Author Topic: Agility kills missile doctrines?  (Read 3702 times)

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Offline Haji

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Agility kills missile doctrines?
« on: January 14, 2017, 10:55:02 AM »
I'm once again back to my favorite Aurora campaign which I have been playing on and off for three years now I think. It is also the very first campaign where I reached anti-matter level of technology. However being a very bad strategist I have been simply upgrading my missiles without really thinking about this. Big mistake. Recently I finally decided to take a closer look at my cruisers to see how their offensive missile armament compares to their defenses and to my shock I discovered my anti-missiles had 75% interception chances against my own shipkillers.
My first reaction was that the missiles were too slow. I did after all accept somewhat lower speed to cram larger warheads and sensors. But after running some calculations it turned out that even if my shipkillers dedicated 60% of their mass to maximum power engines (6.0 multiplayer) my anti-missiles would still have 50% interception chances. That's too high. It mean in terms of space it is much easier to defend than to deal damage with any shipkiller above size 2. And of course a shipkiller has to deal with point blank defenses, evasion and armor.
The simple truth is interception chances on this technological level are too high. Worse there don't seem to be any ways to counter this. ECM is effectively useless as it can be countered by ECCM and armor takes too much space. It seems to me that either agility should be significantly nerfed or some new (or simply modified) way for missiles to avoid defensive fire on higher technological levels should be added.
 

Offline MarcAFK

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2017, 01:51:32 PM »
Missile armour needs to take into account tech level. Adding a few levels of armour would be a possible solution if it meant needing ether more missile hits or larger anti missiles at that tech level.
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Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2017, 03:11:07 PM »
Making it easier to armor missiles isn't an ideal solution, because by that point you have 1 MSP anti-fighter munitions that are almost as accurate as the anti-missile missiles, with 4 point warheads.

A partial solution is to recognize that just because a weapon system dominates four or so tech levels, that doesn't mean it is required to dominate all tech levels.  Part of Aurora is adapting to the changing effectiveness of weapons.

You might try making long ranged cheap heavily armored missiles, whose purpose is to draw out and soak AMMs before you get in range for the higher performance missiles.  Or go to box launchers and try to saturate the enemy defenses.
 

Offline Haji

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2017, 03:22:33 PM »
I'm using box launchers already. In fact I use primarily gunboats for offense, which can have up to thirty six launchers. Unfortunately the sensors have become so long ranged, there is time for some twenty five anti-missile salvos while the shipkillers cross the engagement range. You can't saturate such defenses; you effectively have to run them out of ammunition.
As for using heavily armored munitions as decoys I'll think about it, but the problem is I'm roleplaying a campaign while playing multiple sides, so it would be very easy to simply ignore such decoys, which is why I'm concentrating so hard on actually getting missiles through.
As for domination of weapon systems, I know a lot of people hate how powerful missiles are compared to energy weapons (if that's what you meant) but the problem is that energy weapons have a clear winner and a clear loser. The one with longer ranges and greater speed wins. No ifs, no butts, no clever tactics. Heck, there probably won't be any loses in such a scenario. Unless the very mechanics of energy weapons are changed in some way, to get a relatively balanced campaign, where you can use quantity to offset quality, you need to base said campaign on missiles.
 

Offline Zincat

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2017, 04:38:47 PM »
Frankly, I really fail to see the problem.

As said before, missiles are ridiculously good early on in the game. For a long time in fact. Also, the AI simply can't deal with missiles, let alone box launchers. If you use box launchers against the AI, you might as well play without any sort of enemies because it's just a "I win" button. I don't use reduced size/box launchers at all in fact, specifically because the AI is completely hapless before them.


I understand it is different if you play multiple factions, but I still fail to see the problems. There are reliable countemeasures to missiles. So what? In war, even in recent and modern wars, it came down to who has the most powerful military. I see no problem in there being effective counters to missiles. In fact, even in modern war, there ARE effective counters to missiles. AMM batteries ARE a reality for great military powers nowadays. It's just that usually, because of geopolitical considerations, any war in the last 30 years was between a huge nation and piddling dictators, so you saw none of these used.

So what happens when 2 nations of similar powers and similar technology level battle it out? The larger, more numerous side wins, it become a war of attrition. And so it's perfectly reasonable that you have to shoot until the enemy runs out of AMM. There are effective counters to missiles now, I can't see how there COULD NOT be even more effective counters in the future. If you want to win against a similar opponent, bring more ships.



