Even with 2.0 it’s really easy to exploit the AI diplomatically. I’ve provided a bunch of posts/save games about this in the past, so no need to repeat, but as always I'll provide a save game from 2.0 if required.
Now obviously Brad could code the AI to follow these exploits. But it's against a human. Consider:
Unfortunately these are the sorts of deals the AI accepts right now … all the time. I’m struggling to “see” the improvements in the AI in 2.0, all the efforts made, when I see this sort of AI silliness in-game.
I’m very happy to play with Alliance Victories off, but playing without diplomacy entirely (which seems the only way to avoid this) really isn’t any fun, and I tend to switch off from the game at that point. It’s 4X so some exploitation is all good and well, but this is excessively OP.
In short, what I’m still suggesting is changes to limit the player’s ability to excessively exploit the AI diplomatically. This is the Number 1 thing I’d like to see in Crusade beyond what has been posted in recent Dev Diaries.
And if the intent is not to close some of this in Crusade, I'm interested in the logic behind that. Is it because the focus is beginners, who are in need of diplomacy exploitation to help them keep up with the AI?
Also I wanted to reinforce the AI observations from rog214 in this post, if not reviewed already, it's recommended.
Sounds like you just don't want trading...
Unless they can properly balance techs, your either going to get a lot of money or smaller techs. Because just as you say, "Would you give the AI awesome technologies just to get a bunch of weak ones in return" your not going to give a more powerful tech for a weaker one, and the AI apparently won't give a more powerful tech for a weaker one, so who blinks first?
Over at the thread showcasing the Crusade I made a post or two regarding a fundamental change in diplomacy. We need different levers or ones that work indirectly. Ones like using Pirates as go between to cause havoc/mayhem upon another ai/player. I make a deal with the Iridium to hire pirates to raid/interdict the trade/food routes of the Yor or Altarians. This 3rd party manipulation would be great but I doubt it would be easy to code/write.
Ideally it would be nice if you gave the core races specific goals or at least weighted it to favor those goals and played to achieve them. Malevolent favoring races would favor trades and goals that help conquest. Neutral/Pragmatic would favor influence and using 3rd parties to cause mayhem and manipulate others. Benevolent favoring races would pursue a diplomatic win. By the way, can the ai ever win with a diplomatic victory or an ascension one?
Another thing is to have the ai value everything it has more. It needs to value time. If you offer it 3 'crappy' techs but cumulatively it would take the ai to get all 3 say 15 turns, then exchanging those three for one that would take you 5 turns to get would work. (3 to 1). Its just a thought.
Going to the goal oriented ai...
Drengin they would be coded to heavily favor conquest. As such all conquest oriented techs are prioritized and of higher value to him. He is very unlikely to give you tech that reduces the size of missiles by 20%. Instead he is happy to offer you farming tech! Now the big question Ice, is would this be better? I know we are getting game changing game mechanics and I'd like to see how it works and see if some of the comments that Brad makes about slowing/stopping the abuse of the player against the ai pan out.
Meh, I am rambling again. Nice to see you again Icemania. You did great work on Distant Worlds.
One thing I will add is the game still needs to have a fun factor. We play it to have fun and hundreds of hours of my time is happily wasted! I'd like it harder to abuse the ai but it would not be fun if you made it 'impossible' or near so. If the amount of willingness to do trades was able to be tied to difficulty that would help I suppose.
I would never give an ai 3000 credits to go to war I can't afford that. Haven't done much tech trading in three, but in two the ai would value certain techs where they really didn't want to trade them.
No. As I said I definitely want trading just not so much OP.
Some cool stuff there, more informative diplomacy, but does it actually deal with these issues?
Most of them yeah. Feel free to post if you think it does not or something needs tweaking
Some good thoughts there Larsenex. I certainly agree we should be able to exploit, but just to a reasonable extent. That's why I tend to switch off when trying to avoid diplomacy.
There are highly inelegent fixes that could made quickly for some of these. For example, to get an AI to declare war, increase the cost by an order of magnitude. Or decrease the cash the AI prepared to give Free Trade Agreement by an order of magnitude.
The key though is giving the AI the ability to better evaluate the benefit of a trade. A goal orientation as you've said makes sense here. If the AI is focusing hard on missiles, why should it value beams highly? The human player can trade the AI beams, but get very little value for that trade.
We had similar issues with technology trading/selling being OP with Distant Worlds. But to get the AI to declare war on another AI was often extremely expensive, not 3000 credits or so etc. Gal Civ 3 is at another level again in terms of exploitation ... at least at the moment but I'm still hoping some cool changes are coming with Crusade.
Cool I'll check it out. If that's the case some of what you've done should be included in the base game!
Has happened elsewhere, Gal Civ 2 for example, or one I was involved in was for Stardrive 2 (not that the Mod was implemented correctly but anyway).
