Current flaw of the AI: It knows pretty much everything about you, you get too strong and no matter how much it hates you they will never attack, the game gets boring without much action. You get too weak for them that they finally attack, chances are you'll lose anyway and you'll just start over.
Basically going along with the espionage/diplomacy forecast of the next update: Include better information warfare
Solution: Relative Power of Fleet strength, Composition, Capacity, Technology, Planets, Starbases, etc (add more types) are not readily available to you for every empire you have contact with. You'll know there's a large fleet you just don't know exactly how strong it is, You know there's a Starbase, you just don't know its weapon systems.
So instead of everyone being both cautious and reckless at the perfect moment: this will make it somehow chaotic, It will add much more to intelligence and espionage aspect of the game.
- Add a base budget for intelligence that's gonna show some of those information but with accuracy relative to your budget spending.
- option to add more budget for individual types (starbases, planet buildings, fleet strength, technologies, etc)
- option to add more budget for individual empires (like focusing budget on your rivals, or border nations)
- Budget for counterintelligence, again with individual toggles. Basically if you are very secretive then you should up this to a high level for all types, if you want everyone to know that you are a force in the galaxy then turn down the funding for fleet strength. If you want everyone to know how advanced you are turn down the tech counter-intelligence funding. you might even go full-reverse and do some propaganda. (e.g. intentionally making your force stronger than what it appears to be)
- This is all relative to other empires, you might think your intelligence budget is already too high but your rival has a higher counter-intelligence budget: reducing the accuracy of your findings. you will need to find a budget for every circumstance that you are confident with to trust.
The AI will use these systems accordingly and everyone can use them to their advantage. At first glance an enemy empire might seem very powerful with their wide territory and multiple starbases and fleets, intimidating a lot of empires but upon further inspection you'll find that these defenses have weak technology, and weapons.
OR Imagine fooling/baiting the AI thinking you have pathetic fleet power and it proceeds to attacks your borders. While you mobilize your hidden doomstack fleet in your home system and destroy them. Or maybe put out a couple of high tech ships making the AI think you have a very small fleet, but that same fleet has the ability to destroy hundreds of their ships.
Some AI will take the bait, some will have higher budget for intelligence and won't take the bait. on the other hand, you just might though, if you have a lower relative intelligence budget for them.
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