Regarding your complain about energy weapons having a clear winner and loser... Yes it's exactly as you say. If you are faster and have longer range, you have won. As it should be. As it has always been in real life. If you do not have a longer range of the enemy, then you have to be faster so you can close in or else you die. This has been the basis of war since the first spears and bows. What is so strange about it?

You say there is no clever tactics in that. I will contest your point. Clever tactics is NOT having a weapon that for some reason the enemy cannot counter or intercept. That is called technological superiority, not clever tactics.

Clever tactics is attacking where the enemy can't defend. Clever tactics is forcing the enemy to split hiss forces. Clever tactics is blockading planets or systems, or taking out supply lines. Or luring the enemy in a trap. That is clever tactics and clever strategy. Having a better weapon system than the enemy is NOT tactics.
 

Offline TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2017, 05:50:57 PM »
With tracking bonuses and crew grade bonuses, the actual effective hit rate is likely beyond 100% - and with high tech res 1 sensors, you have a long time to shoot missiles at incoming waves... making it very difficult to overwhelm launch rates.  The only way to penetrate a late game antimissile curtain is MUCH deeper magazines, or such force superiority that no detail of design mattered much anyway.

It's another factor forcing the meta-game towards the smallest plausible missiles, unfortunately. 

I've long felt the game breaks down at TL5 or so anyway. TL1-2-3 and to some extent 4, you are not just researching infinite techs but techs that make a qualitative difference in your gameplay.  at 5, capabilities increases enormously because of synergistic and multiplicative bonuses - but you're just running repeating techs, with the plausible exception of refining cloaking technology.

Quote
Regarding your complain about energy weapons having a clear winner and loser... Yes it's exactly as you say. If you are faster and have longer range, you have won. As it should be. As it has always been in real life. If you do not have a longer range of the enemy, then you have to be faster so you can close in or else you die. This has been the basis of war since the first spears and bows. What is so strange about it?
Infinite kiting is an artifact of game design, not some truth from on high - IRL it's difficult to both retreat and attack for a multitude of reasons.  In Starfire - the genesis of Aurora - there were built in obstacles for such strategies.  For example, ships couldn't fire directly behind them, limiting their ability to just speed away and fire; and ships that found themselves outranged could overboost their drives, albeit at the cost of damaging themselves.    Infinite kiting in Aurora is a consequence of fixed tactical variables (speed, initiative, etc.) and perfect maneuverability, and the way fire controls work.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2017, 07:51:18 PM »
So really, the issue isn't missiles and missile defenses, it is that long ranged missiles can no longer compensate for slower ship or fleet speeds.  Missiles can still outperform beams at point blank missile range, the range at which missiles can not be intercepted.

Long ranged missiles still have a lot of uses, of course, just not against a properly designed warfleet.  Killing commercial ships, survey ships, infrastructure ships like fuel harvesters and terraformers and gate construction ships.  Putting a world under siege, destroying unescorted ships that try to get to and from it, that is a job for missiles.  Forcing a defender to escort all commercial ships and therefore possibly get defeated in detail?  That is something that long ranged missiles can help with.  And unlike fighters, you don't have the same issue of risking your own forces getting sucked out of position or defeated in detail themselves.
 

Offline MarcAFK

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2017, 08:06:49 PM »
There's 2 variables nobody has mentioned in this thread yet, multi stage missiles and laser warheads, both of which if used properly can overcome both late game missile weaknesses mentioned.
Against the very high AMM interception rate if your large shipkillers are specifically crafted against what the enemy is using you can make him waste the majority of AMM's against the first stage, before the kill stage erupts at shorter range. Of course you need to know what speed and range the enemy missiles are, making proper scouting and forward fleet deployment very important. You'll need to risk ships in enemy held areas to gather that information before designing proper missiles.
And then as beam defense gets more effective you have the option of using laser warheads, allowing slower ships to use beam missiles to catch up with faster ships in a limited beam slogging match. If you have a range advantage then it's even better, but still it's safer to overwhelm a few select beam ships using beam missiles then it is to force an assault using similarly equipped ships. The attritional effect of taking out even a few enemy ships may win you time to get your slower ships into range.
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"Stop exploding, you cowards.  "
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2017, 05:40:24 AM »
Actually, a fleet with superiority in speed and beam weapon range still might not be able to win.  If the other side has superiority in shields, the side with speed and range might not be able to be the refresh rate of the shields at the rate they can engage with impugnity.

