Battle AI commentary

Harmast

Master Knight
WF&S
Best answers
0
I play with battle AI set to good. Now that the final release has been out for a short while, I though I'd sum up some of my thoughts and observations on the battle AI in Warband. These are just my own ponderings, feel free to add yours.

# I often charge a small group of isolated combatants. What usually happens is that they ALL turn their backs to face me, and consequently get slaughtered by my forces which are usually right behind me. It would be best if only the combatants nearest to me would turn, the rest facing the larger group of foes. I don't know how the AI in Warband works, but if the foes are handled as a group, it would be best if they would stop and defend if faced with enemies on several sides.

# In addition to the case above, sometimes when I ride past the enemies, they keep on going to melee my forces. That leaves their backs turned, so I can just chop them unto death. They don't always even turn.

# I was battling against deserters consisting solely of Nord archers. I had Nord warriors. I had them standing on a hill, waiting for the Nord archers to open fire. Instead they ran until they were in range of my troops' javelins and throwing axes, and opened fire only then. I ordered a charge and slaughtered them in seconds. Archer AI should really keep their range and use it to their advantage.

# When facing a large amount of enemies, I think the battle AI should make the opposing army find the nearest hill or elevated are and defend there, instead of charging. Elevation seems to give them some troubles in many other situations too, as most of the time the AI just takes the shortest route to meet my forces, and that shortest route is the steepest hillside they find.

# The AI doesn't seem to take much advantage of terrain, as it always seems to want to cross rivers when they could just defend the bank or shoot over it.

# Skirmishers and archers could try to use trees as cover. Right now they just stand in the open, and too close. If there is a tree or other scene object near them, they could at least try to get nearer to it. That way they would get little cover from at least one direction.

# The enemy AI seems to like charging as a big blob, instead of using ranks or other, even basic formations. A line of archers works better than a blob of archers. Also, it seems that quite often enemy infantry or cavalry seems to block the enemy archers' view so that they can't fire. Charging is fine, but charging so that infantry is in front, archers/skirmishers/xbows are in the back and cavalry is at the flanks would be nicer.

# The enemy AI seems to prefer to charge the midpoint of your own line formation, as opposed to try flanking or attacking the end of the line. I suppose coding formation recognition would be a challenge.

# My own troops, when standing ground, seem to let the enemy come really close before engaging. It would be nice if there were a little bit more threshold so that enemy archers or javelineers don't pick off easy kills just because my troops are standing still. Some kind of aggression threshold based on the troop level could be an option.

# The AI seems to use spears to good effect against cavalry, which is great! Spearmen are now quite effective against cavalry charges.

# The way the AI chooses what weapons it uses could use some work, although it is now much better than in some of the betas. How does it work by the way, is the weapon that the AI has the most proficiency in the primary choice? Anyway, other considerations should be taken, as in close quarters it seems the AI prefers longer and cumbersome 2-handers.

# Backwards pedalling and overhead slashing is a good tactic against enemies, as the the enemy AI, when chasing you, tries to hug you instead of keeping distance. This results in enemies chasing you in a line, and you killing them off one by one. (Would be best if the speed of going backwards was dropped by a little, OR if the enemy didn't unconditionally give chase.)

# Keeping distance is more important for polearm users, as right now they come too close for their weapons to be effective. When choosing what melee weapon to use distance should be taken into consideration.

# On the other hand, when YOU are facehugging the enemy, they let you come a little too close. Making AI kick or backpedal a little to keep a little distance between you and them would be good. I've seen the AI do some distance-pedalling back and forth, but the distance has been quite long, and it looks like the AI is thinking "I'm running way -- no wait I'm not, I'm attacking -- now I'm running away again."

# I would love the AI to use tactics based on the army commander's leadership skill. That way bandits could just charge most of the time, and larger armies could take a strategic position to defend, or try to flank. I think someone suggested this a while ago, it would be a nice addition. Also, improving the moral system and choosing AI tactics based on general level of morale would be nice.

# I really think it would be better if the default action for your troops weren't "charge!" but "hold this position." That way you can
decide for yourself what is the best tactic, where to defend or if charging actually is best.
 

TheRighteousMan

Sergeant at Arms
WBWF&S
Best answers
0
Harmast said:
as most of the time the AI just takes the shortest route to meet my forces, and that shortest route is the steepest hillside they find.
# The enemy AI seems to prefer to charge the midpoint of your own line formation, as opposed to try flanking or attacking the end of the line. I suppose coding formation recognition would be a challenge.
Really?  The AI always tries to flank me if it doesn't bonsai charge me at the beginning.  Only problem with this is that when you tell your troops to hold ground they turn to face the enemy nullifying its usefulness.  My line commonly has to turn almost 180 degrees to face the enemy because they don't travel straight at me, but in an arc circling wide left.
Everything else I agree with.  The AI needs to choose its weapons better.  Alayen is in my party and he has a lance and a one handed sword right now.  On horseback he fights with his sword and when he gets dehorsed he fights with his lance.... this makes no sense.

My biggest problem is with the siege AI which is totally dysfunctional in higher numbers.  I've watched sieges for numerous scenes with settings maxed out at 150 troops at once and with only 30 troops.  The reason they get stuck seems to be that the AI tries to run backwards or to the sides of ladder/siege tower.  With only 30 troops this isn't a problem.  The confused AI runs backwards, gets to a certain distance and resumes pushing forwards.  However, with settings at 150 men, the AI tries to do this but can't run backwards because of all the men behind them.  This causes them to run backwards indefinitely.  3-4 AI trying to do this at once causes complete and utter chaos and completely halts the attacker's advance.

