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Is Civ 6 Tactical AI the worst in the series?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Askia Muhammad, Sep 4, 2020.

  1. Askia Muhammad

    Askia Muhammad Chieftain

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    I've been playing Civ 6 since release and one thing has remained the same ever since: the combat AI is terrible. They will move units away from cities they can capture, they don't commit more troops after a first wave, they have poor unit placement.... I could go on and on. Do you guys think the tactical combat AI might be the worst of the entire series?

    I really hope after the NFP is concluded they release the DLL so modders can make the AI serviceable.
     
  2. salty mud

    salty mud Deity

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    Well I've seen cities change hands regularly in Civ VI, and even entire civs be wiped out with no assistance from me. Compared to the handful of times I've seen AI take cities in Civ V throughout my entire Civ V playthroughs; Vox Populi included. So for me at least, Civ VI isn't bottom. It's not great; there's a lot of musical chairs and questionable movement choices, but it sometimes manages.

    The latest patch does seem to have made some decent AI improvements as well, so hopefully Firaxis are finally taking it seriously.
     
  3. Sostratus

    Sostratus Deity

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    I don’t think the AI is “braindead” tactically. It’s not the greatest economic manager, but you can watch it pull off things like moving a group of melee ranged and siege units to a city and taking it.
    The real issue IMO is that they don’t seem to keep building units during a war. People would lose a lot more on deity if this was the case.
     
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  4. JesseS

    JesseS Warlord

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    After a few spectator play throughs, I’m pretty convinced that the AI’s issues these days stem more from strategy than tactics. They’re now pretty capable of focus firing and managing one battlefield. Far from amazing, but competent enough. Taken turn by turn, each individual AI unit tends to attack in about the way it should. I probably lose about 3x as many units in war as I used to a year ago because of this.

    Where the AI falls apart is strategic management of units. Even in a war, they’ll only have a limited amount of their army at the front (maybe 4-7 units). Extra units seem to be set on garrison duty, milling around. Because of this, the AI doesn’t cycle through and protect wounded units like a decent human player does. They’re bad at assessing when a neighbor is a weak target, or understanding how to focus on taking over someone one city at a time. While they tend to build plenty of units (arguably more than they should in some instances—I’ve seen the AI spend 20 turns on AT crew armies while nearing the late game space race), they don’t coordinate units built during war particularly well.
     
  5. Haig

    Haig Deity

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    Unmodded civ5 and civ3 have worse ai, and the combat has been imöroved patch by patch.

    It gives enough challenge, but problems arise if there are tight bottlenecks.
     
    cylenalag likes this.
  6. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    The AI for some reason backs off when it can make a kill; they could have taken a city back with galleys but didn't do it.
     
  7. Stilgar08

    Stilgar08 Emperor

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    Short answer: Nope
    That being said it's not brilliant either. But it has never been...
    And it got better. Too little and too slow, but still...
     
  8. onepurpose

    onepurpose Chieftain

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    Is Civ 6 Tactical AI the worst in the series?

    Is this a rethorical question?

    (I know.. a rethorical question to answer another rethorical question…)
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  9. Oberinspektor Derrick

    Oberinspektor Derrick Warlord

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    What annoys me with civ 6 (which relates to the AI waging war) is not necessarily that it's always bad at warfare in general, but that walls and city combat strength scaling in particular punish the civ 6 AI way too much.
    As long as a city has walls, the AI doesn't seem capable of handling a well defended city.
    The AI is pretty good at rushing down a city (it has enough units and will generally mass them close before DOW), but once walls (and a decently scaling city combat strength from a high tech unit) comes online, the AI can waste nearly its entire army through mindless suiciding right into the walls.
    The end result is that I tend to never see any massive runaway domination civs like in civ 5, as the AI generally only manages to take a city or two (mostly those who have no walls, or where the target was far behind in unit tech, causing low city strength) before their advance stops.
    Worse still, it can quickly lose the occupied city to loyalty pressure, negating any gains made and as such making a runaway domination AI very unlikely.

    This is an issue I have with walls in general though, as once the game hits about the medieval era, even a human advance is very significantly slowed through walls and high city strength.
    This lasts usually until the industrial age and flight, where I as a human player have balloons and later bombers to start blitzing again.
    As a human player, I know full well how impregnable some cities are when all you have are a few catapults/bombards and a handful of units, and taking a well defended city can often take a lot of setup (moving in multiple catapults at a time for instance).
    Sometimes I realize that I just have to give up on attacking the target alltogether because I won't break the city given my current tech level, causing a stalemate.
    The AI doesn't realize this and keeps wasting his army, even though its handling of units is otherwise ok.
    Anyhow, since the AI is neither adept at choosing to attack undefended cities (and target cities generally having walls after a point) nor using balloons/bombers later on, it hurts the AI disproportionally.

    Personally I think the AI would be much more of a threat if walls were toned down significantly.
    I want to see a runaway domination AI, but as of now I can't really recall the last time I saw one in civ 6.
    The only runaway civs I usually see are peaceful science/culture runaway AIs, which is becoming boring.
     
  10. Prester John 2

    Prester John 2 Chieftain

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    I concur that one a tactic level the AI is not so bad anymore. But they fail at strategy, against walls and in the late game. As warfare gets more complex - planning a war, producing enough and the right units, bringing allies, befriending the right CS and exploiting emergencies - AI is doing far worse than human players. They also tend to have less units in the late game. Either they suicide them in fruitless wars or they don't build the appropriate counter units. I also think that AI should plunder more and send the appropriate units.
     
