Two Questions About Spicing Up Game vs AI

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Two Questions About Spicing Up Game vs AI

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Windscion 5 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #103144

    So I’ve been playing only random maps vs the AI since release, and it just recently occurred to me that I may have been restricting my own fun.

    So my two questions are:

    1. What difficulty setting should I use to make it so that the AI opponents actually have large forces and actually have said forces travel around the map, not just sit in their capital? I want to be challenged, assaulted, forced to defend, but on both Knight and the next higher difficulty (King?), I can basically just never worry about anything and go full offense, which isn’t really as fun.

    2. How do I get awesome looking maps like in this screenshot from the Steam store page?
    http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/226840/ss_b16e4733f55341331e4ce199f71e48057ef56f75.1920×1080.jpg
    I’ve been playing nothing but Land maps, without underground, and while I don’t really want to enable underground, it occurs to me that I do want more water and to use ships. So is that the Continents option in the screenshot? Or is it Islands?

    #103146

    Windscion
    Member

    Knight->Lord->King->Emperor

    1) You can get a slightly interesting game on lord if you form teams and make the starting armies stronger — these both help the AI be braver. (I also found it refreshing to ignore diplomacy, but that’s me. Well, me and the awful diplo AI.) Stigr77 claims that turning off city founding also helps — not so many undefended outposts, fewer resources to expansion. But of course this nerfs leaders with the expansion trait.

    2) From that tiny area, hard to tell, but the isolated mountain islands suggest an island map. While I have only played one continents game recently, my impression was that it favors humans over AI. Not a huge surprise, of course. But then, I was also playing a Draconian Archdruid. (I quit playing anything but land maps after playing a Dreadnought and researching ironclads: I just felt those ships gave too much advantage to DNs.)

    If you want the AI to actually be gutsy (rather than merely idiotic) you will have to wait for the changes the development team say are in the works.

    Also, the more you tweak the settings, the more you may wish to select rival leaders who will not be crippled by your settings. No city founding? Bypass expansion leaders. Small map? No explorers. Underground map? Humans do poorly underground. Draconians dislike arctic, and everyone except the goblins hate blight.

    #103153

    Atranox
    Member

    1. Lord or King AI with starting distances set to “far” seems to allow the AI to do pretty well. Changing the starting distance actually made a pretty big difference for me, as it allows the AI to expand a build up a bit before getting involved in conflicts.

    2. Underground is pretty cool IMO if you want to try a game with it enabled. It really adds another layer of strategy and makes you account for the potential of multiple fronts. As for that screenshot, it’s probably islands. Continents also has a lot of water, but it’s still primarily land-based it seems.

    #103154

    Stigrs77
    Member

    With Emperor AI you have to be quick. If you are not the game can be quite challenging. The lesser AI’s play the same way but have less gold, mana and research income, so they will expand more slowly and when you meet them they will be less likely to pick on you because they only pick on smaller kids.

    Once you are the bigger kid they’ll burn their cities to the ground (or simply leave them) and hole up in the capital. You don’t even have to go to war with them to achieve this…

    #103155

    Aye, I noticed the city razing… and it’s been discussed here on the forum a lot.

    Was it too tough to code the AI to have some sort of standardized approach to defending all of its cities, i.e. creating garrisons that fight to defend the city and remain in the city to the end? o.O

    Just today, on Lord difficulty, I approached an opposing AI city.
    The city had two full armies sitting in it.
    I had two full armies as well.
    Relatively early game, no huge units or superpowered spells.
    I cast Mark of the Heretic on both armies and ended my turn…
    Next turn I look and… the city is utterly empty. Both enemy armies just vanished, leaving the city undefended for my taking.
    Why…?

    #103207

    Stigrs77
    Member

    Aye, I noticed the city razing… and it’s been discussed here on the forum a lot.

