It has been a while since I’ve seen any threads complaining about the AI being too easy or too hard, but I’ve been working through some of the civ masteries recently, and have seen huge differences in the play style of the AI, depending on the civs, and also seemingly dependent on what I do.
I completed the Rus mastery, making the AI Abbasid every time, and it basically never did anything all game long. I was playing on Arabia, and didn’t need to wall, I could just progress to imp, make army, and go and kill it. It basically never attacked me.
Now I’ve moved on to Delhi, still with the AI as Abbasid, and it’s playing completely differently. Now it’s super aggressive, and it seems to be particularly aggressive if I wall. The easiest AI will relentlessly attack me if I wall when playing this pair of civs, whereas Rus against Abbasid without walling against hard AI it never attacks me.
I think this might be at least part of the reason why there have been such differences in reported experiences, with some people saying even the hardest AI is stupidly easy to beat, and some people finding the easiest AI too hard.
As an aside, the AI also doesn’t seem to understand sacred site victories. I’ve had games where it had 50+ spearmen near its TC, and never attacked one of the sacred sites I was holding, it just sat there till the timer ran out. It might be that it was correctly evaluating that it wouldn’t be able to take any of them, but I’d have at least enjoyed seeing it throw its army at one of them to see if my defences would hold up.