AI War:Why Not To Use FRD Mode Offensively
Why Not To Use FRD Mode Offensively
A: When I'm attacking enemy planets, often my little ships (like laser gatlings) are running around and getting killed by lightning turrets and other similar things. How can I stop that from happening?
A: Generally speaking, it is suicide to use Free Roaming Defender mode on enemy planets, which would be the only reason that any of your ships would be running around outside your control -- expect to die if you use the defender mode on offense. For good advice on offensive tactics, you might enjoy the tactics videos on the video tutorials page, which shows many tactics in action.
The reason that FRD mode does poorly on offense is a simple one: it's entirely based around defensive concepts such as chasing down a mobile enemy that is trying to take out targets that you wish to defend (harvesters, etc). Therefore it prioritizes neutralizing or engaging as many enemy ships as possible as fast as possible, and in general is not expecting for your individual groups of ships to run into fortified defenses.
You can exert an immense amount of control over your fleet on offense and defense, through preferred targets and otherwise, but your fleet will never be as automated on offense as it can be on defense. FRD mode and turrets make sense on defense because you control the playing field and can set things up. And, let's face it, if you had to babysit every single defensive encounter, you'd never be able to make any offensive moves. So there is a lot of assisting AI in that area to make it so that the game keeps moving.
However, there is no assisting AI whatsoever for full-scale assaults -- the ships make the best choices in the areas that you set for them, but that's all tactics. If you put them into a strategically bad situation, tactical decisions won't save them. This is one of those places where the game isn't supposed to "play itself," in essence. If offense were completely automated, the only thing really left for you to do would be logistics and economy. There is no need to micro target selections in offensive battles -- good ship mix and general positioning is far more effective -- but offensive battles aren't something that are fire-and-forget in the same way that general defense can be.