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Thread: My artillery make me want to cry...

  1. #1

    Default My artillery make me want to cry...

    OK, tips for using artillery please...

    (VH/H w. ultra unit size)

    I'm Britain, mainly fighting Huron indians. I've tried many tactics: All my artillery together in the middle of my line, flanked by infantry; cannons spaced out down the line separated by infantry; and cannons placed behind my infantry line.

    In the first case, indian cavalry, but mainly infantry units can just walk through my canister shot and engage the cannons without routing.

    In the second case, the same happens, except in this case the cannons have a habit of swivvelling 90 degrees and firing right along my line, destroying themselves along with half my infantry. I've turned fire at will off but there's still too much micro managing needed to avoid massive ff casualties.

    In the third case, I can't even use canister shot at all, and round shot doesn't seem to do anything at all (an infantry unit marching right across the map may lose 10 men out of 160 if it's under constant barrage).

    Tbf, I haven't researched many artillery techs - just canister I think; do the other techs help a lot? I'm guessing explosive shells may be better at taking out infantry at long range.

    Does experience matter? The cannons seem to fire so slowly, a line of infantry can advance on them at walking pace and only receive one volley of canister shot (which appears to fly several meters over their heads anyway). Do techs (percussion caps or the like) improve firing speed?

    Is it something to do with unit size? How many pieces do you get at smaller unit size? Or is it just indians have huge moral, and other European powers would be less inclined to stroll through canister shot to get to my lines?

    Any tips/your experiences gratefully received...

  2. #2
    pardon my klatchian Member al Roumi's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    I must admit that i haven't found artillery to be so lethal as the manual/tutorial warns, but it could well be down to how and in what quantity I've been using them too.

    Not all arty has the same uses or fires along the same trajectory, and some of their researchable ammo will also affect both trajectory and range differently. Bear in mind what can do what and how you will use them. e.g. howitzers, rockets and mortars have no reason to be deployed in or in front of your line -their arcing trajectory of fire means they can sit snuggly behind your infantry, without sacrificing effectiveness.

    Ultimately, you want to create "killing zones" where your units can blast, shoot and kill the enemy, from multiple directions -ideally catching them in a cross-fire of different ordinance.

    Positioning of formations should depend heavily on the terrain of the battlefield. High ground is the perfect place to locate you cannon batteries. Deploying your line accross the hill in front of them will mean that the cannon can shoot over the heads of the infantry and draw the enemy onto your line in their efforts to check the cannons.

    It's a shame so much micro is required to use cannister shot, but I would suggest using lines of infantry in a V, opening towards the enemy, with cannons at the point. This means that not only are the inf closer targets for the enemy, they will also be in position to flank fire & charge the enemy -should they choose to advance up the V towards the cannons. This should allow for use of cannister shot on the advancing or engaged (by your inf) enemy, and solid shot for longer range firing.

    I haven't teched up enough to use puckle guns yet, but as they have a flat firing trajectory I'm guessing they should be used like close range cannon.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    On VH/VH levels, artillery loses much of its efficiency. As you've found, AI melee units can just charge into the cannon and beat them in hand to hand.

    The best way to use them, I find, is to distribute the cannon between units of your infantry so that enemy troops will engage your infantry first before clashing with the artillery (or you can charge forward to force a confrontation). You have to manually control the artillery, to avoid excessive friendly fire casaulties.

    Always make sure you have units to cover your artillery or be prepared to lose them. Against melee heavy armies, expect to lose some of them anyway. It is almost impossible to prevent a large mass of enemy infantry and cavalry from reaching your cannon without extreme care.

    Once howitzers and mortars become available,I tend to use these more and more. The indirect fire is not as effective as a load of cannister, but you have the advantage that you can pretty much just place the howitzer batteries behind your battle lines and allow them to fire away the entire battle without worrying too much about them killing your own men (only thing to watch for is if you are raining shrapnel/carcass shot on a melee your cavalry is involved in).

    Pretty unhistorical, but that's the problem with the way melee is implemented in the game (too much of it).

    Once Shrapnel becomes available (very late) I tend to switch my cannon to shrapnel (essentially indirect fire cannister shot).
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  4. #4
    Member Member Polemists's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Have to say on medium/medium exploding shot does a pretty good job

  5. #5
    Member Member crpcarrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    so far i ave founf ahving the arty on the sied to work best. i usually have 2 arty units on both sides of my line and also have a spare infantry and cavalry unit close by to stop any cavalry or infantry attack on the arty. if you can quickly hold the chrgin gunit in range of u guns a few volleys will make them break important thing is dont let them reach u arty.

    once the enemey is close to you lines all arty HAVE to be taken off FAW even when not using canister shot. u dont want you own arty firing from the side of u line to take a whole line of u infantry. but if the enemy stops short of melee and starts a shooting dueal a few well aimed volleys of canister shot will make anything break jsut make sure there are no friendly units in the way or behind.

    also exp makes a huge difference to accuracy.
    "Forgiveness is between them and god, my job is to arrange the meeting"

  6. #6

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    I absolutely adore artillary and they make the corner stone of each of my armies.


