Please make the AI fight for map control and resources (long post but worth it)

The latest patches for AOE3 DE have bring many improvements to AI behaviour, making them use their units more efficiently and improving their decisions. There is, however, one aspect that makes it not develop its full potential in game (aside from walls, but that is other topic). I know some builds ago, the AI had this problem where their vills got very far from their base to gather resources, making them easy pickings and delaying the AI. The solution that was given, restricting their gather only near base and then use farms/states, can seem like a safe way to protect vills, but I feel that it hurts the AI more than it helps.

The problem with this behaviour is that the AI does NOT contest the map, leaving you massive amounts of resources that gather faster than their infinite counterparts, making defense easier for the player and basically allowing you to slowly surround your enemies and trap them in base, something that shouldn’t happen if you have a resource filled area near your base and far from the devastation of an enemy army in base.

To me, they should have added the ability for the AI to build TCs on areas on the map that are: a) not much contested in the moment the decision to build a second base is given and b) have a medium to large stash of resources nearby. That change, along with vills gathering near TCs, would be a big improvement for their economy, would make their vills safer and it would allow the AI to have multiple bases from where to create and army, as of right now, once you are done with their one and only base, they will never recover.

Interestingly, the AI has the ability to build military buildings near enemy bases, and they’ll train soldiers and still fight from those buildings. That is good. If that ability could be replicated for TCs and secondary bases, with it’s own secondary economy, it would make skirmishes more fun, not so repetitive, and every game would develop it’s own “narrative”, so to speak. (Note: I don’t want TC’s and secondary maps to replace military buildings near enemies, that is good).

This change could even work amazing with water or island maps, as I’ve seen the AI are much better at disembarking armies at your shores or even travel to other islands to claims TPs and explore (it still has problems embarking, tho, as sometimes a unit is waiting on the shore to be picked up and his designated ship just changes course and does another thing). Having AI make their TCs far from the original base could allow AI to claim other islands, which it has never done in the history of AEO3, and it would make some maps viable and fun against AIs (Caribbean, Honshu, Ceylon, Northwest Territories, the new Swahili Coast and many more). Even in the new Niger River map, the AI’s starting TC wagon, that is on the other side of the map for the very reason of taking advantage of the resources and TPs on the other side, just goes back to the original TC place and it builds it there, losing time and access to a better part of the map.

REMEMBER: Not all people play MP or don’t play it regularly, many people play only SP and others sometimes just want to to have a “relaxed” game without worrying about ELO all the time. The game has a SP content base and this change would be amazing for them (I know it would be for me too, as the only way I have to play these maps “as they should” is on MP, but many of my friends don’t feel totally comfortable yet to go MP).

I’m going to post some examples now of why I think this should be changed in the near future:

In this game, I’m red. Look how the pink player has a lot of resources JUUUST outside of their base: hunts, trees, mines. But non of the AI would take advantage from it, not even my purple ally. Look in the minimap how I took advantage of that same area on my side of the map. Having access to those resources while the AI does not feels a little like cheating.

See how many unused resources are on their side

And here is a video from the last PUP build for October, where my ally (blue) start farming when having berries nearby and hunts just a bit ahead, and building 5 estates when they have mines nearby (one is good for the upgrades but 5?). In this game the AI could have build a second TC near their TPs, that had 4 hunts and 2 mines nearby. A second base there would also make the TPs more defensible.

Finally, I will post some maps where I personally think the AI can’t get their full potential based on this posts. Keep in mind that the AI suffers from this problem in ALL MAPS, but in these the issue is aggravated based on the geography of the region:
Amazonia: You can cross and build bases in the enemies shore, but they can’t.
Bengal: Plenty of resources down south that the AI will never contest.
Caribbean: The enemy will never take nor defend the TPs island (they will build the TPs but only that), and you can build a base in enemy shores, but the AI will never do it. Here you don’t even need a TC, just a few military buildings, outposts and a few walls, as a TC is better used in the other island, but it still could work)
Ceylon: I don’t even need to say anything about this one
Gold Coast: Those islands will never be mined, also, outpost in those islands would hurt the player navy a lot.
Great Plains: Plenty of resources on the sides that the AI will never gather nor control
Hispaniola: Players start at the west coast but the east side will never be touched by the AI, leaving you all those free resources.
Honshu: The TP and gold mines island will never be contested.
Horn: The island will never be contested, and some outposts there could provide and interesting bottleneck
Indochina and Indonesia: Similar maps, the AI will never contest the island nor gather from there.
Korea: AI will never gather nor build on the peninsula.
Mongolia: Northern side has more resources and TP sockets, but the AI will never gather nor build defenses there
Niger River: The AI will ALWAYS send its extra TC wagon to be built besides the original TC, disregarding the northern more resource filled area for the rest of the game.
Orinoco: Players start at one side, AI will never gather resources on the other side.
Rockies: Map description: “teams are separated by a resource-rich valley”. The AI will never take advantage of that valley.
Swahili Coast: With the introduction of this Ceylon like map, I hoped the AI could now escape their little island, but alas, it was not the case (yet).
Yukon: gold mines across the ice-cool river, that the AI will never gather nor secure in any way.

