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AoW:SM Gameplay Help & Strategies
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Topic Subject: The AI does not need to pay upkeep?
posted 03-05-12 04:21 PM EDT (US)   
I am using 1.4 and have noticed the AI can easily mass an army 3-4 times what i can field.

I played a couple of scenarios with CPU squires, and noticed that even if i had the AI down to a single city, with no income structures left, they were able to field a minimum of 2.5 full stacks. They usually turtle up in their city with 3-4 stacks.

My question are they doing this? Is it some hard coded cheat? If i am left with one city, one full stack is stretching it.

A city with no racial bonuses produces only 64 gold. That is not enough to support 3 full stacks, even if the 3 stacks are only level 1 units.

I just noticed something weird about my city resources screen though...

It says :

City inherent resources : 40 gold

Crops : 24 gold

Merchant : 15 gold

So that should come out to 79 gold.

However next to the production screen, it shows only 74 gold. Where is the missing 5 gold?

In my latest scenario game, i am struggling very badly to fight a single AI since :

-All the AIs instantly ally with each other, even if allied victory is disabled, leading to some very weird pairings (archons with shadow demons?). AI also never attempt to negotiate with the player and automatically refuse all negotiation attempts, even if they are insanely good. The AI won't even accept free gold/mana.

-The AI maphacks blatantly, so they always know when is the perfect time to attack when your stacks are away, or whether they are close enough to be a threat. This is the same issue i had playing with all turn based games like HOMM/Civ/etc...the AI is omniscient, so strategy does not work.

Everytime i move more than 3 turns away from my cities, the AI immediatley makes a mad dash for them with at least 3 full stacks. I cannot afford garrisons large enough to defend all my cities against 3 full stacks. If i attempt to stay and defend, the AI knows i am defending and simply takes the whole map. I am stuck in a catch 22.

-Most importantly the AI easily fields a army at least 3 times my size even if we have equal economies. I used the explore cheat to view the whole map.

Shadow demons has one city, one village or town and 3 income structures. I have a town, one city and 3 income structures, and i am also a merchant.

Shadow demons has a total of 44 units.

Please explain how the AI can afford 44 units without going bankrupt? AND constantly replace the losses rapidly?
posted 03-06-12 03:51 AM EDT (US)     1 / 18  
What scenario are you talking about? Random? Custom? Which one?

Generally you can change a lot in the scenario creation. Maybe the AI gets a lot of additional Gold and Mana every turn. The same goes for the race relations. You can define the relations between the AI and the races in a scenario. So it would be nice to let us know, what you have played to give you more customized and detailed instruction.

A Proud Member of the Unofficial Patch Team
posted 03-06-12 04:38 AM EDT (US)     2 / 18  
Random scenarios.

Ive also noticed the random scenario generator isn't very good. Half the time it creates very weird or unbalanced maps.

Also i can't seem to find a way to get underground races (e.g. dark elves) to start underground when using the random scenario option, even if i select the map to have underground.
posted 03-06-12 08:00 AM EDT (US)     3 / 18  
I think the AI does need to pay upkeep, I saw in one of The Groll's maps where it gets a large amount of additional units, that some of these units became independent, so it was probably due to lack of gold to upkeep them.

Perhaps it get some "external" income or discount in upkeep costs even at Squire, so it can upkeep some army than it should be able to.

A proud member of the Unofficial Patch team.
Creator of the AoW1 Mod.
posted 03-06-12 08:15 AM EDT (US)     4 / 18  
But how is it able to afford 3x the army that i can?

I don't understand how i am supposed to defend against a 3 stack invasion force when i can barely afford 1 stack + garrisons of 4 archers?
posted 03-06-12 08:33 AM EDT (US)     5 / 18  
I guess that PawelS is right.

It depends on the settings for the AI how much external income it gets.

Can you see the complete map? Did you reveal everything? Did you play with underground?

