First of all I would like to thank Brad for all his hard work on the AI. Since Beta I have constantly been nagging him about all the stupid things the AI does. However I only do this because I am a fan and want to see the game reach its full potential. Anyway I am happy to report that after playing a few games with the latest patch that the AI has improved spectacularly!
Awhile ago I complained about how the AI really sucked at managing it's units strategically. It did a lot of weird things that allowed me to pretty much kill it unopposed. However this did not happen in my latest game. I played as Relias on a medium map with the 7 other classic factions on challenging. Early game I took out Yithril because they stalled with only one city for some reason but after that things got interesting. My borders expanded to meet those of Pariden and Kraxis. After I cleaned out all the nearby monsters I decided to blitz Pariden. I managed to grab 2 nearby border cities before she could really respond. However after that the queen came out with a large army. My stack easily beat hers as my units were higher quality and higher levels however another large stack of units quickly followed. I retreated to one of the cities I took to heal, and to my amazement the AI retreated and reinforced her own city instead of rushing to her doom. I didn't want to attack a city full of troops so I tried to go around however the AI threatened my newly conquered cities and I had to march back to defend them. Normally the AI stack guarding the city would have ran off somewhere random or decided to suicide against my stack but this time it stayed put. I sat back myself and decided to pump out some garrisons to defend myself while my stack attacked. I managed to pump out a lot of archers and swordsmen however Kraxis decided to throw in on Pariden's side and threaten my other border. He threw an army my way but I reinforced the nearby city and it retreated. A surprisingly smart move on his part... Thus the war stalled hard until Pariden asked for peace and I agreed. I then gathered my main stack and smashed Kraxis'. However his border city was full to the brim with troops. All and all this was my far the best the AI has ever done. It felt like a was playing a real opponent and not a brain dead puppet.
Some of the things it did right:
-The AI sovereigns had actual full stacks backing them up! Before they walked around by themselves. Huge improvement.
-Cities were better defended and their garrisons didn't up and leave while the city was under threat. When at war the AI filled any city under threat to the brim with troops before my stack could arrive.
-AI didn't suicide troops nearly as much. There were still a few times that lone champions or units ended their turn with striking distance of one of my stacks however, but not nearly as much.
-Most the AI units where not level 1. Almost all were 3 or 4.
-In some of the games the AI cast spells very effectively. In others they didn't use any real spells. Might just depend on the sovereign.
What it still did wrong:
-It never built any production, troop training, or unrest buildings. This allowed me to easily out produce midgame. Seriously I always build workshops and bell towers first in brand new cities as it allows them to develop quickly and catch up. In fact these are some of the few buildings I rush. The AI seemed to like building troops from it's low level border cities, even the newly settled ones. I don't ever build units from a newly settled city. It takes forever and stunts the cities development.
-Some AIs I couldn't even see still declared war on me. Roseln declared war on and off but I never saw a single army from them. Magnar also declared war after Kraxis bribed them, which was cool but I think Kraxis got ripped off because they were so far away I never actually fought them.
-It liked weird unit designs. Like Marksmen which had the weak trait and -2 attack. Why does that unit even exist? In general LH is a game that rewards players for building elite units with lots of traits and items. The AI still builds default units with no traits. Although it had some good elite units mixed in as well.
Overall I am having a lot of fun with 1.5 though as the AI reacts to the things I do with surprising competence. I can no longer just build a stack and watch the AI suicide against it. I have to counter its counters. Thanks Brad for listening and putting so much work into this game. I am having a blast.