I was playing CiV today and Bismarck was talking the smack. Out of the blue he pops up onto my screen and informs me that:
"I couldn't help but notice how pathetic you are. And when I noticed, I couldn't help but share."
Oh, so you wanna talk some trash, eh Bismarck? Time for me to cram some battleships up that ugly German butt of yours. Despite the fact that Bismarck is not angry at me because he is an AI and has no emotions, and the fact that I really cannot get any revenge on anything that will notice, I send my battleships after the evil dictator Bismarck and smash him mightily.
Lots of people hate this. They get really angry that the AI dials them up just to spew insults, but interestingly the reactions are split into many quite opposing camps. Some people just hate the fact that the AI does this at all because it upsets them; they are willing to engage in warfare and destruction but being directly insulted is not something they want out of a video game. The most amusing camp to my mind is the camp that wants the ability to insult the AI back! They clamor for the option to call up an AI leader and pick from a list of insults to hurl at them, acknowledging all the time that this option doesn't even have to have a game effect. The final group is simply angry that the programmers did this at all because it breaks immersion; they feel like leaders of nations don't act that way towards one another.
I do not fall into the 'hate this' camp. I think it is wonderful! I get all irritated by the AIs that choose to call me up just to act vitriolic and bitter and I either declare war to teach them a lesson or nurture deep dark hatreds and plan to destroy them when the time is right. Mwahaha! The pure game of numbers and tactics holds my attention well enough, and sometimes I just ignore the personalities being simulated and just play the game. Other times though I get really personal with my civ and I have a lot of fun reacting in entirely emotional ways. Sometimes it makes tactical sense to kill one civ but instead I go after another just based on these illogical, emotional responses triggered by AI cutscenes. I even have my favourite leaders, and my favourite punching bags. I get along just fine with Gandhi and Montezuma but Oda Nobunaga and Bismarck are high on my hit list - you just can't trust those guys!
I suspect a lot of the haters are just bitter that they got insulted and couldn't do anything about it. Their natural irritation at being insulted appeared but there is no option to insult back and open warfare often isn't possible if you are trying to win. I think adding in the ability to counterinsult the AI would be a hilarious and awesome addition to the game, though at this point it isn't the most pressing issue by any stretch. Perhaps there could be a minor diplomatic penalty for doing so that only lasts a little while, just enough to cause leaders on the verge of war to go over the edge and attack.
"That's right Bismarck, Germany has bad food. And beer sucks. What you gonna do about it, punk?"
Also, I have many battleships and a desire to use them.