    The trick I've been using is simply to expect them to drive the pace of the battle, not win it.



    In the set up find a high spot with a great field of vision, set the cannons up, base the formations of your armies around the movement and location of the cannons. always keep them central flanked by two long lines of infantry with cavalry behind them.

    The cannons will simply fire away at practically everything on the battle field forcing the enemy to either futilly advance onto your infantry line of death, or delay and attempt various flanking manoeuvres; these take time for them to organise and are generally weak enough to be dealt with by a bit of reorganisation by the line flank closest to it. The cavalry are also key to defeating these. While the enemy prats about trying to set these up the canons are still plugging away at them causing chaos.

    Once the battle reaches a balance and no-ones either in range or not worth shooting at anymore, pack up the cannons and move them to a more central position, same exact formation for all other units. Now rotate the lines of infantry so they close like a jaw around the enemy leaving a nice line for the cannons to shoot down with only the bad guys in the way of it. I've never seen any army of any strength break free of this move

    I love it. As you rank them up and get better tech you'll find that they become alot more effective, on a few battles now my cannons have managed to kill the enemy general before they even mount their first attack. cannister is invaluable to a high point of defense but be aware that it won't work if the enemy is too close, for some reason it tends to fire over their heads.


    Learn to love cannons, I mean everyones play style is different but they were a major part of battles at this time in history. I can really see why!

  7. #7
    Member Member Lord of the Isles's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    I already posted much of this in the stickied Bugs thread, but this seems a good place for it too. One thing that has just come to be is the possibility that being in a Group formation may cause some of the effects I am seeing. I'll need to experiment but even if that is the cause, it is hard to justify it happening.


    Artillery in battles seem bugged. Getting them to respond properly to orders is a micromanaging nightmare. This is for 12 pounder foot artillery at least, haven't tried other types yet.

    I can live with them being on fire-at-will by default after they unlimber, though I think it would be better if they weren't. I can also just about ... no, I can't ... live with stupid friendly fire incidents like sending cannister fire into a friendly unit next door because they were tracking some enemy unit that ran behind the friendly one.

    But limbering up is awful - they regularly carry out that command and then immediately unlimber again. If you haven't noticed, they will of course be back on fire-at-will and before you know it they are decimating your own troops with friendly fire. I have a feeling that when you have more than one artillery unit, the first usually limbers up ok but the second and subsequent ones are almost sure to have this problem, but that's just a feeling, haven't tested it in trials.

    At other times I have had the fire-at-will button off for all batteries, manually directing fire. I hit the stop button for all batteries, then go away and do something else, only to find all the batteries are still firing or have restarted (not sure which targets, whether they are new or old ones).

    Also, so far only noticed when changing from roundshot to cannister, they will sometimes change target from the closest unit and instead fire at a target far too far away to hit with cannister.

    Lastly (well, the last I can remember for now), the white firing arc that shows the area the artillery can shoot into. If you select cannister and then select a target a little outside the artillery's range, it won't fire, which is sensible. But change to roundshot, select the same target and wait (not sure how long). Now, change the shot selector button to cannister and this time they will fire cannister at the target, sometimes falling short but sometimes hitting and doing damage.

  8. #8
    Forum Lurker Member Sir Moody's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    My stacks tend to include 2 12 pounders and 2 12 pounder howitzers

    The howitzers with caracass shot are killers - they will easily devistate infantry and cavalry.

    The 12 Pounders are great for taking down buildings (which the enemy seems to over garison)

    generally i let the howitzers do as they please - occasionally chekcing them to make sure they arnt raining fire down near my Infantry - the 12 pounders i micromanage because otherwise they tend to either kill your infantry or each other - plus they stink at anything other than destroying buildings (ok sure canister is brutally effective but they wont survive long enough to make effective use of it)
    Last edited by Sir Moody; 03-10-2009 at 15:38.

  9. #9
    Member Member Jeroen Hill's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    In late period artillery gets very lethal, specially when massed up. Did a fight last night just to test my new videocard.

    I played France, had 6 units of 24LB artillery, 3 cavalry units, general unit, and rest was all line infantry. Against the British and I just gave them all line infantry and heavy cavalry to test out artillery.

