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Interesting effects of shield mitigation and focus fire

cobalts 2 vs. 2 pirates = cobalts lose; 3 vs. 3 = cobalts win

By on April 28, 2014 1:46:02 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums


Join Date 07/2012

Slightly inspired by the Mythbusters thread, I've taken the time to do a bit of testing of the effects of shield mitigation in the 1.82 dev exe. Here are my notes:

Setup (default settings, really, just repeating the info here for clarity) pirate scout damage mod is 100% vs. medium armor; cobalt only does 60% vs. pirate armor.

Test1: 1 cobalt (2 armor, no upgrades) vs. 1 pirate scout 4 armor (default)

- shield mitigation never exceeds 15% on the cobalt
- pirate does a bit more damage, wins with 117 hull left

Test2: 2 cobalts vs. 2 pirate scouts [pirates focus fire, their default behavior]
- sh mit climbs to 20%-21% immediately; climbs steadily to about 33% before cobalt death
- so 1 cobalt dies when one pirate has 19 hp left
- shield mit never exceeds 20% on 2nd cobalt (and that is reached only briefly)
- 1 pirate wins with 178 hull left

And the [perhaps] the surprising one:

Test: 3 cobalts vs. 3 pirate scouts [pirates focus fire]
- sh mit climbs to 27% immediately on the cobalt fired upon, a bit later [when its shields drop] to 39%; then to 57% when it has 435 hp left
- 1st pirate dies when the first cobalt still has 190 hp left
- sh mit then stays at 57 with two pirates firing on it
- 1st cobalt dies when 2nd pirate has 427 hp left
- on the 2nd cobalt sh mit then climbs to about 25% until the 2nd pirate dies and the 2nd cobalt has 454 hp left at this point. Sh mit then drops to 15% [with only one pirate firing] and stays there.
- when the 2nd cobalt dies, the last pirate has 101 hp left.
- when last pirate dies, the last cobalt still has 221 shield left (and full hull), despite only 15% shield mitigation on itself

I suspect that if the pirates didn't focus fire, they'd win the last test too... Still have to test this.

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April 28, 2014 3:26:04 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Round two of testing

3 cobalts (no upgrades) vs. 3 pirate scouts (default=4 armor). This time with MANUAL fire, pirates player controlled.
* strategy 1: each pirate fires at its own cobalt; the cobalts focus fire (and are AI controlled).
- when first pirate dies, the cobalts just lost their shields
- when second pirate dies, two cobalts are at half hull, the other [which is no longer being fired upon] has recovered 84 shields
- the last pirate manages to kill one cobalt when itself has only 191 hull left; the cobalts are now one at full hull and 148 shields, while the other is at 309 hull and 63 shields.
- needless to say the last pirate dies without scoring another kill, so with two cobalts surviving, this is a strictly inferior strategy for the pirates compared to the default strategy [shall we say, number 0] which is focus fire, even though that's also a losing strategy for them.

* strategy 2: 2 pirates fire 1 cobalt; 1 pirate fires at another cobalt
- when the first pirate dies, the cobalt that that was fired at by two pirates has 198 hull left and is at 32% shield mitigation; the other cobalt begin fired at by a single pirate is at 592 hull.
- with only one pirate firing at the most damaged cobalt, its shield mitigation goes down fast reaching 15% when it has 113 hull left. [I don't change targets at this point in this strategy, but I'll try that in the next one.]
- when the first cobalt dies, the 2nd pirate (now being focused-fire by the cobalts) has 297 hull left. The pirates already did a lot better than in strategy 1. The cobalt that was being fired upon by a single pirate (all this time) has 353 hull left.
** the question is now what to fire at with the targetless pirate. I chose to fire at the most damaged cobalt, which is already being fired upon by the last pirate, more or less because this is the default behavior of the targetless pirate at this point; it auto-picks the most damaged cobalt to fire at.
- one cobalt and one pirate then die simultaneously, with the cobalt's shield mitigation having reached about 24% just before this.
- we now have on unscathed pirate firing a one unscathed cobalt, so the pirates win, soundly beating the default focus-fire strategy!!

To be continued...


