Great game partly ruined by extremely poor AI

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This topic contains 110 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  juhah 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #256139

    juhah
    Member

    Just bought the game with EL on steam summer sale and played about 100 hours and three games on various map sizes and classes against king AI. I’m an experienced strategy/4x gamer but still I was very much disappointed with the AI. To the level that I’m not likely to play anymore because of it. The game is potentially great, I love the lore, classes and races and the potential for different play styles they allow. If I only had the chance to play multi-player… The AI seems extremely passive and stupid even if it has a big production bonus. Or then it declares war but doesn’t attack but instead waits for me to come and butcher it. I don’t expect it to be much different with emperor so I’m not sure if I want to try. There are so many other games to play too.

    If Triumph is working on AOW4 my only wish would be a better AI. No need to change anything else. We’ll, maybe add some Paradox style game play to make it a little less about who gets a killer stack first. That’s not really strategic play after all. ๐Ÿ™‚

    #256140

    juhah
    Member

    I want to add that the three games were like crack to me. It’s been a while since a game has kept me up until 3 am. After the third game I hit a wall as I realized that the game is only fun until it is time to make war with the AI as that’s when the stupidity of the AI starts to shine. Until that it’s fun to expand, research, conquer neutrals etc.

    #256141

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    You may simply want to change your settings for random map creation.
    1) Difficulty level DOES make a difference.
    2) You may enable TEAMS in the creation menu; I like to play 7-player L maps (with UG), allowing each class once; human player is one Team, and then you can create either 3 AI-Teams with 2 players each or 2 AI-Teams with 3 players each or even ONE AI-team which means, you against the rest.
    3) Changing some specific settings will alter the nature of the game:
    a) The number of Heroes you allow
    b) The number of cities and dwellings you allow
    c) Your starting forces
    d) your starting resources
    e) the quality of the defenders

    For example, I play few cities, weak starting forces, village start, few starting resources, Strong defenderson Emperor difficulty.

    Experiment a bit, you’ll likely be rewarded with playing pretty thrilling games.

    Also, there are all kinds of mods available, that may alter a couple of game aspects.

    #256143

    juhah
    Member

    Yeah I did quite a lot of googling on the topic and understood that some random map options are easier for the AI. Obviously also teams make it harder and surely emperor is a bit harder than king due to increased bonuses. My question though is that does is play better? It does have a big bonus to production on king but doesn’t use it smartly at all. I usually don’t like the highest difficulty level on 4X games as it often doesn’t require me to play better, it just requires me to crack the “formula” of the game and stick to it which makes for a boring game. Have you enjoyed playing your setup, is it fun?

    #256144

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Well, yes – I’m playing the game over 3 years now, also making a couple of mods, and it’s all a matter of timing.
    There are of course different roads to explore. For example, you may try to cramp a map: M with UG, 6-8 players. This will give you VERY early contact, and with more than one AI as well, but since you have not much uncontested space, there is also a luck factor involved. Still, those games tend to be quite lively.
    Then you can make it more difficult for yourself, translating into more time needed to get going, which in turn gives the AI more time to develop. Playing with low resources halves your initial research to 10 and you only begin with 150 Gold. Weak starting forces will give you 3 Irregulars in addition to a Cav and your leader – even hiring the hero, playing against strong defenders will make it fairly difficult to take stuff continuously, without losing too much health or even units.

    #256146

    juhah
    Member

    Sounds like I need to try it before moving on to other games. ๐Ÿ™‚ I get it that this will make for a slower start and likely you’re facing a larger force from the AI. What annoys me though is how poorly it plays on the strategic map. Feeding troops piecemeal to treasure sites, declaring war but not attacking, not allying when it would be good for them etc. This will make the early part of the game to last longer but my worry is that the AI still fumbles later. The same is true in Civilization and most other 4x games of course. I’ve played strategy games for 30 years now without seeing a lot of development when it comes to the AI. ๐Ÿ™‚ In the meanwhile AI have beaten best humans in chess and go without any resource boosts. I know, different and much more limited games but nevertheless the development of 4x game AI has been astoundingly slow.

    #256147

    Hiliadan
    Member

    It looks like you’re a good player, probably better than most. I’m afraid you won’t be satisfied with the AI whatever the settings (and the settings described by JJ are bad for the AI, which doesn’t cope well with Strong Defenders). I’d rather suggest playing several PBEM in parallel if you want to combine flexibility (you play whenever you have time, you can quit a turn in the middle and come back to it later) and a lot of time on the game (several games in parallel). Playing humans will always beat playing the AI.

    Personally, I can’t stand playing the AI anymore since I tried PBEM. The AI is too weak.
    But most players posting on forums have a lot of difficulties coping with the AI and find it too strong. I don’t know about players who don’t post but I would guess most are closer to the “AI too strong” than “AI too weak” group. So there is no big incentive to improve the AI for devs I guess, especially since the complexity it involves.

