Captain
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,376
As it stands, STO is too unfair to NPCs - They are so weak that players routinely need little to no effort to play against them and they tend to only have one advantage over player ships, hull and shield strength, and some poor NPCs don't even get that.


A few examples that highlight the issue:

Take a JHAS - in PvP, it is pretty much top dog of escorts. It has challengers for its crown yes, but it is still definitely brilliant. An NPC JHAS however, barely is any better than a player's T1 ship.

Take KDF BoPs - in PvP, a well built and flown BoP will be able to withstand 4+ average Feds at Ker'rat. An NPC BoP is usually down before you even knew it was there.

Take an NPC Fed Cruiser - waste of time, all the disadvantages of player Cruisers, no advantages, or ways to compensate for disadvantages.

Take a Scimitar - in player hands, it is simply the STO definition of OP. NPC Scims are so weak that they only have one advantage in that they cloak from time to time - and as countless people running snooper Nebula's show, cloak isn't all that great.




What I propose is that NPCs are given equal ships to players, with far more canon reflecting loadouts than typical players use, so that NPCs are on an equal level to players.

Just giving them all the stuff an equivalent player ship has, and most importantly using PvPer keybinds to set up general case ability usage, would go a very long way to PvE being rebalanced to be fair to these poor NPCs.


The second component of AI is harder to do, but it should fundamentally revolve around a NPC doing what a decent person would do - I.E. follow PvPer keybinds and build AI scripts to emulate them.


The bottom line is STO is far too unfair towards NPCs, and these changes would go a long way to reducing the gap, without resorting to the well known Borg invistorp of doom tactic of just making NPCs bags of hit points with one-hit KO attacks, as that is neither fun nor balanced.
VPvP. T5U PvP. Normal PvP. Because some of us still do it... Oh, and PvE advice too.
A pilot able to fly straight is the single most important factor in any build's performance.

T'Rebek, Nalcari, Karina, Volana, Kilaitia, K'Ahlayr, Ririatss.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 775
# 2
09-01-2014, 01:08 PM
The problem is the IA of the NPC's. Is very basic, they throw everything they have as soon as they enter in red alert. Some others npcs have a timmer for their abilities (like cristaline entity), but they don't react to anything you do. In the end, they are dumb an predictable
This make the pve content boring, and is the main reason for the breach that exists from PvE to PvP. You can rampage the entire PvE content without even know what is the counter for a tractor beam, then they go to PvP and get slapped in the face.

Even for players that are not interested in pvp, pve content should be more hard, and by hard i dont mean increase npc hull and damage, they should have some hardcoded patterns for react to player actions: try to subnuke/drain-disable weapons when a player activate attack pattern alpha, use polarize hull when players cast gravity well/tractor beam or any other control ability, etc...
That will give the PvE content a new dimension, since the npc will be reacting to your actions, making this more challenging, and more fun (no more farm missions with a2b-faw-spacebar builds)

Is not an easy task from a coding perspecive, but isn't imposible neither. Start with a few basic tactics/patterns for each npc group, and improve them with time. Even the most basic set of harcoded tactics will be more effective than the current IA
John Sheridan@playhard88 - FED Tactical
Vin Naftero@playhard88 - FED Sciencie
K'tan@playhard88 - KDF Tactical
Argento@playhard88 - RRF Tactical (FED)

Last edited by playhard88; 09-01-2014 at 01:20 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,376
# 3
09-01-2014, 01:42 PM
The way I envision the AI should be is if a PvPer was to bind generic sets to react to situations - lets face it, AI coding is difficult. Copying what someone else would do while understanding why they do it however, isn't.

I think at least 4 basic scripts, each with additional or alternative components depending on situation:

"being vaped"
Attack
Defence
Heal

And then additional script/scripts depending on what extra abilities our hypothetical NPC has - obvious stuff like a Borg NPC checking for an opponents HE being down before using Borg Shield Neutraliser for example, or checking for a resist hold effect like PH before applying a tractor beam, to more complex stuff like a cloak capable NPC being able to vape a player.

Obviously, we can't make an NPC as good as a serious PvPer, not without super advanced AI - but as good as the top 5% of players should be feasible.


This post has been edited to remove content which violates the Perfect World Entertainment Community Rules and Policies. ~Askray
VPvP. T5U PvP. Normal PvP. Because some of us still do it... Oh, and PvE advice too.
A pilot able to fly straight is the single most important factor in any build's performance.

T'Rebek, Nalcari, Karina, Volana, Kilaitia, K'Ahlayr, Ririatss.

Last edited by askray; 09-01-2014 at 01:45 PM.
Rihannsu
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 17,488
# 4
09-02-2014, 12:19 AM
The Elachi seems to actually use a crude imitation of combat tactics....note: crude... The biggest example are their engineers which try to flank you before making turrets. It rarely works as they walk too slow, but they try. that and they have a habit of placing their stasis turrets where their arcbolt turrets can hit you when you're in the stasis trap.
HAIL HYDRA!

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I can haz joystick!
MMOs aren't charities. Corporations are supposed to make a profit. It's what they do.
Specialist
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,525
# 5
09-02-2014, 06:27 AM
Puh-leeze... Another "make the NPCs uber!" whine thread.

