How to beat normal AI

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by zgrssd, September 18, 2014.

  1. zgrssd

    zgrssd Active Member

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    A lot of reviewers seem to have issues with the normal AI, especialyl after recent upgrades.
    Also the question how to beat AI comes up often on the Steam forum and here. So I thought I write something up that helped me a lot to get a handle on the AI.

    Also consider reading this thread for general tips&tricks:

    The AI is tough, but still just an AI:
    The AI is written by Sorian. The same Sorian that gave the Supreme Commander Forged Alliance AI some private toutoring.
    But it is still just an AI. Once you know the weakpoints you can kill it in about 10-15 minutes if it spawns on the same planet. The higher the AI, the harder to exploit that weakness as it builds a lot faster and can evacuate the commander off planet.

    Start small & simple:
    Make a AI skirmish with only one planet and one normal AI. Set thier economy multiplier lower then 1 to give them a handycap and you more time.
    Moon's are best, followed by lava and anything without water (you don't want to get into naval game just yet).
    Having the AI on another planet will make it a lot harder, not easier. The AI recently got some upgrades that let's even normal enter the nuclear level if left alone on his planet. Also invasions can be a bit tricky for now.
    Galactic war does not nessesarily make battles easier. There is a decent chance they are actually harder early as you propably lack crucial tech.

    What factory to start with:
    Against normal & hard AI, that one is usually the best choice. Vehicles are quite tough and ideal to defeat bases and Commanders. They are the backbones of any ground army.
    The Bolo is used as main ground unit in PvP. However it lacks the raw damage for our goal so against AI it's primary purpose is to counter enemy Bolo's and Bot's.
    The Spinner is the Anti Air vehicle. Vehicle armies will need some of them mixed in to defend against the inevitable Air attacks.
    The flametanks are shortrange, durable, high damage units. They excell at killing bases and commanders like no other T1 unit - anything that cannot run away fast enough/far enough is thier prey.
    I build between 3-6 factories (as metal income allows) set to loop build a mix of 5 Flame Tanks, 1 Bolo, 1 Spinner (not nessesarily in that order and numbers adapted to changing battlefiled situations).

    The AI loves to raid:
    A good PvP player likes to keep the enemy of balance and do as much damage with as little resources as possible. The AI can do that partially and that is often the biggest issue for new players. The two primary raiding units are Bots and Air. You can asume the AI builds either of those first. It will have Air latest by the second factory it builds (one of the universal AI cosntants). It prefers to use Air fabbers where possible.
    The best way to prevent raiding is by having the enemy on the defensive. That is not always totally possible, especially early game unless the enemy spawned really close.
    Bot's and Air units are vulnerable to static defenses. Place one AA and 1 double barreled tower at every group of mex that are away from your base. Place wide spaced groups of Towers and turrets around your base (the fire areas only need to touch, not overlap). They will not deter serious attacks by land vehicles, but raiding will quickly become impossible.
    Another good counter to raiding are Air units of your own. Air units on area patrol can keep your MEX save agaisnt raiding and will also deny the enemy intel. I tend to use a 1:1 mix of Interceptors and Bombers. 1-3 factories can easily cover a hemisphere, if they do not fly over the enemy base while doing so. Keep the patrol area centered over your base and make it as large as you can without getting to close to the enemy base. Avoid air constructors for the start. The more air factoreis you have, the elss you need static defenses around your base.

    From start to finish line:
    The starting arae should have as many metal spots as possible close by (so you can put them inside your base defenses). Also you need some free place for the assembly lines.
    The first thing you should place is a Vehicle Factory. Then order your commander to build some T1 generators, try to keep walking distances to a minum that early. After 6 generators mix in a energy storage to smooth out peak demand. Also use him to build stuff like Air factories as demand arises.
    In the factory queue up: 1 Skitter, 6 engineers and start with the loop production above after the engineers are done.
    Send the skitter on planetary patrol. He will likely find the enemy.
    The first engineer should be ordered to claim all the metal spots at your starting point, then pick farther off fields. Place defenses first with far of metal spots, so the enemy will not have a chance to destroy the engineer.
    The other 5 are your base building team. With the first build a Radar and Orbital Radar, set the factory rally point to support him. Between radar and skitter you should have an idea where the enemy is (or at least where he is not). The next step is build up your factories. A total of 4 are the minimum. 5 are better. 6 could be already too many. Variate based on metal spots you could grab. The faster you produce now, the faster you can pressure the enemy and the less chance he has to pressure you or raid you. After that let the enginers build the perimter defense of your base (turrets and AA, widely spaced).
    If the enemy is far away, build a teleporter in your base and send out your commander out to build the counterpoint near the enemy base. He can defend himself and the teleporter against light attacks (unlike engineers), but he is rather slow and has to avoid the main base/defenses. Be aware that Teleporters need lot's of energy (1k each). Use the base team to build extra generators as needed so the Commander can get on his way.
    If the engineer team has nothing else to build at your base, queue up a T2 factory and some T2 engineers (in case this takes longer or there are other AI in the system). Otherwise set them to support the factories (one each).

