: The Aggressive Captain, The Wary Captain, The Fearful Captain, The Undisciplined captain, etc. - personality traits for Captain and crew that would define how the AI ship fights. An AI Bellona might, for instance, be overly concerned about the status of his armour and not engage too closely, or even run - or he might be suicidal but incompetent, or brave and highly skilled, etc. 

I'm just not sure how it would work in practice - it sounds like it could require a complete teardown and rebuild of the AI protocols. I've no idea how complicated that could be; as far as I know computers are magic boxes with little green imps inside pressing buttons. :D

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35 minutes ago, Captain Hammered said:

I agree in principle - it would be great to have a widely-varied and complex AI system that could include - if I'm reading you right (and how I personally imagine it) specific AI behavious such as: The Aggressive Captain, The Wary Captain, The Fearful Captain, The Undisciplined captain, etc. - personality traits for Captain and crew that would define how the AI ship fights. An AI Bellona might, for instance, be overly concerned about the status of his armour and not engage too closely, or even run - or he might be suicidal but incompetent, or brave and highly skilled, etc. 

I'm just not sure how it would work in practice - it sounds like it could require a complete teardown and rebuild of the AI protocols. I've no idea how complicated that could be; as far as I know computers are magic boxes with little green imps inside pressing buttons. :D

 

Seems to me that you could apply any number of modifiers to the AI at battle entry that would define his character or ability, and simply make it RNG so that it's unpredictable.  We have so many other RNG things in the game why not AI too?  You would even get elites out of that approach.

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6 hours ago, Captain Hammered said:

I agree in principle - it would be great to have a widely-varied and complex AI system that could include - if I'm reading you right (and how I personally imagine it) specific AI behavious such as: The Aggressive Captain, The Wary Captain, The Fearful Captain, The Undisciplined captain, etc. - personality traits for Captain and crew that would define how the AI ship fights. An AI Bellona might, for instance, be overly concerned about the status of his armour and not engage too closely, or even run - or he might be suicidal but incompetent, or brave and highly skilled, etc. 

I'm just not sure how it would work in practice - it sounds like it could require a complete teardown and rebuild of the AI protocols. I've no idea how complicated that could be; as far as I know computers are magic boxes with little green imps inside pressing buttons. :D

Haha for sure! You're on the right track. The vision could go anyway really.

Basically the AI algorithm would have to be rewritten in a way that it learns from how human players engage. That way, instead of the devs having to come up with AI law/behavior/philosophy, which would be hard for every to be happy with, you have the NPC's drawing from a central database of combat engagements, one that is always growing organically. Of course you still have to program the base line into the AI law, but that could be as simple as sailing or combat theory.

I would imagine that the database could be categorized by ship classification, that way you don't have the fighting philosophy of a 1st rate by an AI captain in a Snow, or vice versa. Then there would be AI learning from new players in 7th's or vet players in 7th's. The resulting engagement one might find them self in would be highly varied, like you suggest.

It just seems like coming up with a one-size-AI-fits-all is kind of tough and hard to agree on, from both a dev deliverable and a player expectation.

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Why all the efforts with AI? We have central game mechanics not working why bother then with AI? It‘s the at least important aspect of the game. Besides: AI turns normal when rudder is red damaged. This should be fixed. When a human player has red rudder he can‘t turn at all until it‘s yellow again. 

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3 hours ago, mikawa said:

Why all the efforts with AI? We have central game mechanics not working why bother then with AI? It‘s the at least important aspect of the game. Besides: AI turns normal when rudder is red damaged. This should be fixed. When a human player has red rudder he can‘t turn at all until it‘s yellow again. 

AI happens to be a big element of the experience of this game. Makes sense the devs would ask for feedback on it.

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5 hours ago, mikawa said:

Why all the efforts with AI? We have central game mechanics not working why bother then with AI? It‘s the at least important aspect of the game. Besides: AI turns normal when rudder is red damaged. This should be fixed. When a human player has red rudder he can‘t turn at all until it‘s yellow again. 

Because without AI there is no game. It is very important aspect of the game.

AI turns the way it had rudder set when you damaged it. So if it was in the process of turning it will have its rudder stuck at the same position until it goes yellow again.

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PVE/Peace server player here.

It appears it has become increasingly difficult to deal with bigger ships, topping with 2 rates. Similar armor and thickness to 1 rates, smaller targets, yet faster and more maneuverable with cannon damage to match. I personally have more difficulty dealing with bucentaures than 1rates.

This

is getting on the verge of pure self harm just for the sake of it. As usual rewards are far below average, reals-wise.

Previa this battle, without paying too much attention, I managed to get sunk in a purple L'Ocean (one of 2 only I got out of 115 ships by the way,and 0 gold so far, thanks to RNJesus), being continously overtaken by bucentaures , eliminating any possible angling I could perform , which has , sorry if I sound pompous, never happened before in 3 years of playing and sinking the best the game has to offer.

I blame myself for it of course, as I said I didn't pay much attention, though for these battles the concentration requirements are getting higher and higher.

If you wanted to make AI able to withstand players so much so that we will be forced to have mostly 1v1 at the same rate..this is definitely the way to accomplish that.

I'd ask to reconsider, just a bit, 2rate balance, not that the other rates are perfect anyway, but at least it would be a start.

Thank you

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How about baselining things for starters by removing the NPC overbuffs and giving them the same actual equipment as players? You know, longs and carros where appropriate (instead of magical medium cannons that shoot like longs and hit like carros), actual chasers that don't vanish when the ship is capped, actual permanent upgrades, actual skills, and the same limited ammo as we have?

