C&C 3 skirmish difficulty question

Alas, my Kane Edition manual is in French, and I don’t speak French, and since this was a gift I can’t return it (too late by the time I found out).

Thankfully RTSs are simple beasts. The only thing I want to know is what does it list as the differences between the AI difficulties and personalities?

According to the manual, the AI doesn’t cheat except on the Brutal difficulty, where it gets double income. As for the personalities, most of them are pretty self-explanatory. Balanced, Rusher, and Turtle are self-evident. Guerrilla presumably “harasses you with fact, diversionary tactics” and Steamroller “aims to build an overwhelming army with which to attack you head-on”.

Since I know you’re a pretty hardcore RTS dude, I’ll be curious what you think of C&C3, Quitch.


Me too, cuz I can beat it at hard, which would indicate that it’s probably too easy for Quitch. I love the game but the AI is not one of its shining points.

Really? I was actually pretty impressed with the AI. For instance, at one point I was playing a 2 vs 2 comp stomp with a friend, and the AI nearest me attacked me by circling around my base with stealth tanks, then sent fanatics charging at roughly the front of my base who suicide bombed my power plants and knocked out my minimap, delaying me noticing there was a swarm of stealth tanks attacking me from behind.

It’s not ALWAYS that smart of course (I’ve been repair-APC rushed once), but I think overall the AI is brighter than DoW and CoH, my two other RTS games of choice.

Yeah, I quite like the AI as well, both at a strategic and tactical level.

I wonder if maybe Lorini is talking about the campaign, where you don’t get to see the AI so much because of all the soggy scripting stuff.


So can we expect some custom AI’s or what?

Custom AI as in modder made? Not sure what you’re asking about.

I’m curious to know what you guys think of Kane’s Wrath. I have the original C&C3 and I enjoyed it, but the multiplayer mode I experienced was marred by its problems early on with the dysfunctional ranking system (which have hopefully been resolved by now), and its dreadfully simple rush tactics that caused most games to end in less than 5 minutes.

I’m curious to know if Kane’s Wrath adds any additional complexity to the game or does at the very least ‘mix things up’ so you can’t just steamroll everything by having a proper build queue.

Kane’s Wrath maintains the intense pacing of C&C 3 while adding some variety with new units spread across its 9 factions and sub-factions and a mixed bag of a campaign. It also includes a turn based strategy wrapper for the skirmishes that I haven’t bothered with because of some negative comments from reviewers I trust.

The pacing of the game is so fast that an attack at 5 minutes isn’t actually considred being rushed - it’s just good, common, multiplayer RTS sense. If you’re getting torn up at the 60 second mark, then commence with the complaints. But dealing with aggression in Kane’s Wrath, and most other RTSs, is just one of the skills you have to acquire to get anywhere online. If you’re not ok with that, then this isn’t the game for you.

The multiplayer mode is still lacking compared to the competition, and the size of its playerbase suffers as a result, so finding a game is tough sometimes. Kane’s Wrath adds occasional de-synch problems to the dysfunctional mix, as well as maintaining C&C 3’s bad habit of thinning out the automatch population by allowing custom games to be ranked. Balance is also a problem. KW unintentionally revokes a number of balance improvements from recent Tiberium Wars patches, in addition to adding its own issues with units new to the expansion. In spite of all this, the expansion offers a great deal of potential variety, with new units, powers, upgrades, buildings, a number of enhancements to the air/anti-air game, and the option to use cool new game ending mega units, and some solid balancing could make those many options viable enough to turn it into a deep, competitive multiplayer RTS.

However, EALA isn’t really equipped to give us the hardcore, enduring multiplayer RTSs that Blizzard, Ensemble, and maybe Relic are able to provide. They’re too interested in cranking out new games every 12 - 18 months. So get Kane’s Wrath if you’re ok with just enjoying the solid skirmish AI and a hokey, uneven campaign and cross your fingers for some quality patching.

