Feature Request- no more AI benefits. I.e., No, really, what are the A.I. benefits?

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No the OP is right. They are just asking for a option to give the AI no bonuses and they should not need to depends on a mod when it could just be a feature for the game. Even though I would not use it and maybe most of us, if they want to use it let them use it. Though I would like to see more general AI improvements along side that option.
 
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No the OP is right. They are just asking for a option to give the AI no bonuses and they should not need to depends on a mod when it could just be a feature for the game. Even though I would not use it and maybe most of us, if they want to use it let them use it. Though I would like to see more general AI improvements along side that option.

From the table that Jordi shared, "Very Easy" is that option.

But here's the thing. Improving the AI will just result in removing the discounts that the AI gets on higher levels. We've seen this in previous patches where AI economy improvements have reduced their need for discounted unit upkeep etc.

This is undoubtedly a good thing, but I don't think it actually changes gameplay as much as we'd think. You'd need to improve the AI *past* the point of needing discounts, otherwise any AI improvements (with accompanying removal of discounts) will just bring us back to a point of equilibrium (which again, might not actually change the gameplay effects that the player sees).

Basically, even in a world where the AI didn't receive discounts, some players will still accuse them of cheating anyway because the *gameplay effect* might still feel like their cheating. Hell, we see this happen all the time when players claim that the AI spawns units "out of nowhere", not realising that mechanics like Rally of the Lieges and empire skill tree perks are what enables this.
 
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From the table that Jordi shared, "Very Easy" is that option.
Actually. . . the table still shows Very Easy getting some bonuses. Not much, and I certainly don't care, but a no bonus purist WILL care that the Very Easy AI gets extra Souls, Free Seafaring, and a reduction needed for population growth. That is not no bonuses.

Personally I really would like more difficulty settings to adjust as the player. I like the AI getting the plus gold, reduced research costs, and stuff, but the free T3, 3 free ranks, and Starting at Tier 2 city tend to make me really f'ing hate the early game even if they need the other bonuses by mid to late game. The Free Seafaring . . . I imagine is because the AI isn't smart enough to actually take it in the Empire tree when they need it, but still it leads to the AI annoying forward settling on islands and such well before you have seafaring to counter. I don't mind it being free so much as getting it early. Basically I just don't enjoy early game bum rushes but the Very Hard bonuses heavily push that type of gameplay. I would like to personally nuke those while stepping up the Gold/Mana/Knowledge stuff even beyond Very Hard in an attempt to help the AI keep up. Also would be nice if bonus ranks rather than just being there at the start slowly amped up so they get +0 or +1 early game but +3 or even +4 in the lategame. Instead they have the Civ deity issue where if you manage to survive the early game and get to the point where the AI can't keep up it is just pressing end turn until you win. The AI needs better ways to keep up, not super strong starting armies to wipe you out before you can get going. That is just not fun.

Hell, we see this happen all the time when players claim that the AI spawns units "out of nowhere", not realising that mechanics like Rally of the Lieges and empire skill tree perks are what enables this.
I don't think it is the empire skill perks or the Rally that is purely responsible for this. Those armies are generally recognizable(less so with Rally) and quite limited in use. No I think the one that gets people if they are sieging Throne Cities late game is the Teleportation Circle structure. I don't think many players use it, unlike Rally and the Empire Skill Tree, and that is basically 1 free army back to the throne city per turn. Not sure if the AI would have enough for two, but even just 1 will make it look like 1 army stack is magically appearing per turn. So with that spell/structure you basically have to go through their entire army list before armies stop 'spawning'. And with the AI bonuses. . . that can be a LOT of stacks. Combine that with Hero Recruitment and the two you mention and it really does feel like infinite armies, but I think the real culprit is teleportation circle since Rally and Empire skill perks are very limited and to a degree easily recognizable in comparison to teleportation circle magically brining one of their stacks to their throne every turn.

Edit- there is also mass recall, but that requires a specific tome and is nearest city so is less likely I think to cause people to think the armies are being 'generated' than a stack all the way across the map being relocated would.
 