    I loaded that mediterranian coastal map with a lot of stonewalls and flat land. Placed all infantry along the stonewall but left 3 gaps open, 1 in the center, and 1 at each flank with a line infantry unit ending the line. Now I too knew that arty would be vulnerable so I took some infantry units in reserve and placed them right behind the arty and fire at will turned off. In case enemy infantry would get too close, I would order my artillery to halt fire and the reserve infantry units would seal of the gaps.

    However, most of the British infantry moved against my center, 4 units wide colum formation. I let the 6 batteries fire with shrapnel and switched to cannister when they were close enough. 6 late period batteries firing cannister on mass packed infantry is devastating! That first line routed really fast when my infantry also opened fire. But than their 2nd line started a charge and I had to fill in the gaps.

    So in short, put your artillery in gaps between your infantry but artillery just requires protection, a lot of micromanagement and a lot of care.

  10. #10

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    yeah they are abit bugged too. But I think the general rule of don't run in front of cannons be they yours or the enemies is one that all generals have to have carved into the necks of their horses so they never forget it. sticking all the infantry onto guard mode stops them pursueing enemies in front of friendly fire. Not grouping the cannons but multi selecting them and dragging a formation out helps alot of the weird unpacking issues.

  11. #11
    Member Member TB666's Avatar
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    Default Sv: Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    I usually bring 3-4 units of artillery with me.
    Used to bring foot artillery but after trying out 4 units of howitzers with exploding shots made me change my mind.
    Those things just rapes everything causing higher casulties and lower morale then their regular artillery counterparts.
    Not to mention seeing 14-16 howitzers firing and then seeing their shells explode over the enemy is a sight to behold.

  12. #12
    Member Member crpcarrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Isles View Post
    I already posted much of this in the stickied Bugs thread, but this seems a good place for it too. One thing that has just come to be is the possibility that being in a Group formation may cause some of the effects I am seeing. I'll need to experiment but even if that is the cause, it is hard to justify it happening.


    Artillery in battles seem bugged. Getting them to respond properly to orders is a micromanaging nightmare. This is for 12 pounder foot artillery at least, haven't tried other types yet.

    I can live with them being on fire-at-will by default after they unlimber, though I think it would be better if they weren't. I can also just about ... no, I can't ... live with stupid friendly fire incidents like sending cannister fire into a friendly unit next door because they were tracking some enemy unit that ran behind the friendly one.

    But limbering up is awful - they regularly carry out that command and then immediately unlimber again. If you haven't noticed, they will of course be back on fire-at-will and before you know it they are decimating your own troops with friendly fire. I have a feeling that when you have more than one artillery unit, the first usually limbers up ok but the second and subsequent ones are almost sure to have this problem, but that's just a feeling, haven't tested it in trials.

    At other times I have had the fire-at-will button off for all batteries, manually directing fire. I hit the stop button for all batteries, then go away and do something else, only to find all the batteries are still firing or have restarted (not sure which targets, whether they are new or old ones).

    Also, so far only noticed when changing from roundshot to cannister, they will sometimes change target from the closest unit and instead fire at a target far too far away to hit with cannister.

    Lastly (well, the last I can remember for now), the white firing arc that shows the area the artillery can shoot into. If you select cannister and then select a target a little outside the artillery's range, it won't fire, which is sensible. But change to roundshot, select the same target and wait (not sure how long). Now, change the shot selector button to cannister and this time they will fire cannister at the target, sometimes falling short but sometimes hitting and doing damage.
    all this gripes just sound like plain laziness or wanting a unit that can auto manage itself. on the one hand we have people complaing that the game is too easy and on the other hand people want it made easier but having individual unit AI. maybe when we are preared to pay way more pergame and have games on Bluray disks that will be a reality
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  13. #13
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    I generally use artillery a lot. I also get kills in the region of around 100 in every battle. Most important than tha kills even is the morale hit. Troops hate to be under artillery fire.

    I generally deploy my batteries together, although I do keep howitzers behind a protective screen. Keep the infantry outside the arc of fire but close enough to charge and save the day if they get threatened. Keep them on regular shot until the enemy get within canister range, and then switch. Now if melee starts with the unit you were targeting, stop firing and turn off fire at will. Your own troops don't like being shot at anymore than the enemies'!

