Just installed on game pass, I’m quite impressed with the game overall, plays smooth, looks decent, mechanics seem solid, balanced and well thought out for a first impression.
But there is for me one major problem, the AI. The AI sweats really bad. For me skirmish is a comfortable mode where you can play the game at a lower intensity, but when the AI is tuned for tournament play this removes that aspect of the game. Once again the AI does not build walls. I don’t want to study build orders, meta guides, and work on my APM to enjoy a singleplayer game. Lower difficulty simply puts limiters on the AI but doesn’t make it play any differently, which simply makes it boring. The OG AI’s were made for immersion and fun, these newer AI’s seem to be made for professionals to practice against. This is a serious problem that will severely limit my enjoyment of the game. I don’t care if the AI does not build optimally but I do care if an entire aspect of the game is missing (sieges) because the AI has to play at a competitive level and building walls naively is a drain on its resources or something.
Having a selector for an AI personality to play meta or “casual/fun” would be an ideal solution.
I want to bump this thread because of how critical I think it actually is. Because of modern meta-gaming competition obsession, online play at a casual level is not really possible anymore as you will be destroyed by pro level strategies even at the lowest tiers of play. The AI is the only way to replace the kind of experience you would have had on MSN Zone back in the day. Just as AI was the only way to replace multiplayer at all back in the days of expensive broadband and unreliable dialup in those times making internet play a limited commodity, and competition was not even a factor to be considered. This is why a skirmish mode was included in the first place. The AOE2 AI would even taunt you and act like it had some personality, showing it’s purpose more clearly.
The AI more than ever needs to have a wide variety of interesting and fun behaviours, and not just try to play at a high level. It needs to be a replacement for online casual games which have totally disappeared from the genre, and not a training aid for professionals. And more than ever the theory, algorithms and tools to implement such behaviours are widely known and tried and true.
The RTS genre threw away 98% of its target audience with a focus on e-sports, and it seems it’s happening again. A good casual AI is not an unreasonable demand to bridge that gap.
Personalities in RTS games are almost a must for me. They usually work well or great, at the very least don’t cause any problems, and add a bit of value to the game.
Sadly IV didn’t split attention equally, and SP players have been kinda forgotten for quite some time. New features, tweaks, and content introduced in recent months improved things equally for everyone, but still AoE IV is hardly a great offering for people interested in just SP.
Skirmish mode on release was extremely barebones, these days might be described as acceptable. But still in terms of width and depth lacking compared to even some rather old RTS games.
I was hoping for new, interesting, creative SP/coop modes, but just skirmish as the main focus is fine as long as it’s done properly. So a lot of customization options while creating matches (win conditions, various treaties, enabling additional elements like trade, neutral parties on maps etc), variety in map types, a good amount of civs to play with, and of course very solid AI, because its quality will determine the quality of fun in a solo skirmish.
Sadly there are no additional systems that would deepen the gameplay, like things added in Dawn of War II (loot, skills, leveling, persistent heroes) or here in AoE III - the ability to customize every civ (Home City shipment system), leveling civ and unlocking more stuff, a huge amount of content that is not tied with any single civ (native tribes, mercenaries, royal houses) etc. Not to mention some interesting stuff in AoE Online.
Without additional layers of systems and mechanics the core- maps, AI, and content ought to be superb. And that’s very arguable here and certainly was for a long time after the release, that felt like a beta in polish and content.
I hope Devs will be able to pay more attention to AI and features used by solo players.
On the contrary, I’ve found that in response to early aggression, AI will sometimes over invest in stone walls. If you enjoy long drawn out sieges, consider playing more choke point oriented maps like Mountain Pass.
what really is happening, yes script isn’t flexible in any way shape or form, but how difficulty scales is a bigger issue, as was said, only via handicap, which player can’t use, and ofc lack of personalities, in 3 again, some personas are more agressive, some are very defensive, some more on eco, some more on military, some more on land or water, and so on
Since then maybe the system was perhaps touched, has not been modified much. Rather they just optimized the script a lot from the very outdated old one, which in using, created a lot more human like and more competitive style of play from the CPU.
In my opinion that was still complex and better than the AoE4’s unmoddable CPU. Difficulty only controls how fast it spams and advances, but I was saying: it still seemed easy to defeat, just advance ‘on time’ and win.
AoE4’s hardcoded AI doesn’t do much, in that case 1999 beats 2022 as it lacks even simple mod-ability.
Your statements are ironically correct based on a semi-truth where you don’t even know the how/why (no mastery or context).
…and lastly I was not being offensive but just kind of laughing at the idea of a CPU opponent as ‘sweating’ or like trying too hard and figures like ‘of course it’s an aoe4 actual player’
It can be a bit variable. I played against the easiest AI the other day, where I gave it HRE, and it made no military in the time it took me to reach age IV, then I made a few bombard cannons, selected them, right clicked on its TC and gg. Other games it can be quite persistent in sending several waves of a few spears, but if you just set a hotkey to select all vills, press it then press G (seek shelter), then also have a hotkey set to return all vills to work, and press that after the spears have all died in your TC arrow fire, you’ll survive it really easily. If you have the scores showing, you’ll see that you’re way ahead despite how it might look from all the spears it sends to your base.
you shouldn’t be impressed. the ai is horrendous as you say. same can be said with campaign one. Civs seems exciting to play but when you look at them is just a copy from each anotherelike aoe 2 with every civ have the same units. Talking about unique unit, they are not very unique. except malians and mongols mangudai, took the same regular unit but with better stats but nothing astounish or unique to say “WAOW this unit is fun to play because it have an certain ability or have to play in certainm way to make that unit plyable and efective without feeling playing a generic unit 2.0”. Water maps are still meh evn after rework. decent at best. the graph are not good for the price or an aaa and the music is fine.