AI too hard

By on October 26, 2012 5:19:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

GaelicVigil

Join Date 08/2010
+5

Here's the problem I've had with this game, including WoM, for a very long time.  The AI is just too tough, and that includes both monster and kingdom/empire factions.

The problem lies with the fact that a lot of us players simply want to enjoy a large fantasy sandbox to role-play in, when others, including the developers, want us on-edge, sweating out every minute to "win".  It's a disconnect between gameplay styles when we're given loads of tools to customize and experiment in the game, but we're expected to create a narrow "build" and play one way or lose - and lose very quickly.

There is also a fundamental disconnect between the many hardcore players who live their lives on these forums and have played this game every week for the past 2 years, and the player who occasionally visit the site for basic updates.  "The squeaky wheel gets the grease", in other words, the most hardcore gamers who love difficult challenges are being given what they want, while the rest of us are getting our asses kicked.  Even Easy mode is tough, games are barely started before the AI, in near-unison, declares war on you.

In recent days, you have new or returning players who are getting cluster-effed because this game hasn't been designed for them, it's been designed for the vocal crowd who gets all of Wardell's attention.

This game should not, I repeat, SHOULD NOT, be designed to work like an RTS where one miss-click or one poor choice in the first 10 minutes screws your entire game.  But that's basically what is happening here far too often.

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October 26, 2012 5:23:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good luck.

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October 26, 2012 5:24:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Use a low difficulty level and enjoy

I like a challenge myself, but I have seen videos off players playing on easy and it is fun and relaxing for them.

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October 26, 2012 5:33:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The AI is just too tough

I understand your pain here. What I don't understand is this:

we're expected to create a narrow "build" and play one way or lose - and lose very quickly.

I know several ways to play the game and win. With lots of cities, few cities. Going down one research track only.

The post is well written and thought out in frustration. What I would like to know what would you do differently than what the game is already doing? This game is extremely easy to mod and make an easy time for the player, which I might do because sometimes it's just fun to play a godlike game. What I'm saying is what are your ideas and maybe if the developers don't use these ideas, others or myself can mod them in the game to provide the experience you are looking for in the game.

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October 26, 2012 5:37:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

joasoze has a good point.  Not only can you drop the difficulty level you can set the world difficulty and the enemy AI difficulty.   You can also decrease monster density and reduce the number of enemy factions in the game.   I would bet that a game on a large map with both the world difficulty and the AI difficulty on easy along with a moderate monster density and only 1 or two opponents would give you a more relaxing experience.   You could even play a kingdom and make sure your only opponents are also kingdoms so the chance for peace when you eventually meet them would be better.   

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October 26, 2012 5:42:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I read this and all I see is prey. 

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October 26, 2012 5:48:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It boggles my mind to think that not only can you not win on easy but you cant even survive long enough to feel satisfied with your defeat. I might have to try a game on easy and see if it really is that hard.

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October 26, 2012 5:54:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love it when I dont win. I want the game so tough, that when I finally win its a great thing. 

This game should have a level for all, and I think it does. There are so many cool things. Try the death deamons of Ceresa (split for each kill until 9 units). Try Altar and buying quests, try to get shadow world spell from quest+++++

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October 26, 2012 5:58:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting parrottmath,

This game is extremely easy to mod

I see this statement over and over in these forums, and for a non-modder, no it's not easy to mod.  I understand it's manipulation in the XML (or at least I believe it is) but that doesn't necessarily make something easy to mod.  What gets modded, how does it get modded, what values are allowed when modding, what else get affected when I mod this value, etc...  If someone is having difficulty in the game itself, it's not very likely they'll be able to mod it as easily as someone who fully understands the mechanics of the game.

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October 26, 2012 6:08:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

Here's the problem I've had with this game, including WoM, for a very long time.  The AI is just too tough, and that includes both monster and kingdom/empire factions.

