A list of improvements to make the solo experience more viable/fun (v2.0)

This thread is intended for the same purpose as my previous one, basically what needs to be done to improve Vermintide 1 so that players can enjoy it as a “legacy” product where you play solo because that’s your only viable option. This is primarily meant for the developers but could also be useful for modders as mods could fix almost all of the issues I’m going to bring up.

It’s been quite a while since I posted my first thread, in that time I managed to grind my way out of the initial New Player Experience (which is dreadful for several reasons), I am now level 72 with 132 hours of play, barring sudden disaster or game bugs I can reliably complete nightmare with all books and cata most of the time without books. This has given me a different perspective on several issues I brought up previously but also reinforced my position on others.


PART 1: BOT AI IMPROVEMENTS:

The impression I get of the current AI is that it was deliberately gimped in certain ways to “encourage” people to play with other live humans. Making the bots smarter and more capable would solve almost all of the issues with the game as it is. Just being “better” is a given but there are a bunch of specific issues I would like to point out:

  • Bot Selection

I see no reason why you couldn’t implement the same bot selection priority feature that VM2 has. The default makes it impossible to play with saltzpyre bot unless you have the QoL modpack in which case you still can’t use the saltz bot if you play as sienna.

  • Pathfinding

Bots get stuck all the time, or fail to follow players down drops, or randomly decide to take 100ft detours etc. So I would recommend the following tweaks to the teleportation system:

  1. Currently the game lacks basic stuck detection for the bots. Sometimes the bots just get stuck and cease moving, they will still attack if approached by enemies but typically die quickly in this situation. If the bots also can’t pathfind to the player’s location it’s even worse because they just sit in the “last known player location” and won’t even defend themselves (or will simply hold block if you have the QoL mod). So if the bots can’t move OR pathfind to the player’s location for more than 5-10 seconds the game should just teleport them back to the player to unstick them. Or rather slightly behind the player so that they don’t suddenly pop into view or block the player’s weapons.

  2. If a bot is not engaged in combat and decides to moves more than 30-50ft away from the player this almost always means that the pathfinding has failed in some fashion. Either they have gotten stuck and lag behind as the player moves forward or decided to take a different (and much longer path) that what the player has done. The game already teleports bots when they get too far away but the “leash” distance needs to be drastically shortened as it is not responsive enough to stop bots from making terrible decisions.

These two rules would solve 99% of bot pathfinding failures. At this point in the game’s lifespan it would not be worth the effort to go into each map and polish off the sharp edges from every bit of terrain geometry. Letting bots teleport the moment they get into trouble is a somewhat ham fisted solution but it’s the most practical method that doesn’t involve hundreds of developer man-hours.

  • Stormvermin

Bots have a lot of problems with stormvermin in mixed packs. If you put a bot against a group of 10 slaves they will do fine. But if you mix even one stormvermin into that group the bots won’t react whatsoever as the SV walks up and smack them on the head, which of course kills them instantly on Cataclysm. Bots in VM2 don’t have this problem because they have the awareness to block attacks coming from any number of foes, they may run out of stamina while doing so but they won’t just outright ignore an incoming attack the way they do in VM1

  • Specials

Bots do not react to specials quickly enough and sometimes they will fail to react at all, this is just flatly unacceptable as one special attack in a bad spot can kill the entire party. It seems like bots will roll a dice, if they roll high they will instantly headshot the special from across the map, but if they roll a 1 they will completely ignore it no matter what. This can lead to incredibly stupid situations where 3 bots will do absolutely nothing while a gunner standing 3 feet away kills them one by one.


It’s okay if the bots do not immediately react to a special 100% of the time, but they should never fail to react AT ALL, especially if the party takes damage from it or the player pings/shoots at it. The bots also have specific difficulties with certain specials.

Gutter runners do a lot of damage so it is better to shove one off a teammate if that would be quicker than shooting it dead. But bots tend to do the opposite, sometimes they shoot instead of shove and fail to kill in one hit, then slowly reload a ranged weapon for a second shot while the downed bot/player loses 75-100% of their health (bots with handguns tend to do this). In other cases they will fail to shoot the gutter runner at all and will instead advance at walking speed with melee weapons drawn until they finally get close enough to shove it, by which time the victim is often down or dead. Bots are also very bad at killing runners after they shove them off, which lets them escape to attack again almost all of the time. All of this needs to be improved, generally speaking bots should shove first and then shoot, or shoot if they are out of range and immediately shove if/when they get the chance.