Same as above.
On, that no. But I've never seen it. Not for 3000.
I generally agree with you that the AI diplomacy skills are often sub-pars.
The point is that the AI will accept deals that no sensible player would on a frequent basis. The AI will accept 3,000 credits from Free Trade Agreements every time. There is no concept of value which you have when you consider a trade, or so it seems. The deals are so one-sided you can milk much more than just all the AI technologies, you can start to farm their resources etc.
I'm amazed you haven't seen the option to get the AI to declare war. Just go to the diplomacy screen for any Malevolent race. Hit Declare War. The range for me is 3,000 to about 7,000 credits. Because you can milk the AI so much, there is plenty of cash available to do this, and you can use it to turn the galaxy into total chaos, then just mop up a target of your choosing. All I can think is that you haven't got good enough relations with Malevolent races, perhaps, but this is easy to do with a bit of an early game focus on diplomacy research/buildings.
I.e, declaration of war.
I found it depends on really two factors in this order of importance:
- status of relation between the three races (you, AI-1 and AI-2. If they hate them and they love you, no matter if they're 18th and you ask them to dow the 1st, the price won't be too heavy too pay. If they hate you and they like them, it's near impossible to get them to declare war, unless you give them all your money and half your tech three.
- relative power to the other AI. the weaker they are, the more hesitant they get. I've never seen an AI be ready to declare war for something as cheap as 3-7000. More like 30 - 70 000 and/or a bunch of techs.
Yes, I can milk the AI. It's a bit unfortunate on this side because it seems to value some techs just way too much and some others just not enough. Example: you will need to give the AI *a lot* of cash and techs to get harpoon. The next missile tech? Not so much.
Right now, when valuing techs, the AI refers to its relative value, "how many reasearch point do I need to get that tech" + some techs that are harder to trade for, like terraforming and a few military techs (not all of them).
Imho, it should add to these paramaters: "What do I gain from it" and "What does he gain from it". The AI knows what kind of military techs I'm searching for because it will adapt its ships to be more resistant to my attacks. I.e., if I attack the AI a few times with missiles, he'll switch to point defense, when I come back with beams and shields, he'll switch to shields and mass drivers for some other ships.
So, knowing that I am researching missile technology, the AI should make it harder for me to gain one more tech in this field, or support tech for a weapon he has: if the AI is very advanced in beam warfare, it should make me pay for shield suppor system. If it needs missiles because the race he's at war with is using shields, than it should be able to give me more for that missile tech and less for the mass drivers he's already using.
I've done this dozens of times in many games. I've never seen the costs you mention. And I've posted a bunch of save games in the past showing examples of my experience. So it would be useful to get to the bottom of the difference in our experiences.
When I play, relations with all AI are always very positive, and basically any time after Turn 50-60, I could claim an Alliance Victory if it was turned on (Huge maps are my preference). I mainly play Godlike, so at his point in the game, I'm weaker than everybody often by a lot (at least in terms of the game's power rating). So I'm assuming as you are suggesting that those higher costs that you see come about due to not quite so positive relations. The problem is, getting those very positive relations is easy to do in every game.
Another option might be that there are major changes on this specific issue in 2.0. I've only played one quick game with 2.0, got to Turn 64 in a position to win an Alliance Victory (in a speed run so could have been done way earlier), didn't notice much of a difference in diplomacy exploitation, so I turned it off (while remaining cautiously optimistic about Crusade).
As an aside, over at eXplorminate there is mention this topic may relate to an upcoming dev diary, which I'm looking forward to reading about.
Imho, it should add to these paramaters: "What do I gain from it" and "What does he gain from it".
Losing battle with forum quoting and cannot delete
I think we have differing playstyles. First, I never played godlike. And with 2.0, I still have not finished my 1st genius (well, 2 levels above normal, can't remember the name) game.
And I usually don't aim for full diplomacy, so I don't build a ton of embassies. I play a custom race with the thalan tech tree, aim for neutral, pick the "no war for 50 turns" thing, I build xeno anthropoligical improvements and cultural centers, than I build a fleet and start defending/attacking against some AIs, one by one, or at most 2, until I am in reach of a conquest victory. That's my fun, seeing all the upgrades
I think the reason we have different experiences is you build a lot of embassies to survive in godlike, and these bonuses to diplomacy may just stack a little too much as you advance in the game. Which then makes it easy to exploit the AI. In this current game, I was at war with an AI, but that wasn't enough to make our relations move from "close".
I'm hesitant to record my observations on diplomacy, or starbase managements right now, because with the Crusade expansion, there will be a lot of changes, and unless there is an easy way to fix things in both Crusade and the base game, I think Stardock will abandon patching the base game if it's something done in an entirely different way in Crusade. Or they'll change how things work globally, without taking into account the new citizens feature.
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