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I thought I read it somewhere or something before I bought the game, that the AI actually tries to win. But after a lot of testing I don't believe it to be true. The AI expands more than it did in previous titles but why it stops is beyond me. Worse is when it reaches a certain size or area on the map it literally falls apart (not functioning and other AI eats away at it until the same lines on the map keep forming in the center). The most that I've seen an AI get for long is in the 30s.
This must be intentional as there is clearly a lack of AI behavior after a certain point. Why did they do this?
I'm one that likes to take a long time to expand and eventually would like to face a 50+ in size AI player even if it ends up destroying me. I've tested it on hard and very hard and always there is a center line that eventually forms where two big AI players don't cross for long. And it seems that if a 3rd or 4th tiny player is destroyed another will pop up in its place. Which seems to mean that they tweaked the game so that a few AI clans would always be around.
I must say that I thought I saw a lot of replay potential but this game seems to have the same major flaw as other TW games in that it wont try to win so eventually you can do pretty much do whatever you want and will "win" as long as you survive the start. An AI that doesn't expand beyond 30s even if at war with other tiny AI clans means it's not very functional either, which leads to easy pickings when the human player eventually steps in for battle. It's not bad that eventually the human will always win, we are dumping our times into this after all. I do think the difficulty levels should tell you how "hard" it is to win though. What I do find very bad is a non functional AI clan that should be a beast the higher in cities it gets.
The AI should try to wipe out all other AI clans to consolidate forces, then depending on relations with the human, go to war or wait for the human to. At that point endless stacks should be attacking trying to take the map..