Avoiding the Joust in Combat

Hiya folks. Looking for a bit of combat advice.

I'm currently fighting in CZs and looking to use the experience to improve my dogfighting. I've looked at the combat tutorials in Alec's Best of the Forums and am aware of the importance (per Vindicator Jones) of staying above and behind your target, or at least in a dominant position, before engaging. I'm confident with the theory behind the thruster control needed to circle strafe, I have macros set up to switch pips to ENG when out of position, and have worked on the technique in RESes.

However, as soon as I attempt to put this into practice in a CZ, I just cannot get behind my target. I'll start in the correct position but as soon as I fire on them they turn on me, I can't hold them in place, and it turns into a face-to-face joust. I put pips to ENG, attempt to thruster down, FA-off and pitch up as they pass, to get back in position, but by the time I'm facing them, they're facing me too.

What am I missing? CZs are turning into a bit of a tedious grind. I'm in an un-engineered FDL but all modules A-grade for manoeuvrability. Is it only possible to circle-strafe with engineered modules or is can I further improve my techinique?

Any help welcome.
 
My main tips:
1) Engineer your drives.
2) I find that when jousting, if you aim at the back of the other ship and drop your speed just as you're passing them.. and I mean drop speed a lot, to the bottom of the blue range, then turn, you can get in behind.
3) FDLs are actually not particularly maneuverable. Things that will work fine in a Vulture won't for a FDL.
 
I've not had much luck with this either, as higher-ranking NPCs just "flip over" when they fly past, and I don't see how one stay's behind that unless they're flying a G5 dirty Eagle or something.

Strange as it sounds, I've had much better luck getting behind other players and staying there than I have NPCs. Not the pros, but the average Joes.

ps - whoever answers the OP, let's see some video evidence. I'm tired of all the "I'm so good I can stick to an Elite FDL's six while flying my Type-9!" posts I see in threads like this.
 
My personal experience is that it's actually tricky to get in behind unless your ship is substantially more manuverable. I'm talking a difference of about 30-40 on coriolis.io.
 
I wish I could own the Anacondas that the NPC pilots fly, those things stop and turn on a dime.

Truth be said, all NPC ships get "special" attention to be more challenging in combat.
 
^ This is not true and has been stated by the AI coder many times. They favour eng pips, contrary to most players, especially at mid levels. Their pip management gets very good at high levels.

On topic, embrace the joust! Seriously if you find you can't avoid the joust, use high burst weapons on the pass, it's a fun way to fight as well.
 
Specifically, the FdL is dependent on flying within the throttle's 'blue zone'. Any maneuvering has to done with the throttle in the blue. Boosting can ensure that you can't get behind another ship. I don't know how you control your throttle (HOTAS or Kb&Mouse) but I found that the FdL required fine control of the throttle/thrusters.

I never fully got command of an FdL before I discovered the FAS. I say, if you want to fly in the 'stick-to-the-six' style get a ship that facilitates that style. In medium sized ships I can recommend the aChief or the FAS. I fly an aChief in order to do this, and I have some luck, but never any videos.
 
I don't get all the hype around FA off. To me, as soon as I hit FA off all that happens is I become a ship-sized turret. I just can't use it.

On Xbox I have down and up thrust set to the right thumbstick. In combat, I thrust down and pitch up at the same time, with the throttle in the blue. This to me is the most 'consistent' method of turning quickly whilst kind-of strafing downwards, a boost helps if you have enough thumbs/fingers to hit it. Without downthrust I just seem to loop around and face the target just as they're turning to face me to commence their joust run. This works for me in my Vulture to stay on top or behind bigger enemies (Condas mostly) and avoiding those pretty purple balls from the smaller enemies who can turn as fast as me (other Vultures). If an enemy is hurtling directly at me (Fed ships do it a lot) I just down thrust and boost at the same time, as the enemy goes overhead I pitch up and if I time it right it'll be just as the boost is fading and my throttle is returning to blue so I literally flick around and I'm facing the enemy. Another boost to get closer and depending on what the enemy does I can choose to thrust down and pitch up around them. Against a bigger ship I mix it up and roll a 180 and down thrust the other way, with a boost, putting me underneath the enemy before they can change their pitch direction. This sometimes works in my Krait too but because of drift I find most of the time I'm better just pitching up and boosting to get around, without thrust down.

I don't think anyone can stay behind every ship. The most agile ships against the least agile ships yes. In CZs I find even a Type-10 can pitch quicker than expected.
 
Outside of a handful of NPC opponents with unusually high-rotationals (FASes in particular), it should be possible for most vessels to stay out of even high rank NPC arcs of fire for significant portions of the engagement.

can I further improve my techinique?
You are probably relying on boost overmuch and not paying enough attention to your closing velocity on approach/insertion.

I've not had much luck with this either, as higher-ranking NPCs just "flip over" when they fly past, and I don't see how one stay's behind that unless they're flying a G5 dirty Eagle or something.
Distance control...if they are repeatedly flying past, you need more of it.
 
^ This is not true and has been stated by the AI coder many times. They favour eng pips, contrary to most players, especially at mid levels. Their pip management gets very good at high levels.