    Check out the Wiki for a lot of very good data about AoW3!
    What you really need to improve your AoW3 experience: the balance mod and its presentation video
    Last but not least, check out the Battlefield.com/AoW3 the community website for AoW3

    #256149

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I see this a bit different.
    The main thing when playing against “the AI” isn’t beating this or that AI, but winning the map. Whether the AI copes with strong defenders better or worse doesn’t matter much, because the AI doesn’t have to the same way as you have to. And you cannot play against everyone at the same time because you can’t reach them.
    You are not “outsmarting” AI “personalities here. Instead, your job as a single player is to find the settings that will lead to making it difficult for you to win the map, not making the AIs as “single players” better or least bad. If you need to team up AIs for that – fine. I mean, play a Medium map against 7 allied AIs and I doubt you’ll win.

    The main flaw in PBEM games is the fact that you cannot manual the decisive battles (against the other human(s)) – which is not to say that it isn’t fun, but what I won’t go back to is playing without a couple of my own mods, simply because they are quite enjoyable and make things more interesting for me.
    Actually, when playing PBEM, what you are actually doing is a contest of who can play THE AI better, because you battle only the AI, while the AI will do the battles between humans for you. It’s single play in competition with one or more other humans.

    #256151

    Gloweye
    Member

    Note that the AI isn’t good at clearing sites, so putting site guards to strong or even very strong will seriously hamstring it.

    #256153

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    That’s not important – you will ALWAYS clear sites better than the AI, but if clearing sites becomes too easy for the human player, it gets not only boring, but beating the legendary and mythical sites too early will also snowball things.

    You can also make the AI more competetive quite easily; the AI gets a “cheat bonus”, +3 Defense and +2 Resistance (so that an AI will fare better in autocombat, when clearing sites). You could mod that quite easily to, say, +5 Def and +3 Res.

    #256154

    Gloweye
    Member

    Yes, it is important – it causes what the OP calls “feeding its units piecewise to treasure sites”.

    Sure, we’re better at clearing sites than AI, and therefore, we sometimes like to up the difficulty by making stronger defenders. However, this hurts the AI far more than it does us, even if it gets them cheat stats vs independents. Raising defender strength actually makes the game easier, even if it delays your power level a bit – it’ll give you more rewards, and slow the AI down quite a lot.

    #256155

    Hiliadan
    Member

    What Gloweye detailed was exactly what I was saying.

    As for PBEM, I see you did not go far enough into it to really enjoy this game mode. PBEM is playing against the AI (for clearing sites) up to a point, but then it becomes a strategic (map) game between human players quite fast. At some point (let’s say turn 40-50 in Medium maps), almost all the sites will be cleared and it won’t be about beating the AI any more. But we’re going off topic.

    As of playing 7 AI allied on a medium map, that’s what I used to do before I started PBEM. I would not say I was winning all the time and without any reload, but I think I can handle it now. Depends on the class/race and the settings of course.
    But clearly 7 Emperor AI teamed against me on Strong Defenders and Weak starting army on a Medium map is a piece of cake. We did training 2vs2 with my team mate during the 2vs2 Tournament and the AI just could not handle the Strong Defenders. I arrived in their throne around turn 30, they had nothing and got wiped out, it was not fun at all.

    Check out the Wiki for a lot of very good data about AoW3!
    What you really need to improve your AoW3 experience: the balance mod and its presentation video
    Last but not least, check out the Battlefield.com/AoW3 the community website for AoW3

    #256156

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    That is all beside the point.

    I don’t think there is any regular who plays the game without mods that change a couple of aspects, because, if you are really honest, when push comes to shove, it’s not that the AI isn’t good enough so much as is that the system offers enough ways to exploit it in ways that will break it completely. We KNOW that, but you still argue as if there were no mods invoved that, in the end are supposed to change that.

    If you play the game with altered rules that, for example, do not allow to level up heroes so fast as it is actually possible, this also backfires because the AI will have lower-level heroes as well, but the damage for the human player is simply bigger.
    In the end it’s about delaying all snowball effects for the human player as long as the AI can make use of THEIR production plus snowballing.

    #256158

    juhah
    Member

    What mods would you suggest? In addition to having a challenging game I also would want it to be fun. Meaning it would be great to win by doing some smart choices, not just exploiting AI weaknesses or cracking the system which it most often is in 4x games.

    It’s a bit like what I hate about games like Fallout when making a game harder means that I need to fire two clips to down a raider forcing me to play in certain ways to retain immersion and “realism” instead of creating smarter enemies or simply more enemies.

