Cheating, terrible AI


#1

I am really tired of the cheating AI in this game. Routinely, I can almost count on nearly every “random” event giving the computer an advantage:

  1. Reshuffle - routinely gives the computer skull matches 3, 4 usually, and rarely does it match up well for me (sometimes, but rarely).

  2. Matching/new gems - routinely the new “random” gems produce perfect skull combinations

  3. The new “doomskulls” make it even worse, providing matches for the computer with collections of them set up just perfectly, such as from new drops or reshuffles.

  4. massive matching - the drops will often (though not as bad as the other 3 cases) produce 4-5 matches one after another after another, on and on (and not uncommon to chain skull matches, or doomskull matches as well). It makes you ask “do I get to play?” - again, happens somewhat often for the player, but probably more like a 1.2 or 1.5:1 ratio in favor of the computer AI.

BTW, this is on the default (easiest) level. If you try to play harder ones, it still cheats, it is just harder to recover from.

The end result is it will routinely hit you 2-3x in a row, often with doomskulls and fill up on mana.

It is just stupid. I know the player (me) sees it happen in my favor too, but it is at least 2:1 or more in favor of the AI. It is VERY frustrating and obvious cheating, and enough that makes me just want to give up on this game.

I’ve also seen the computer purpously (on easiest level) miss 5 or 4 matches, but the massive cheating more than makes up for this. You CAN win, but the obvious cheating is just so frustrating.

If you think it is my imagination, try playing it yourself. I’m level 80+ now, I think I’ve got enough of a sample set to know something is fishy.


#2

Haaaaaahahahahahahaa.

I’m level 1,100ish. You’re wrong. I mean, welcome to the game and the forums, and I really hope you start to have a lot more fun playing! But if you want a real quick crash course in recall bias, gambler’s fallacy, and all the other ways that memory and basic probability combine to make you believe in nonexistent conspiracy theories, read back through the long history of posts from people here who aaaaaaaaall thought the AI was “out to get them”.


#3

The AI isn’t cheating. It’s programmed that way.


#4

Welcome to the forum. And yes it sucks to lose from nowhere. The randomness in the game since it was written over to unity is very spiky. Long cascades can fill a whole team from zero, or slam three skull attacks in a row from nothing. But you’ll get them too. You may not notice so much…

I’m level 1300+ btw and have had the game for 3.5 years…


#5

This is how the game (and most Match-3 games) work. Match-3 games are built on the concepts of cascades.

Right now you are level 80. That’s maybe a week of gameplay. It takes months to be “midgame” even if you’re a whale. Right now the game’s unfair because:

  1. The troops you have access to are garbage.
  2. You don’t know what good troops look like because you are inexperienced.
  3. So your garbage troops look powerful.

We understand what you’re saying about cascades, doomskulls, and suspicious amounts of free turns. It’s just the people who have been here the longest are the people who can tolerate it. If anything, Doomskulls are nice because now you lose faster instead of waiting 5 minutes for the opponent to finish 28 free turns before doing its first damage to you.


#6

I’m well familiar with gambler’s fallacy and memory. The AI is cheating - or as someone else said - is programmed that way.

I’d love to hear more from the developers on this issue.

Regarding “garbage” troops (someone else mentioned) I have the best I can get for now. The game should play the same if you have junk or good toops in that the chaining results should be about equal (within normal distribution of probability).


#7

They’ve said - repeatedly - depending on context, either “the AI doesn’t cheat” (regarding modes like PVP, where it needs to be “fair”), or “the AI cheats in the player’s favor by deliberately preventing itself from getting too many lucky drops while letting the player get as many as they get” (for modes like story where “fairness” isn’t relevant).

So there you go.


Combo Breaker = Phone Breaker
#8
  1. Welcome to the forums!
  2. In the top right there is a search, you could spend a week reading all “cheating AI” threads. There are probably even two dozen or more threads where developers have commented if you want an official response.

#9

Here’s an example:


#10

As you get better troops, ascend/trait them and become more experienced with creating teams with better synergy you will find counters for pretty much anything the AI can throw at you. The more troops you gain the more variety of teams you can create. For instance I have about 20 plus different PVP teams which I probably use on a daily basis, depending on the opposition defense and my best team with the right abilities to counter them.

Freeze is a great trait to start off with to try and prevent enemy cascades. Also try and have somebody like Gorgotha (probably not at level 80) or other troops that reduce skull damage in 1st slot, this will help if enemy hits a few lucky skull drops.

If everybody won easily from the very beginning there would be little incentive to level up and improve your troops/teams etc. I’m currently level 1166, but no matter your level, in the end all of us encounter a battle now and again where you literally can put the controller down and watch as the AI just demolishes you (I’m looking at you goblin teams!).


#11

The AI has been tested multiple times it doesn’t cheat against the players.


#12

The AI doesn’t really cheat. What you’re referring to is the RNG, which is modified. Apologists like to throw out things like recall bias and the gambler’s fallacy, but the fact is that people, myself included, HAVE tracked things with listed probabilities and determined the numbers to be off. There are “hidden” difficulty factors in things like PvP, and absent blatant troop stat manipulation, which would be obvious, we have RNG manipulation, which is not so obvious.

This goes back at least to 3.1, if not earlier. It’s considerably worse as the game has moved much more towards a pay to win model, so the overpowered troops you face end a match very quickly when the RNG wills it.

