Why is Merlin such a Twit ?

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Why is Merlin such a Twit ?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  ddnation22 5 months ago.

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  • #273434

    Uncle Farger
    Member

    Yeah good luck with that Merlin.

    If I knew the AI were this daft on Emperor I would have tried it a lot sooner. Just prior to this, Merlin, in his infinite wisdom through 3 stacks of the most woefully composed troops I’ve seen at that city, which was an absolute slaughter.

    Conversely, Portsmith was a relentless plague on the land. In fact, I struggled so hard fighting portsmith that I was unable to go dungeon crawling with my hero stack, save for dribs and drabs in the immediate area. Guy had 6 or 7 cities underground and several more on the surface.

    I had been buying off Merlin ever since the war with portsmith intensified back on turn 96 from memory. 70 odd turns later and with the demise of portsmith, I just let the war with Merlin run it’s course. Which has been extremely uneventful.

    So 7 Emperor AI and only one that seems remotely competent. I purposefully added two Dreadnought AI for this map because they seem to be the only class capable of putting up a fight. Not to my surprise, both Dreadnought’s totally dominated all other AI, And almost myself.

    But Merlin, Merlin is like a flea nibbling on the elbow of my war machine, pretty much inconsequential at this point. Other AI just want to Ally with me because they have been whipped into submission by the other Dreadnought AI, who as far as I can tell, control most of the map.

    Other AI on the map:
    Orc Warlord
    Elf Arch Druid
    Human Necro
    Merlin
    Frostling Dreadnought

    Seems to me that the AI have only been balanced for MP. In SP, it’s very linear. Dreadnought’s just dominate everything, such has been the case in every single game I have ever played. But yeah, Merlin is a special needs AI for sure.

    #273441

    Necromancer, and to a lesser degree Sorceror, suffer from singleplayer maps, and the longer the game/the larger the map, the more it shows.

    This is due to assymetry in the classes but a similar overall AI script, which is to tech up, build up (cities and forces), and crush by weight of numbers.

    Obviously that favours Dreadnoughts and Warlords, who are designed for that, and less so summoning classes, and Necro suffers here especially because it is possibly the furthest from the standard template.

    It’s an AI challenge, and one whose resolution would be, I imagine, time consuming, difficult and expensive, said resolution being to have a set script for each dominant race (e.g. if I player = Elf, choose one of the following: Unicorn Rider tech rush, Longbow mass, Storm Sister mass etc) and each class (e.g. if Necro – focus on Reanimators, transition to massed Bone horrows by turn 30.)

    With some finetuning so Elf Sorceror might look a bit like:

    Ignore melee, focus on Archers + cheap spells, mass Sisters and Apprentices if have mana (if not, get more Archers) as main, central stack, summon spam to go raiding/distract Human player.

    I don’t know if you have noticed but the AI never builds the item forge, so you are guaranteed one achievement.

    I could imagine a Dreadnought script being based around hero+item spam (it is a viable tactic.)

    #273642

    ddnation22
    Member

    To the OP, I’d suggest the following changes if you’re trying to improve SP games vs AI:

    Combined mod stack of the following :

    1. Warlord Boosted AI specialization (adds a spec that you can give to AI when starting a new map that boosts their economy and adds techs to use their knowledge boost to slowly ramp them up. Lategame their armies get medals, heroes and leader CP/HP boosted, etc.)

    2. Combined this with a mod called AI Enhanced, which simply encourages AI to settle earlier/more often

    3. A mod called Variants, or really any mod that adds a racial Tier 4. The Dreadnought, Warlord and Theo AIs do the best in my experience b/c the AI is fundementally production based. Adding T4s that any class can produce by doing what the AI already wants to do, ie build up /defend cities helps those summon based classes, along with the CP boost from the other mod.

    4. Last but not least, a mod called Alignment Mod, which helps the AI script specifically focus on staying “true” to an alignment when assigned an alignment based spec.

    So, I basically choose a good class/race combo, and for specializations – one slot is obviously the “Warlord Boosted” spec. The other two slots – I give the AI master of an alignment, usually good or neutral. Either the bonus gold/pop from greyguard and essence harvest, or the boost to vassal/independents pushes the AI to play how it wants to play anyway. They build up, get rich, and spam a pretty diverse amount of units. Even seen them actually summon a t4 from alignment, which I never saw in vanilla game!

    I’d be happy to keep up this discussion or post any links to the mods btw. Forum is just a little too much of a ghost town to do a proper effort-post XD

    #273643

    ddnation22
    Member

    Oh, and I did have a Q for you mr. BLOODYBATTLEBRAIN. How difficult is it to tweak the AI? How would I even go about starting this? Just got back into the game after a long break for RL, and I got into modding. Just tweaking a bunch of units for the time being, but I’d love to try my hand at adjusting the AI script.

    #273662

    I have no idea.

