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BtS Difficulty Levels: Players' Impressions?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Antilogic, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    To all the BtS players out there, who wouldn't mind sharing with a deprived Civ player: Have you noticed the difference in the difficulty levels? I saw some posts that say the AI researched slower, and that it was more manageable on Monarch difficulty. So, I've worked together a rough list of questions about the difficulty levels, and whatever light you guys could shine would be appreciated:

    Are the AIs smarter when deploying their troops?
    Do they use their navies more effectively? Do they try to blockade you?
    Do they fight more wars against each other? Especially the big warmongers?
    If you have played a couple difficulty levels, does the computer ramp up in intelligence or bonuses (like before)?
    By how much have the maintenance costs and other "fudge" factors like that been changed?
    If you were typically vastly outgunned before in numbers, do the armies seem more balanced in size now between you and the AIs?
    If you had difficulty keeping up in the graphs before, is it easier or harder now on the same difficulty level?
    Have you found any spies from the AI? How much do they spy on you?
    Does it really feel like you are playing another human and not some cheating computer that gets free stuff at the start of the game?
     
  2. Lapoleon

    Lapoleon Chieftain

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    I've been playing the WW2 scenario as England on Monarch which is my usual level. But I've been struggling to make any headway against the Germans. This is partly because of the scenario itself as Germany is supposed to be strong. But also partly because tha AI responds well to the situation. I was a bit overconfident and I tried an invasion of Italy before the Sovjet-Union had joined the war and just after France had collapsed. I sent about 4 transports full of infantry, artillery and tanks to southern Italy and managed to capture to cities. Two turns later the entire German army showed up capturing both cities in one turn and destroying my entire Meditaranean fleet.
    The AI also is very effective at using his armies, after German had conquered the Benelux, they sent one stack of tanks to attack from the north, and one from the south, making it impossible to concentrate the defense. So as far as I'm concerned, good job Blake :goodjob:
     
  3. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    Sounds awesome--they actually fought on two fronts simultaneously? That is a massive improvement over the Warlords AI. Can you get a good idea of the AI's research habits and spying habits from that scenario?
     
  4. Lapoleon

    Lapoleon Chieftain

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    I don't think it's totally representative for the normal game. Because there are permanent alliances popping up all the time research is a bit of a mess. What is interesting is that permanent alliances share their Espionage Points, because after the war started and the allies were officialy formed, I could suddenly see what a lot of people were researching.
    This showed a difference between the AI and me, as I spend everything on Germany and Italy, while they divided everything more or less equally. Which doesn´t make sense as it is clear who the greatest threat is.
    Another thing I noticed was that Norway was spying on Sweden a lot, because I could actually see their cities (in the same way as religion worked in Vanilla). So I think the AI tends to spend more on neighbours, which makes sense, especially in the normal game.
    There were also lots of spies running around, but I haven't seen them actually doing anything, accept getting caught by counterespionage.
     
  5. allansm

    allansm Chieftain

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    The AI's spy a lot more then I do. Now a spy can get caught just being on enemy's territory, it doesn't have to fail on a mission for that to happen. Even friendly AI's spy you (I know this because Me and Kublai Khan were alone on a continent and a spy get caught in my territory, it could only be his. He was friendly with me ate the time).

    The AI's research a lot slower. I'm playing a Continents game as Pericles of Greece and have the tech lead at 1496 (Noble level). A lot of AI's don't have feudalism yet, I am currently researching education (Printing Press, Engineering, Astronomy, Nationalism, Economics and Divine Right are the other techs I can research). It probably happens because the AI's occupy the empty lands faster then they did on Warlords, so the maintenance kills them. I'm playing with low sea level and huge size, so there's a lot of land available.

    In the two games I've played (still have to finish them), the AI's fought against each other a lot of times. And they keep on asking me to join the war. In my last game with a lot of people with different religions, there was tree wars before the renaissance era. Although the AI's are more aggressive towards each other, they seem to be more friendly to the human player. Something that I liked is that giving help or a tribute to other civs results in a 10 turns peace treaty.
     
  6. colony

    colony Slow Typer

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    I haven't got it yet so can't really anwer any of the questions, but someone posted the handicap info file in this thread. The main things that stood out to me was the AI no longer getting a free Worker until Immortal, and much higher upgrade costs, now 50% on Prince/Monarch/Emperor instead of 25/20/15% in Warlords if I've read it correctly. There's also a slightly reduced chance for animals to attack, as well as more changes that I probably missed too.

    Hopefully this won't just mean you get double the number of penalties for not wanting to go to war every time some AI decides to declare on someone on the other end of the continent:sad:
    Might take a while for me to get used to this one:)

    Edit: At least it sound like the AIs won't be as passive any more, but did they actually take any cities off each other?
     
  7. allansm

    allansm Chieftain

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    They did take cities off each other, but not on every war that happened. I haven't played enough to say if the AI's are better on war against each other than they were before. But they are, for sure, more aggressive towards each other. Some wars even happened before the AD's.
     
  8. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    That's nice to hear. I always thought it was intensely frustrating when the AI would march all the way across the map to attack me (at pleased) when they would have an easier target (at cautious/annoyed) right next door!!!
     
  9. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    I looked at the Handicap XML files, and am currently in the process of decipering it. I don't know what "free units" are, but its marked as 6 at Prince, and goes down to 4 on Monarch. Is that free unit upkeep for the player civilization?