    Was it too tough to code the AI to have some sort of standardized approach to defending all of its cities, i.e. creating garrisons that fight to defend the city and remain in the city to the end? o.O

    Just today, on Lord difficulty, I approached an opposing AI city.<br>
    The city had two full armies sitting in it.<br>
    I had two full armies as well.<br>
    Relatively early game, no huge units or superpowered spells.<br>
    I cast Mark of the Heretic on both armies and ended my turn…<br>
    Next turn I look and… the city is utterly empty. Both enemy armies just vanished, leaving the city undefended for my taking.<br>
    Why…?

    Because the AI is programmed to be smart.

    Believe it or not…

    It is supposed to make informed decisions regarding who to attack and with how many units. It is supposed to be clever about positioning, to avoid confrontation with large armies but rather take poorly defended cities behind enemy lines.

    The result of this line of thinking regarding AI programming, however, is that it consistently shoots itself in the foot by razing or leaving cities to the enemy in order to defend its capital (because that is a win condition) and leader (the other win condition). The strategic decisions of the AI are mimicking human behaviour, but lack the simple understanding that if it cannot beat the invading army it cannot win the war. In addition:

    * It targets cities that are so far from their main territory that they cannot defend them after taking them. They would be better off simply starting with the nearest enemy city even though that is a well-defended one, because if they can’t take one of those they can’t win the war anyway.

    * It brings too few units when attacking, and they even attack with fewer units than they’ve got with them. The more units you attack with, the fewer units you will lose. So if they have 18 units with them and the defending city has only 4 archers, they should still attack with all 18 units. Right now they attack with what they deem necessary to get “very likely victory” autocombat or something, and thus often lose several units or even the battle.

    * They often have three or more full stacks defending each city. Yet, if I attack one of those with four stacks, they seem unaware that they would be better off smacking the defense forces of 2-3 cities together and meet me in the open, or countering my advance straight away. They are simply put not creating large enough forces, preferring 2-3 stacks at most except when holing up in the capital. The boosted economies should mean that they come at you with 10+ stacks (because they can), but they don’t.

    * They move one and one unit, so even if they have 18-24 units aimed at a city, they don’t arrive at the same time – the faster ones arrive first and then attacks before the rest. This makes it easy to attack stragglers and this way killing off much larger invasion forces before they even reach their target. The simultaneous turns would be much quicker and the AI would benefit greatly from creating stacks of 6 and moving multiples of them in combat-ready formations from turn to turn, even though the 28MP units would slow these invasion forces down to a crawl.

    * Even if some AI leaders would retain the “sneaky snipy” strategy (I assume the strategy above is not the only one), razing your own cities when a bigger empire attacks only serves to make things worse. They’ll still need to face the enemy invasion forces head-on at some point, and doing so with only one city left is impossible; razing your cities = inevitable defeat. The best possible point of such a face-off is right after you have taken the first city on your way to the capital. If they manage to kill enough of your invasion force, it will lose its momentum, and this may give them enough time to rebuild just as much as you do.

    #103460

    Well, regarding the second question, I just tried a Large Continents map and BOY does that make a difference.

    The terrain looks… realistic.
    There are valleys and lakes and ponds and forests and mountain ranges…

    While on Land maps, you get this weird, unnatural vibe from the terrain.

    And, of course, more water in general, so building coastal cities and creating ships and embarking aren’t all cut out of the gameplay.

    Definitely going to be playing on Continents maps from now on.
    Still not really sold on underground though… much prefer the above-ground tactical combat maps.

    #103619

    wapamingo
    Member

    emperor offers a decent challenge but due to diplo abuse it can be fairly easy (one opponent at a time).

    emperor and a self-imposed “always at war vs. AI” will be a challenge as they will always pick on you (I dare say almost impossible). Conversely, having multiple team AIs versus you (2 vs 2 vs 1)

    I am yet to try slowest speed on emperor but I think this would give an even further advantage to the AI as it may exaggerate the bonuses the AI gets.

    water maps are great as it gives some isolation and possibly strategy. I only wish they had the impassable mountain setting in the RM (the clouded mountains as seen in the campaign)

    #103753

    Windscion
    Member

    I only wish they had the impassable mountain setting in the RM (the clouded mountains as seen in the campaign)

    Scary thought, a feature like that in the hands of the RMG.
    No, I think we are better off without it.

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