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Extreme difficulty setting - 6/13/2020 4:59:26 PM   
HindenburgDesaster

 

Posts: 1
Joined: 6/13/2020
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After playing the game for about 100 h and decisively winning as CP on intermediate difficulty in November 1916 (challenge was completely gone by late Spring 1916) on my second run, I decided to crank up the difficulty to extreme.
In order to get an idea about the AI/settings I tried to look on this forum for advice as well as on youtube but couldn't find a single post or Let's Play for this setting.
Therefore I have no point of reference apart from my runs on intermediate difficulty. I tried the same strategy as for my other campaigns and went full East as CP. Currently I am in July 1915.
Several things I've noticed:

Navy: Due to the increase in line of sight and starting experience for the AI any kind of larger expedition against the AI seems to be complete suicide. Full strength DNs, CCs or PDs struggle even against a single enemy CL or DD. Subs almost always get spotted and regularly take 1 or 2 damage from single DDs. Raiding any kind of convoy route apart from GB->Russia here and there seems to be futile, picking-off single CL/DD is few and far between. Given my very limited supply of MPPs I find it pretty much impossible to replenish my losses. Am I missing something here or is this the expected outcome?

Army: I managed to pick-off 20 French corps as well as 20 Russian corps (+ some smaller stuff). UK currently stands at 36 and France at 40 troops respectively, Russia stands at 68, Serbia at 17. Germany has 60, AH 33 and Ottomans 27. In the West the UK just completely overran Belgium and is in the process of overrunning the Netherlands (Rotterdam and Aachen have fallen). Warszaw has recently been taken by me and 8 Russian corps are encircled near Siedlce. Serbia is dug in with no progress being made (every 2 turns they damage two Austrian corps severely), but 2 artillery (German+Austrian) in position, waiting for their level 1 upgrade. I feel like I'm steadily losing ground in the West while the East is not advancing fast enough, any ideas where I went wrong/how to improve this?

Diplomacy: France declared on Belgium in March 1915 and the Netherlands in May 1915. Italy joined the Entente in May 1915. Does the AI tend to move more agressively against Belgium and the Netherlands caused by the higher difficulty?

Research: Due to the increased disparity in MPPs I tried to get a head start in industry and heavily invested (2-3 chits) with all three powers. I also tried to get the ball rolling on trenches and infantry warfare. Currently I basically had no technology break-throughs. All 3 powers managed to advance industry by 1, nothing else, while France is greeting me with level 3 trenches and upgraded artillery. Am I going about this the wrong way or did I simply get unlucky? After re-supplying all my troops I normally manage to scrape together around 50 to 75 MPPs, that I spend every 2-3 turns on a new tech, is this too low? Does the difficulty decrease the chance for break-throughs on my side and improves it for the enemy?

National morale:
UK 92%, France 85%, Italy 99%, Serbia 102%, Russia 85%, Germany 78%, A-H 92%, Ottomans 89%. Since I can barely operate with my navy I don't know how to hit the UK while they are hitting me hard in the Rhineland. I have to admit it's not looking good and the morale disparity seems to widen with every turn due to the blockades, further diminishing my already limited fighting power. Any advice on how to improve this situation?


To sum it up: The difficulty is kicking my ass so far and I love it! Do any of you guys regularly play with these settings and if so, how do your results differ?
I would be very glad to hear from any of you, and welcome any advice.
Post #: 1
RE: Extreme difficulty setting - 6/13/2020 10:00:32 PM   
mdsmall

 

Posts: 440
Joined: 4/28/2020
From: Vancouver, BC
Status: offline
Hi - fascinating report. I have never played against the AI on the extreme setting. Frankly, it sounds like you should be making plans to offer an early armistice and hope for favourable terms! But since the AI would not recognize that overture, here a couple of ideas.

It sounds like you are under-investing in technology, especially artillery. You have to be attacking and killing enemy corps and by mid-1915, the only way you can do that every turn is with several pieces of artillery at Level 1. Advanced submarines which can dive more easily might also give you some offensive naval capability. But that requires more investment of MPPs.

I would try to swing a neutral over to your side through diplomacy. The obvious one is Bulgaria, but perhaps one of the others is also an option. You need to change the strategic equation somewhere on the board.

Try luring the Russian fleet out into the Baltic and then heavily counter-attacking to sink as much of it as possible. It is a good way to push down their National Moral and hastening the Russian Revolution - which is the only future event that works in your favour.

In general, my perception is that while the AI can be very crafty in setting ambushes, and can surprise with some occasional bold moves (like invading Belgium), it is not good at reading the larger strategic picture on the board or anticipating the unexpected from its opponent. So think of something you could do that is very unexpected and to which the AI might be slow to react. Amphibious invasions on unguarded flanks are always fun, provided you can capture a port through which you can then be supplied. Attacking a neutral to gain positional advantage might be an idea e.g. by invading Scandinavia or Switzerland. The latter moves are long shots - but at this point, what more do you have to lose? There are no miracle weapons coming in 1918 to help you.

Good luck!