    I just need to figure out what all these tags are, then it'll be easy to figure out what's what. Research percent is especially confusing: it increases as difficulty level increases...is that the AI's research bonus, or your own? Or the percentage increase in the cost of technologies?
     
  10. Nikis-Knight

    Nikis-Knight Deity

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    I recently saw Julius nearly wipe out Pericles using a large number of tactical nukes (and some conventional troops, of course.)
     
  11. Jaybe

    Jaybe civus fanaticus Supporter

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    I noticed how the AI advantage re barbs is reduced: from animals/barbs of -70/-40 to 40/25 (note that positive/negative signs have also been reversed).
     
  12. colony

    colony Slow Typer

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    I'm fairly sure it is.
    I think the Research Percent is a cost factor for the human player compared to Noble level, but I don't know if the AI discounts are applied to that new figure or the cost of a tech on Noble. I'd guess it was the 2nd option. The free units the AI gets are given in iAiStarting[unit type]. I don't know what the Starting Unit Multiplier does at all though.

    It does sound promising that the AI can take cities (seemingly) more often, and I hope it means it's more common to see much larger AI civs occasionally
     
  13. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    I think that's how many times you multiply the numbers below for the actual number of starting workers and defense units, stuff like that. It's like they give you a ratio, and then you have to adjust it. Best guess from me, at least.

    I'm trying to find the differences between Prince and Monarch. I'm confident enough to take Prince, but if there isn't much of a difference, I may not be kicked down from Monarch. The real key, though, are not the numbers in these tables but how the AI actually performs. That's why I want to get as many opinions from those fortunate enough to have BtS as possible.

    On a side note, what are the differences between the things like iAIConstructPercent and iAIWorldConstructPercent?
     
  14. colony

    colony Slow Typer

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    Sounds sensible, I assume there's a lit of what everything means somewhere, but it's late and I'm tired
    Yeah, if the AIs improved as much from the last BetterAI build as that did from the original 2.08 AI then I imagine the difficulties will still feel similar, and may be slightly harder than before. I'm tempted to make my first game an Archi. map, probably on Monarch, so that hopefully I can see some of the late game stuff while it's still competitive, but without quite as much pressure as an Emperor game, which I find very challenging even without learning how to use all this new stuff.
    Haven't got a clue I'm afraid
     
  15. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    The value of the units free of upkeep is equal to the number mentioned in the handicap file + 4 (the 4 is from a variable in the global defines xml-file). I agree with colony on the meaning of the technology modifier. The Worldconstruct thing it the modifier for building world wonders. The AI gets a bonus on building normal buildings but not for building world wonders.

    Most AI-modifiers are modifiers based on the value that the human uses at noble level.

    I took a quick look at the new handicap files. It seems that the growth rate has gone down about one difficulty level. (that is city growth). The bonuses that the AI gets against barbs and animals is reduced and it gets FAR smaller discounts on unit upgrades and unit supply costs (the extra costs of supplying an army outside your borders). Also the AI reduction in war weariness is lessened. On the higher difficulty levels the AI gets one bonus worker less than they used to. That's about it.

    The effect is that war against the AI will feel somewhat more realistic on the higher levels. It will cost the AI significant amounts of money to upgrade its army and to maintain an army in foreign territory. And the AI can't just lose massive amounts of units without suffering war weariness. The other bonus reductions will weaken the AI in general (at a certain level). The reduction in bonuses against the barbarians and animals will mean that the AI will not just automatically win these battles. The most significant reduction in bonuses is at the higher levels as at these levels the upgrade bonuses and war weariness reduction was the most significant in Warlords.

    The improved AI should compensate for the lack of handicap bonuses. It will feel more realistic to compete with the AI.
     
  16. Gaius Octavius

    Gaius Octavius Deity

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    Tactical nukes? REALLY? :cool: Not ICBMs? That's good news. So there is actually a point in building them after all. :thumbsup:
     
  17. Nikis-Knight

    Nikis-Knight Deity

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    Actually, in that game Rome was a power to well rival mine, and they had started a spaceship and I had not ('cause it's a sissy way to win;)). So I reasoned that if I didn't want them ending my game, I had to take out their capital just a few turns after they launched it. But their capital was a bit inland, though about 5 tiles from an antartic sea, which was sealed off to me by ice.
    I tried for a moment to build a fort in Pericles' land , which would have enabled my ships to pass through, but that area was soon taken over by Julius tactical nuke fueled army. So I loaded tactical nukes onto my subs, which could travel under the ice. I was going to try to nuke his capital, then blitz in some tanks from the other coast.
    Too bad for me he declared war on me first. I think I just nuked him and quit. Most of the tactical nukes made it, but the ICBM's tended to be shot down.

    So, to make a long story short, Tactical Nukes can be fun. And some AI leaders have no moral qualms about using them.
     
  18. DrewBledsoe

    DrewBledsoe Veteran QB

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    I changed just about everyting in Warlords, and most of the tags are the same, so any you haven't had explained by anyone else just ask away and I'll explain
     
  19. Gaius Octavius

    Gaius Octavius Deity

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    So SDI does not intercept tactical nukes as well as ICBMs? Very good.
     
  20. Jaybe

    Jaybe civus fanaticus Supporter

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    TacNukes have a 50% evasion factor, Gaius (per the pedia screen posted somewhere).
     

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