    I know it’s not possible to create a truly smart AI but one can hope for a competent AI at least that would not do the most stupid mistakes like wasting a lot of troops on treasure sites. It seemed to me that even very late game the AI is prioritizing treasure sites which is quite silly. I wouldn’t mind some character as well on the opponents, I feel that a friendly evil necromancer is breaking the immersion a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

    #256160

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I’d recommend my own mods as a starting point, because I made them all with Singleplayer in mind, first and foremost. I haven’t uploaded them all, but if you tell me where I can send them, it would be a pleasure.

    Actually, this is not finished in any way. All stuff in the game, when you mod it, involves kind of an AI stance to it. You can determine how important a tech is for an AI, for example. Or how important a spell is to cast. How the AI rates targets, and so on and so forth.
    It’s actually massive in scope, and it*s actually quite possible to influence AI behavior with mods: HOWEVER, the big letdown here is that a change doesn’t necesarily translate into something the effect of which you can easily assess.
    I tried to dabble a bit with Necro “behavior pattern” (for example, Whispers of the Fallen is pretty awesome tech, but didn’t start out as an awesome tech, so AI research priority .wasn*t high; changing that is fine in a mod, but it’s just one thing.

    #256191

    Demicore
    Member

    Ah, so you’ve bought AoW 3 and EL, and you’re disappointed by AoW’s AI? Please do report back to us once you’ve tried out EL. ๐Ÿ™‚

    #256192

    Gloweye
    Member

    AoW3 sometimes has a tough time showing it’s got a decent AI.

    EL has a really easy time showing that AoW3 got a decent AI.

    #256194

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    @ juhah
    It’s the fun I have in mind also. I’ve made 5 mods so far:
    1) A relatively big general experience-gaining and especially Necro-based balance mod with the aim to delay hero-level-up (thereby delaying the access to some hero abilities as well). This includes making a difference between “Leader” and “Hero”.
    2) A racial balance mod; this generally adds something to units rarely built; I also wanted to boost the Halflings, but “in style”. I think, it’s in that mod I also added a Harbor function.
    3) An Arch Druid Class mod, that gives AD a tad more in terms of tech with a view on animals (for example, there is a cheap new empire upgrade that will give animals the ability “Healing Forests” which allows animals to heal +12 HP in Forests and a couple more).
    4) A mod for Dreadnought and Warlord, adding a 3-shot short-range attack to their reespective hero weapons. In this mod I also added a couple new Dread hero abilities (not techs) that will make them superior fleet commanders and even able to capture ships (due to Dreads being able to repair ships as the only Class). For Warlord I changed the Death March spell to halving range and cost and reducing the HP loss, but adding a severe battle fatigue penalty to weaken the battle efficiency of deathmarched troops.
    5) This is a change of the Arcane Library structure. Instead of handing out te cheapest tech of your Class’ research book, it gives out a random T1 or T2 tech (of any class or specialization) – including Summon techs, basically making the structure kind of a wild card.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Jolly Joker.
    #256196

    juhah
    Member

    As I currently play necromancer and could play frostling or tigran I guess I have EL installed? At least that’s what EL is supposed to add to the game I think. So I guess I’m playing the better version of the AI.

    #256197

    Demicore
    Member

    Oh crap never mind ; I misunderstood. I’m too used to seeing EL meaning Endless Legend in 4X forums when, judging from your reaction, I suppose the EL in your original post means Eternal Lords. My bad ๐Ÿ˜€

    #256198

    juhah
    Member

    Yeah, in this context I meant Eternal Lords. I did buy Endless Legends as well and actually played it before AoW. I wasn’t impressed with that AI either although it was better than AoW. Endless Legend was a nice game too although it suffers from the same issue as Civs: there so much stuff to build that you only build an army later. But I did enjoy Endless Legend and will likely play it again once I’ve played some more AoW. ๐Ÿ™‚ Likewise for Fallen enchantress legendary heroes, it was a nice game too. For some reason AoW was most addictive of these even though I liked all of them.

    #256201

    Nerva
    Member

    aow3 actually has amazing AI for a 4x game. why dont you crank it up to emperor, and try to 1v3? you probably wont be singing the same tune. ive been doing 1v3 emperors for about a year, got over 500 hours in the game. Seals are also very fun.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Nerva.
    #256205

    Fluks
    Member

    If the AI gets too weak you can either try to buff it with settings (team it up at emperor difficulty) but that will only make it stronger not smarter. I personally didn’t like that too much, can’t say I’m as good as Hiliadan I’d probably be beaten to pulp by 7 AIs teamed up against me, but nowadays I only use the singleplayer to quicktest some strategies for multiplayer :). If you are bored by the AI try playing humans there is a somewhat active community at “the-battlefield.com” (shitty layout, but it works ๐Ÿ™‚ and I think also the steam no-quitters group is still playing somewhat regularly. Good luck in your endeavours ๐Ÿ™‚

    #256206

    Gloweye
    Member

    The thing with 7 teamed up AI’s is that they’ll compete for space. If you put like 4 Emperors and 3 Kings, without teams, a few AI’s will kill others and grab their space, growing much larger.