It won't matter on PvP since only lower-rate NPC ships are capturable, and would give us on PvE something to do - as in, if you are a broke but skillful captain, you could go out and try to catch yourself a better ship or catch yourself some actually useful equipment instead of yet another Fir/Fir/Crew Space barge loaded with mediums (which, despite being Fir/Fir and sailing like Fir/Fir, tanks the incoming fire like LO/WO or maybe IDK, LO/Iron).

Then you could broach the subject of teaching the NPCs to use repairs, because why not? Repairs aren't all that technically complex. Sure, when players use it, there's some light strategery involved, but at the end of the day "IF ARMOR < 50, USE HULL_REPAIR; ELSE IF SAILS < 75 USE SAIL_REPAIR; ELSE IF (RUDDER_BROKEN OR PUMP_BROKEN) USE EMERGENCY_REPAIR" or somesuch.

Saying "our AI is dumb therefore we'll give it ungodly bonuses to compensate" is easy but also lazy. Y'all are better than this. (Also, I get why you did it early on - it was a justifiable shortcut to get things going, but now it's the spit'n'polish time). It also breaks immersion like nobody's business, and makes PvE piracy boring, because 99 times out of a hundred you'll always capture a crappy scow that is only good for either looting and sinking, or taking back to port and selling to Admiralty. And that's after the crappy scow puts up a fight worthy of a 5/5 gold ship with permanently loaded doubleshotted double charge in some kind of long-ranged carronades.

Edited by Ahoy H.R. Matey
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The new AI is much harder than before, and the payout of xp and reals have been reduced to basically not even worth going into combat (Big part of the game from the title). I was on the US coast (not many 2-3 rates to attack) and attacked an Elite Belle along with a reg Belle and a Surprise, while I was in my Christian. After the battle I had aprox 70 crew lost and half my armor taken down. The payout was 280xp and enough reals to pay for damage and and crew. I don't mind a hard AI, but when I am trying to unlock perks and getting pretty much nothing in return for combat I don't find it worth my time to even bother. The payout IMO on both xp and reals is pitiful at best (the old system was at lease somewhat rewarding).

Today was my last day playing this game until release. Nothing to do but waste mass amounts of time trying to unlock 1 perk. If this is not fixed at release, I see no reason to continue with the game. It is a sad joke at best and a real slap in the face to players from the Dev's. The Dev's have managed to take most everything that was fun about this game in testing and change it into a further grind with little to no reward just weeks before release. Players ships are unbalanced and the AI is hard AF with little to no reward. And to top all that off, managed to make ship crafting in PvE pointless. The salt will flow heavy on the steam reviews if the game is released like this. 

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5 hours ago, McPoyle said:

The payout was 280xp and enough reals to pay for damage and and crew. I don't mind a hard AI, but when I am trying to unlock perks and getting pretty much nothing in return for combat I don't find it worth my time to even bother. The payout IMO on both xp and reals is pitiful at best (the old system was at lease somewhat rewarding).

Agreed. The payout/reward structure is absurd. For new players especially it's critical that it's highly rewarding in both XP and Reals to be out on the open water and farming AI. It has to be this way in order to create opportunities for hunting, on top of make the inevitable ship loss associated with these activities still worth the risk. As long as the losers of PvP are not being adequately rewarded in XP and Reals, then they must be rewarded for farming AI, regardless of the difference in ship classes or the fleet sizes involved.

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26 minutes ago, Wraith said:

The payout/reward structure is absurd. For new players especially it's critical that it's highly rewarding in both XP and Reals to be out on the open water and farming AI. It has to be this way in order to create opportunities for hunting, on top of make the inevitable ship loss associated with these activities still worth the risk.

When I brought my friends into this game (wayyy back when ships had durability) they lost SO. MANY. SHIPS. to AI boarding. There is a real learning curve here and people are going to lose their boats very anticlimactically to OP AI boarding. Hell, on my first day back I lost my Surprise to a Belle I went too close to while tacking.

There's gotta be substantial rewards in place so that you can earn up a new ship within a few combats/missions to account for loss to AI and hunting players. 

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11 hours ago, Doug Maoz said:

When I brought my friends into this game (wayyy back when ships had durability) they lost SO. MANY. SHIPS. to AI boarding. There is a real learning curve here and people are going to lose their boats very anticlimactically to OP AI boarding. Hell, on my first day back I lost my Surprise to a Belle I went too close to while tacking.

There's gotta be substantial rewards in place so that you can earn up a new ship within a few combats/missions to account for loss to AI and hunting players. 

People say that yesterday the one streamer destroyed santissima trinidad(bot) on his hercules and got 70k reals. You want better prise? Then be ready to rich guys hoo get millions reals very fast. Do not forget that for the loss of the ship you will be paid compensation. I think rewards are fine and your risks are minimal!

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17 minutes ago, Limpear said:

People say that yesterday the one streamer destroyed santissima trinidad(bot) on his hercules and got 70k reals. You want better prise? Then be ready to rich guys hoo get millions reals very fast. Do not forget that for the loss of the ship you will be paid compensation. I think rewards are fine and your risks are minimal!

Well think you should not compare it, with what one player can do, but what 80 % of the player can. Think reward is High enough, when you have build up your buildings. Then you are fine. But until then ppl will have a hard time.

Ppl will be rich pretty fast anyway. Can think of some clans, that will have organized there trade and earn millions each day allready after a week. You dont think so, Well ask graf bernadotte after a week.

 

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4 minutes ago, Routan said:

 

Ppl will be rich pretty fast anyway. Can think of some clans, that will have organized there trade and earn millions each day allready after a week.

How much you can make from trading (or even delivery missions) depends strongly on which nation you're in and their map footprint. 

 

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