On topic, embrace the joust! Seriously if you find you can't avoid the joust, use high burst weapons on the pass, it's a fun way to fight as well.
All I can tell you is that NPC Anacondas do out turn my Corvette (with my top thrusters and FA/Off) , they are facing me when I finish my turn, I see them change jaw and pitch quite rapidly, faster than any modified Anaconda I had with top grade modules and FA/Off. Some time back there were elite Anacondas I called the "Bulls" as they could ram and change directions really quick and they came in trios quite often. I enjoyed the heck out of battling those in my Corvette, very satisfying!
 
Throttle control and pips to engines is the formula. It's something you'll always get better at with practice. Not saying this is you, but many CMDRs watch a combat tutorial on YouTube and from that point on think "I must keep my throttle dead center of the blue zone and never move it". Mistake, especially at higher ranked levels of combat vs npcs. The blue zone should be considered a suggestion at best. CMDRs with throttle control completely outclass CMDRs who never touch the throttle. Then you really need booster control and effective pip management to get the most out of your maneuverability. After you get all that down, then try FA/off. Everyone is always learning and improving, not just the Harmless.
 
They don't make maneuvering mistakes, don't need to see you in order to maneuver, don't really have to manage any pips or resources, they just respond to your moves with scripted, mistake free turns. Knowing that, use it against them.
 
All I can tell you is that NPC Anacondas do out turn my Corvette (with my top thrusters and FA/Off) , they are facing me when I finish my turn, I see them change jaw and pitch quite rapidly, faster than any modified Anaconda I had with top grade modules and FA/Off. Some time back there were elite Anacondas I called the "Bulls" as they could ram and change directions really quick and they came in trios quite often. I enjoyed the heck out of battling those in my Corvette, very satisfying!
That's because they just try to face you while you are probably trying to face them and get behind them at the same time.
 
It is possible. I've done it a few times, but my ship was much more nimble ( vulture versus anaconda ). Once the ships become closer in maneuvering stats, it gets much harder. As stated, the AI ships don't make mistakes and they can adjust multiple things at once. Humans have a much harder time doing this ( IE : changing direction/orientation, adjusting PIPs, and throttle, while keeping situational awareness and firing ).

Have you seen the professional StarCraft II players versus the newest AI's from OpenAI/Deepmind ? They get beaten not because the AI is doing unfair things, it's just able to do them MUCH MUCH quicker, in more detail, and perfectly. Like micro'ing every unit on the board, at once. Elite doesn't have that many controls ( or points of control ), but the technique is the same. It can execute a turn using perfect PIP management, FA off, and throttle control all while keeping an unblinking eye on your distance, speed, and heading. Thats damn hard to beat. Engineering gives you an edge, but not in a CZ where they AI's fly the 'good stuff'.

As an aside, some of the things I am most impressed with when watching the "Pro's" videos are PIP management and selective use of FA off.
 
I find if they do joust fly backwards and navigate to ensure they do not hit you and as they go past just throttle forwards and follow them - although I am probably only getting low ranked NPC's in ships with limited engineering - although I am flying a python and so some ships are just too manoeuvrable so just let the turrets n gimbals do the tough stuff.

Never used FA off.

So I am probably a noob really!
 
FA off is an invaluable tool. Toggling FA off and on is a requisite for PvP. Learning to fly FA off has been one of the greatest joys for me in this game. It is not easy and may take months, but I assure you it is well worth the effort.
 
I'm in an un-engineered FDL but all modules A-grade for manoeuvrability.
This is your problem.
Is it only possible to circle-strafe with engineered modules or is can I further improve my techinique?
Yes, it is possible. Dirty drive modification applied to the thrusters increases max speed, turn rates and acceleration. Which makes the ship more nimble. Once tried you will never want fly ship with stock drives.

What I noticed that the ships in CZ are slower than ships in RES. This makes me think that either their engines are stock or they are very heavy because of armor/hrp mods.
 
Comes to something when the combat is only as varied as you choose to make it.

It'd be kind of like playing tennis and being capable of scoring a point with every hit and then commiting to play other shots just to mix things up a bit and keep the game interesting.

Trouble is, in ED, that you can't really blame NPCs for jousting cos (aside from specific situations such as in rings and around installations) it is the most efficient way to attack a target.

I always find the most important tool to help avoid jousting is the application of momentary thrust pretty much all the time during combat.

Use FA-off to turn inside a target and then you can switch FA back on, set your throttle to match their speed and then use momentary thrust to keep your target in your crosshairs.
If they're out-turning you increase your throttle or, if you get to a point where you can't keep them targeted by using your momentary thrusters, decrease your throttle.
 
If they joust with me, I simply get in their way and ram them face-to-face. Most of the time they simply don't survive the impact. Sometimes they try to evade, but I've gotten pretty decent at making sure they don't.

As for Above and Behind - that really depends on the ship. Some are better below and behind - depends on where their hard points are located. Nearly all ships have "blind spots" where their weapons simply cannot target, and these are the best places to be. Staying there, that's just a matter of piloting. You learn to do it.
 
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