You can send me the last turn from you if you like and I will have a look at it in the evening. Probably I can find something. My email is in the profile.

A Proud Member of the Unofficial Patch Team
posted 03-06-12 08:02 PM EDT (US)     6 / 18  
Scout and don't play defense, play offensive. If you have two cities and can afford only one group to guard them, put spies outside your realm so you can read the AI moves and put your group in the closest city to the action.
Scout, scout, scout!

Send me your last turn, as Albaron offered, if you want more feedback.


posted 03-08-12 03:24 AM EDT (US)     7 / 18  
Unfortunately i overwrote the turn save .

Testing using MPE 1.5 now. Overall it seems to have gotten a lot smoother. However the AI still maphacks, so whenever my main stack is too far away, it still rushes for your city with 2-3 stacks.

This also makes scouting very difficult for me...if i send one cavalry unit to scout, the AI knows exactly where it is, all the time, so it immediately goes straight for the scout with the minimum necessary force to kill it. Meanwhile i have no idea where the AI is so the scout is running blindly into certain doom.

Also cheats dont seem to work in MPE 1.5 anymore.
posted 03-08-12 05:15 AM EDT (US)     8 / 18  
Too bad that the save is overwritten.

I agree with Unnapu. You have to scout ahead as much as possible, best with fast and cheap units not to overstretch your income limits. LVL1 summons are very useful for such purposes. Zephyr, Unicorn, Hellhound, Black Spiders, etc. They need Mana for upkeep, but they don't stress your gold income.

Don't be surprised that not only the AI is able to rush to your city, when you're away. The elite players also know where you are and when they have to attack best. As I started playing AoW I felt the same like you, but the usual AI on random maps, even on the highest Emperor level is not a real thread compared to a good human player. I was asking me several times, how it could be possible, that they know always the right moment to attack? Scouting is the key. Units with concealment are also very useful for scouting. And you have to be fast. Don't waste time and movement points! Keep archers in the town for defense, because they are mostly slow and try to create a stack with fast and powerful fighters, perhaps with a hero if possible to explore other areas, which you have scouted out and discovered before of course. If you put Dwarven crossbowmen or even ballistas in your party together with boar riders for example, only one ballista is slowing down your party enormously. One hex doesn't sound much, but it sums up on a farer distance. So try to avoid it, if possible.

I can't say much about MPE, because I didn't try it so far. It is more balanced, so should play smoother as you already figured out. Don't expect a much 'better' AI there.

Hope our recommendations are helpful.

A Proud Member of the Unofficial Patch Team
posted 03-08-12 02:12 PM EDT (US)     9 / 18  
How do you tell whether a terrain is "dense vegetation" for concealment to work though? Or even what kind of terrain it is. Nothing appears when i mouse over it?

Are hall of enchantments, enchanted walls and tower guards wroth it? Seems like a waste of money. Half the time hall of enchantments dont give a useful buff (dark gift on archers for example, or haste when all you do is stand and shoot).

Are normal archers useful at all for garrisons? In MPE, elven archers get markmanship IV at gold, which lets them kill most units in one turn of shooting. Practically makes ballistas useless really. Also halfling slingers are...urg...

For garrisons i mostly use 4 archers and 2 ballista or catapaults if the city is on the frontlines. I find melee units to not be that useful when defending.

If you create a fast main stack consisting only of heroes and mounted units, wont that stack run into healing problems? Since healers will slow that stack down. Also some races like halflings dont get very fast mounted units.
posted 03-09-12 00:03 AM EDT (US)     10 / 18  
Mostly your questions are about defense, while you should be thinking "offense".

Don't use your cities' construction capacity to build garrison, use it to rush your level 2 and level 3 units.