It’s lazy programming, but I get it. Look at racing games. No, they can’t mimic smart humans (at least not without time and money) so they instead rely on rubberbanding and infinite weapons. This game is the same - the AI isn’t any smarter, but the subtle (or not-so-subtle) probabilities on Fizzbang, or Kraken, or whoever make up the difference. It just so happens to be very infuriating.

It’s the equivalent of playing chess against an AI rated 1200 that gets two extra queens and calling it a 2000 rated player.


#13

THIS is the sort of thing I’m talking about. The RNG (random number generator) does not appear random at all. I’m not sure if the AI gets a higher probility of skull drops (and dooms) but I’d not be surprised. But what I’ve noticed is the number of times a “random” event skews toward the computer.

Having leveled up (better) troops can make you care LESS about the false “random” luck of the computer, but the effect is still there.

I have a VERY small sample set at this point, but I believe it has gotten marginally better with the LASTEST (yesterday’s) update, but it is still obviously skewed.

I’m tempted to record like 20 hours of play and take notes, but I’ve things to do. It would take 20 hours of play (obviously) but about 40 hours to analize and annotate. Arguably, you could take a smaller sample size, but the smaller you go, the less confidence you can have with the result. I’d look at: number of skull drops in favor of each player (AI vs player), as well as instant win 3-4-5 matches from drops, and cases where the drops or reshuffle set the player vs AI up with a skull match (or 2 or 3) before turn ends.

The GOW devs claim there is no such cheating, but the provided evidence is to a report they did before it was even called GOW. I expect it has since changed. (probably to try to make more money though “lazy programming” (I agree, much easier to twiddle “randomness” than actually code a smarter AI or design better gameplay that is fair, but more difficult).

Thanks everyone for your comments and insight on this.


#14

Amadan, once again, nails it!

Our AI and RNG is never skewed in favour of the AI. We have spoken about this at length in the past and also run various tests to show you the results. If necessary I can dig up all the old threads. :slight_smile:


Combo Breaker = Phone Breaker
#15

I’ve reached level 220 and I’m done with this. Deleted from my system. Too much cheating. Routinely the computer gets excessive skulls/dooms or endlessly perfect cascades. This is just too stupid to continue with.


#16

We are sorry to hear about your experience @zbret. We have rigorously tested our AI to ensure that it doesn’t cheat against the player, and we do our best to ensure that it is balanced for our player experience. As such, the AI is less lucky overall than the player, especially at lower levels.

We will be sad to see you go, but we wish you the best for the future.


#17

The rage is strong in this one…


#18

I think what leads to this perception is a nice maelstrom of factors that could be easily alleviated in a special event I’ve always wanted. Jar of Eyes has really made it worse for me.

First: we’re encouraged to make teams that either explode most of the board, generate a large number of gems in specific colors, or convert gems from one color to another. When there are 6 possible matching colors, the odds of cascade aren’t as high. A converter aims to drop that to 5 possible matching colors, and generators like Divine Protector can push it down to 2. Also, many popular teams summon a storm.

So when you cast something like Divine Ishbaala’s ability, you usually get a free turn and a board that’s mostly void of skulls, yellow, or purple. Now only 3 colors are left on the board. If you then cast Infernus, some gems are exploded. You’ve got a pretty good chance of a cascade there, but if you don’t get one, you just passed that luck to the enemy. It’s worse if you trigger a fire storm: now the board has effectively 3 colors and you’ve tilted the RNG to create one of them more frequently.

So without going into a lot of other examples: we’re encouraged to create teams that create very cascade-prone boards. If our luck fails, we pass that cascade-heavy board to our opponent. This leads to a lot of stories like, “I fell behind, made a lucky match, cast Ishbaala, cast Infernus, then of COURSE the CPU got 6 cascades, 2 free turns, and I was left with only Ishbaala.” If your luck is even a little bad, this is probably the most statistically likely thing to happen.

I have always felt the antidote is to create the opposite badfeel situation. I want a mode without free turns and a limit on cascades. In this mode, if either player reaches 3 cascades, the board is cleared and the turn is given to the next player. No free turns is what it says: not even goblins get a free turn in this mode. Storms should also not be allowed to happen. Exploders and generators would have a cap on how many gems they could effect.

This would be a slower, more grindy mode, but also removes a large portion of luck from the game. I think if a lot of people played it, they’d decide they don’t mind free turns and cascades as much. Or, they’d come to the “no free turns” mode for a break if they get frustrated.

Anyway, my main points are:

  • I think whether or not the RNG is fair, the way “good GoW teams” operate creates situations that don’t feel fair when they unfold.
  • I wish we had a mode where many of those factors were mitigated.

#19

In the grander aspects of things, I don’t mind converters so much, at least you can “plan” for them. Say you use Valkyrie and there is one blue and 3 yellows in a straight line, you fire her off and you get an extra turn, and you plan your moves from there.

Exploders and color creators (like DP) lose all that. Then, it’s just about whatever falls in you or the AI’s lap. And, with things like storms, it can either go very good or very bad.

All in all, I do think there is too much RNG in this game. I feel true strategy went out the window a long time ago. I don’t have a problem with (planned) extra turns*, like I mentioned, as they still take strategy and I like converters, overfall. The other stuff, though… can get quite messy.

*when I say planned extra turns, I don’t include Goblins, by the way. I think Goblins, as they are, are ridiculous and I don’t like them. I only use them when I have to, like that one Raid week we had for their kingdom.


#20

I don’t wanna brag, but I cheat way more than the AI does.