Played a couple of hours on large-all factions-challenging map with Resoln. My first impressions is that AI really got an overhaul here and that it truly feels more challenging in 0.913. No more roaming alone and taking entire factions with a sole hero anymore! Here is a couple of things I saw in my first 2 games (wrote them while playing)
So I launch as Resoln, build my second city and I am stupid enough to build an outpost not too far from a river krag. He beats the outpost, comes down on my second city. In the meanwhile, knights fall on my hero group. Bang. In 2 turns, I lost an outpost, a city and my heroes died twice...While the monsters go crazy on me, Gilden builds an outpost at my former perfecft spot...finally some challenge in challenging!! 3 things I liked:
1) Monsters knocked on me because I did the outpost and woke the beast...
2) That same krag went on rampage and not only destroyed my second city, but also the Gilden parties in that area.
3) The knights, after beating me, went down on rampage on gilden scouts/settlers in the area, before destroying their (my) perfect spot outpost.
Second game (I wanna see how the game runs with citizen walking around and, to admit all, the first game was a bad start )
I launch the game...omg Altar is destroyed on the first turn...
Couple of minor bugs
Bug: quest location for rat nest shows black spot when zooming out
Bug: death shard sometimes doesn't show on map, and then shows again. This goes for quest location (humble inn) too.
Bug: Leonia hero stays on map after I beat her up. Still some small bugs with quest location (need to zoom out then in to see them). All this stuff is minor, expanding is really nice and I have to be carefull since my sovereign died once in the north!
Knights and mage (same that killed my hero) destroy Yithril outposts in the north!! Nice, I can place mine now! Oh no mobs turn south towards my zone of comfort. I gather all my forces (a puny bunch still) and return north. While I clear the area (wasn't easy vs these knights), pioneers from Yithril grab all the area...They seem friendly but they must pay the price for grabbing my land!
So I declare war, while all my heroes are in the north (3 heroes, 1 warg, 1 spearmen unit). I grab their newly founded city, Yithril sends me an army of brutes...well 5 vs 5 guess who wins. 3 turns after, I launch a full offensive on Yithil second city. 5 vs 5, I win but lose my lv 5 warg and spearmen. Yithil surrenders to me.
Bug: Death shards are invisible and not buildable sometimes for a turn. The turn after they are buildable again.
I find (well Yithil did that for me) and attack Tarth, they in the way and I wanna see how they will stand. I am really overextending and good AI could deeply take advantage of that (my sovereign isn't in the area anymore and I got no extra troops, only 3 heroes).
A settler that espaced my 2 heroes' army builds an outpost beside me. Boom... Next turn, I attack 2 of their cities at same time (one with one hero and the main one with 2!) 2 crucial tactical battles that slows down so much (major memory leak) that I need to fasten them. Both battles were in the grasslands with hills and a city: certainly is some kind of bug. Fastening in crucial moments doesn't give great results: I lose both battles but worst, in the main one, I deal no damage to Tarth (was a 2 vs 5 battle) even if both my heroes are ranged and lv 6 lol...oh well enough for tonight!
Well on my first 2 games, I have to say AI in version 0.913 is certainly better than in 0.912. Way better monster AI on challenging mode. Monsters aren't passive anymore and they eat all that is around when awaken. Still need to play more and really wanted to point out the first bugs that I found in the first 100 turns. The only one that bothered me was the massive memory leak in the crucial tactical battle, but frankly, it's a minor issue compared to the major improvements I saw in the AI and the general feel of the game (feels more balanced).
Even If I was a bit deceived on how easy it was to take Yithril 3 cities with 3 heroes and 2 units, i came to realize that I just caught him off guard in the early game (his sovereign was far far away when he surrendered to me). Actually If I hadn't cut his brute army going down south, Yithil would of grab my own 2 cities without problem.
The battle vs Tarth showed me that AI is certainly better at defending city and that it wasn't possible to just grab them with lv 6-7 heroes. He had couple units there and, this time, his sovereign was in the area. Lady Irane was lv 6 like my heroes (the Yithil one was lv 5 when he surrended), which implies that she farmed the area properly. Tarth was also sending one army in the wild, certainly to backdoor me in the south.
Well, 0.913 in challenging felt like a real challenge and I am certainly looking forward to try a long game when I have time. Very nice update Derek and Brad, this is fun and AI clearly improved between 0.912 and 0.913. Cannot say at this point if it's too easy or too hard but will glady update this when I get to play a full long game. Thanks!