A lot depends on how big the economies are at that point.  Shields can be dominant when you have a few really big capital ships, such that you can rotate out the shield damaged ships to regenerate, but not so many that concentrations of fire punch out individual ships in single exchanges of fire.
 

Offline Haji

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2017, 08:58:18 AM »
Regarding your complain about energy weapons having a clear winner and loser... Yes it's exactly as you say. If you are faster and have longer range, you have won. As it should be. As it has always been in real life. If you do not have a longer range of the enemy, then you have to be faster so you can close in or else you die. This has been the basis of war since the first spears and bows. What is so strange about it?

In war, even in recent and modern wars, it came down to who has the most powerful military. I see no problem in there being effective counters to missiles.

I've modified the order of your posting as I will answer those two points in that order.

You are completely right that the side with superior guns wins and should win. But Aurora takes it to a ridiculous degree. In a real war having few superior weapons (like German Tigers II during WWII) will not win you the war. In Aurora, in case of energy armaments a single superior gun will. If you have a corvette equipped with a single laser and speed and range superior to the enemy, that corvette will win. Even if the enemy has a battlefleet massing ten thousand times as much as the corvette, it will not matter. The corvette will still win. That's not realism. That's a bad game design.

As to the point about superior military, I either didn't make my point well enough, or you simply missed it. With anti-missile having interception chances above 50% it becomes cheaper (in terms of both ship space and industrial cost) to defend than to attack. If a typical missile is size 3, for example, the attacker would have to have 50% larger fleet just to run the defender out of the ammunition. But of course this doesn't take into account point blank defenses and armor. In total the attacker has to have two or three times as large fleet as the defender to do any damage. What happens if one fleet is only 40% larger than the other? It should win right? But with the numbers I have given, both sides will run out of ammunition and then the side with superior beam range and speed will win. That means the smaller fleet will be able to achieve victory (assuming slightly superior technology) and lose no ships in the process! Again, that's not a realism, that's a bad game design.


I've long felt the game breaks down at TL5 or so anyway.

I still have a lot of things to do in my campaign, especially since it's the one I'm posting here, so I hope to find some way around it.

There's 2 variables nobody has mentioned in this thread yet, multi stage missiles and laser warheads,

I've never used laser warheads, but from what I experimented with yesterday in my campaign it seems like multi-warhead missiles will be the answer to my problem. Possibly.

Actually, a fleet with superiority in speed and beam weapon range still might not be able to win.  If the other side has superiority in shields, the side with speed and range might not be able to be the refresh rate of the shields at the rate they can engage with impugnity.

A lot depends on how big the economies are at that point.  Shields can be dominant when you have a few really big capital ships, such that you can rotate out the shield damaged ships to regenerate, but not so many that concentrations of fire punch out individual ships in single exchanges of fire.

Shields don't regenerate that fast. Even in a single ship versus single ship situation it's very difficult to have shields powerful enough to shrug off energy weapons. And as it happens the economies in my game are rather large. A thousand gunboats and several hundred larger warships probably can get through the shields easily enough, even if they use only small fraction of their space for energy weapons and even if only one of the seven or eight fleets is used.
 

Offline lennson

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2017, 11:45:14 AM »
Regarding beam combat what has been mentioned before as a solution to infinite kitting in other games is to have speed penalty to moving in the opposite direction to that which the ship is firing. There ofcourse is no such penalty in Aurora but since you are playing both sides of a battle to can enforce a 'house rule' that when firing backwards a ship/fleet can't move at its full speed (possibly 50-75% of maximum). This would make it so that beam combat would only as one sided as you described if there is a massive technology difference.


As to anti-missiles becoming too good, the goal is to create anti-ship missiles that are uneconomical to shoot down with anti-missiles. Since armor doesn't currently scale with technology this basically means that anti-ship missiles have to be made smaller. So as already mentioned, and it sounds like you are already trying this, multi-stage missiles are important to be able to use the full range of high tech sensors/fire-controls while having size 1-2 final approach missiles. One way to look at it is that as tech increases if you keep the total damage of the missiles unchanged their size will naturally get smaller.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2017, 02:42:55 PM »


Shields don't regenerate that fast. Even in a single ship versus single ship situation it's very difficult to have shields powerful enough to shrug off energy weapons.

