i guess everything seems to be hard in the beginning. but i still do not try seriously just because it is not my playstyle. if there had been only AP instead of only manual plays in the beginning i doubt that i would play this game now. so it is like stated above: just to different playstyles. i like it to tap around to use powers when they have to be instead of spamming then all the time because of focus mostly on CD. but i admit that when i was on lvl131 max that i also AP farmed with cadmus and also now from time to time i do AP with easy oponents. but mostly i do manual play even with easy oponents - i find i kind of relaxing and watching AP more stressful. i even tap manually after breaking/passing the keypoint of a def.
but maybe the speed up is not relevant if someone finishes faster a raid on manual play because of efficiency. i.d.k. i cannot tell/judge this. how much time do you have left when AP farming mostly? is it close or do you mostly have 1min30s left? i know it depends but maybe you can estimate an average.
i range from 1s to 1min45s, average i would say about 30s to 1min.
i agree that raiding is a necessary evil (well some only sit on islands and collect without even playing) and i cannot do it from morning to evening beside work (and while sleeping ofc), i even cannot connect to the game just to collect.
i dont think that AP is superior to manual play, it just is with the right kind of farm-food-opponents that are mostly on the islands. or am i wrong? do you find 90% of the oponents hard or vice versa?