    #256207

    juhah
    Member

    I started a new game, large map, 7 emperors (no teams), me necromancer, slow game, settler start, weak starting army, few starting resources, strong defenders. The beginning seems definitely slower especially in terms of research. So far I’m doing pretty good, destroyed one AI and soon will destroy another (turn 45 or something). After that I’m leading territory wise which means I’ll likely soon out tech and out produce the AIs (a few of them are ahead of me still). Still fun so far, but the AI doesn’t seem to play any better than with king. It has a bit more troops yes, but it is still quite stupid. The AIs I’m destroying declared war on me when they were in a very bad position and instantly lost a few cities the next turn. Can’t understand such stupidity, you’d think that evaluating peace/war would be in this case rather easy to program – don’t declare war if the enemy is exploring close to your city with superior numbers. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The usual 4x strategy seems to work with emperor without game specific exploits etc. Expand your territory as fast as possible, build infrastructure, minimize army in the beginning, attack one AI at a time and by mid game you’ll be in the lead.

    If I find a 4x game that differs from this basic rule I think it is going to be the only game I play. ๐Ÿ™‚ Still AoW3 is a very addicting game, so I’m hoping AoW4 is in the works with some extra effort for the AI.

    #256208

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Un-modded Necromancer in human hands is extremely OP, if you know what you are doing.

    #256209

    juhah
    Member

    I’m playing draconians this time, I’ll try to play all races and classes. Still have many to play. ๐Ÿ™‚ What makes human OP as necro? Necromancer seems pretty strong as draconians too.

    #256210

    Gloweye
    Member

    I started a new game, large map, 7 emperors (no teams), me necromancer, slow game, settler start, weak starting army, few starting resources, strong defenders. The beginning seems definitely slower especially in terms of research. So far Iโ€™m doing pretty good, destroyed one AI and soon will destroy another (turn 45 or something). After that Iโ€™m leading territory wise which means Iโ€™ll likely soon out tech and out produce the AIs (a few of them are ahead of me still). Still fun so far, but the AI doesnโ€™t seem to play any better than with king. It has a bit more troops yes, but it is still quite stupid. The AIs Iโ€™m destroying declared war on me when they were in a very bad position and instantly lost a few cities the next turn. Canโ€™t understand such stupidity, youโ€™d think that evaluating peace/war would be in this case rather easy to program โ€“ donโ€™t declare war if the enemy is exploring close to your city with superior numbers.

    The usual 4x strategy seems to work with emperor without game specific exploits etc. Expand your territory as fast as possible, build infrastructure, minimize army in the beginning, attack one AI at a time and by mid game youโ€™ll be in the lead.

    If I find a 4x game that differs from this basic rule I think it is going to be the only game I play. Still AoW3 is a very addicting game, so Iโ€™m hoping AoW4 is in the works with some extra effort for the AI.

    I just stated above that “weak starting army” and “strong defenders” seriously handicaps the AI. Sure, play what you want, but you don’t get to configure that and complain that the AI is to easy. Slow game is also your advantage, even tho few starting resources is the AI’s advantage.

    #256211

    juhah
    Member

    @gloweye jolly joker on the other hand said the opposite, so I wanted to give it a shot. How is slow game my advantage if the AI is faster at research and economy? You’d think that it benefits from the slow start? Likewise weak army, as it can produce units much faster. How would I benefit more from these than the AI? This is big map after all and I’m not trying to rush the AI as I like long and epic games, not quick wins. I trying to figure out what the best settings for the AI are.

    The fact that some setup is hard or even almost impossible to win doesn’t make the AI smart. My original complaint was not that the game/AI is too easy as it is always possible to make it very hard with settings or own house rules. My complaint was that the AI is poor. These are two very different things.

    #256212

    Hiliadan
    Member

    JJ said the opposite but Gloweye and I agreed and JJ was talking about the difficulty for a human player, not the ease for an AI player.
    JJ is not really answering about your specific concern about the AI being weak or making some stupid decisions. He is answering to “AI easy to beat”. And as you said, that’s 2 completely different things.

    Regarding Necro, he was talking about a human player, not the Human race in the game. Draconian Necro is among the best.

    Best settings for AI are the biggest maps, because it gives it time to build a big army, so Extra Large would be even better.
    Weak army is bad for the AI because it will make his trouble clearing sites even worse, whereas you can do well in manual combat.

    Check out the Wiki for a lot of very good data about AoW3!
    What you really need to improve your AoW3 experience: the balance mod and its presentation video
    Last but not least, check out the Battlefield.com/AoW3 the community website for AoW3

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