17 May 2013

Manual Piloting

Starwalker had aspirations to be a better pilot and part of that was to understand the art of manual piloting. When to use manual piloting and when to use the standard approach, orbit and keep at range commands. There were four situations that seemed to matter:
  1. Approaching a ship with long range weapons and trying to minimise incoming damage via a spiral approach (approaching at a 45 to 60 degree angle to increase angular velocity)
  2. Manual orbiting to either increase angular velocity to reduce incoming damage or decrease angular velocity to increase outgoing damage
  3. Breaking orbit to escape from scramble or more usually point range
  4. Slingshot to bring a kiter from point range into scramble range
Starwalker had tried to spiral into ships (Talos, Coercer and Thrasher) but they had each ended with the destruction of his ship before he could get under the guns. On other occasions he had started to spiral in (Omen and Cormorant) but was unable to take the incoming damage and had left again before being destroyed. Whilst spiralling was a technique he had seen Azual Skoll demonstrate on video he had yet to master it.

Prometheus Exenthal had said on manual orbiting:

For 98% of situations, a combination of orbit/k@r/approach will be all that's required. Maybe a click here and there to change trajectory, but that's all.

Manual orbiting is very much overrated and really only serves two main purposes;
1. slingshotting to get tackle on kiting targets
2. kiting/running away in x direction (the latter can be done via aligning since there's usually a moon somewhere)
For nearly everything else, those 3 buttons (and the right-clicks therein) will serve you better.

If you've overshot your target, manual piloting probably isn't going to get you under guns much faster (unless say frigate vs bs).
Technically if you're operating outside of warp range, that'd manual piloting. But that doesn't achieve much.

For everything other than the most niche of niche situations, manual piloting doesn't give you an edge any more than having properly set buttons.

Elitists will say otherwise, naturally.

Petrus Blackshell wrote Magic Nullification: Countering Kiting. In particular he identified two techniques to catch a kiter, both requiring good use of overheating the propulsion module:
  • When you see a kiter approaching you, watch for the direction his engine trails show up in, and double click in space directly opposite to them
  1. Double click in a random direction in space, preferably right behind where the kiter is.
  2. Turn on your propulsion mod (MWD preferably, but AB can work too)
  3. Run a cycle or so in that direction.
  4. Double click in the complete opposite direction (possibly slightly to the side), overheat things, and get ready to catch yourself a kiter.
Starwalker had also seen variations of the slingshot manoeuvre that had used keep at range set to a very high value to move away from the kiter and then watching the radial velocity (-value = towards +value = away) turn negative to then approach. His experience so far was that slingshots worked reliably when the two ships had comparable speeds but was unreliable as the difference in speed increased substantially, especially for afterburner fit ships chasing very fast MWD fit ships.

Manual piloting was still something of a black art for Starwalker but he felt that on occasion it was very useful. He would certainly experiment with it some more and no doubt would lose some ships in the process.

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