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  14. #14

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    I find myself using artillery for a rather large portion of my army just for the sheer killing power/morale effect they have. 24lb-er Foot Artillery are absolute MONSTERS once you have shrapnel shot researched. My armies generally run with 6-8 units of artillery (3 standard cannon, 3 howies, 2 mortar...or 2 howies and one mortar), and I find artillery absolutely deadly especially once they've gotten some experience. I've seen a 3 cannon crew shrapnel shot barrage by experienced artillery crews all hit a general unit at the same time and his unit was just GONE. Insta-gibbed.

    I find Shrapnel shot to be almost crucial to the effectiveness of the cannons. Canister is great, especially against low morale units, but it's definitely a large risk if your cannons are at the center of your line, and you use the infantry with artillery intermixed formation, as even with a reserve unit behind the cannon, there is a very high chance your artillery crew can still get sucked into the melee. The latest trick I've been mulling over using (haven't gotten to test it yet), has been to take Light Infantry, and get them to deploy stakes in front of the cannon crews on the front line. This should hopefully dissuade an infantry crew from charging headlong into the cannon crew to wipe it out.

    I've also found that artillery crews can be VERY finicky for controlling. Since I'm a rather large artillery abuser, I've learned how to control and manage them quite effectively. The best thing to do, if you're going to have (say, your howitzers) in a line behind your inf, is to just use the Line Formation (Alt+2) to get them set up to stand together, and THEN maneuver them into position. This will clear up the issue of your artillery wanting to wander all over the map when given a group move (from my experiences anyway).

    The packing up issue is entirely caused by FAW and having current fire orders. Artillery crews are insanely trigger happy you see, and love to shoot off their big guns.

    BEFORE you try packing them up, try turning off FAW, and then hitting the 'cancel orders' button (backspace) to clear out any current fire orders. Wait a few seconds to make sure the crews aren't in mid-shot, and THEN pack them up for the move. It may be a bit of a hassle, but I like my gun crews to be enthusiastic about their jobs.


    I'm probably going to start experimenting with a bit of different artillery formations to see if I can come up with something a bit more effective. Perhaps try having my main cannon line more off to the flanks than dead center, as the center is usually what really attracts the main infantry charges. I'm more hoping the stakes will keep everyone at arm's length, but it's hard to say until I get home tonight.
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  15. #15
    Just another pixel Member Upxl's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Question: how do you actually move canons anyway?
    the one not towed by horses.

    I can’t seem to move them anywhere.
    And tried every button on the keyboard.
    Or is this just a technology? Towing your cannons???
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  16. #16

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Quote Originally Posted by Upxl View Post
    Question: how do you actually move canons anyway?
    the one not towed by horses.

    I can’t seem to move them anywhere.
    And tried every button on the keyboard.
    Or is this just a technology? Towing your cannons???
    Some of the early artillery can only be moved during deployment phase.
    Check your units icon field, there should be a tow/untow button during combat...if not than you are using a static cannon

    Susanna/Calapine

  17. #17
    Senior Member Senior Member Graphic's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    I wish there was a way to have the VH battle AI without the artificial handicaps. I'd like it to be a technically equal playing field, but not have the AI send one unit at a time to be annihilated and rout.

  18. #18

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    The Basics of Artillery

    With cannons you should never keep them behind your own line, as they fire in a straight trajectory and with a good deal of inaccuracy. They should be deployed together on a flank, supported by one or two infantry units and, preferably, a cavalry unit. Pikemen are very efficient as they can easily withstand cavalry charges that are able to penetrate infantry lines and engage the artillery before they can be repelled. I usually use two units of Line Infantry to support the four artillery pieces that are standard in my armies. Howitzers fire in a parabolic trajectory and can be deployed behind your own line. They should still be supported by infantry. Fixed artillery such as demi-cannons, sakers, and mortars are usually only valuable defensively so if you use them on the battlefield you need to play defensively as well. Demi-cannons and sakers fire in a straight trajectory and must be deployed on the flanks, while mortars fire in a parabolic trajectory with exceptional range and can be deployed behind your own lines.

    I usually deploy my artillery en masse on a flank, deciding which one depending on the terrain. A hill is beneficial but just as important is an unobstructed view on the largest amount of area. I deploy two units of Line Infantry just behind them and usually have some cavalry close by. Regardless of whether they have a straight or parabolic trajectory I usually deploy them on a flank because formations are most vulnerable when hit diagonally, very vulnerable from the side, and least vulnerable at the front. A cannon shot fired at their front may only take out as many men as the formation is deep(AI usually deploys in 5 ranks) but may also go straight between two files. From the side you may kill 10-25 men with one shot but it may also go straight between two ranks. A diagonal shot will always kill something if it hits the formation and may kill 10-25 men with one shot. Due to the inaccuracy of cannons you will usually kill the most men when you hit them diagonally as this is when a formation is the biggest target. Additionally, firing from a diagonal position allows your artillery to stay beside or behind your own lines(You need to produce a gap between the artillery and enemy forces devoid of friendly units).

