Why does the AI do such stupid things

I’ve been told by the developers that some people think the AI is already too good. I’ve also heard from the same people that the AI plays better at higher levels. I’m pretty sure that just isn’t the case, and I think it boils down to not wanting to spend money on coding the AI to recognize and make smarter plays. I know you’ve seen some of these…

  • The AI has an Empowered troop, and if it casts right now, it will get a ton of 4+ matches, so first, it waits as long as possible before it casts, so that when it does, it gets no matches, and sometimes even gives the player a 4+ match.
  • The AI can target your weakest troop and kill it: so naturally it completely ignores it and hits the strongest one instead.
  • Oh no, we missed a skull match, now the AI can take advantage of it and it’ll even kill our first troop! Oh, whew, the AI missed it too…
  • The AI needs to pick a target for Essence of Evil: better pick the same target over and over, just to be sure.

This is clearly not an exhaustive list, but these are things I see in Difficulty 12, and I’m level 1435, and again, I’ve been told the AI gets better the higher up you get and in the higher difficulty modes.

I think sometimes people equate instant death mechanics and probability to the AI’s “smartness” and that isn’t fair. It’s like when you’re doing Towers of Doom and Spirit Fox (an empowered troop that deals true damage) kills one of your troops right off the bat. Well, that has nothing to do with how smart the AI is or how difficult it is. That’s just a scaling thing. It just happens to kill your troop because its level is such that its damage is higher than your health.

Or people will fight against Life and Death teams or Skull spam and think “Man, the AI gets so lucky.” Nah, that’s just team composition and damage spam. There’s nothing smart required for using Life and Death team, that’s why you always see it paired with those units: it always hits the last two troops, it’s paired with a troop that starts you off at 50% mana, the class gives it stealth, it enchants itself, and it has an empowered troop that matches gems to initially feed it mana. That’s not the AI being smart, that’s players being smart.

And I think that’s the crux of this problem… ever fight against an enemy Undine? You’d think it’d be really good against blue enemies. It is, if you’re using it, but when the AI uses it, it will do stupid things like hit the last enemy (so there is no enemy below it), or it will hit enemies that are barried, or it won’t cast at all. The same is true for Champion of Anu: the AI is stupid with it. He maximizes his damage casting against the first enemy, dealing damage to it and every troop below it. What’s the AI do? It’ll hit the last troop if it wants.

In this sense, there are clearly troops and weapons that are easy for the AI to use (things they don’t need to target), and things that are hard (things that require decisions).

Personally, I would like to see the AI actually be smart. You know, THAT would actually shake up Guild Wars, when I can put together a team that I know works and that I can play well with, knowing that it will play the same on defense.

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Yep, I think the AI is deliberately designed to play badly. You can imagine how frustrating it would be to play against an AI that could notice an elaborate 6 step cascade that leads to an extra turn. To keep the game from being unfun, it’s programmed to miss some percentage of extra turns.

It probably also isn’t coded very well (it seems to have trouble noticing doomskulls, and with targeting), but I don’t think improving it is a high priority, because players like to win their matches.

It would be cool to have a ‘smart AI’ for some content (not delves) to make aspects of the game (not delves) more challenging (NOT PURE FACTION DELVES).

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100% agree.

My rough recollection from a mix of sources (dev comments in global, streams, forum threads, not sure about help centre, though) is that:

  • The AI starts out really dumb

  • As you progress (not sure if this means level, global team power bonuses, something else), the AI becomes less dumb (makes fewer ‘mistakes’ or more good choices).

  • This caps out at some point – so perhaps by level 501 (e.g.), we’re all fighting the same, moderately dumb AI – and it doesn’t just keep improving, per:

If you start a new account, the AI just basically twiddles its thumbs half the time.

I’m pretty sure I once heard Salty say on stream (or maybe in a thread) that it’s designed to occasionally make mistakes, just like a person would – e.g. not always notice a 4-match – and that seems fairly reasonable to me.

I believe the reasons were along the lines of what
@covertmuffin123 said – they want it to be a fun and not too frustrating experience, and people do like to win.

I can agree that in some cases it baffles, though, such as not taking a skull match/casting a spell that would kill your last troop.

The idea of having smarter AI for some content doesn’t seem terrible to me – just tone down the percent chance that the AI doesn’t notice a 4-match, etc.

Having a series of if/then player activated switches, to set their own priorities would be great.

Take a good, long, hard look at the world.

Then ask yourself if modeling, “If given a choice between being eaten by a shark or trusting math, I’d first like to set all of my possessions on fire and then sacrifice myself to the shark” is inaccurate given human behavior.