I've seen a lot of misconceptions here and elsewhere about what advantages the AI gets over the player (besides the ones rolled into 'Bonuses' and 'Lucky Nations', which are explained through tooltips in the game options menu), so I thought I'd make a post and clear up in which exact ways the AI 'cheats'. Some of these cheats are crutches that it is my goal to eliminate, while others are more or less necessary for gameplay or performance reasons (for instance the +1 diplomat is necessary because the AI only handles diplomacy about once a month and therefore can't do the cancel diplomat, use diplomat, resend diplomat thing players do).
First, let me dispel some common misconceptions:
- The AI does not cheat with dice rolls, not even Lucky Nations. If you believe this to be the case, you are experiencing confirmation bias (ie you notice the times it rolls well a lot more than you notice the times you yourself do).
- The AI does not cheat with land attrition. No, really. Not even a little bit.
- The AI does not get extra manpower or free units.
- The AI does not cheat with sieges.
Now, a list of how it actually cheats:
- AI does not get naval attrition. It does avoid going too far out of range with most of its naval operations though, to somewhat simulate it.
- AI can see through fog of war, but pretends it can't in most cases.
- AI gets +1 diplomat that it reserves for non-maintained actions because the diplomatic AI 'ticks' means that it can't do the recall-send strategy that players do with maintained diplomats.
- AI gets +1 free leader pool because it's not nearly as good as a human at planning out when it will need leaders and needs to keep them on hand always.
- AI does not pay hiring costs for advisors, only maintenance, because their hiring code isn't that good and otherwise they waste a lot of money.
- AI can reassign admirals to a fleet that is at sea.
- AI gets slightly fewer revolts in its home owner area (the provinces connected to its capital).
- AI gets less native uprisings, because it is less than optimal at keeping its colonies garrisoned.
Finally, for the sake of fairness, here is how the human cheats:
- AI is willing to use up its last diplorelation for a human (it reserves one for humans so you're not always getting 'can't afford another relation').
- Humans cannot get inherited by other countries, in a PU or elsewise.
- Humans cannot be replaced as warleader in a war unless they are a vassal.
- Humans can save and reload when things go badly (unless you're playing ironman).
- Humans have a human brain.
On balance, AI isn't that big a cheater is it?