Epic AI Battles and some thoughts

#1

I just want to say how amazing this game has become, compared to the original. When I was younger, I would spend hours tweaking ai values, trying to get opponents that were heavily invested in the battle rather than hanging out in the base or just bugging out. Now, the game does so much of that by itself.

Earlier I did a few 3v3 cpu battles on random map just to see how the ai does, and they were so fun to watch. Some ai’s attacked early, while some played defense until bursting out with an enormous army. Typically 2-3 ai’s would attack one player, which is smart as it sometimes would knock that player out early on. Most times that player’s allies would come to defend and epic battles would take place in the town.

The recent patch 10 made the ai better at economy and defending, and I can see that. Villagers stick close to storage pits and granaries, building towers to defend gold spots. Towns can still unfortunately be quickly overrun as there isnt any way to create strong points within a base that can protect villagers, but defending army do a much better job than they used to. I remember gutting a base long ago, and then finding a number of soldiers hanging outside their town, just watching it get wrecked.

Also, with higher pop limits, the ai can grow larger. I would like to ai economies grow even larger so they can build to much larger pops, but I’ve seen them close to 100 pop. I saw a 55 and 50 soldier attack force made of swordsmen in the last two games. The larger one was Choson, so it steamrolled through everything. The smaller one was Palmyran and it got destroyed because they only have Broad Swords. It was still amazing. Then there was this lategame invasion force:

I have a few thoughts though after that:

  1. I’ve seen several ai’s pick strats that don’t go along with their strengths. Watching Palmyrans making a bronze age sword unit in the iron was painful. I believe they had 190 kills in that game but 370 losses, so in the lategame, their army witherer under archer fire.

  2. Archers are so powerful. Especially fast archers and there isnt really anything that counters them well. If you can go horse archer late, you do…Yamato and Hittites are crazy strong because of this.

  3. Cavalry are also insane. In three games, I’ve seen three Yamato players carrying their team. Either attacking early and gutting a base before the enemy can build a resistance force or late, cavalry are very powerful, again without much to stop them other that academy units and priest perhaps. The Yamato players have not lost yet.

  4. I have seen ai’s training some nongold units lategame, which is sweet, but not many. I wonder if it is possible for ai’s to go away from their strat to train counter units like slingers/camels or “Trash” units when they run out of gold. Again, the only problem with this is that outside of chariots, the only other nongold units are tool age. I think this has been suggested elsewhere, but some bronze age trash unit upgrades would be nice. The ai being able to spam slingers the counter a bow rush for example, would also make ai’s stronger.

So yeah, the game gets better with every patch. Hopefully as more updates come out, more will be interested in buying in.

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#2

Good post, I agree with you. I also love how it was improving the game and AI intelligence with the updates.

I only disagree with you about the cavalry. As it is effective, it is also very expensive and difficult to afford and evolve. In addition to being mele units, they will inevitably have to hit hoplites and have no chance.
I agree with the advantage of the mounted archers. I think that the camels should have a higher bonus against Chariot Archer and Horse Archer, to the cavalry melee.

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#3

I think you are right. I have been doing some ai 1v1 matches and cav have yet to play any part in a battle. I think its more in team games that go longer where cavalry shine. Scouts however, those were improved in the last two patches which is great…finally a usefull unit.

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#4

A few more thoughts. The game is certainly alive. I’ve played some multiplayer games and lost all of them but they were very fun. Weirdly in every game I had some allies who did nothing and so lategame I was fighting 2-3 enemies and thusly died horribly. The game is still very fun.

Also, I just did a scout rush against the ai and it felt great. Previously, that 100 food was so much, so even dropping it to 80 and allowing scouts to auto attack makes them a viable unit now. I am pleased very much. It’s still not a usable unit after gold runs out, but it has a place in the early game.

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#5

Ok another round of thoughts:

  1. Horse Archers are not overpowered. Especially the regular version is very expensive and very fragile. It is a fast until that kills quickly, but make a mistake and you lose a very expensive force. Not easy to replace, thus making horse archer forces something you want to keep smallish and safe. Do not engage large forces with them.

  2. The Casual scene in this game is very alive. I can quite often find games for noobs like me who don’t want to rush and mostly want to fight in the bronze. Great games, altho there still are a number of players who don’t do much for their team, either creating only economy or stopping at 20 vils.

  3. Chariot archers is not the only strategy. I mostly enjoy training cavalry in the bronze as it offers a great early game raiding unit. Hoplites and other units take over later.

  4. I have a thought on some units that don’t see play: Short sword and improved bow. Neither of them are anything other than a means to a higher bronze unit. What if they were moved over a slot and became upgrades of the tools units. Improved bow would literally be an improved bowman, and the shortswordsman would function as light infantry. Cheap weak units for lategame.

  5. Lastly, I’ve found that slingers get mowed down by all archers except bowmen. That being said…a few days ago I had a force of over 100…yes it rarely happens. I had heavy infantry and elephants, but almost half of that number were slingers and scouts. The slingers went ahead and scouts ran around keeping my expensive units from getting ambushed. It felt so great: using different units for different purposes. I would love to see more use of light infantry as a screening force for heavies.

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