    #273664

    ddnation22
    Member

    I found some good parameters to maybe make the AI play significantly better in general FWIW. Playing a game right now vs AI with an Emperor teammate that I can watch. We’ll see. But I AM slowly getting closer and closer to an AI that is more flavorful, summons better stuff in general and hopefully doesn’t get bogged down as much early game. Pretty much everything relevant to this is in Title.rpk

    #273705

    Ericridge
    Member

    Yeah, AI is definitely alot more weaker in the AOW3: Eternal Lords expansion when they was alot more powerful in AOW3: Golden Realms. I’m not even sure what the heck happened. They went from having huge armies to tiny ones. It bugged me so much that I stopped playing AOW3, after all what’s the point of having a huge army when I don’t have a big army to fight with. I don’t want to bring 20+ stacks and only fight 3 enemy stacks and win the war instantly late game.

    You can see how big they are in the golden realms expansion here in this thread.

    First Megabattle!

    Guys I’m never worried about is Sorcerors, Druids.

    KILL ON SIGHT is Rogues, Warlords, and to a lesser extent Dreadnoughts and Theocrats.

    Rogues because Shadow Stalker spam is actually terrifying plus their world spells.
    I’m not worried about theocrats because spamming holy boxes isn’t the answer to everything and AI cannot take advantage of combined arms.

    Dreadnoughts can be a joke but scary at same time. As AI, they can field illegal amounts of juggernauts but having so many is a drawback because they do poorly in melee. Super tough cheap tier 3 melee run into there and tie them up in melee and force dreadnought AI to make very unpleasant decisions.

    Warlord is the perfect class for AI because it is very very very very very straightforward and thus its very hard for them to do wrong with it unless they throw alot of manticores into antiflier armies. Warlord AI is very deadly, if You thought the AI fielding 300+ juggernaughts was insane, well, Warlord can field twice as many or even more than that thanks to their world spells.

    I do not like to fight an AI warlord alone and I try to split their attention as much as possible that way he isn’t busy sending every single soldier my way but only half.

    And Sorcerors/Druids is too hard for the AI to play, they need alot of casting points for endgame and skill to win with weaker troops. Worst possible classes for the AI to play with.

    Necromancers, I pity the poor AI that rolls one, they’re helpless and is free expansion target for other classes except for druids. Poor Druids. They have to put in little bit more effort to kill an necromancer than other classes. XD

    I need to play AOW3 again because I don’t know if my statements is no longer valid, I haven’t played in few years. Maybe tonight to find out if the AI is still weak or improved.

    #273716

    RomeoReject
    Member

    Listen, he’s trying his best, OK?

    #273717

    ddnation22
    Member

    After the specific mods I added / changes I personally made to the game.. I’d rank the AI playing classes as follows: Theo > WL > Sorc > AD for what I’d call the “consistent” classes. MASSIVE asterisks next to both Rogue and Dread, as they are inconsistent, and I simply don’t bother to play vs. Necro AIs. I got this data by playing casual 3v5 or 4v4 SP games and obsing the AI’s decisions turn by turn over the course of a game.

    Reasoning for rankings:

    Theo is number one now because it benefits heavily from both the gold, as well as CP bonus my mods give the AI player. The gameplan research-wise seems to be to get Order of Healing for their supports ASAP and then class units, which is solid. Healers in almost every stack lets them spread the map and clear stacks confidently, with minimal losses. Their cities become rich and happy, and they snowball into a mid/late-game powerhouse with a good mix of production and spells.

    WL was easily the strongest AI profile before I started tinkering heavily with the game. It’s basically the standard to which I compare all other AI profiles. As someone else mentioned, the WL gameplan is basically the AI’s strong suit. Every AI is basically doing their own WL impression. And while WL is stronger than Theo in late/ultra-late, Theo is better overall now because their early game is so solid.

    Sorc / AD I kind of have tied for that last slot. The casting tendencies of the AI is a lot better, but still not great. They don’t prioritize their strong summons enough, basically. The AI doesn’t understand either classes lategame, so they just end up spamming a alot of Apprentice/Shams, racial units, and the odd summon. It’s a mess, but it can work. Especially with the mod I added that includes racial T4s, which can give them something to spam late-game when racial t3s start to fall off. My favorite part about AD/Sorc is how they tend to field the most diverse armies compared to the other classes.

    Rogue seems to depend heavily on starting race and position. Sometimes they snowball into one of the more powerful AI players. When I obsed, it seemed to revolve around getting Cruel Backstab and Succubi ASAP + playing really aggressive, then snowballing. This can work, but often they fall behind and can’t recover. Another class that benefited heavily from access to racial T4s btw.

    Dreadnought is… well, dreadnought. Completely obstinate. No changes I’ve made to the game seem to influence the Dread AI. Slow, steady, predictable early game with tons of sub-optimal decisions for a dread… and then just trying to spam Juggernauts until the end of time. Or, sometimes they spam ships if theres a good bit of water. Just atrociously boring, so I don’t really bother to play with Dread, just like I don’t bother with Necro

    #273722

    ddnation22
    Member

    Honestly, I’ll do an AI effort post in the near future with some actual screenshots and stuff. It’s hard to convey in a text post how all the little pieces I’ve been tinkering w/ have come together to influence the SP AI game.

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