I just found this thread for the first time and read the whole thing. Ironically, the pursue function is what caused me to start making WZ videos, as strange as that might sound.
I discovered that patrol + pursue has very nice behavior for units that cannot fire while moving, namely mortars, plasma cannon and grenadiers. At the time nobody knew about it and it was very effective with grenadiers in 40 oil NTW. Capturing the behavior was the main reason why I recorded my first video
See 17:45 mark and observe grenadier behavior a little while. With pursue they have a mind of their own and will continue hunting down units beyond where they were told to patrol to. Since they have longer range than all other weapons during that time of game I don't have to worry about micro managing them. What's most desirable about pursue behavior in this case is that they periodically advance forward (move) which allows other units to easily retreat (not get stuck).
Heck, we could even make new sub-orders, like 'Call for reinforcements', 'Harass', 'Suicide' and so on...
I would think it's ideal to populate as many items on the unit menu as possible, granted that they have a purpose and no overlapping functionality. The discussion in the 3.2 beta thread about unit menu got me thinking about how we could have long distance pursue-like functionality on the repair droid unit menu to make them proactively seek out the closest damaged unit any where on the map. Also vice versa, have units retreat to repair droids instead of the HQ if no repair center is available.
Seems to me we have two main categories: movement orders and behavior orders. Let's call them Movement Orders and Rules of Engagement (ROE). There are also Retreat Orders.
Move to a point
Move to a point BUT stop moving and start firing from the short/optimal/long distance of the droid's turret when an enemy is spotted.
Stop moving BUT continue moving (pursuing) if enemy contact is made and enemy starts to retreat. (undesirable)
Rules of Engagement:
hold position vs pursue
Hold position is the same thing as stop except hold position does not pursue. At first I was convinced they had redundant functionality but upon looking closer there is a need for both. Hold position is really just a default "place holder" behavior state if pursue or guard position is not desirable. It essentially indicates that the droid is not set to pursue or guard position.
Pursue behavior does work in 3.1.x but it's not desirable in many cases. It's only useful for mortars. As already pointed out, players can bait wandering units out of an army by attacking then quickly retreating causing a few dumb pursue units to wander off into suicide. Guard position does the same thing except it limits wandering off to more than ~3 tiles.
Guard position causes units to pursue for up to 3 tiles before retreating to the guarded position but that's bad behavior because they do lone wolf attacks without other close by units helping them. Now that we know more about unit control than we did in 1999, I think the best "guard" or defensive behavior is to have units strafe 3 tiles from the left and right of where they're told to guard. This would mean units strafe a total of 6 tiles (guarding the center) and perhaps they can retreat 1 tile each pass for a maximum retreat of 3 tiles before resetting. Upon enemy contact, have the guarding units maintain the maximum distance of their turret range and don't let enemy get too close. That's the only "guard" behavior I can come up with.
fire at will vs hold fire vs return fire
These are the unit orders that I never understood. In what circumstances would we ever want to hold fire or wait for someone else to fire first before returning fire? Was return fire supposed to be like a pre-CB type behavior? I don't understand it. Fire at will is always the desirable behavior...
do or die
retreat at minimal damage
retreat at max damage
I don't think there's any debate here. We could do retreat at first sight and have the units auto-beacon. I realize that's a pretty lame attempt at adding functionality lol
Am I missing anything?
Thanks for enumerating and categorizing the different items of discussion. This is the most organized approach to understanding unit menus. I elaborated on the behavior of each and based on the verbiage of the words, wrote down what I think their behavior should be (blue text).
I completely agree, visual cues are important.
Primary orders are simple: They are on/off. Secondary orders are just slightly more difficult, since they sometimes have multiple states, rather than on/off.
So here is a list of orders that are lacking visual cues: Move, attack, demolish, retreat, guard (no, not the pursue/hold/guard guard - this is the other guard, the one that is actually useful for something), repair/restore, scout, patrol (has button but no visual cue), circle (same), and hold (no, not the pursue/hold/guard hold - this is the other hold, the one that is better). And pursue, of course.
Agreed too but I don't think visual cues are necessary for the primary orders move, attack, demolish and retreat because they are somewhat trivial. I think only the droid states that persist after a player gives them a command are the ones that need visual cues. Thanks for explaining the difference between primary and secondary orders, it helps to think of droid behavior states in this manner.
I know I would find the visual cue for patrol to be very helpful. The cue is there when selecting patrol but disappears after setting it. Sometimes I'm left wondering if my VTOL's and grenadiers are patrolling or just moving. I'm not aware of what you mean when you say there is an additional guard other than the pursue/hold/guard guard.