The problem lies with the fact that a lot of us players simply want to enjoy a large fantasy sandbox to role-play in, when others, including the developers, want us on-edge, sweating out every minute to "win".  It's a disconnect between gameplay styles when we're given loads of tools to customize and experiment in the game, but we're expected to create a narrow "build" and play one way or lose - and lose very quickly.

 

I wonder if you aren't ignoring the game's lore.  FE has a very robust lore, and it deals with a lot things you'll encounter in the game: the sovereigns, past history, the spells, different monsters, etc. Ignoring it can lead to your party's instant demise.  The manual's also very good at offering advice as to which sovereign to play, depending on your preferred game style.  And we have a good tips thread on this forum, too.

 

Beyond that, if you be more specific, and tell us exactly what the problem is, I suspect people here can help.  For example, you may be playing too high an AI for the general game and your opponents, or you may have created a customized sovereign whose traits don't go well with his/her race.  I understand your frustration, but asking for assistance is the best way to get answers.  Usually.

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October 26, 2012 6:08:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

On a related note I recently ran into the same problem. I set the game on 'easy' thinking I could have some fun with a sandbox game. However, in the current game the first monsters I've run into was a small group of darkling warriors (fair enough), an ogre, a troll, another ogre, two other trolls, and an Ashwale Dragon, in that order. That seemed a bit excessive; the only thing I could really do was go back to town and wait for it to grow so I got enough goodies to fight those things. 

Could the settings be messed up so you get the hard monster spread on easy or something, because it kind of looks that way.

 

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October 26, 2012 6:17:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Khardis,
On a related note I recently ran into the same problem. I set the game on 'easy' thinking I could have some fun with a sandbox game. However, in the current game the first monsters I've run into was a small group of darkling warriors (fair enough), an ogre, a troll, another ogre, two other trolls, and an Ashwale Dragon, in that order. That seemed a bit excessive; the only thing I could really do was go back to town and wait for it to grow so I got enough goodies to fight those things. 

Could the settings be messed up so you get the hard monster spread on easy or something, because it kind of looks that way.

 

 

This is a complaint I had for the .990 beta: that after testing it on Easy (I usually play on Expert or above), I was surprised to see a bunch of old friends hanging around my first city: assorted dragons, groups of trolls, etc.  Mentioned that this wasn't the way to bring in new players, and I'm pretty sure I recall reading in one of the later changelogs that this had been toned down.

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October 26, 2012 6:35:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wizaerd,
Quoting parrottmath, reply 3
This game is extremely easy to mod

I see this statement over and over in these forums, and for a non-modder, no it's not easy to mod.  I understand it's manipulation in the XML (or at least I believe it is) but that doesn't necessarily make something easy to mod.  What gets modded, how does it get modded, what values are allowed when modding, what else get affected when I mod this value, etc...  If someone is having difficulty in the game itself, it's not very likely they'll be able to mod it as easily as someone who fully understands the mechanics of the game.

This is very true. You are getting into the balance issues of the game after you make a change to the game. The 'mod' portion of the game is making a change to the game. Some things will ruin the balance of the game, while other may enhance the gameplay of that person. For example, if you would like enchanted hammers to give you 2 material instead of 1 material that is entirely easy to implement in the game. But if you would like the burning death to cover every square inch of land by using 1000 mana to cast and does 5000 fire damage to everything. Then you have some work ahead of you if you are going to add this into the game.

The real point is to get people to ask for the change with a constructive suggestion. What do you want? Then people may just make it happen in a mod they are going to create. Some people don't know what to mod, but understand how to mod and are just waiting for good suggestions so they can get a crowd to use the mod they make. This is the point (at least) when I say the game is easy to mod.

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October 26, 2012 6:50:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love the post!

This aint no Love Boat.  I personally have never won a game.  To me its not even the point.  I've never seen a "You Won" screen in 2 years.  I play until its either getting to easy to steamroll, or all hope is lost.  I take a wonderful beating the whole time getting to either point.

I wouldn't call any game with this many numbered interactions "casual" by any means.  If easy is not enjoyable, I feel for ya.  Lots of good times have come from playing around with this game.