Against packmasters bots will never dodge the hook, and when chasing a packmaster that has hooked someone else they tend to default to melee. These problem need to be fixed to make bots more realistic because a human would never fail to react at all to a packmaster advancing in plain sight, and experienced human players never hesitate to shoot through teammates to kill a packmaster, even on cataclysm.

This is more of an enemy AI glitch but bots never target ratling gunners that are partially obscured by terrain. Human players can target the exposed gun but the AI won’t even try.

  • Rat Ogres

Bots can’t handle ogres well at all, the main issues I see are as follows:

  1. Bots seem to never dodge boss attacks, they just stand there holding block until they run out of stamina and the ogre kills them. By comparison the bots in VM2 can dodge dance boss attacks almost indefinitely, this is not overpowered because any decently skilled human can do the same thing and this makes up for a number of other deficiencies in the AI.
  2. Bots fighting a boss never react to anything around them which causes the horde to quickly kill them all and puts too much pressure on the player to keep them all safe at the same time. This is similar to the problem with SV in mixed hordes.
  3. If a special arrives during the boss fight sometimes the bots will get stuck in a loop where they stand next to the boss with ranged weapons drawn and don’t react at all to the boss beating them down because they’re too busy staring into a wall or at a special standing 100ft away (this happens a lot on Black Powder)
  4. On very rare occasions one of the bots will kite the boss away from the party instead of just standing and holding block. But they kite the boss so fast and far away (sometimes >100ft) that the rest of the party can’t even hit the boss with ranged weapons let alone catch up to deal any damage in melee. This is just as unhelpful as the bot dying immediately.
  • Team Formation

Bots have a tendency to stand in front of the player at the exact moment they want to shoot, and other times they will stand behind the player and completely ignore a rat approaching from the front as it walks up and smacks the player. This is especially apparently when you get backed into a corner. Bots should always attempt to stand beside the player, preferably not behind and never directly in front if at all possible.

  • Ranged Attacks

Bots don’t use their ranged weapons enough, especially on Cata when thinning out the horde or killing SV at range is paramount. AFAIK the AI already works something like this but I would suggest the following tweaks to make them more “weapons free” the same way humans players are.

  1. Bots will be more willing to shoot in general, until they reach about 20% ammo at which point they will reserve their shots for specials and SV.
  2. The bot with the lowest ammo will pick up an ammo bag when pinged by the player.
  3. Bots will do their best to immediately shoot anything pinged by the player, but they may not always respond if they are already engaged in melee.
  4. Bots are most likely to shoot if the player has their ranged weapon out and/or has shot an enemy within the past couple seconds. Bot “willingness” to shoot will also be increased to maximum if they proc a weapon trait like haste that gives them unlimited ammo for a duration.
  5. In addition to the above two tweaks bots are much more willing to shoot at rat ogres, especially at long range when the rat ogre is first approaching and the whole party can get some free hits in. They should try to take a few potshots in any spare moment they can when not engaged in melee and blast away with everything they’ve got when in a position of relative safety.
  6. A few of the ammo boxes in the game can’t be used by bots for whatever reason. So to solve this problem bots will automatically receive 100% ammo if the player pings an ammo box while standing next to it. This is mildly exploitable but solves a number of AI pathfinding issues, it simply wouldn’t be worth the time it would take to check each and every ammo box spawn and modify the maps to make sure bots can use them.
  • Consumables/Books

When a player pings a grim on certain maps the grim will (usually) teleport into the pocket of one of the bots after a few seconds, even if they are nowhere near the grim at the time. IMO this “handover” mechanic should be extended to ALL item types, this is mildly exploitable but would solve 99% of bot AI issues, especially those frustrating instances where you want them to pick up an item that’s sitting right there in front of you and they just stare back at you like a dog trying to do calculus. The more time players must waste on bot item management the more time the next horde has to spawn, so this part of the game should be reasonably streamlined.

