PlayerUnknown’s BATTLEGROUNDS is implementing AI bots in order for new players to be able to practice before taking on higher-skilled opponents.
It looks like AI-controlled bots are finally coming to PlayerUnknown’s BATTLEGROUNDS, according to a developer blog post. PUBG recently launched their seventh season, reintroducing players to the snow map of Vikendi (which now has a working train transit system and a redesigned dinosaur theme park) as well as giving them a semi-new weapon in the form of a Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle.
PUBG’s developers are no stranger to making changes to their core gameplay systems if they think it will help improve the player experience, and the company isn’t afraid to double-back on these decisions if it looks like things aren’t going the way they planned. Recently, PUBG’s fancy new blood effects had to be removed from the game to stop crashing issues, and while players are still waiting on new anti-cheat measures they have been enjoying the game’s new rocket launchers and team deathmatch mode, both of which were only introduced to the game in the past few months.
Now, according a a message from the developers posted to the official PUBG website, it looks like even more changes are coming to the game, this time in the form of AI bot players. Because, as the developer states, “we’re seeing more often that many newer players are being eliminated early with no kills – and oftentimes with no damage dealt” they have decided to add in bot opponents in order for these newer players “to hone their skills and be able to fully enjoy what PUB has to offer.” The appearance of bots appears to be based on a PUBG player’s matchmaking rating, with players who have a high MMR encountering less computer opponents than other, lower-ranked players.
The company seems to understand that AI opponents will always act and behave differently than their human counterparts, and they know that “bots can have both positive or negative effects on a game” depending on how well the AI is implemented. The company says they spent a long time making sure that the bots had proper navigation coding so that they didn’t do things like “throwing themselves off of a cliff or something else that, while hilarious, doesn’t line up with its intended functions.” They also took special care to ensure that these new bots in PUBG would still do things like real players, such as loot dead enemies and fire at opponents from great distances.
While the addition of bots may be something which new players appreciate, it will likely prove to be divisive among long-time PUBG players. One of the most satisfying things about battle royale combat is knowing that there are a hundred or more other people all having the same experience, and getting off a clean kill may feel a little less impressive now that it could have just been an AI bot, and not an actual human opponent who the player outsmarted. However, if it helps to get more players invested in the core gameplay loop of PlayerUnknown’s BATTLEGROUNDS, then it is likely a worthy trade-off.