Or... try the cheat codes and go wild.  Someone posted about them earlier.  No modding required.

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October 26, 2012 9:14:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I just can't agree that the game is to difficult even on easy. The world certainly can be unforgiving, I'll give you that, but the AI is just too retarded. I am having no trouble with role-play in my game and it feels plenty sandboxish to me. I even have a hero designed for roleplay. She is not hard core win button material, thats for sure. 

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October 26, 2012 10:08:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There is no way the game is too difficult on easy. I am not some expert at FE, and I play on challenging with no problems. 

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October 26, 2012 10:57:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll admit, I had problems on easy at first, but that was a few beta versions ago.  I have the hang of it now and can win on Challenging if the monsters don't kill my cities early on.

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October 26, 2012 11:11:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You should see the emails the AI sends about you guys.

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October 26, 2012 11:17:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Can't help but feel like Novice on this game is Normal on similar titles. I never start a game on any difficulty under than normal or it's like and usually hold my own if not crush the AI. This game though, I get stomped. Been trying for the past hour to make a build for rushing Merchant Cross Bazaar first queue and it's never available, 13 turns in the AI already has me beat, not sure how to gain an edge.

Edit:Haven't actually played on anything under Normal difficulty, take "Novice on this game is Normal" lighthearted.

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October 26, 2012 11:32:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Whatever frog just said.......

Thats the funniest thing you've ever typed.

Quick one here.  Im Magnar at the moment getting everything I throw out getting handed back at me in style.  I wanted to raise his initiative, but had to equip a dagger to get the best #s.

Could we get a init boost for going bare handed?  I think I seen some leather arm guards that gave +5 fire attack.  Would that include a bare handed strike?

I just want him to spit out spells as fast as possible.

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October 26, 2012 11:50:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Beermuscles,
Can't help but feel like Novice on this game is Normal on similar titles. I never start a game on any difficulty under than normal or it's like and usually hold my own if not crush the AI. This game though, I get stomped. Been trying for the past hour to make a build for rushing Merchant Cross Bazaar first queue and it's never available, 13 turns in the AI already has me beat, not sure how to gain an edge.

Edit:Haven't actually played on anything under Normal difficulty, take "Novice on this game is Normal" lighthearted.

 

Ive never been able to miss that with my hero. I play with Capitar though. She gets civics from the start so add in that +800 gildar trait and an enchantment on all your cities giving extra gold and you will have it long before anyone else. 

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October 26, 2012 11:53:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

Here's the problem I've had with this game, including WoM, for a very long time.  The AI is just too tough, and that includes both monster and kingdom/empire factions.

The problem lies with the fact that a lot of us players simply want to enjoy a large fantasy sandbox to role-play in, when others, including the developers, want us on-edge, sweating out every minute to "win".  It's a disconnect between gameplay styles when we're given loads of tools to customize and experiment in the game, but we're expected to create a narrow "build" and play one way or lose - and lose very quickly.

There is also a fundamental disconnect between the many hardcore players who live their lives on these forums and have played this game every week for the past 2 years, and the player who occasionally visit the site for basic updates.  "The squeaky wheel gets the grease", in other words, the most hardcore gamers who love difficult challenges are being given what they want, while the rest of us are getting our asses kicked.  Even Easy mode is tough, games are barely started before the AI, in near-unison, declares war on you.

In recent days, you have new or returning players who are getting cluster-effed because this game hasn't been designed for them, it's been designed for the vocal crowd who gets all of Wardell's attention.

This game should not, I repeat, SHOULD NOT, be designed to work like an RTS where one miss-click or one poor choice in the first 10 minutes screws your entire game.  But that's basically what is happening here far too often.

 

This is an extremely well written post and reminds me of a letter I had published in 'Computer Games Strategy Plus' magazine almost 20 years ago. 

'The squeaky wheel gets the grease'.   Yup.  That's how its always been.   Publishers make games for the vocal grognards.  This is why I almost never recommend a PC game to 'non gamer' friends.   They'd think I was crazy for spending so much time figuring it out.  