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No the OP is right. They are just asking for a option to give the AI no bonuses and they should not need to depends on a mod when it could just be a feature for the game. Even though I would not use it and maybe most of us, if they want to use it let them use it. Though I would like to see more general AI improvements along side that option.

You can't add an option for everything one or two players might want. That leads to an absolute maze of game options which players can't even get through.

Not to mention that if you add a 'no bonuses' option, a ton of people would select it, expecting the challenge they get from Normal difficulty, and not understand why the AI isn't performing well at all. Thus, contrary to what your expectations might be, adding this option would make the average player's experience worse.
 
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You can't add an option for everything one or two players might want. That leads to an absolute maze of game options which players can't even get through.

Not to mention that if you add a 'no bonuses' option, a ton of people would select it, expecting the challenge they get from Normal difficulty, and not understand why the AI isn't performing well at all. Thus, contrary to what your expectations might be, adding this option would make the average player's experience worse.
What. . . type of person expects no bonuses to be normal difficulty? No or few bonuses for either side is usually one of the easier difficulties meant for people new to the game and/or genre. So easy being for people new to the game and/or genre and very easy and below difficulties for people who just want to basically experience story mode with no to minimal challenge. Hard is for those experienced with the genre or game and very hard and above difficulties being for folks who want a 'true' challenge.

Note that this is regardless of difficulty names. Civ for example has no difficulty called normal, but it still follows the basic expectation. They don't have a no bonus for either side(player gets a minor exp/combat bonus and the AI suffers a slight disadvantage in combat) but Warlord has no AI bonuses and is definitely an EASY difficulty. Prince the default or normal difficulty has several AI bonuses, mostly economic bonuses since combat bonuses are mostly reserved for higher difficulties. Anyways my point here is that in most games I have played Normal is NOT a no bonus for AI mode. Not unless it is a rather casual game in general.
 
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From the table that Jordi shared, "Very Easy" is that option.

But here's the thing. Improving the AI will just result in removing the discounts that the AI gets on higher levels. We've seen this in previous patches where AI economy improvements have reduced their need for discounted unit upkeep etc.

This is undoubtedly a good thing, but I don't think it actually changes gameplay as much as we'd think. You'd need to improve the AI *past* the point of needing discounts, otherwise any AI improvements (with accompanying removal of discounts) will just bring us back to a point of equilibrium (which again, might not actually change the gameplay effects that the player sees).

Basically, even in a world where the AI didn't receive discounts, some players will still accuse them of cheating anyway because the *gameplay effect* might still feel like their cheating. Hell, we see this happen all the time when players claim that the AI spawns units "out of nowhere", not realising that mechanics like Rally of the Lieges and empire skill tree perks are what enables this.

It kind of funny you brought that last part up because it's very true. I don't remember the game's name nor did I play it, but one game one of my friends got had a outstanding AI that 100% did not cheat. He was super happy. Then people left reviews that where more casual we will say and complained that it "cheated" and they ended up making the AI actually play worse. The thing is a lower difficulty then normal was in the game and no one should feel bad if they need to play on that difficulty. But it beyond silly to complain about a AI that is actually good.

I think the thing is people generally expect a normal difficulty to be well...normal. As in that is the default difficulty no bonuses setting. It a pretty standard expectation. Anything below that should generally buff the player or nerf the AI and anything above it should to the opposite. At the moment that is very much not really the case. Though again before they even do all this, like I said in both my post here, there should be some work done to improve the AI in some areas where simply economy bonus will not fix and that the decision making process for the AI.
 
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What. . . type of person expects no bonuses to be normal difficulty?

Every single casual player out there. Unlike most of the people who'll visit a forum, casual players don't think about how difficult it is to make an AI, and will assume that the AI is as good as an average human player unless explicitly told otherwise. Or they might even assume that there are no bonuses and penalties in play at all, and the difference in AI difficulty is simply in the tactics it uses and does not use.
 
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What. . . type of person expects no bonuses to be normal difficulty?
People who play Paradox's RTWP grand strategy titles.

"Normal" in EU4 or CK3 literally means "no economic bonuses for anyone".
 
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