The devil’s in the details. “Cheating AI” can mean lots of things. If they get some extra resources and stuff to make up for them not being as smart/efficient as a player? I’m fully on board.
The problems for me arise when the AI players are playing a fundamentally different game than everyone else. When GalCiv3 came out, I was really annoyed by the full map vision the AI had from the start. I’d be getting carpet bombed by starbase constructors and colony ships right at the word go. Meanwhile, I’m having to build scout ships to find the resources/planets, then build the constructors, then colonize.
Or if the AI can ignore strategic resource requirements and just miracle up armies/fleets/units as needed, that eliminates a lot of the strategy of a game. You can’t starve them out, cut them off from resupply, etc. The game is worse due to the AI cheating.
HOI4 isn’t opposed to a cheating AI per se. They added those sliders you can use to give varying levels of bonuses to the different countries. What they’re adverse to is allowing the AI to break fundamental game rules or hard-coding behaviors. I am in agreement with that philosophy… up to a point. I think they’re just being overly dogmatic about it because they’re looking for the perfect solution. They want the AI smart enough so that it understands not to do this things without being explicitly told not to do it, because that will make for a much better game and the AI can respond to similar situations in other regions (as opposed to a hardcoded rule regarding the English Channel situation).
The problem I have is that such a goal might not be attainable. Or if it is attainable, it could likely be a long way off. I think they need to be a little more flexible in the meantime because it would improve the game as it currently stands. It’s a shipped product that people are playing, they can’t act like this is a project that is still behind closed doors that they are perfecting.
Still, kudos to them for providing the modding tools and a flexible framework for customers to change the behavior to their liking via mods. A lot of my disdain for Civ6 could be alleviated if Firaxis had done the same.