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October 27, 2012 12:17:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ls35a,

quoting post
Here's the problem I've had with this game, including WoM, for a very long time.  The AI is just too tough, and that includes both monster and kingdom/empire factions.

The problem lies with the fact that a lot of us players simply want to enjoy a large fantasy sandbox to role-play in, when others, including the developers, want us on-edge, sweating out every minute to "win".  It's a disconnect between gameplay styles when we're given loads of tools to customize and experiment in the game, but we're expected to create a narrow "build" and play one way or lose - and lose very quickly.

There is also a fundamental disconnect between the many hardcore players who live their lives on these forums and have played this game every week for the past 2 years, and the player who occasionally visit the site for basic updates.  "The squeaky wheel gets the grease", in other words, the most hardcore gamers who love difficult challenges are being given what they want, while the rest of us are getting our asses kicked.  Even Easy mode is tough, games are barely started before the AI, in near-unison, declares war on you.

In recent days, you have new or returning players who are getting cluster-effed because this game hasn't been designed for them, it's been designed for the vocal crowd who gets all of Wardell's attention.

This game should not, I repeat, SHOULD NOT, be designed to work like an RTS where one miss-click or one poor choice in the first 10 minutes screws your entire game.  But that's basically what is happening here far too often.



 

This is an extremely well written post and reminds me of a letter I had published in 'Computer Games Strategy Plus' magazine almost 20 years ago. 

'The squeaky wheel gets the grease'.   Yup.  That's how its always been.   Publishers make games for the vocal grognards.  This is why I almost never recommend a PC game to 'non gamer' friends.   They'd think I was crazy for spending so much time figuring it out.  

 

Yet the OP's post that you consider well written has no specifics to show where FE is extremely hard.  I'll ask you, what I asked him, so far without any response: what do you find makes FE extremely difficult?  The need to understand lore?  The traits system?  Effective city building?  How combat works?  If you let us know, as people who really enjoy the game, and aren't so bad personally when it isn't a full moon, we'll be glad to help out.

 

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October 27, 2012 1:05:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is a bit long -- I apologize.

 

Standard disclaimer: I love this game. It has been wonderful to see the staggering progress made from each successive version. Kudos to Stardock for making this wonderful game.

 

That being said, I feel the OP. For a game that has all the trappings of a civ-builder set in a fantasy world, this game plays more like a wargame much of the time. I've learned the painful lesson that military power is everything when it comes to diplomacy. Low military power score and every diplomatic deal is heavily favored against you, while a strong military lets you extort the AI. If the AI senses any weakness, it will pounce, and with the cascading declarations of war, you're in a pretty tough place. A serious question: What is the point of alliances? With the current mechanic of factions declaring war on you because someone they are friendly is at war with you (even if you are just as friendly as them but happen to be of the wrong allegiance), it seems the alliance system is pointless. The fact that these cascading DOW happen way before anyone gets to the Alliance technology helps reinforce this aspect.

 

Take a recent game I was playing as Gilden on the normal difficulty. I spammed pioneers early on to settle as many cities as possible because: 1) this is what the AI does and if you aren't careful you'll find yourself boxed in with few cities and have no chance 2) there is no disincentive to settling as many cities as you can, and with all of the increased growth options (city enchantments, city buildings), prestige isn't nearly that important any more (more cities=better economy=larger armies=what you need to do well in the game) and playing with few cities just isn't viable. I settle about 5 cities and take care of the local monsters, doing the early building phase thing. Things are going well, and then a bit of bad luck: the Infestation random event happens, and spiders everywhere. I finally get around to clearing the spideys near my cities, and I kid you not, around 10 turns later the Syndicate random event goes off. SYNDICATE EVERYWHERE. Lots and lots of fairly powerful monsters everywhere (are the size and the power of these armies dependent on game difficulty? They seemed to be a bit much for normal). Tough times ahead.

