Suicidal sovereigns - looking for a straight answer

By on March 2, 2011 2:20:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Huw the Poo

Join Date 08/2003
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Hi everyone.  I've asked this question in #elemental on IRC a couple of times and haven't really received a straight answer, so here goes:

There may be issues still with War of Magic, but they're not off-putting to me - much has been put right since initial release.  But there's one thing that still prevents me from playing the game - suicidal sovereigns.  I'm sure you're aware of it; enemy sovs will sometimes enter your territory completely unprotected, for no good reason.  Thus you can quickly smite them and automatically win the war.  This is game-breaking.  So my question is, bearing in mind I don't play beta patches, has this been fixed yet and if not, will it be fixed for the next stable patch?

Thanks!

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March 2, 2011 2:52:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Which version are you playing? 1.19d Brad put in some AI work to make the sovereigns more careful. See the OP of this thread: http://forums.elementalgame.com/405696. I can confirm this as I went after Magnar quite early in my 1.19d real game and that dude ran like he was Forrest Gump; "Run, Forrest, Run!". I took over his entire empire but instead of hanging around he ran. Gilden finally mopped him up somewhere on the map as I couldn't find him.

In addition it was mentioned that 1.3 if we catch a sovereign unawares they might surrender instead of their entire empire poofing away into oblivion. See reply #3 of this thread: http://forums.elementalgame.com/405617

 

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March 2, 2011 3:26:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Many thanks for your helpful reply.  I'm on v1.11 which I believe is the last stable release.  I'll hang on for the 1.2 patch then and hope the AI no longer hands me the game when he's getting bored.

I don't suppose there's an ETA on 1.2 yet?

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March 2, 2011 4:02:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Huw the Poo,
Many thanks for your helpful reply.  I'm on v1.11 which I believe is the last stable release.  I'll hang on for the 1.2 patch then and hope the AI no longer hands me the game when he's getting bored.

I don't suppose there's an ETA on 1.2 yet?

NO official ETA.. and my ETA was mid febuary.. so like usual my specualtion was way off..

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March 2, 2011 9:48:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I saw a pretty stupid sovie in my current 1.19d campaign.  He as in his own territory, but in a small stack rght next to me, just outside his capitol and last remaining city, which had lots of defenders.  IIRC, he moved out of the city while I was trying to figure how to take it against all those defenders.

Anyway, I stomped him & his little stack, and it killed his faction even though he had been in his own territory.  And it erased the capitol, so I had to build a pioneer -- much too choice a location to leave empty.

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March 2, 2011 11:01:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Cobol,
I saw a pretty stupid sovie in my current 1.19d campaign.  He as in his own territory, but in a small stack rght next to me, just outside his capitol and last remaining city, which had lots of defenders.  IIRC, he moved out of the city while I was trying to figure how to take it against all those defenders.

Anyway, I stomped him & his little stack, and it killed his faction even though he had been in his own territory.  And it erased the capitol, so I had to build a pioneer -- much too choice a location to leave empty.

Yeah that kind of stuff lowers the fun factor.

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March 3, 2011 1:27:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Another dumb sovie a bit later in the same 1.19d campaign.   Ceresa came into my turf in a stack with just 4 units.  On paper she looked stronger than my stack of sovie & 3 heroes, BUT she had picked up some damage somewhere and only had about 1/4 of her max hit points.

Killed her by charging with my sovie and taking one swing.  Two of her army immediately faded off the battle screen without me hitting them.  Haven't seen that before -- is it a bug?  I think it was two ordinary infantry that faded away, leaving just 2 beast (bear & spider, iirc) for me to kill.

Then "poof" -- cities gone.  From the road traces I think she had 4.

Anyway, AI sovies might want to reconsider risky invasions when they need some healing.  If she had been at full strength I don't think I could have won.

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March 3, 2011 1:49:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Cobol,
Another dumb sovie a bit later in the same 1.19d campaign.   Ceresa came into my turf in a stack with just 4 units.  On paper she looked stronger than my stack of sovie & 3 heroes, BUT she had picked up some damage somewhere and only had about 1/4 of her max hit points.

Killed her by charging with my sovie and taking one swing.  Two of her army immediately faded off the battle screen without me hitting them.  Haven't seen that before -- is it a bug?  I think it was two ordinary infantry that faded away, leaving just 2 beast (bear & spider, iirc) for me to kill.

