So, I've seen a number of posts about how much people don't like certain aspects of the AI, but I just had a really great game with the AI the other day...
I'm not trying to say the other posts are in error, but I would like to point out some of the golden nuggets. Please feel free to include any good/smart things you've seen the AI do... maybe the devs can get these types of things to happen more often.... Starting with the background on my recent match
So, I started a 1v1 match against an unfair AI. I was Loyal Advent, it was Rebel Advent... I started off trying to expand rapidly. the map had the pirate base (they were off) and the star in the center, and the phase lanes made it so that if you wanted to get from my world to his, you had no choice but to go through one of them (was a random map I believe. would be nice to save good random maps) unless you went around in a very time consuming way.
My early expansion took my capital ships (had flagship victory on, so I had a halcyon and a flagship) up to one side (going the long way around; when I decided which way to go i didn't know where he was), and after awhile i decided the other side wasn't going to be able to expand fast enough with just corvettes and colony ships, so I started to pull my capitals back there. Meanwhile, i had gotten 3 roids, 2 terran, 1 desert, and with ice and volcanic research, i could take a few more good worlds, so I figured I was in a good position to drop trade ports (layout was not very conducive to culture towers, but I threw 1 up anyhow while going for ports). Figured that against a cheating AI I would need the extra cash.
Just after making the investment for ports, I started being attacked. Up to this point, I had just seen scouts... but now I got some corvettes and disciples thrown at me. I had just started to pull back my capitals to the other side (they were heading toward the side I was being attacked on) and also had sent my corvettes take their spot, so now I was undefended on the outskirts, and that was when they attacked.
As I raced to get over there (remember, I had taken the long way around, but didn't realize it when I went that way), I had sent a colony ship to a roid that was on the only path between where I was getting attacked and the star. The AI had chosen to ignore the colony ship and go straight for my terran world. from here on, it kept reinforcing the ships at this terran world.
So my capitals finally get there and now I have a fight on my hands. Also, at some point I started being attacked on the other front! And to top it off, I had taken a volcanic next to the pirate base, but the AI didn't care, it just sent a capital and a small force of frigates right through to the planet. So now I'm being attacked on 3 fronts: 1 completely undefended volcanic, 1 ice defended by a handful of corvettes, and 1 terran defended by capitals.
By this point, my trade lines are turning a good profit, I have repair bays, and I had thrown down for starbases (to put a wall up against this onslaught). But the fight with my capitals arent looking so good: The AI brought a progenitor and drone hosts. Their corvettes have given way to flak and disciples (I realized this was because I had been pushing a lot of corvettes out to fill in the fleet gap that clearly existed). I drop a starbase on the roid between the terran an the star and one on the ice world where im getting beat badly with only corvettes to defend. The difficult part at this point is that my inner worlds are filled with trade ports and research stations and the worlds being attacked cant get construction yards built because i keep getting my constructor sniped. I end up at one point building a ton of corvettes at my homeworld and then sending them to the ice world since otherwise, I couldn't support that planet
The trade ports finally bear fruit as I'm able to research illuminators and several fleet upgrades; I'm looking to build a titan now. The AI seems to sense a change in the momentum coming and redirects the forces that were bombing my volcanic to the terran world assault.... which now has alot of drone hosts with bombers. my capitals are forced to retreat to the roid with the starbase and now theres repair bays. im force to just eat the bombing for awhile while i repair my capitals and provide frigates for them as well. ice world is just a big brawl all day. I fought hard to establish a construction yard and a starbase and repair bays, and they keep coming back with more and more. nearly killed off my starbase with an absolutely huge number of bombers. I only survived because I built loads of disciples and defense vessels for the first time and sent them after the drone hosts. I swear, I built 20 repair bays on that world, as they kept getting destroyed, and they had to be rebuilt. But winning this battle was the end of all attacks on this front, I killed everything it threw at me and now had enough of a defense to withstand anything his fleet could muster, and had proven it.
so, now I have illuminators to counter the disciples, disciples to take out the drone hosts, defense vessels to mitigate as much of the strikecraft as i can, and my 2 capitals to counter the 2 capitals the AI now has all attacking my terran world, I have enough to go in there and take out the fleet. Also, since the roid is between the terran and the star.... he's trapped. I go there and just lay waste to him. I really could have gone sooner, but between the care needed at the ice world and the massive swarm of bombers, not to mention that my 1 capital ship is a flagship and so I cant risk losing it... it didnt happen sooner. Well, he did manage to take out the terran world before I chased him off.... into my starbase roid. At this point, I've clearly destroyed his fleet and so I push on hard.... and get my titan up to make everything else smooth sailin'.
I didnt realize he had left a single disciple behind that ran off in other directions... the freaking thing was jumping from planet to planet taking out trade drones! It seems like it was looking for the biggest concentration of trade drones and the lowest concentration of turrets! on the new front on the other side of the star, first up is a roid which poses no threat at all, but the second planet... it looks like the AI is stocking homing mines now, which is destroying all my corvettes quickly and efficiently. I send my titan into the field in an attempt to save some of them.... It works, but now my titan has no shields . Well, I have a huge fleet, and all that's left there is a starbase with no upgrade. I realize my fleet is marching ahead without anything to colonize the worlds I raze.... oops, dont want to fall for the same trap I just did to the AI a paragraph ago...
Well, that's how things stood as of last night. It was getting late and didn't think it would be such a great matchup. I'm winning easily at this point, but I feel like I earned it. Looking at the post game stats after I quit for the night, it might have a few suprises left for me as it appears I only very recently took the ship count lead, so maybe he's gathering his fleet for the final battle? maybe he has a titan? maybe I'll see a DE assault? maybe he's teched wail and I'm about to get a DirtySanchez?
TLDR/Summary of good things the AI did:
- launched first attack when I was most vulnerable. didn't really see fleet composition before this point either.
- debatable, but passed a colony ship to hit a better target. could have taken out colony, but would have shown hand.
- After drawing my forces to a particular location, opened 2 additional fronts. because of the funds it had available, none of these were push over fleets (though they didn't always have a capital ship, they all at some point had 1)
- Actually countered my corvettes by supplying more flak and pushed drone hosts with bombers to the front with capitals
- construction platforms were prioritized, constructors even more so. found it difficult to build the ships I needed and could afford quickly enough and get them to the front
- it realized I would soon have the resources to match his fleet, so it abandoned 1 front to reinforce another and quickly tried to finish off my planet before that happened
- it threw bombers at the starbase and forced me to counter it's fleet to survive. this was an 'all-in' attack. It got sooo close to winning that world but because I countered it, I won. This is good. The AI should force you to be a better player.
- was dumb enough to get trapped, persistent enough to take out my terran planet, prescient enough to get as many forces there ahead of the trap as possible
- gorilla-warfare style attack on my tradeships with a single disciple in my core planets
- knows its beat and so does things like stock homing mines in an attempt to whittle down the forces on the way toward it's homeworld.