 

It was around this time that Yithril shows up. They have fewer cities than I do and are trapped between me and Altar with 7 cities and a powerful military. Tarth is also in the area and doing well. So far, so good. Then Yithril declares war on me because I'm weaker militarily (and it's always that – “your army is weak” “we are dominating you” “I love war” etc is all about the same thing – military power). Yithril will almost always have a stronger military. It's what they do (It is always Yithril. I never see Pariden dominate, or Resoln. Brad's AAR shows this as well http://forums.elementalgame.com/433336 ) And, for a kicker, Verga has the proud trait which makes peace deals cost four times as much. I'm sorry, Verga, I don't have the 9000+ gold you require to make peace.

 

And then the juggernauts come. And then Yithril's friends declare war on me. For their part, Tarth and Altar are at war with Yithril too. Despite all of us have more cities than he does, he takes us to the woodshed, but makes special care to attack me with most of his forces (conveniently ignoring the legion of syndicate across the countryside. They return this favor by not attacking him either). And then it's pretty much game over. I realize now that the proper play would have been to build a strong military from the outset, and focus research on rushing towards golems, but I hadn't played Gilden since this mechanic was introduced, so lesson learned. But the reality is that the game pretty much forces the player to do this because 1) military might is everything and 2) early magic cannot compete against might. A few-cities builder faction stands no chance. And maybe easy is the new normal. Again, lesson learned.

 

One aspect for me that has prevented this game from being truly epic is the diplomacy. Every diplomatic function has an exact price which kills the mystique of interacting with the AI, and this price depends on military power. I'm all for the player being given and idea about which proposals will be accepted, but knowing exactly what is needed takes some of the fun away. I would love it if they decided to not give me a non-aggression pact simply because they didn't want to, not because I could or could not afford it. Because of this system, wars are endless affairs until one side capitulates, for the most part (I suppose a losing side might occasionally have the money to pay for peace, but if one is losing the war, odds are one isn't swimming in cash).

 

I have never seen a game where two warring sides make peace. Never. There is no white peace when two sides haven't been attacking each other for awhile. The AI never decides that fighting three wars at once is a really bad idea and maybe declaring peace with one of them would be a good idea. I'm not a huge Civ V fan, and their diplomacy is positively schizophrenic at times, but at least wars begin and end with some regularity. I don't like knowing that once war is declared, it's a fight to the death. It ruins the diplomatic tension of the game and limits replayabilty, at least for me, and makes the game feel like a wargame instead of a fantasy 4X. If Stardock were to have an expansion/DLC addressing any of this, I would throw money at you.

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October 27, 2012 1:12:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Diplomacy is still very, very bad at this point.

Frogboy will get it someday.

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October 27, 2012 5:01:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I understand the OP.  I did not participate in the beta but I'm a veteran strategy gamer.  I started a game on easy/easy without playing the tutorial. I like epic games so I had a large map, epic researc speed with 8 A.I's and me with a custom sovereign.

So far so good.  Not knowing that I had to spam cities asap I was content with my 3, then Magnar came along declared and I grabbed 2 of his cities.  The real trouble started after I met Verga and he also declared.  Ok 2 front war, Vergas troops were tough but I was handling both Verga and Magnar but was on the defensive trying to build up troops to go on the offensive.  Then I had the misfortune to meet 5 of the A.I's in succession and they all joined the fray, even the ones I made non aggression pacts and trade treaties with from the get go.

My sovereign didn't lose a battle but he still lost the war and I couldn't defend against 7 rampaging A.I's.  Good thing I didn't meet Tarth....or else they would have been 8.

Let my remind you folks what it says under easy difficulty.  It says something about it's aimed at the casual strategy gamer.  I find that rather funny cause I came from playing XCOM on Impossible Ironman and I play the Total war games on VH/Vh so I think the casual strategy gamer isn't going to be happy when the A.I clusterfucks him/her

On my second game I am playing on challenging difficulty and going for an ICS and assaulting the A.I on sight and I'm doing fine but I doubt everyone wants to zerg, I am a turtler by nature but in this game rushing out pioneers until you have 6+ cities seems the only viable option....after that turtling and adventuring becomes viable

 

 

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