Welcome LDiCesare! It seems like we may have spoken somewhere before. I recognize that name Seriously though, thanks for joining us!

OK, first WoM is probably going to be moddable, at least in the long run. We've already had players asking for editors for things like the factions, the races, the loot, etc. We've even had requests for an AI editor. At the moment I can't say what will and won't make it into the core game, but moddable is certainly in the game's future.

So, how is that going to effect the AI? We'll start with what I feel is the meat of your question and that is changes in the power level of certain units and the addition (or alteration) of certain spells.

This ties in to our using the D20 system for our combat mechanics and is one of the many reasons it's a good idea. (I don't know how much you know about D20, so forgive me if you already understand this explanation.) In D20 everything can be given a Challenge Rating (CR) that is a rough estimate of it's power level compared to other creatures. The CR attempts to quantify every aspect of a unit (or player or monster as the case may be) into a single number. (There's actually a lot to it, but I'm trying to keep it short here. If you want more explanation we can start a CR topic about it.) All the elements of a unit will be used to generate that unit's CR. The AI will consider the CRs of the different units in a battle to make decisions about what it can or can't defeat. It will also take into account specific things like Damage Resistance or Spell Resistance and update its tactics according to the units current stats, not the default stats that the unit came with in the game. Now, this is a complicated process and the base units that come with the game will probably be slightly more AI balanced than modded units. We will do our best to quantify as much of it as possible, but people who are determined to rook the system are going to be able to. Of course, as we find bugs, oversights, etc. we will update the AI.

New or altered spells are a slightly different matter, but again they have a basic power per cost and effect. If you make a fire spell super cheap and super effective you can expect the AI to start using it against you all the time. To be frank, I'm not sure to what extent we're going to allow spell modding. We haven't discussed it much yet. Players may very well want it. In any event, it's all about quantifying it so the AI can tell what the current situation is and adapt.

OK, diplomacy is a HUGE topic and we haven't really started talking nuts and bolts yet. In mind mind it could almost be considered a mini-game. So, forgive me for addressing your specific question. I realize it's just an example, but at the moment all I can do is offer you a counter-example. First, before you could make the trade agreement you used in your example you would have to get the AI in a good mood. For the moment we'll say there's a “good time happy feelings” meter. At the start of the game the AI wouldn't have enough GTHF (Good Time Happy Feelings) with you to make a deal like that. You would have to have had some other dealings with him first. Let's say for the sake of argument that you did that and have stung the AI with a successful con. Well, now he's mad. All his GTHF have become BYBOWAGCF (Beat Your Brains Out With A Gold Club Feelings), so he's going to hold a grudge. The next time you try to talk to him he demands tribute in the amount of double what you took from him. No matter what you want he's not going to talk until you give him the tribute. Even after that it's going to take a lot of work to make him trust you again. I know I'm speaking in broad general terms, but until we have more of the Diplomacy system set in stone it's all I can say. The idea I want you to take away from this is that we're aware of the delicacy of the AI Diplomacy dynamic and that we plan to give it in-depth consideration

In response to that other post I would say this: We plan to update the AI as time goes by. We're going to put a lot of play testing in it before release and make it as good as we can. However, there are already plans for DLC and expanded content. Major changes in content are going to require AI updates. So, we plan to update them.

Thanks again for coming by and jumping in. Feel free to ask any more questions you may have or join in on any of the other discussions!