Well I`ve been running STW2 on Hard with the realistic settings on. I actually tried 4 games on Legendary and did relatively well as Aizu, but was ultimately overwhelmed. So, to save time and get a chance to see what`s changed (and not just the first 20 turns of a game) I went onto Hard which is challenging without feeling like the AI has an incredible financial boost. When I have the time, I WILL complete Legendary.
Although I discovered some slight changes to Legendary campaign mode which I`ll mention during my report.
Playing FOTS, realism settings. I chose Jozai. Perhaps the easiest of the Shogunates.
To me the CAI factions seem `tighter` for a word. I notice that once allied, they do appear to stick together a little more for support. For instant I attacked a nearby weak faction and sieged it and just on the turn it was about to cave in, an army from an enemy Ally rushed to give it last minute backup and break the siege. But the unit was too small and I defeated it easily. It basically wasted its troops to support the other.
Better examples occurred later in the game when things began to settle - Matsumae, a Northern-most Clan somehow grew huge (17 provinces compared to our 3-4) just after the early part of the game and Edo, Obama, Sado and my Clan (Josai) all Allied up and attacked the behemoth Matsumae. Edo and I did the most work taking provinces either side while Sado somehow came in from the top working down. Anyway, I was impressed by the cooperation of all the military allies. Pretty soon matsume was down from `Almighty` to `tiny` and begging for peace! what i liked about that was no one backstabbed eachother the whole time. It really felt like everyone was focused on the biggest threat and I was just one of them along for the ride.
So Allied AI cooperation is stronger if with you or against you. Sometimes I even get an Ally just following me around... at least, so it seems!
I also noticed AI armies are a little more sharper when you leave a city and head towards their territory. In fact, I saw one Faction (using my ninja as a spy) leave a city to intercept my army when I moved it to the border, but when I moved back, it retreated back too. I also saw it leave one of its cities but when I again moved towards its borders, it moved back into its city again.
Diplomacy feels tighter too, though I don`t know if that was changed. They don`t give anything away too easily, but will ask for peace if pushed, even on Legendary now. Seems reasonable to me with hard edge, that I like.
AI ships on the campaign map tend to vanish after battle to return later. Maybe they go to get repaired in a friendly port? Not sure, I assumed it was just during battles.
Hard to find much to complain about in the battles I`ve had so far. The battle AI tends to like standing in trees on hills a lot now. I hate fighting in trees (that`s does not mean I want it got rid of, btw). I actually was forced to fight a battle in trees and won.
Sometimes if you attack it with artillery, there is a pause before it starts moving. I don`t mind this at all. In one particular battle, I had attacked an army of which I`d just assasinated its only General. I had two sets of cannons and a few troops to take him on with. He didn`t have many troops, so it was an equal fight except for my cannons. In the whole battle he just stood there and I pounded him with my cannons until he ran away. I`ve never seen that before. I`ve had quite a few battles since and it`s not done that again.
A bug? Or was that simulating `uncertainty` on the AI`s part? I hope so. Many times in real warfare, a commander has frozen when it comes to leadership and simply fail to order his men to do anything until too late. It would be nice if a bit of programmed`uncertainty` could mean that the army leadership might freeze, especially if there`s no General commanding them.
It does sometimes sit and get bombarded by cannon before deciding to attack. I suspect its an attempt to simulate `sitting out` the bombardment.
Also it was very reactive in a bridge battle. We were in a meat grinder battle on a bridge and the BAI had committed its forces to that meat grinder. I sent a small force around to flank him and to my surprise he pulled a contingent of his army and his General out, while leaving a main force fighting on the bridge and took my flank attack, destroying it, then returned to the bridge. I actually lost that one as my Ace in the hole tactic actually failed. I was quite surprised by that. Good.
Also still good at consolidating its forces. If you allow it time and it has reinforcements, it`ll get everyone together first before attacking. Correct.
Unfortunately, I noticed that while its good at using cannons (like Parrott guns) on defence and not moving, if it has to move, say to get closer, we get the bug where the AI cannot stop and set up its cannons. NEEDS FIXING, CA! Come on, you must know about this.
Sieges seem perfect in how they work so far. With Allies or alone. I haven`t had a problem on (No Timer) yet except maybe they look a little silly when fleeing in single file all down the hill! But they do the job, attacking from different sides with the General staying back until he has to join in. I do notice though, that the Generals never seems to just quit and leave any more when a fight is obviously lost. He always has to join in and die, even when he`s wavering. No idea if it works with proper tactics with cannons though.
Difficult to see any improvements here yet. On defence the AI ships do still sit back and wait for me, so I just go wide and blast them. Also they aren`t too smart around island obstacles. I was attacked by 8 ships and I had only two. I hid my ships (one Corvette and one gunship) around a small coastal island. They all started shooting into the island, hitting nothing, while I patiently waited. One small gunship figured its way round to where my ships were hiding and was of course blown away since it didn`t stand a chance on its own.
The other 7 ships got stuck around the other side of the coast and even started hitting eachother, causing one to explode and others to waver and rout. By the end of that there were only about two functioning ships left so I just came out and finished them off! That was on my Legendary campaign! I even saved it on the Replay. However, I only saw that happen once, but hiding your ships around islands tends to fox the ship AI.
Really can`t tell if they are repairing in battle. I suspect they do, as battles last a bit longer.
So can`t really see ship improvements on defence yet, but still play-testing, so I won`t say much more on that for now; waiting for a major ship battle.
p.s. Just noticed a slight strange thing in diplomacy. Nearly everyone has decided to declare war on me. Obama and another Shogunate Faction have too. Everyone else is Imperial. now what`s interesting is while all the Imperials show they hate me in the Diplomacy screen, Obama and the other Shogunate Clan show that they are `Friendly` with me, even though they are at war with me?
What`s going on there? Perhaps they have been forced to agree to war with me?