    To use artillery with the most efficiency you need to use your army to move the enemy into it's line of fire, the objective being to engage in an infantry stalemate in a location diagonal to the artillery. Ball shot is best used if the area between you and the enemy is on the same level as the killing power of the cannon ball is in it's ability to bounce, taking out anything in it's path. On uneven ground it is more likely to burrow into the ground, causing at most 1 kill, usually none. Carcass and quicklime shot are morale breakers, not causing as many kills but quickly routing a unit under sustained fire. If you have cavalry this is a very good weapon, used to break formations quickly, allowing the cavalry to cut them down as they flee. The exploding and shrapnel shot work best with howitzers, exploding in the air and scattering shrapnel on the enemy units, often with the killing power of canister shot. These are used to kill masses of enemy soldiers. The canister shot has a short range but are extremely deadly, being able to take out entire 120 man formation with one battery. Due to their short range, however, they are best used defensively, for instance by placing them in front of you main line, allowing the enemy to advance on your position and then firing straight into their ranks before advancing your line in front of the artillery. If your infantry begins to exchange volleys it may be a good idea to routinely retreat the infantry behind the artillery, allowing them to fire, then advancing to your line again. Engaging from the diagonal is still preferable and using cavalry to goad enemy formations within range is also a good tactic, but will pin down more units to your artillery. As a last measure, it can be used to defend the artillery pieces.

  19. #19

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Cheers for all the tips; very helpful

    Things started looking up as soon as howitzers, exploding shells etc. came online...

  20. #20
    Guest Dayve's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Cannons are barely worth using until you tech up, except for taking out buildings, and even then they take 30 minutes to do it. Canister shot i find is fantastic when you put your artilery on the front line flanked by ranged infantry.

  21. #21

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    mortars can rout entire armies, ive done it :D i need to start putting my cannons at teh front if i wanna use canister shot i usually put them behind my infantry to keep them safe lol
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  22. #22
    Just another pixel Member Upxl's Avatar
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    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Quote Originally Posted by Susanna View Post
    Some of the early artillery can only be moved during deployment phase.
    Check your units icon field, there should be a tow/untow button during combat...if not than you are using a static cannon

    Susanna/Calapine
    Question answered fast and clean!

    I thank the Susanna
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  23. #23

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    The immovable units say "fixed artillery" when you put your unit over them as opposed to "artillery" which is listed for the movable ones. Quick way to tell while deciding which to recruit.

  24. #24

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Individual artillery units are fairly anemic. Massed artillery, on the other hand, is very effective even before tech ups or highly experienced units. If you want to have an artillery dominated battle in the early game, plan to bring 6 sets of guns, deployed in crossfiring arrangements on your flanks, preferably on raised ground so you can position defensive infantry in front of them. Once you get square formations and indirect-fire guns, you can build near impregnable mobile death zones.

    Also, due to stat stacking on hard-difficulty AI units, artillery is as ineffective at low rank as all your other units, it's just more obvious because you can't make up for it with a local numerical superiority.
    Last edited by Ordani; 03-11-2009 at 08:33.

  25. #25
    Member Megas Methuselah's Avatar
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    Question Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Quote Originally Posted by knoddy View Post
    mortars can rout entire armies
    Really? I never used mortars before. How do you do it?

  26. #26

    Default Re: My artillery make me want to cry...

    Quote Originally Posted by crpcarrot View Post
    all this gripes just sound like plain laziness or wanting a unit that can auto manage itself. on the one hand we have people complaing that the game is too easy and on the other hand people want it made easier but having individual unit AI. maybe when we are preared to pay way more pergame and have games on Bluray disks that will be a reality
    Your comment sounds like you haven't played the game.

    All we want is a game without silly bugs such as, e.g., units actually doing as instructed, rather than acting in completely random manners (a problem for both artillery and ships in the game). And preferably without stupid micro-management caused by anemic AI behavior.

    AI behaviour - incidentally - which the AI suffers from to a greater extent than the player, since it seems incapable of understanding that firing roundshot when its general is marching right in front of its batteries is a bad idea, or that firing at that line of enemy infantry far away is a very bad idea when you 8i.e., the AI) has just occuppied a building directly in the line of fire with a regiment of infantry.

    That aside, why would we want to wait for games on bluray disks? It's not the AI code that takes up 2 DVDs in Empire:TW.
    Last edited by Strategy; 03-11-2009 at 11:10.
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