So. You’re a HW/HW:C vet. You know how movement works. You know how to attack or force attack to position for frigate fleet for maximum efficiency. You have faith in you fighters and vettes to engage only when ordered or when fired upon. And you accomplish all of this manually without ever needing to change your tactic from F3. Because F3 means follow orders.
Then you try all of this in HWR, and it feels like none of your pilots and skippers know how to follow orders. They run full speed into the closest danger they can find. If you’re like me, you end up yelling at your monitor “wtf are you doing dumbass!” Trying to grab and pull him back only to watch your newly built ion go up in a puff of smoke. Or you pull your fighters behind your frigate line so your Ions can deal with the Flaks first, only to have rouge leader think the force is with him and lead your fighters their destiny. So if you’re like me, you just think the AI is horrible in HW2.
But wait! There is a reason for this apparent lack of discipline that would lead half your fleet to big chicken dinners.
F2, F3, and F4 are similar between Homeworld and Homeworld Jr. So similar that it’s easy to over look one BIG difference between the two that if you don’t know about and manage, you’re herding cats. The HW2 guys know about this. And it’s so burned into them that they either really don’t know what we’re talking about, or are just trolling us waiting on us to figure it out.
So the difference. A unit in F3 in HW1 would only fire if fired upon itself. In HW2 a unit in F3 will attack if ANY friendly unit is fired upon. Imagine it similar to every unit on F4 by default except it still waits for the enemy to fire first. This already being a fundamental part of HW2, these guys are switching between F2, F3, and F4 as naturally and for the right reasons as you add reinforcements to a group (select new, shift +1, ctrl + 1). They use space, military select, F2 as units build. Then switch to F3 or F4 for other reasons as the situation dictates. And they use the hell out of the ‘S’ stop command.
So now for the real question. Which is better?
I ask both sides to debate this. Try to leave out what-you-know bias and debate the systems on use and merit alone. How could either be improved say if there is a way to find a middle ground? Are their other little nuance differences that should be pointed out? I’m still not sure if F4 is required to continue to attack while moving (move while engaging) but some think it is.
One thing is for sure. We cannot have it both ways. This is fundamental AI behavior that can only be one way, so hopefully an agreement or at least an understanding can be reached.