Forget about archers, ballista, etc. the AI will be too busy fighting your armies in its own land to even attack your cities.
Try guerrilla tactics.
posted 03-09-12 01:15 AM EDT (US)     11 / 18  
But if i dont leave garrisons, the AI will just take my cities with a single fast unit.
posted 03-09-12 04:07 AM EDT (US)     12 / 18  
AI doesn't think in this way. It can happen, if he has a unit around, but if you treat him with your offensive stack, he will not send any unit to capture the city. And even if so, you can easily prevent this most of the time, when you leave just one unit in the city. And don't forget to build more strong units, when your first fighting stack is on the way. Try to concentrate building on only on one or two cities like your capital and others. Start builiding in other cities only when you are able to hold them without any big risk.

I agree with Unnapu once more. Think offensive. Attack is the best defense. My hints about protecting your cities and using such units are just for the specific situation, that you're really under pressure AND you have enough income to use such tactics.

You should be able to see the terrain of every hex, if you just move the cursor upon a hex and wait 1 or 2 seconds. Then it should be displayed in the status bar at the bottom.

Forget about Hall of Enchantment, Enchanted Walls or Tower Guard. This is waste of Gold at the beginning. You may use this very late in the game and only in selected cities.

You will of course get into healing trouble, but you won't solve this with one or two healers which slows down your complete party. Apart from the slowliness they will die pretty soon in a fight. They are the units which will be attacked first by the AI usually. Try to get 'Healing' or 'Healing Shower' as a spell, if possible. Keep in mind to use Healing Shower in tactical combat as useful as possible. Gather the units which must be healed together to get the most of it. Try to get no enemy units into the area, because they will be healed then too. It is even useful to start a fight to heal your units, if you have the opportunity. Only against weak enemies of course. Leave seriously injured units out of the fight, if you don't want to loose them, but generally you have to live with the fact that you will loose units in a fight. You can't expect to win all fights without a loss.

Try to get at least lvl 2 or better lvl 3 units as quick as possible, like Unnapu said.

Slow units are a disadvantage of some races like Halflings and Dwarves. They have other advantages, which may compensate this disadvantage. The Dwarves are tougher in defense for example. The Halflings have very cheap units, which allows you to build some more. If you look for a quick halfling unit take the Pony Rider, but the Rogue is also a cool lvl 2 unit. Take a careful look at their statistics and try to be creative when using their abilities. Enchant important units like your heroes as much as you can and your mana reservoir/income allows.

What race are you playing with? Do you have a favour?

A Proud Member of the Unofficial Patch Team
posted 03-10-12 11:29 PM EDT (US)     13 / 18  
The AI in this game is a joke.

It cheats like the dickens. I think the TC already sees this. No matter how much you try to work around this fact, it's a fact nonetheless. Sure, for most games like this, the AI needs some kind of leverage to be any sort of challenge. But this game takes the cake.

One thing that pisses me off is that concealment and so on don't work against the AI. So whoever advised the TC of this, keep in mind he's playing against the AI and not multiplayer. I've heard excuses of why this feature doesn't work against the AI, but honestly I think a little bit more logic could have gone a long way with this. "Did I see the player before he vanished?" could have been handled with some conditionals, switches, or whatever necessary. Doesn't have to be at all accurate, but better than it simply not working at all, because this renders stealth-based units in the game, like the Gladewarden, rather useless.

A good example of a game with "concealment" AI is Battle for Wesnoth. Not perfect, sure, but it works.

It also pisses me off that the AI doesn't cast buffs on its units. Why the hell not? You have buffs. Use them.

Coding AI is a mess of a project. I've done it, so I certainly can't say it's an easy thing. But at least try. At least try to make the AI a bit more human-like, even if it's still rather stupid. Let them use buffs, let concealment work, don't have them spam stacks of summoned creatures, etc etc. There's really no excuse for these things, since most other TBS games I've played have better (or just less broken) AI.

And that's the thing. I've never really been big on multiplayer for these kinds of games. I bet I'm speaking for a lot of people when I say this. These kinds of games are just too damn long, it's too easy for people to drop out from sheer boredom, or when they feel they'll lose anyway. And the play by email thing isn't my cup of tea, it's too drawn out. A game can take a year or so to finish. Nah... So I'd rather play these games alone.