Other item related issues:

Unlike in VM2 the bots will sometimes fail to pass the player a health potion, even if they are in immediate danger of dying. This is annoying but should be an easy fix, the bots should always give the player an available health potion immediately, even if they are at full health. This also applies to grenades and buff potions, sometimes the bots will just “forget” to pass you one for no apparent reason and this can last for 10-20 seconds until they suddenly “wake up” again.

The default mechanic of being able to ping items and have a bot pick it up works okay in almost all cases, but sometimes you’ll get into a specific situation where the bots don’t do what you want. For instance in a previous game bardin was carrying a tome+grim and was bleeding out, if I pinged a health potion on the ground kruber would swap the potion for his tome instead of bardin. No matter how many times I tried only kruber would interact with it instead of bardin, I was eventually forced to use my own medkit on him which was not the optimal solution when a potion was sitting right there. Another common problem I run into is that I’ll come across a health potion on the ground but the bots will refuse to pick it up even though they have open slots. If I pick up the health potion to give it to one of the bots and put down the kit I was carrying they will immediately snap up the health kit, which isn’t what I want because I’m the one with healshare.

Both of these issues could be solved by implementing the same command wheel used by VM2 that allows you to give orders to specific bots to pick things up. In addition to this you could add a list of simple priorities that tell bots how to handle certain items. Priorities can be set for each consumable type and is a toggle between “off” (the default behaviour) and either of the two items for each slot. If you prioritize grenades over firebombs the bots will pass you grenades instead of firebombs until the party runs out of grenades, at which point they will start handing you firebombs instead. If you prioritize firebombs and the party is already carrying 4 grenades, bots will attempt to swap grenades for firebombs on the ground whenever possible. This setup works the same way for str vs speed potions, or health pot vs health kit. These features would also be useful in VM2.

Lastly if a bot drops a tome in order to use a healing item, the tome they dropped should immediately teleport back into their inventory. This would solve the frustrating issue of bots leaving tomes behind for no reason when they decide to heal themselves.

PART 2: MAP AND ENEMY AI ISSUES

  • Globadiers

I think a slight tweak to globadiers is needed, there should be a delay between the time the globadier gets line of sight to the players and when he is allowed to throw his first globe. Without this delay you can get into situations where the globadier spawns out of thin air and immediately throws before the players have time to do more than blink. This can happen on any map but it is especially common on last stand types. An identical fix was already implemented in VM2 for the same reason, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be applied here.

  • Gunners

Gunners need a similar delay before they open fire that forces the gunner to walk a bit closer and expose themselves to retaliation. Sometimes if a gunner approaches through a doorway or around a right corner they will go into firing mode with only the tips of the weapon barrels exposed, this is essentially an exploit by the AI because it allows them to shoot through walls and/or around corners while only exposing a tiny part of their hitbox. Skilled humans can hit the exposed weapon but bots are completely incapable of dealing with gunners if they don’t have line of sight to centre mass.


Most of these map issues would be solved by the quicker bot teleportation I mentioned earlier but I figured I would list them anyways.

  • Horn of Magnus

Horn of Magnus is a pretty solid map, the only major flaws I’ve run into are the second grim and the cramped tavern where you pick up the last tome. The second grim is placed on a high ledge and simply going up there at all tends to cause the bots to damage themselves by falling. The building with the last tome is very cramped with a lot of doorways and it has an SV patrol route going through it. Sometimes you will need to retreat back into the building and hide in a side room while the SV patrol passes by, but very often the bots will get stuck on the various doorways and aggro the patrol.

  • Smugglers Run

Sometimes the bots won’t follow you when you drop down into the first floodgate area (there are stairs at the second one and it doesn’t have this problem), if they remain above on the ledge and don’t teleport in time they can get killed where you can’t revive them. Also the ladder at the very end of the level can be a problem because the bots can get stuck in/under the ladder or just refuse to climb it for whatever reason. This exposes the player to a lot of risk because if that happens you have to fight your way down the street solo until the bots teleport forwards.