You missed part of my comment.  At point blank, yes, energy weapons will blast through shields.  But if the fast side has a 200,000 km ranged weapon, and the other side has a 160,000 ranged weapon, he may not be able to pound through the shields at 180,000 km.  So yes, the faster side can choose the range, but if they focused on range and the slower side has faster recharging shorter ranged weapons, the faster side will only be able to plink at the shields at the range where they have the advantage.

If your fleet focuses too exclusively on range and speed, it will have less space for defenses, and will generally have lower dps in close.

And also, fleets that focus exclusively on fleets that can win deep space battles of maintaining range do not have the same "I win button" for warp point assaults.  Or for taking out an armed and shielded battlestation which could have epic amounts of shields.

Yes, the fleet with the higher tech wins, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is a cheap victory.  Missiles get used up, time gets spent surveying against opposition, and the defender may be able to counter a lot of stuff if they have defense in depth.  But a lot of first contact situations are when you stumble into the NPR's home system, which reduces that defense in depth issue.

And yes, if you design your fleets to be able to counter the missiles of a fleet say, twice their size, and have a beam range/defense strategy to deal with the rest, you will win.  The trick is calculating both of those factors in advance, isn't it?
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2017, 02:51:18 PM »
I would argue that it isn't the TECH which is changing the tech equation as much as the afore-mentioned scale of the economics of your campaign.  If you have thousands of gunboats, with resources involved more than the entire starting minerals of a typical homeworld, yes, maybe the game is indeed broken at that scale.

If you have a TL 3 race which controls high availability mega deposits, stuff is going to be broken long before you get to agility issues.  A TL 6 start isn't going to be broken by high agility missiles because you can't afford million build cost fleets right off the bat.
 

Offline Haji

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2017, 11:18:09 AM »
Regarding beam combat what has been mentioned before as a solution to infinite kitting in other games is to have speed penalty to moving in the opposite direction to that which the ship is firing. There ofcourse is no such penalty in Aurora but since you are playing both sides of a battle to can enforce a 'house rule' that when firing backwards a ship/fleet can't move at its full speed (possibly 50-75% of maximum). This would make it so that beam combat would only as one sided as you described if there is a massive technology difference.

That is actually a very interesting idea, thank you. Unfortunately while I may use it in my future campaigns, this one has been going on so long that the kiting precedent has been firmly established. In addition while I play a total of three nations, there are also NPRs present, and they would not obey this rule.

You missed part of my comment.

You are right, I did miss it. By the same token however in most cases my fights involve at least a dozen warships on each side, and if they all focus their fire, no shield can keep up with the regeneration.

Yes, the fleet with the higher tech wins, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is a cheap victory.

It really is. In my current campaign I had a situation when technologically superior force comprised exclusively beam armed frigates and a couple of cruisers for support. Against them ware four carrier groups with 30% superiority in tonnage and of course numerous missiles. The first force had interceptors which had very high hit chances in that situation, they had higher speed and they had ECM. They didn't even had superior beam range. They won, big time. They lost a couple of ships and destroyed a total of forty six. In terms of tonnage I think they destroyed about then times as much as they lost, and they were only a generation ahead in most technologies. For me that's a cheap victory.

I would argue that it isn't the TECH which is changing the tech equation as much as the afore-mentioned scale of the economics of your campaign.

The scale doesn't matter. The problem is that with interception chances as high as those in the late game, if you have a bunch of antimissiles that cost X and take Y space and the enemy is using size 3 shipkillers, you can defend against missiles which cost 2.5X and take 3Y space. That equation is not depended on scale, it's depended solely on interception chances.
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: Agility kills missile doctrines?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2017, 09:46:32 PM »
Wait, "In my current campaign I had a situation when technologically superior force comprised exclusively beam armed frigates and a couple of cruisers for support. Against them ware four carrier groups with 30% superiority in tonnage and of course numerous missiles."???

A generation ahead in most technologies?  That results in lopsided fights at almost all tech levels.  Why should high tech be any different?  It sounds like you were not only higher tech, but you had fully developed and refit your fleet to the higher standard.
 

 

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