Michael




(in reply to HindenburgDesaster)
Post #: 2
RE: Extreme difficulty setting - 6/15/2020 1:06:12 PM   
BillRunacre

 

Posts: 4639
Joined: 7/22/2013
Status: online
Interesting post and glad you're enjoying the harder challenge!

In answer to this question:

Does the difficulty decrease the chance for break-throughs on my side and improves it for the enemy?

No, research is unaffected by the difficulty setting.

You may find that tweaking the AI's spotting bonuses might help even up the war at sea without upsetting the balance of power on land.

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(in reply to mdsmall)
Post #: 3
RE: Extreme difficulty setting - 6/15/2020 6:44:01 PM   
Xsillione

 

Posts: 212
Joined: 1/18/2019
Status: offline
Played a few run on veteran and expert difficulty:

Solo German on veteran (AH and Ottoman Played by AI): France First, easy victory over Belgium and almost reached Paris before the first Winter, than the lines started to freeze, and it took me over a year to take the final two hex towards Paris (while clearing the french fortress system), managed to clear most of the UK fleet, and sneak past the UK ships a few landing craft, after that, managed to clear both France and UK in early '16, could take out Russia faster probably, but wanted the Victory March in London.

Expert Central Powers: Tried twice, failed twice. First Russia first, struggled with Serbia and while destroyed the Russian troops, could not take enough territory, and after Italy joined and France DOW-ed on Netherlands it was over. The naval war was brutal, but with careful management of the fleet you can take some victories and keep the ships alive, but you will not get a decisive victory by this ever, and the other side can repair any damage, so only kills matter. The main issue on the land, that when the opponent gets lvl 1 art, they will just destroy 1 unit in every 5 turn (lvl 1 shell around the same time) and when they get lvl 2 art, they will destroy 2-3 unit in every 2-3 turn, or 1 unit per turn, just with art, and you simply cannot keep up with that. Second run tried the France first, did a better job in Serbia, and pushed them to nish, but could not clear the balkan, belgium was done quite fast, and managed to wipe three UK troops with an encirclement early, but then stopped, and even forced to fall back to the original borders, keeping only the fort from belgium, got unlucky and failed to take Verdun by only one damage, but even with that it was a losing position from there. keeping Italy out of the War is almost a must, only with a quick balkan can you hope to face the Italians, and even with that, it will mean you lose the AH fleet. The ottomans in this almost managed to take Egypt, but ultimately failed Next time probably will try Serbia and Russia first again, with better prepare for the French DOW and avoid Italy, if possibly, Romania can be knocked out quickly, with a well timed preventive strike.

Entente: Played only on veteran, but with the Triple Alliance, so Italy also in the CP, making it at least Expert the difficulty, but differently, not as much bonus but lots of units. First time it was a failure, italy broke through and from there the Germans also started to take territory, and France surrendered before the US entered. Second time it Went better, Managed to hold Italy, and give up territory for the Germans only slowly, still, lost Paris in late '15, while trying to do damage with the Russians, since their numbers at the early game allows you some encircling and elimination, even with the horrendous combat penalties. Serbia held out until '16 at the original border, but after Montenegro fall to the Italians, Serbia also had to abandon Belgrad. Greece and the UK strike the Bulgarians, and took Sofia quickly, and later with the Romanians managed to force the Bulgarian surrender. From there Gallipoli also taken and a few units managed to slip into Ottoman teritory on Asian side. Victory at Bagdhad and partial victory at Mecca also took toll on the Ottoman Moral, but ultimately the US won the war, despite the horrendous naval defeat they suffered from the Italians.

On how to win with CP on Expert: Hold the Line on the west, invest heavily into entrenching, and hope it will help, as well as infantry weapon, since that helps a bit against artillery. Take any opportunity to punish the french (and focus on them, if possibly, they have smaller income than the UK and France together.) try to keep every fort (the belgian on after the DOW) and take any if opportunity presents, but never overextend for it. Save the Belgian units from certain destruction, you can transport them from the ports to germany to keep them alive, extra units always welcome, just keep in mind, you cannot rebuild them, but can repair them. Be prepared for the same with netherlands, only the units outside the country will remain, so evacuate them, transports also an option if cut of. the fort also a grate prize, but might fall on DOW turn, so it may be tricky. end the extra troops to serbia, to force than out fast, and gain Bulgaria fast too, also helps Romania staying out, but sooner or later you need to take that out anyway, so you might just do it now. Than decide on italy, if you fold with AH, you can save yourself from an extra enemy with 10+ ships, 30+ land units and around 200 mpp per turn income, but lose 10K-15K AH morale (you might able to pay this with the balkan victory) and 100-150 mpp per turn for a while, as AH devastated. Also the AH units will be useless for 3-6 turn. No good choice, so it is a great choice and decision. Irrelevant from this, you want the Russians out ASAP, so they are the next target, push them with the Balkan units, that are no free, and hope a quick victory, time is on the entente side. if Russia out before '17, you are maybe good, if not, you are in trouble, as the Entente starts to get Bigger in economy and tech and morale and you will fall into the negative spiral of defeat.

(in reply to BillRunacre)
Post #: 4
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