As we approach the release of the beta many of the game's systems and mechanics are being wrapped up. What has been nagging me the last couple of days however is the way the AI will turn out. Having read the AARs posted by Brad I am concerned about the ability of the AI to handle the growing complexity of the game.
Some spells, like raise/lower land have left me wondering whether the AI will be able to use them effectively. A spell like raise land is "multidimensional". A player can use it to attack or defend (to block or funnel enemy troops), deny or secure resources or simply erect a barrier to block off a part of the map for the rest of the game. IMHO I don't think any amount of scripted or quasi-scripted AI work will give the AI the tools it needs to use this spell effectively. The spell simply has too many variables each of which can drastically affect the game. I assume this problem isn't unique to raise/lower land. There are many spells which, in the team's quest to rid FE of WOM's unimaginative and boring spells, will simply be out of the AI's reach when the game is finally released.
I have a feeling the AI will play a large role in FE's success. How many times have we seen a game with awesome game systems and never-before-seen features fall flat on its face because of a crappy AI? I really don't want FE to share this fate. What makes me worry even more is that, apparently, Brad is the only one working on the AI. I do not doubt Brad's programming skills, but I think AI is one of those things that needs a team to turn out well. FE has a lot of promise but the strength of the AI will ultimately determine whether the game will receive an enthusiastic or lukewarm reception.