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  11. Mahi

    Mahi Prince

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    Main reasons why the AI is bad in Civ 6 are (already mentioned above):

    1. Not cycling wounded units with fresh ones. It's either kill or be killed for the AI's front.
    2. Walls and City defense are OP against the AI
     
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  12. kryat

    kryat King

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    Prior to civ 5, I’m not sure it’s fair to say there were any tactics involved in combat, at least not on the same scale, simply because there wasn’t much room for tactical play. Strategy, sure, but individual battles did not have enough variables to allow tactics. That’s why 1UPT is different.

    Since launch, I would say both AI tactics and strategy have improved. In a recent game, I saw the AI bring 4 melee, 3 ranged, and 2 bombard units to take a walled city. That’s a pretty good unit mix that most players might struggle against without proper fortifications. I also see them regularly set up for siege these days.

    I don’t see them spamming anti-cav as much as they used to late game. If anything, now there’s an abundance of coursers and cavalry milling about, instead of AT units. They’re still relatively helpless against air though, and not particularly wise at sea.

    From my own observations, in my own subjective opinion, here’s how I’d rank it on different activities:

    Building an invasion army: 8/10
    Conducting an invasion: 7/10
    Sustaining an invasion: 3/10

    Not making dumb sacrifices: 8/10

    Defending territory: 4/10-6/10, depending on how off-guard you catch them

    Off-landmass invasion: 3/10, but it depends on the leader. I’ve seen Kupe storm for a beachhead.
    Off-landmass harassment: 4/10
    Naval consolidation: 5/10
    Naval raider defense: 4/10

    Air support: 0/10
     
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  13. Lord Lakely

    Lord Lakely Idea Fountain

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    Civ 6's problem is that it's a harder game for an AI to play. The AI itself is better at using complex strategies than Civ 5's was
     
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  14. Oberinspektor Derrick

    Oberinspektor Derrick Warlord

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    I disagree kind of. I cant really recall any major tactical differences from the AI when storming a city in civ 5, and if anything I'f say the AI is slightly better in combat now (like some poster above explained, the AI has a better unit mix now and attacks well enough). They do however fail at taking walled cities, something which didn't happen in civ 5. Having at least one runaway domination civ every game was common back then, but now it doesnt happen anymore.
     
  15. oSiyeza

    oSiyeza Prince

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    In my opinion, while flawed, Civ VI has the best tactical AI in the series.

    I think the main problem is that game mechanics (mainly the city defense system) and the bad strategical and long term planning of the AI; cripple any chance of it making meaningful military progress.

    And the reason may be related to the constant addition of new mechanics, the intentional effort to not frustrate the players, an overall will to design peaceful moddern progressive leaders, lack of care and resources from Fxs, or a combination of those reasons.

    Whatever the reason, after 4 years of post-launch support, an AI that is not capable of ever winning domination even if left alone (the first time this happened in the series) is kind of an insult to all the players.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
  16. AntSou

    AntSou Emperor

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    If AI just kept spamming units like barbarian lunatics to push the advantage, combat would be (mostly) fine.

    AI should also focus on pillaging rather than taking cities when walled. Force human player to concede luxuries, gold, etc, in exchange for peace.

    At present the AI doesn't seem to focus enough on military units after declaring war.
     
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  17. kryat

    kryat King

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    I wish I understood what governs barbarian spawn rate. I’ve had games where the camp spawns a new unit nearly every turn. Getting off the ground in those games can be... frustrating to say the least.
     
  18. TrailblazingScot

    TrailblazingScot I was kittenOFchaos

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    I think that you are spot on in your analysis. The AI use of units isn't particularly bad by the standards of this series, they simply do not build anything like enough to compensate for their losses. Unlike Civ IV, there is little attrition involved in defending against the AI and the maps rarely give the AI the room to maneuver easily. Allowing ranged attack, naval bombardment and air attack to kill units, encampments, one unit per tile and impassable tiles, the AI has a difficult task in attacking the players - or each other.

    My suggestions would be that building districts and district improvements gave units. This would be particularly helpful in terms of the AI having air units. The AI should up unit production generally, and particularly during war. This would also give the benefit that the player can have more wonders on higher difficulty levels. Finally, bombardment shouldn't be able to kill units (artillery couldn't kill in SMAC) - it is just too devastating - add to that the fact that you get era points from killing units with air units.
     
  19. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    The tactical AI in Civ VI seems comparable to that in Civ V. (I wouldn't be surprised if they used many of the same algorithms.)

    Comparing it to earlier versions with stacks of units is a false comparison, as the two systems make completely different demands on the AI.
     
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  20. Linklite

    Linklite Prince

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    Not sure I can agree with that. A while ago, I invaded the US (Earth TSL) with a pair of aircraft carriers fully loaded with bombers. They sent out fighters which played havoc with my bombers, taking a few out. I learned that fighters can also take out bombers still on board a carrier the hard way.

    Of course, the reason why I sent two carriers full of bombers with no fighter escort in the first place was because I'd never come across AIs that have built fighters and used them to defend themselves, so certainly not deserving a high score, but slightly higher than 0 I think.
     

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