Shame, because the AI is really the only thing I don't like about this game. Seriously.

[This message has been edited by johndane66 (edited 03-10-2012 @ 11:41 PM).]

posted 03-10-12 11:54 PM EDT (US)     14 / 18  
Heated post is heated

The AI is not so terrible. Most custom maps the AI gets user-made advantages to give veterans a more fun experience. Any problems I have with the AI in this game are too minor for me to care about. Sometimes I am still surprised by them as well.

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posted 03-11-12 01:05 AM EDT (US)     15 / 18  
AI need upkeep in any case and if it does not have enough gold left the AI units get unhappy even if they are the same folks like AI. In then end they are so unhappy that they leave the AI wizard. this is very clear and indeed (PawelS is right) you can see this very clear in some of my maps - where I give AI extra units - and extra gold to let the AI keep their many units.
AI does not waste gold like a human girl in a shoe shop and so it may take many many days until a AI player runs out of gold if he only have one city with a big army left. Often the AI have massive amount of gold in their pocket and so it may take endless days until they donīt have enough.
In most cases and maps it is not important how much gold the AI have because all the gold is compensated with their stupid gameplay so really take no care about gold and kill the AI.

Btw. AI always see the whole map and all units and all structures. So it is clear that it can strike you with the needed power to kill a spy.
Donīt call it cheating if the AI knows all. Otherwise it would act even more silly.
Donīt use camouflage spells against the AI. this is wastes CPs and mana. It can see you in any case.

Using Cheat codes is not a good idea. It kills thrilling gameplay for you.
You will find that the game is easy after a while and AI acts stupid so it is an easy target in most cases.

Use different save games if you are new to the game so you can turn back.

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posted 05-09-12 04:43 PM EDT (US)     16 / 18  
Actually, the OP has a very good point.I do think however that yes, the ai does pay upkeep, but depending on difficulty level, it receives some quite extraordinary bonuses/bona/boni.

I started an XL random map with 7 cpu emperors, and had some extraordinary luck in my first few turns, then it went all wrong because 3 different a.i s declared war on me and kept coming at me. I managed to scout out their lands and they had several very high level stacks. Entertaining, until I realised that some of these a.i s were closer to each other than they were to me...

Take an old, dirty, hungry, mangy, sick and wet dog and feed him and wash him and nurse him back to health, and he will never turn on you and bite you.

This is how man and dog differ.
posted 05-09-12 09:01 PM EDT (US)     17 / 18  
Well, one thing on upkeep is that units don't automatically become independant when their upkeep costs stop being paid - instead, they get deteriorating morale until they abandon their wizard. So if an enemy wizard has lots of low-level stacks of their own race (and thus a large morale 'buffer') but doesn't actually seem to be building anything or doing much else, they may actually have bankrupted themselves through paying upkeep. (I've seen this a few times in single scenarios with the AI set to a low level like Squire - the AI at any level is prone to building lots of low-level units instead of teching up.)
posted 02-12-13 10:27 PM EDT (US)     18 / 18  
I really don't want this changed too much, its fun now, and it has taken work for it to become fun. 1 mana at most would be the limit, but I am fine as is. Instead of bring Beast lord down, lets build up the other options. You can achieve balance in 2 ways, by making every choice weak or making every choice strong. Making every choice a strong choice is a hell of a lot more fun than making everyone meaningless. Beastlord is a good choice, so are a few others. Instead of making the good ones not good, lets look at what we can do to the ones that are not fun to play and see what we can do to boost them.

[This message has been edited by Barryloves (edited 02-12-2013 @ 10:28 PM).]

Age of Wonders 2 Heaven » Forums » AoW:SM Gameplay Help & Strategies » The AI does not need to pay upkeep?
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