Then "poof" -- cities gone.  From the road traces I think she had 4.

Anyway, AI sovies might want to reconsider risky invasions when they need some healing.  If she had been at full strength I don't think I could have won.

Yeah, I'm almost thinking one option for Brad might need to code the AI to:

  • Leave the spouse in capital as a guardian, max gear and give some per season xp to level
  • Leave the AI sovereign within faction ZOC as a defensive unit for the kingdom, max gear, and give some per season xp to level
  • Exclude the AI from permanent defeat via death - let he/she always escape until there are no cities to flee to - it's just plain cheese right now to decapitate a sovereign and subsequently nuke the whole empire. I end up feeling like I've stolen lunch money from a kindergartner - I might have something to eat but it makes me feel like crap afterwards. Just for the record, I was never a schoolyard bully. I am, however, a Demandobot!
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March 3, 2011 2:20:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have to say I don't like the idea of just not allowing AI sovs to roam around.  It kinda contradicts the lore and how the gameplay mechanics were supposed to be.  Personally, what I would like to see - although presumably this is a lot more difficult to implement - is some kind of threat meter.  AI sovs should be constantly calculating threat based on several factors such as his/her own stack, abilities, spells, and other things such as proximity of hostile stacks etc.  Some stuff would need to be hard-coded, like if sov HP < 50%, run the hell away.

I dunno, I'm neither a coder nor a designer so perhaps what I propose is silly.  But it makes sense to me!

Edit: For clarity I should add, although it's probably obvious, that the threat meter would be used to determine whether the sov should be behaving aggressively or defensively, how far outside his own territory he should roam, etc.

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March 3, 2011 3:46:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've been playing on a large map for over a thousand turns now. I'm just getting a feel for things now that there have been more changes and tweaks, so it started out with the world and AI's all at normal difficulty.

I built a mega capital, every wonder in the world in it, and once I learned every spell I replaced all arcane labs with tech producing buildings. Destroyed land and raised mountains to create three chokepoints around my city, with a city in each choke point, essentially making it so those cities had to be captured before my capital could even be approached.

I left one little hole open so that I could see how the AI would act.

Since meeting the first AI's, I have spent several hundred turns at war with them. I have yet to see their soveriegns. One AI was wiped out by another at some point, but it was in the FoW so I didn't witness it.

So on my game it seems like they're doing pretty well as far as the AI sovereigns go.

My thing is this, however - My sovereign is always on the front lines. A few heroes in maxxed gear and some decent squads and intelligent deployment, and I never have to worry about things. I feel like the AI instead of relying upon whether or not the sovereigns should go into their cities or go out and explore, I think if the AI just made better decisions regarding party makeup, tactical AI, and pre-planning on whether or not to fight or run, the sovereign would follow suit. The Sovereigns should be at the forefront of battles, they should be parading through other lands while they're at war, because it fits the lore. And if the sovereign is treated like a standard unit minus being expendable in calculations, then I think the AI would do much better.

But the AI in general is in need of a lot of work, and so the sovereigns will come with that. I don't believe it should be like chess in that as soon as the king is done, the side is finished and the board is cleared. Dynasty continuation would be good, or civil wars even with heroes taking over cities as city states. That'd be great too. Though that's not an AI issue, that's a functionality issue. But it would be a great short term fix for the AI. Dynasties = second chances for the AI making mistakes.

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March 3, 2011 4:41:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tydorius,
Dynasty continuation would be good, or civil wars even with heroes taking over cities as city states.

That's a fantastic idea.

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March 3, 2011 5:19:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Huw the Poo,
I have to say I don't like the idea of just not allowing AI sovs to roam around.

I hear ya. I would prefer they play as much like a devious human player as possible but there's always the issue of weighing how much in resources (i.e. Brad's time) the deliverable requires. Agree that the sovs should be out exploring and conquering but it's such a fine edge to walk: do something stupid, die, and poof!

This game is unique in that that one specific unit is so important. If that unit dies, they all die. So it makes programming the AI that much more difficult as it's not just another pawn on the chessboard.

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March 4, 2011 12:44:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Would love to hear what a Stardockian has to say about the stuff in this thread!

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