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April 28, 2014 9:30:16 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Nice work!  Added to the Modders' Get an Answer thread and looking forward to seeing more.

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April 28, 2014 10:17:55 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

From the above, it may seem that in a 4 cobalts vs. 4 cobalts, the 2/2 fire split would be superior. But it's not, because two cobalts firing at another will raise the shield mitigation more than the pirate scouts' fire does, way up to 57%, albeit more slowly than the 4-way focus fire does. So it's back to the drawing board for small scale cobalt-vs-cobalt strategies; one can't apply directly what we've learned from the pirates firing.

So round three of testing... Cobalts vs. cobalts this time. All default/unpgraded.

2 cobalts vs. 2 cobalts. One side (AI) focus fires, while I direct each cobalt to fire at one enemy. Result: I win with about 238-336 hp left on the surviving ship (did two identical tests).

So can we do even better? After a lot of experimentation (about 8 tests LOL), the best/optimal strategy seems to be... Begin firing with both ships at one enemy. Switch at 25% mitigation one of your ships to fire on the other enemy; on the rare occasion that mitigation goes above 30%, switch both ships. When mitigation on the heavily damaged enemy goes down to around 20-21%, again put both of your ships to fire at it. When their most damaged ship hits about 100 hp just keep focus firing on it, even though its mitigaiton will reach about 40% when it goes bang. That's a lot of micromanagement, but the results speak for themselves. Enemy down to 501 hull on the 2nd ship when I lost fist the 1st mine. Won with 458 hp left. Repeated again with even better results the second time (494 hp left) due to practice, I guess. So fairly reproducible (see below for how this scales).

3 cobalts vs. 3 cobalts. One side picks separate targets for each ship, the other focus fires.

- worryingly, you lose your first cobalt when they have 422-424 hp left on each of theirs. But the you win with one cobalt almost intact (288 shields).

I tried some manual tuning of this 3 vs. 3 but I couldn't do any better...

So on to 4 cobalts vs. 4 cobalts. Separate targeting wins with almost one intact cobalt left (328 shields.) Optimal 2 vs. 2 strategy (a lot harder to pull correctly here because of the doubled micromanagement) is a bit more complex here after you're down to 3 ships: you should switch the opportunity target to your dead ship's pairs' target, meaning 1.5x of your ships per heavily damaged enemy. Doing this I won with one intact cobalt and another at 173 hull. 

However, in a real 3 vs. 3 or 4 vs. 4 all-cobalt fight, the enemy can probably run away after focus firing and taking out one ships because of the 400+ hp left on two of his remaining cobalts. Even the AI ca probably pull this off.

Time for 6 vs. 6. Can focus fire finally win the whole battle?
- you lose one cobalt, but get the shields down on 4 enemies
- you lose one more cobalt, and get 4 enemies to about 300 hull each
- you pop three enemy ships in quick succession; just as the last of these blows up, you lost a third of yours. You now have three intact ships vs. enemy's one intact, one almost intact (241 shields) and one heavily damaged (223 hull). So the enemy clearly lost at this point. Even if he runs now, he'll lose the heavily damaged one.
- you pop the 4th enemy pretty quickly, but 3 vs 2 is actually pretty nasty mitigation-wise. Both remaining enemies will steadily climb from around 30% to 37% sm over time no matter how carefully you round-robin them. But you actually pop another one before you (almost) lose another one more of your ships.
- end result: won with two or thee ships left. Two intact and one with ahem... 1 hp left.

So in a 6 vs. 6; if you focus fire you can kill 1-2 ships but then you have run or lose handily all of yours for only 2 more of the enemies' cobalts... I suspect this is the most interesting result so far.

I'm guessing we'll see minimatches of stand-and-shoot cobalts after this thread. LOL.

If someone (who has grokked the optimal 2 vs. 2) has the patience to do an 8 vs. 8 cobalts (against the AI's focus fire), I'm curious to hear how it turns out.

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April 30, 2014 2:27:37 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I wrote the simulator I was talking about earlier. I'm a little too tired right now to write much about it here or the results I got with it [it's pretty accurate], but a picture/chart is worth 1000 words as they say.  The charts are here.

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