Been doing some controlled tests with the BoP's and noticed the following issues:
0- BoP energy weapons (cannons and turret) do very,very weak damage. Firing on a target that is 10 levels below them the energy weapons barely do 40 damage. That is very weak. They are also limited to using tier 1 attacks which is really unusual. Aka 'rapid fire 1' and 'torpedo volley 1' is all they use.
This is perhaps because the BoP is equipped with a disruptor turret mk1 and disruptor dual cannons (not heavy, just regular dual cannons) mk 6. I say Mk6 because the damage they output matches their stats similarly.
officer Bird-of-Prey deals 35 (296) Disruptor Damage to Starfleet Typhoon Battleship with Dual Disruptor Cannons.
officer Bird-of-Prey deals 20 (173) Disruptor Damage to Starfleet Typhoon Battleship with Disruptor Turret.
When player is NOT part of a team:
1- BoPs do not attack target when in range and given attack order unless: a) Player is in Red Alert and b) player has fired a gun or missile at target (mines do not work).
Tested firing only missile and it triggers the BoP's into following the order the moment it is fired..target had not received any damage.
However if the BoPs are escorting a friendly and he enters combat, it puts you on red alert+triggers BoP's to attack...and after that you can recall the BoPs and have them attack any target without you needing to fire a shot from your ship (as long as the red alert lasts).
This means you cannot order the BoPs to attack unless the enemy is inside 10km range or you've fired a bioneural at target (15km range).
2- When original target is destroyed and BoP's remain under attack command, they will not attack player's next target nor will they obey another order besides Escort UNLESS you RECALL them first.
That means if I click on the highlighted 'attack' order to grey it out and click 'attack' order again while having my new target locked they will not obey.
BoP's will simply switch to attacking whatever hostile is nearby. That is caused by # 3 below.
3- If any ship fires on any of the BoPs it seems to get 'added' to their target list. Ive had my BoPs attacking one ship that was part of a cluster of vessels..and on one of its egress maneuvers it got in range of another cluster of ships that hit it once. That BoP went on attacking the target I originally assigned it. When that original target died, all four BoP's rabidly went on to attack the cluster of ships that had nicked that one BoP and would not obey any order (as per #2) other than recall.
4- BoP's ignore the use of their cannons after they reach target. They tend to circle the target firing turret only (extremely ineffective). It is only the target ship's movements that causes them to shift flight pattern to keep the orbit that puts the BoP's cannons in line of sight and they autofire (same for torpedoes). Its almost as if the turret made their AI think 'oh I AM shooting it so thats all I need to keep doing: orbiting target' ).
When in the player is part of a group however... something changes.
It seems the BoP's consider the other player's in the group as if they were part of the BoP's 'flight' . This is best seen when your carrier is 20+km away from another group member and you finish killing off the ships near you.
Next thing you know, the BoP's are slamming the afterburner and heading to assist your team-mate 20km away. Once they arrive there and destroy the target that attacked your team-mate the BoPs revert to #2 and #3 issues above.
Edit Update: If there is another carrier is in the team the BoP's will stop obeying the player altogether. Even when you do permanent 'recall' order the BoPs follow the other carrier's order. They will apparently follow the other carrier's orders at random and both my BoPs and the other carrier's pets (no matter which the were) would behave and fly erratically as described in the edit 2 below.
Edit 2 update: Wow.. a random Mirror Event with two other Vo'quv carriers... what a mess. The bops,drones and toduvs (we tried them ALL) just TWITCHED and flew as if they had smoked some strong stuff. They didnt fire or follow orders. Its almost as if they were trying to follow the orders from two or more people at the same time and the 'owner' kept changing every half second. Will try to set up an STF with five carriers and film it.
And that is why the BoP's seem to be impossible to control: Whatever it is that tells them WHO their owner and WHO their target is ... is overriding the carrier player's commands on what they should be attacking or doing.
I've no clue how the AI is coded but I think if its possible to simply have the BoP's :
A- changed to be equipped with disruptor dual heavy cannons mk 10.. or quad cannons.
B- Turret removed so that it actually uses its cannons (and thus makes their attack runs be frontal not an orbit-turret pecking fest).
C- Have the AI stop choosing its own targets (no hate list), change 'Escort' to 'Assist' (BoPs will attack friendly's target and not randomly attack whatever targets the friendly) and remove whatever it is that lets them detect player's team-mates incoming/outgoing damage so that their poor little AI brains dont get confused and turn Duras.