Naw, I don’t play campaigns in RTS’s. I do play 1 vs 1 and I can beat it on hard. If you guys say the AI is good, then I guess I’m better than I thought:) I can’t beat it on hard if I play 1 vs 2 with the AI’s on one team and me on another though, that’s just tough. I was thinking about playing some AI team stuff for the first time to see how that goes. The Balanced AI is ok. The Steamroller AI in control of whatever race that gets the mothership is brutal. That’s about the most difficult because all of that air just overwhelms you.

I’d love to know what you guys think of the personalities. I was surprised to see that Balanced and not Random was the default. I would hope that Balanced attempts to combine the best of all traits, or is perhaps more reactive to circumstance, rather than “a bit of everything”.

Thus far I’m enjoying it, as the demo suggested I would. I really liked the aggressive stylings of the demo 1v1 against the AI, and the battle was both fun and intense. However I’m currently working through the campaign before tackling skirmish. Once you’ve played skirmish and seen all the units, well campaigns just become boring. Half the fun is the “WTF!” factor of encountering new stuff in the field, the moment you see your first Acolyte goldmine in Warcraft III, or the first encounter with the Shadow in Kohan II, not knowing how best to fight these threats or even what the unit before you does. C&C doesn’t manage this quite so well, but still, the first time a beam buggy hit me it was a bit of a shock.

The AI is, stunningly, holding up. Before C&C 3 I ranked AIs according to a simple scale where you had the good (Warcraft III, vanilla Dawn of War), the not so good (World in Conflict, Supreme Commander) and AIs in games involving EA (see C&C Generals and Battle for Middle Earth). Yet thus far, even with the scripted restrictions of the campaign, the AI is playing an interesting game. It hits me from various points and does so with different mixes. I’m sure there’s a host of map hints under the hood, but they look to be doing their job nicely and I look forward to taking it on in skirmish. My only disappointment in the AI was it looked to be as closed as ever, so we won’t be seeing any Dawn of Skirmish or Sorian/Jaws2002 AI Pack, alas.

Thus far, having got to the last mission of the GDI campaign and being about a quarter of the way into NOD, my biggest complaint is the way the story in the campaign is presented… yes, I know, I just lost all credibility by caring about the C&C story, but I feel they really missed a trick with the third faction. C&C is, on the surface, about GDI Vs. NOD, but dig deeper and it’s a story about the way a new and strange mineral has changed the entire planet and its politics, with GDI and NOD simply being symptoms of this underlying problem. The mystery of tiberium is half the fun. Other than tiberium the game was pretty grounded, and going the aliens route is a mistake IMO, better to have had a splinter faction of NOD who stopped seeing tiberium as a means to an end and the red zones as paradise, or even a pure terrorist group who believe the GDI corrupt and Kane a fraud. Still, we have aliens. The problem here is that they feel so… separate. You fight NOD, then more NOD, then some more NOD… then aliens, then more aliens, then aliens again. Eventually the two come together, but it’s really disjointed and I would like to have see more three-way play in the C&C3 story, perhaps even my favourite cliché, two enemies working together (being a sucker for missions where I am forced to rely on an AI partner). Ah, Kohan II, how I miss that fantastic mission where all the factions worked as one against a single, far stronger enemy. RTS campaigns don’t do enough of that. It’s nice to sometimes have the variable be your own ally, and for that ally not to be a useless cripple.

Still, the missions are an improvement over previous incarnations for the most part, and I always thought vanilla C&C Generals (despite having the crappiest RTS campaign I have ever played) was a step in the right direction for pacing and general gameplay, so it’s good to see they’re working off that model.

I dislike the intelligence gathering though, since you have no idea what triggers it you need to build everything and research everything hoping you’ll get them all before the mission ends.

All in all though, it’s fun, and the NOD campaign is proving more interesting (FMV wise) than the GDI campaign, which I thought was rather dull and lifeless. I found this a touch odd considering that the GDI campaign in the original was rather good, you were upholding the law, but then funding is cut and suddenly you’re on your own, reacting to events in the field with no central command, and then finally you’re back online and your commander is looking exhausted with the final battle ahead… I didn’t get any of that from the C&C3 campaign, it was just one briefing, and another briefing, and another briefing, with Grace Park standing uselessly about because they seemed to feel they needed a third character for no reason. No, NOD is far better so far. Harder too.