To me, the layout of these maps work against the AI current programming and it’s detrimental to the SP game experience. As for other maps, they have a more balanced start and resources are evenly spread, so they don’t feel so unfair, but still, they will never fight for resources.

I hope I made my point clear, I love how you have been refining the AI behaviour and it works better than ever, but this area is one that has never been addressed and it will completely change how SP skirmishes play and feel. Hopefully we can see some improvements for this issue soon, as I’m confident the game is in good hands and there is a vision to iron out all features.


Ok, I haven’t read everything (I will though ) but I get your point. I think the issue is much more acute than you and I think. Let me share my point of view:

I used to play a LOT of skirmish (Hardest ) and with every patch I would notice the A.I would get better…however they would get “standardized better”. What do I mean by that?

Whatever tweaks the dev had done, those would solve a particular problem with how the AI would behave, the AI would behave better, but in a “singular fashion”.

It means that, for me, that used to play a lot vs bots, the match would again be easier since I would recognize their pattern after a few matches. Then it was a matter of surpassing, bypassing and overcoming them. It was not always easy but nevertheless boring (Japan, in particular is EXTREMELY HARDCORE because of their economy that keeps a constant rush).

Sure: I had hoped back 20 years ago that the A.I in video games would be as good as the A.I playing chess by 2022, but they aren’t. Unfortunately complex games having a (good) adaptable A.I takes lots of effort and AOE series is a VERY complex game: It’s not like the A.I. in L4D2, Arkham series, God of War or such.

No AOE game is as difficult in terms of decision-making as AOE3: the first minutes are crucial, you have to know your opponent, their civ, their deck, your deck, how to pull things, etc (check the Youtube channel “Age of Streaming”). I personally don’t know any game as complex as AOE3 that has an acceptable A.I.

They’ve been doing a terrific job in improving the A.I. (I tell you that because I used to play A LOT of it), but even if they patch this “hole”, another one as noticeable as this one will remain. It will never be ideal (for me) because they will always be predictable, but it doesn’t mean it should not be improved.


As someone who used to play a lot agains AI in his youth, I can say the same: it has improved A LOT. It is true what you say, having a game with so many variables, its difficult to implement a code that can adapt or counter every single thing. It will never be unpredictable either, but as you say, they can become better. But I think that, even if some holes remain, it is worth trying to close the gap with the bigger ones. Not being able to secure and take advantage of resources outside a little circle around your base, for example, is very detrimental to the AI; adressing that can also help with replayability and make scouting more dynamic too.


The other thing I was going to suggest was to allow the AI to build backward bases when the military buildings in the front get destroyed.

Right now AI will try to build and rebuild its military buildings only to the front of its base. And if they get sieged, the AI doesn’t build a secret production building somewhere in the back even if there’s wood to spare.

This actually does happen properly in AoE2. And so I believe it can be done in this game as well.


Yes, this is also an issue, although lately I’ve seen them building military buildings on the back sometimes. Having secondary bases would help with this too, as the ai could receive reinforcements from other parts of the map

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In fact this is the way most players get hooked on the game initially. I remember when putting campaigns on hard was quite a challenge. Exploring every concept of the game feels magical and impressive. As time goes by you start to get bored because you know the patterns and you venture into multiplayer.

Something that could improve the AI is to make the villagers seek refuge once the enemies are within their visual field and not wait for them to attack them to start fleeing.

Also that they build detachments and the like near mines and trading posts. This would allow the villagers to garrison easier and better control the map.

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I used to have the tc/tower code search far away for good resource spots with a hefty penalty for being built near another base or tc, I can share it with you if you like so you can copy/paste it in. in the legacy mod version they would completely migrate to new bases and abandon the old one if it ran out of resources or if was destroyed, and I believe similar inactive code exists in the current ai file.

the problems are that the ai will tend to suicide villagers and just behave very badly with more than one base, so I stopped trying to force them to build tcs and towers in good resource spots and didn’t even begin attempting to make them create new main bases around them. something like that is beyond my current abilities and I hope the devs do invest in it, it would be worth the pay off to see a map control focused ai.