I have been a customer since original Sins, buying almost every expansion, except the prior one.
I have probably logged hundreds of hours with the AI through it's years of growing, and with Diplomacy it was pretty decent although still limited. AI has always been pretty fun for me, but I don't use cheating AI's. Besides cheating AI's breaking some fun factor for me, cheating AI's are the developer taking a minimalist path of least resistance in my book. it's a way to make an AI appear stronger by exploit rather than building better AI, one path is obviously harder and has better results.
Ironclad has always been one of those developers I trusted because of polished game development and great continued patch support. I didn't expect the AI to get worse.
So it pains me to come here to say how really disappointed I am with Rebellion AI.
It's not that the lack of new content for $40 that is upsetting, it's the AI does not attack me.
The Pirates are the only thing that comes into my systems and attacks.
Did you guys not beta test the AI?
I have played 4 very long games.
1 vs 1 (Hard AI, Agressor)
2 vs 2 (Hard AI, Agressor)
3 vs 3 (Hard AI, Random AI types)
6 player FFA (Hard AI, All Aggressor)
I always try and stick with one star systems, and played one random faction 6 player FFA.
I never really expanded my fleet beyond what I needed to capture planets.
I only got attacked once as I just turtled for hours, trying not to research anything that would effect other cultures, because I wanted to fight.
After quite a few hours I have come to the place that I can't lie to myself that their is any challenge.
I even sat there at 8 times game speed waiting for one of 5 factions, that supposedly "hated" me, to attack. They spend half an hour massing troops outside my planet to do nothing with them.
The AI is just horrible. It's just unplayable because it doesn't attack so it poses no threat, even as I purposely turtle. It's a large part of your player base.
On the plus side, I did notice some pathfinding improvements in the way enemies are quicker to chase capital ships leaving systems, but the overall AI attack just needs a lot of improvement.
I'm not a good player complaining about AI because I am l33t, I'd even settle for the old AI I had in Diplomacy.
The AI on hard builds and researches much faster than me. So giving it more resources by cheating isn't the problem.
It is sending out a Titan before I even get started researching them, have 0 command points, <150 Fleet capacity, and have maybe $2000. But my fears are unfounded because it's not smart enough on attacking.
For a $40 expansion I expected the AI to improve a little at least, not get worse on a serious level.
For a game series that has spent years focusing on just polishing the core game experience with expansions, rather than real evolution's or revolutions, it's quite disappointing to see the AI take steps back, rather than really advance with all the available CPU cycles these days.
After a couple days of playing I think I am done playing Rebellion until hopefully some patches address this.