    Using a combination of teleporter and manual movement/rally points build up a decent force at the enemies doorstep. At about 20 Flame tanks with some bolo and spinner you should be okay. Place the Spinners in a seperate group.
    Now you pretty much just guide your flametanks/bolo's straight into the enemy base. They will burn down anything along thier path and the AI should have nothing that can really hurt them in sufficient mass or micro management. Keep the spinners close but out of fire. Focus down turrets first. When you have a shoot at the commander, take it. Flame Tanks can kill him in seconds and he is slower than them. If you take losses retreat a bit and wait for more units to reach your frontline. Then push again.

    Before you know it you will have annihilated your first AI enemy.

    The flametank rush is the AI's greatest weakness and can even kill highest level AI's, if they are close enough to your base and you react in time. Practice it. Variate on it. Try a teamgame with 1 AI + you vs 2 AI. Then maybe a naval game. Then try a multi-planet system. Then maybe the galactic war (where you may lack the proper tech for the ideal solution and have to use the second best somtimes).
    When it get's boring, there are 3 higher settings you can try. If that get's boring, you can try more AI's or real players.

    Interplanetary Combat:
    The first line of defense for a planet is neither orbit, nor land nor sea. It is air. 5 Interceptors and 25-95 bombers on planetary patrol can easily squash any invasion attempt made by the AI (the interceptors are only needed for the transporters and if the AI uses air fabbers), it only sends lone fabbers.
    The best way to invade a planet is via teleporter. You have to put thier factoriy output and standing army against yours, and no distance is shorter then the one between two linked teleporters.
    If you failed at rushing over fast enough or cannot really establish a beachhead with ground fabbers alone, use orbital fabbers. Place a few anchors above the landing zone - thier AA guns keep the skies free - before placing the teleporter and sending your army through. Secure the landign zone using some basic fabbers and static defenses, while your force goes for the priamry goals - commander, standing army and factories.

    Overall the best way to do interplanetary combat is not to use invasions. Nuclear weapons (if deployed fast enough) can kill any commander. Build satelites to spy them out. But beware, the AI knows that too. Hard can use thier first nuke as early as minute 15 and it propably spied out your base beforehand.
    If you have no vision the first shoots should aim for where the enemy orbital units spawn. This will take out the orbital launncher, everything above it, some economy/engineers and likely damage the commander. If there is no better target, jsut shoot to where the orbital enginers go or orbital factories are until you can send in some more spionage forces to get a beat on your target.

    If the enemy already has heavy anti-nukes or you prefer the ecological way, the orbital factory can build the SXX laster platform wich needs only 1 shoot for most buildings/units and 5 for the commander. Use it to either knock out the any anti-nukes or the primary target.
  2. websterx01

    websterx01 Post Master General

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    Long post is unbelievably longer than expected.
    zihuatanejo likes this.
  3. mjshorty

    mjshorty Well-Known Member

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    on the contrary, a well thought out post is always welcome to the PA forums in my opinion, and lets face it, new players want to know how to beat the AI, and this guide is reasonably good at helping people out
    stormingkiwi likes this.
  4. zgrssd

    zgrssd Active Member

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    If you know how to put the same amount of information into less text I would be happy to know. Because this is the shortest I could come up with.
  5. zihuatanejo

    zihuatanejo Well-Known Member

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    How to beat the AI = play well. Just look at the 'quick tips' thread that has been stickied, casts from good players, videos by ZaphodX and wpmarshall, the Realm, etc etc. There's lots of resources out there that will help you improve your game and learn what works and what doesn't.

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