I feel like I'm cheating on siege scenes because when I attack I'm forced to turn settings down in order for the game to run properly.  The only problem with this is 40 vaegir guards/knights + some others vs 8 khergit lancers, 20 horseman and 15 skirimishers is an absolute slaughter and I only end up losing 4 men -- all wounded... on max difficulty...  with 150 men, I lose 6-8 men before even getting to the ladder because there are so many archers and my men don't just plow through the defenders at the top of the ladder in 5 seconds.  Defeat is actually a possibility still.
 

Da-V-Man

Squire
Best answers
0
I think that it would benefit the AI to have them attack at the optimal range of their current weapon as opposed to getting right in your face. This goes especially for polearms.
 

dhowlett

Squire
Best answers
0
Harmast said:
# Skirmishers and archers could try to use trees as cover. Right now they just stand in the open, and too close. If there is a tree or other scene object near them, they could at least try to get nearer to it. That way they would get little cover from at least one direction.
Considering how the ai is corrently programed i can imagin a huge pile up all around one tree hugging it. Made me chuckle.

TheRighteousMan said:
Harmast said:
as most of the time the AI just takes the shortest route to meet my forces, and that shortest route is the steepest hillside they find.
# The enemy AI seems to prefer to charge the midpoint of your own line formation, as opposed to try flanking or attacking the end of the line. I suppose coding formation recognition would be a challenge.

My biggest problem is with the siege AI which is totally dysfunctional in higher numbers.  I've watched sieges for numerous scenes with settings maxed out at 150 troops at once and with only 30 troops.  The reason they get stuck seems to be that the AI tries to run backwards or to the sides of ladder/siege tower.  With only 30 troops this isn't a problem.  The confused AI runs backwards, gets to a certain distance and resumes pushing forwards.  However, with settings at 150 men, the AI tries to do this but can't run backwards because of all the men behind them.  This causes them to run backwards indefinitely.  3-4 AI trying to do this at once causes complete and utter chaos and completely halts the attacker's advance.

I feel like I'm cheating on siege scenes because when I attack I'm forced to turn settings down in order for the game to run properly.  The only problem with this is 40 vaegir guards/knights + some others vs 8 khergit lancers, 20 horseman and 15 skirimishers is an absolute slaughter and I only end up losing 4 men -- all wounded... on max difficulty...  with 150 men, I lose 6-8 men before even getting to the ladder because there are so many archers and my men don't just plow through the defenders at the top of the ladder in 5 seconds.  Defeat is actually a possibility still.
I do this too and it annoys me greatly. Not to menchen the huge bills im getting from my huge army of knights because my units arnt dieing haha.
 

lazylogs

Regular
Best answers
0
"# I often charge a small group of isolated combatants. What usually happens is that they ALL turn their backs to face me, and consequently get slaughtered by my forces which are usually right behind me. It would be best if only the combatants nearest to me would turn, the rest facing the larger group of foes. I don't know how the AI in Warband works, but if the foes are handled as a group, it would be best if they would stop and defend if faced with enemies on several sides."

Yeah.. I *definitly* find this rather annoying. No one in their right mind turns their back on 20 infantry men + archers  to just fight a man on a horse... 
 

Tiberius

Sergeant Knight
WBM&BWF&SNWVC
Best answers
0
I'm not sure what causes this (if it's because of the type of units the army has, or what) but, khergits use the worst tactics they can. Instead of running all the time or charging like madmen (which isn't such a good tactic either, considering they are light cavalry) they make a LINE and WALK towards me.
 

The_Freeman

Tiberius said:
I'm not sure what causes this (if it's because of the type of units the army has, or what) but, khergits use the worst tactics they can. Instead of running all the time or charging like madmen (which isn't such a good tactic either, considering they are light cavalry) they make a LINE and WALK towards me.
Speaking of Khergits I really have a problem on how the horse archers are managed by the AI, they charge like every other horsemen instead of running around the enemy shooting arrows.
Actually, they do something similar but only after a massive initial charge and they often get too close to the enemy while shooting arrows.
 

Finzi

Squire
WB
Best answers
0
If I remember correctly, the Khergits in M&B vanilla used to actually behave like horse archers, (instead of forming a line and walking towards you, before charging into the face of your heavy infantry :roll:).

In my first ever battle of Mount and Blade I remember fighting with a Rhodok army against the Khergits - hiding among the infantry while horse archers continuously circled us firing arrows. Why don't they bring back something like this??
 

Psiphoon

Sergeant
Best answers
0
Harmast said:
# Backwards pedalling and overhead slashing is a good tactic against enemies, as the the enemy AI, when chasing you, tries to hug you instead of keeping distance. This results in enemies chasing you in a line, and you killing them off one by one. (Would be best if the speed of going backwards was dropped by a little, OR if the enemy didn't unconditionally give chase.)

# Keeping distance is more important for polearm users, as right now they come too close for their weapons to be effective. When choosing what melee weapon to use distance should be taken into consideration.

# On the other hand, when YOU are facehugging the enemy, they let you come a little too close. Making AI kick or backpedal a little to keep a little distance between you and them would be good. I've seen the AI do some distance-pedalling back and forth, but the distance has been quite long, and it looks like the AI is thinking "I'm running way -- no wait I'm not, I'm attacking -- now I'm running away again."
This, a thousand times this. AI are too static as well, they should be circling and flanking to try and get past your guard, or making sure they have room to swing their weapon without cutting their friends to bits.





Also I believe the game's graphic engine could easily support many more bots on the battlefield if the ai wasn't such a bottleneck, but I don't know the specifics of that so I can't really comment. Perhaps fights would be easier on the computer if large groups of soldiers formed set patterns on the battlefield instead of having to find their own way all the time? Probably not a priority but worth mentioning.