While the AI in 1.3 has seen improvement, I believe the following helpful advice gleaned from various threads over the last weeks might help to greatly improve its performance. In the hopes that His Right Honourable Msgr. Bradley Wardell might grace this meagre thread with a perfunctory perusal, I herewith scribe:
1. AI Unitbuilding and Unit Design:
- Suboptimality: AI designs units with traits it cannot use, for example Wraiths (Resoln) with Plate Mail Proficiency. Less severe: early-game defenders with Plate Mail Proficiency.
- Suggestion 1: AI should design separate unit Templates for each faction, noting some of the most common strengths and weaknesses within each faction.
- Suggestion 2: The AI should rely MUCH less on "upgrading" existing units, and simply upon designing new ones as technology becomes available. Increase the number of templates and individual designs to reflect various stages in technology, particularly the early game, in which armor is not available
- Suggestion 3: AI unit designs should become available to the AI to build from after certain triggers have been activated, most notably, the discovery of a prerequisite technology.
2. AI Citybuilding:
- Suboptimality: The AI does not plan or use its cities effectively. Example of usage: Conclaves producing units while Fortresses produce research; available enchantment slots in Conclaves include Aura of Might when producing Wealth. Examples of planning: Tiles without essence are chosen for Conclaves.
- Suggestion 1: The AI should favor settling tiles with Essence more than those without. The AI should plan to make Conclaves out of villages with at least 2 essence, otherwise it should make towns or forts.
- Suggestion 2: AI should use fortresses primarily for generating units, not producing research; AI should make fewer conclaves, build more research- or mana-generating structures in conclaves, use conclaves primarily for generating research or mana, train fewer units in conclaves; AI should build more food- or wealth-generating structures in towns, use towns primarily for generating food or wealth, train fewer units in towns
- Suggestion 3: The AI should not settle tiles with 6 or fewer combined resources (unless there are 3 or more harvestable resources within range and no other tiles are appropriate). AI should greatly favor settling on tiles with 9 combined resources, even if there are no harvestable tiles nearby; AI should favor settling on tiles with 8 combined resources, even if there are no harvestable tiles nearby; AI should favor settling on tiles with 7 combined resources if they contain 1 essence, even if there are no harvestable resources nearby.
3. AI Championbuilding:
- Suboptimality: The AI will frequently equip a "natural" mage, such as Procipine, as an axe-wielding warrior, resulting in greatly ineffective champion.
- Suggestion 1: AI Sovereigns should have more detailed templates according to which the AI chooses equipment, traits, and behavior. Some sovereigns, such as Procipine, should focus much more on using magic spells.
. AI Tactical Behavior:
- Suboptimality: The AI will often choose suboptimal behavior for its champions in tactical combat. The AI *will* spend mana on strategic unit blesses, it appears, but seems much less likely to spend mana tactically. The AI will choose (also for human player champions with a "beserk"-causing spell or item) to keep a melee unit back with archers instead of forward.
- Suggestion 1: The AI should be much more willing to spend mana to cast buffs and debuffs. The AI should be more willing to cast spells.
- Suggestion 2: The AI should be more willing to place its melee champions in a position to attack in future rounds, also helping to "defend" its back ranks.
5. AI Strategic Behavior:
- Suboptimality: The AI will often not move its units (at all), but keep single units just outside of cities, or near enemies / ruffians, getting them picked off easily. The AI will much too frequently undervalue peace. The AI will leave unattended lairs, treasure chests, or enemy outposts uncaptured. The AI will much too frequently rely on mediocre combinations of chaff units produced in highly unproductive towns or conclaves or villages to defend its vital interests. The AI relies on units to attack more than it does Champions backed up by units. The AI will build "stacks" of scouts to "support" its champions, instead of ranged units (to support melee champions) or melee units (to support ranged champions). The AI does not compliment its champions (1 melee, 1 support) or its troops well (support champion needs fitting troops, and needs to cast spells to support them).
6. AI Pathfinding:
- Suboptimality: The AI is greatly hindered by the current rule mechanic disallowing most non-hostile entities to occupy the same tile simultaneously, causing them to go for dozens of turns out of their way in the faulty hope of thusly being able to bypass a bottleneck. (This also hinders pathfinding of human units.)
- Suggestion 1: change ruleset to allow non-hostile entities to occupy the same tile simultaneously; non-hostile units can occupy same tile as other non-hostile units and structures.
- Suggestion 2: Should a destination be "blocked" by (hostile) units, the unit pathfinder should not find a route-around, but a different desirable destination.