On a plus note, the AI is way better at building up than I am. Even on hard they have better armies, better tech, etc.
Unforunately they suck very very very very very badly in tactical battles, so I can defeat a disproportionally powerful opponent with no losses at all, which kind of ruins the point. The current algorithm seems to pick out a primary target, and makes every unit target this primary target (who can then run around kiting opponents). This is really really really really really really bad. No amount of spell casting AI is going to fix this. I'm no master of AI, but here are some enhancements I'd consider:
- Refresh priorities every turn. It's unbelievable that this does not happen now. Even if I get one of my units to low hp due to counter attacks, the AI still chases the primary target.
- Have each AI analyze their options instead of just finding a path to the primary target. They need to consider if there are any low health units (very high priority), how damaging units are (high priority target), how much armor units have (low priority target), how accessible they are (accessibility imrpoves priority), and how many people are currently going after them (more people = less priority).
- Have AI "types" that are tied in with the custom designed units to perform certain tasks or act certain ways. A high offense low defense unit will always look for likely kills, or if it finds none accessible, will look for units with no counter attacks available. A high defense low offense unit will look for high attack/low defense opponents to counter and soak up the hits from, etc.
- Probably the most important thing: Learn how to get first strike. It's not that hard. If opponent has less ranged damage potential, then do not advance until at least one unit is within first strike range. There is a bit of a hang up with spell casting, since it runs on a limited resources. If it's reasonable to give the AI vision of the player's spells and mana, please take these into consideration also.
Further, their tactics about when and where to fight are poor. They rushed one of my poorly defended off towns (which is somewhat smart). Got to it, then ran away for some reason. Later, they somehow left troops stationed outside of their town, but still in the town square, so I defeated half their army outside their city, and the other half inside (There should never be a situation where multiple units cannot be in the same square and in different stacks). I probably would have lost (casually retreated) otherwise.
This game is currently playing a bit like MoM was for me. That is: get heros, make them buff, win without effort. While this part is very fun, the AI doesn't seem to "get it". The AI needs to focus on champions early game, since they are much easier to purchase and buff up (only need gold) than the awesome armies they are creating.
So, from an AI perspective, I would be completely satisfied with opponents play if they valued champions more early game, learned how to pick a fight, and learned how to fight. ESPECIALLY the last one.
I'm finding myself having to use magic to survive. That's a plus. I just wish this tied into my champion/sovereigns abilities more.
Great job removing blink. This was a very positive move from a gameplay perspective.
Armor still seems a little too strong, but this systems seems to be less "safe" than before, which is a really good thing. I think it's reasonable to have a small buff to early game and non-magical weapons (and monster attacks) to balance this out. So good work there too.
Part of the problem with champions is that with the current game mechanics they are very easy to make strong early game (and very weak later on). While it would be nice if you could a way to bring all your insane power curves of the different mechanics this game has into some semblance of balance, I'm really beginning to think that's not possible. Currently you have a nlog(n) curve for champion power (levels come slower the more you play, but get better armor/weapons easier than troops), a logarithmic curve for spells (advance based off of int or shards, which come slower the more you play), and a cubed exponential curve for unit power (resources available * groups * better stats). I don't think this was intentional, and you guys will have to make some drastic changes if you want to fix it. Here are some suggestions:
- Make champions level up faster to get to higher levels instead of slower
- Make champion stats benefit more from being at higher levels. For example, the move from 10->20 strength is not nearly as strong as the move from 20->30 strength.
- Add a skill tree that gives champions access to more powerful abilities as they level, culminating in some higher level of epicness. This would work for passive abilities, but it would be more awesome to see more active stuff.