The AI (Artificial intelligence) used in Age of Empires 2 DE has undergone many tweaks and reworks since its release and has become known for its drastic improvements and capabilities in comparison to older versions such as Age of Empires HD.
So, is it possible to Ally with the AI?
The easiest way to ally with AI would be simply to place the AI on the same team as you. This can be done during the lobby setup. Doing this means you can have the AI as an ally throughout the entire game. (Unless you uncheck the ‘Lock Teams’ checkbox in the lobby setup.
If you play the campaigns, Allying AI is more difficult because the gameplay has been set out in a specific way to follow the plot and storyline of the campaign. Usually, there are restrictions on who and what teammates and AI you can choose to Ally.
However, if you play Skirmish game modes, depending on the game setup (be sure to have the ‘Lock teams’ unchecked) you can Ally AI by sending a tribute of a resource through the market, and depending on the difficulty level, you are playing, the cost is more significant.
Another option is to simply check the ally box located in the trade menu in the top right-hand corner of the screen during gameplay.
This means you will be an Ally to them; however, this does not mean they are obligated to become an Ally to you.
Therefore, combat is still possible and could cause some problems when their units start attacking you, and you’re Allied to them and do not attack in return. So you need to keep a keen eye on your units and villagers!
Some AI offer an Alliance to you with the request of a tribute. You will receive a message in the game requesting the specific number of resources they require to become your ally.
This again is transferred through the market and can vary in price however there is no guarantee this will work as some AI will choose to stay as the enemy.
This technique programmed into the AI personally makes it feel much more realistic. With the unpredictability of this AI, it feels much more human and therefore much more exciting to play!
So, Is it worth it?
There are benefits and complications to becoming an ally with the AI. Firstly, if you are running low on resources, you can use the text box commands to request specific resources. There are also quicker commands to request resources using the chat box instead of typing out the required text.
This means simply typing the number into the chat box will request the same as writing the whole text.
However, be cautious, the AI may be allied to you, but this doesn’t mean an infinite source of resources. The AI can choose to help and send you the necessary resources or keep them for their own empire.
Another great benefit to having the AI as an ally is their ability to help defend you as the player and conquer your opponent. There are a few commands to use in the chat box to help the AI know where to attack such as –
However, this can also be risky. The AI isn’t obligated to protect you or attack the enemy when you do. Sometimes the AI will attack the enemy in the early stages and sometimes it will stay quiet until massing an army in Post Imperial age which could be quite a nuisance if you are not aiming for a Post Imp long game.
Unfortunately, AI will always be a little clunky as it is … an AI. Simulating human gameplay is tricky; therefore, AI will never be as good as playing with a human. This is because we as players are able to predict and talk about strategies and attack times whereas an AI is programmed with a specific tree of options that it must follow and isn’t always the most reliable teammate.
The AI commonly mine resources when they have been scouted regardless of the position of the resource on the map. For example, they could end up mining the resources from your base or even the enemies base.
The AI also gets easily distracted by defensive buildings such as castles, unlike a human player who would send units into the enemies base to kill units rather than focusing on buildings.
The AI will also make a large number of counter units based on seeing one unit type. For example, if the AI sees a scout, It will start to make a disproportionate amount of Spears which can impact later gameplay when the AI is out of resources and needs to counter a different unit.
How many AI can you ally with?
The option to ally with AI is infinite. You can choose to Ally with whoever you want during the game but as said previously … they don’t always choose to ally with you! This means potentially you could ally with the entire team … but the chances of that happening with AI are very low as they don’t always agree to become an ally.
In the end, choosing to become an Ally with An AI has its advantages and disadvantages. If you and your friend want to play a 3v3 and you need to use an AI just be wary of the capabilities the AI has and remember it can be quite unpredictable!