As for the JHAS? It hasn't been top dog in years. Power creep and tons of better ship layouts, consoles, and boff options have rendered it second-rate now.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 752
# 6
09-02-2014, 10:31 AM
Whilst I'll agree that the npc's in game are a push over. What you must understand is that for every person that wants to see them made harder to beat, there's at least another twenty screaming that they're to over powered and need nerfing. Its a no win situation for everyone involved.
Those that can, will and those that can't will Aux2bat everything or cry "Nerf"
I've three manned CGE & IGE, two manned KAGE (both Pre & Post Rep nerf). Also two manned IGN all with optionals, Completed IGE with 9:27 left on the optional timer, more recently completed IGA with 7:13 left on the optional timer
Captain
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,376
# 7
09-02-2014, 11:00 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sqwished View Post
Whilst I'll agree that the npc's in game are a push over. What you must understand is that for every person that wants to see them made harder to beat, there's at least another twenty screaming that they're to over powered and need nerfing. Its a no win situation for everyone involved.
A) And we listen to those who want NPCs "harder to beat", entirely the wrong phrase IMO - pandering to the lowest common denominator is never a solution as all it achieves is driving player quality down.

B) As it stands, NPCs are totally handicapped - this is about giving them a fighting chance.

C) There is absolutely masses of advice and build help available in STO, all you need to do is ask nicely - there is no excuse for not being able to play properly and complaining NPCs are difficult.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rodentmaster View Post
Puh-leeze... Another "make the NPCs uber!" whine thread.

As for the JHAS? It hasn't been top dog in years. Power creep and tons of better ship layouts, consoles, and boff options have rendered it second-rate now.
Your opening statement shows that you are simply incapable of basic reading and comprehension of what I already wrote, and thus, you aren't worth my time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by markhawkman View Post
The Elachi seems to actually use a crude imitation of combat tactics....note: crude... The biggest example are their engineers which try to flank you before making turrets. It rarely works as they walk too slow, but they try. that and they have a habit of placing their stasis turrets where their arcbolt turrets can hit you when you're in the stasis trap.
And its that sort of AI manoeuvre which we should be able to see more often, attempting to gain a tactical advantage rather than just standing/floating there doing very little.
VPvP. T5U PvP. Normal PvP. Because some of us still do it... Oh, and PvE advice too.
A pilot able to fly straight is the single most important factor in any build's performance.

T'Rebek, Nalcari, Karina, Volana, Kilaitia, K'Ahlayr, Ririatss.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,926
# 8
09-02-2014, 11:17 AM
JHAS is an old frigate.

Its more suited to its NPC role as cannon fodder than to its player role as a "UBERLULZOP" ship.

The JHAS is.... like having an old horse race against racing cars and win.
Let us wear Swimsuits on Foundry maps or bridges please! I would pay zen for that.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 4,044
# 9
09-02-2014, 11:33 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbrjwrr View Post
The way I envision the AI should be is if a PvPer was to bind generic sets to react to situations - lets face it, AI coding is difficult. Copying what someone else would do while understanding why they do it however, isn't.

I think at least 4 basic scripts, each with additional or alternative components depending on situation:

"being vaped"
Attack
Defence
Heal

And then additional script/scripts depending on what extra abilities our hypothetical NPC has - obvious stuff like a Borg NPC checking for an opponents HE being down before using Borg Shield Neutraliser for example, or checking for a resist hold effect like PH before applying a tractor beam, to more complex stuff like a cloak capable NPC being able to vape a player.

Obviously, we can't make an NPC as good as a serious PvPer, not without super advanced AI - but as good as the top 5% of players should be feasible.


This post has been edited to remove content which violates the Perfect World Entertainment Community Rules and Policies. ~Askray
I'm sure NPCs can do all of that since I've seen certain PvP fleets using Macros for auto attack buff cycles as well as crosshealing teammates.
Captain
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2,376
# 10
09-02-2014, 11:50 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tpalelena View Post
JHAS is an old frigate.

Its more suited to its NPC role as cannon fodder than to its player role as a "UBERLULZOP" ship.

The JHAS is.... like having an old horse race against racing cars and win.
A man once organised a race around Sicily. A cyclist, a car, and a horse. The horse won. similarly, an F1 car vs a horse round Royal Ascot will be a very one sided victory for the 4 legged mammal, and not just because today's F1 cars are so nerfed compared to what they used to be.


And anyway, that only counts for the JHAS - name any normal NPC ship better than a player ship that isn't better because "Borg invistorps of doom" style effects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edalgo View Post
I'm sure NPCs can do all of that since I've seen certain PvP fleets using Macros for auto attack buff cycles as well as crosshealing teammates.
Exactly - all a dev needs to do is reverse engineer PvP keybinds in essence.
VPvP. T5U PvP. Normal PvP. Because some of us still do it... Oh, and PvE advice too.
A pilot able to fly straight is the single most important factor in any build's performance.

T'Rebek, Nalcari, Karina, Volana, Kilaitia, K'Ahlayr, Ririatss.
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