I’m actually not that impressed with the AI. I mean, it works. But it’s not pretty. :(
It’s also shown that the AI will still fall apart at a certain point. I’ve gone from being really happy with the AI in Old World to a growing sense of dismay as I play into late games with most of the map unfogged by agents. To Mohawk’s credit, they’re showing you everything. Which is how I know the AI struggles with how to use its units and where to move them. And, as I said, it’s not pretty.
There’s a ton of suboptimal moves going on. Units marching back and forth for no reason, units loitering unused near the front, while orders are squandered bringing units from farther away. Missed opportunities for taking advantage of terrain, and abilities, and so forth. Also, it seems like the AI flat-out doesn’t know how to use ranged siege units. I don’t know if it’s the unlimbering or the extreme range, but I’ve see swarms of onagers and mangonels go to waste when they would have decisively ended a war. Conversely, I’ve seen the AI march lone onagers directly up to cities to pillage resources. And don’t even get me started on how it has no idea what to do against heavily defended chokepoints.
Hopefully these are issues Mohawk is working on, because right now what makes the AI competitive is its considerable resource advantage, which lets it produce a ton of units that it can’t use very well. In terms of the big picture, as long as it has more units than you, it can wear you down. But down in the weeds, at the level of individual units on individual hexes, it’s basically Civ V with more transparency, and – more importantly – with more thought given to how the design and the AI interact (as you guys are discussing upthread).
I mean, it’s far better than Civ V, but it still seems like a deeply flawed AI that can’t leverage its military advantages very well.