Thumbs up thus far… and the commando missions are sooooo much better this time around.

Quitch knows, but apparently the way is shut. I really need to get around to playing C&C 3.

Oh, and I agree about the music, it’s pretty… C&C Generals i.e. crap. The series has had some real classics, so it’s a shame to get such weak pap.

What’s really annoying is they taunt us in Kane’s Wrath with a remix of Act on Instinct, which only gets used in the first campaign mission and in the after-battle stats. All the actual gameplay music is still boring.

Okay, having played for longer I have to say the game is beginning to piss me off. Each unit is important, more so with experience, yet here I am watching a farce.

  1. Venoms on a way point move order decide that this is now an attack move order after I save and stop to engage some AA and get themselves spanked.

  2. Move orders given to large groups routinely lead to one or two of the group giving you the finger and doing nothing.

  3. The path-finding collapses on an all too regular basis where vehicles are involved. I just witnessed two Stealth Tanks in close proximity decide that neither would move because they were getting stuck on one another. The oncoming Mammoth tank promptly beat the shit out of them.

This is not helping my blood pressure.

Right, been playing with the AI a bit and I’d summerise them as follows:

Balanced: The real AI. A bit too this and that for my tastes.

Rusher: Um… no. Gets units out early yes, but then often sits them by its base. Doesn’t seem that different from balanced, though possibly slightly worse.

Steamroller: Fields a whole lot of one or two unit types. Seems a bit namby pamby with the GDI, but this behaviour is very apparent with the Scrin. Not sure this is a great tactic, but can be good fun to see in action.

Gorilla: Just rubbish. Sends out units on lone suicide missions and never appears to achieve anything.

Turtle: It turtles, it really does. Wish to God I could exclude it from random since this isn’t a turtling game… no RTS is really.

Other than that the AI is competent but not brilliant. It will make use of different paths, which is nice, but has an odd way of letting certain units wander off to die (loves to do with this Devourer tanks for example), and doesn’t appear to understand the concept of how many extractors to a field it should have, sometimes leading to late game stall as all its harvesters try to leap onto the one and only advance extractor, while the three back at base remain unused and unsold. Also builds multiple outposts next to one another sometimes.

Looks like it’s ripe for an engineer rush, but I haven’t tried. Certainly I don’t see much of a defence against this, where as online you will almost always see an anti-infantry turret around the main base.

It’s also, as with every RTS AI, very vulnerable early on, which isn’t great considering the tight nature of most maps and the fast (I’ve seen it described as slow. WTF? ADD Starcraft fan?) and aggressive gameplay.

Not sure if the AI retreats either. Can’t say as I recall it doing so.

All in all, not bad, but not great.

You’ve summed it up quite well Quitch. I’ve been skirmishing a lot lately and I would also classify it as vulnerable early, but competent overall. Not a bad way to practice foir MP.

You’ve summed it up quite well Quitch. I’ve been skirmishing a lot lately and I would also classify it as vulnerable early, but competent overall. Not a bad way to practice foir MP.

IMO, the only way to practice for MP is to play MP, because online gamers will tend to be more aggressive, and better at early raiding than AIs are. I dislike thinking of SP as MP practice, especially as most people will never play online at all.

However, the AI is good enough that you can play this as an offline game and have fun. As per usual it’s best to stay away from replays if you want to prolong the game’s life.

I’m going to fire up C&C Generals next. C&C3 is so so incredibly similar, and I can’t help thinking that if C&C Generals had a component AI I’d be more inclined to play that. Not Zero Hour mind, that was a pile of ass, the original Generals.

Generals did skirmish AI in a totally different manner than CNC3. In Generals, a designer had to layout a scripted battle plan for each map. In CNC3, the AI has a set of opening moves (tied to the factions and personalities) and a few tactics that it will use, but no scripted plan.