  • Supply and Demand

I really hate this map because of how the finale event plays when solo, but that’s a separate topic. In regards to the map itself there are several problem areas. The first grim location involves jumping across rooftops and a tree. It is possible to get stuck inside that tree and if that happens you must restart the entire level. Also the bots are totally incapable of pathing across that jumping puzzle and tend to get stuck on the roof or run off on their own and get into trouble. The second problem is the ledge dropdown just after the burned out granary. Very often bots will get stuck on that ledge and won’t follow the player as they drop down. The last problem is the second grim, when you jump on top of the cart to get up to the roof the bots will get stuck there trying to walk into the cart because they’re not smart enough to jump off the barrels behind them. When you reach the scaffold on the other side where the grim is located, the bots can’t pick up the grim unless they teleport up there to join you and sometimes they will utterly refuse and just remain stuck. The grim should simply teleport into a bots hands like it does on other maps.

  • Black Powder

This level is fairly reliable in terms of bot intelligence, but they can’t handle any situation where the player jumps over a gap, or jumps down between levels instead of taking the stairs or a ladder. The lower arching bridge with a gap in the middle for instance, this can cause bots to get stuck or take very long detours to join the player.

  • Wizard’s Tower

Apart from the finale at the end which I will cover later, Tower has only two showstopping problems I’ve run into. The first is the second grim, you have the choice of two routes to get to it, if you go left around the balcony you can pick up the last tome, if you go right and climb some stairs you can drop down and get the grim immediately. That drop gets bots stuck 100% of the time, and what’s more they can’t path their way out of it by backtracking around in the other direction. When the bots get stuck there you have to travel very far away to get them to teleport out of it and this can get you killed if you are jumped by specials. The second bug is another stuck spot in the finale, when you enter the finale chamber and go up the right side there is a chest on the lower level and a ladder. If you climb that ladder up to the third level and drop down the bots will get stuck at the top of the ladder and they’ll stay stuck because you can’t get far enough away to cause them to teleport again.


  • Engines of War

Like Horn this map is relatively foolproof. The two locations where bots have the most trouble are the two grims. The first grim is an upward jumping puzzle, which the bots are incapable of doing and sometimes they won’t teleport up to the top so they can pick up the grim. The second grim involves jumping over a low wall and this causes the bots to get stuck in front or sometimes behind the wall where the grim is located if they teleport behind it and the player moves on.

  • Man the Ramparts

The biggest issues are drops that the bots can’t follow you down. The first drop is in the tower with the lower level that spawns bombs and potions in crates. If you drop down the broken stairs the bots will sometimes follow you, but more often will go outside and around where the ladder is, this can aggro rats needlessly and get them into trouble. The other drops are in the finale room, when you move around the room in either direction there are several ledges you can drop down around the chains and in the stairwell leading to the exit wagon. Bots are bad at following the player down these drops and will backtrack in seemingly random directions while you are forced to fight solo. In one case I got the party all the way to the bottom of the exit shaft and an assassin jumped me a few feet from the cart. While I jumped down the last ledge the bots decided to circle around and take the stairs which created just enough of a delay for the assassin to kill me despite all of us being within 20 feet of each other, infuriating.

  • Garden of Morr

Garden is a decent map for bots as it is almost all flat ground despite the twists and turns, with the exception of the finale chamber. Bots struggle mightily with navigating the middle of the finale room in just about any direction, they will constantly get caught on the coffins and it’s even worse if try to fight in that area. If you destroy the chain up the stairs on the left and then go clockwise to the next chain by climbing the ladder, the bots will almost always take the long way to the second ladder by the gate instead of following you. If they approach that ladder from the front they can climb up properly, but if they take the second route behind the ladder they will get stuck on the back of it and must be teleported out.

  • Wheat and Chaff

No major problems here except for the grain sack on the second level of the farmhouse on the left side of the map. Bots have trouble getting up there because you have to go through a doorway then backtrack and go up a ladder. Similarly if they manage to follow you up to the second level they will have trouble navigating back down even though the player can walk off the ledge.

  • Waterfront

The warehouse with the black powder objective is not so bad in terms of bot navigation but the warehouse with the breakable pillars is a problem. If you do anything but use the stairs and the bridge the bots will throw themselves off of various ledges, so most of the shortcuts in the room are off limits.

  • Well Watch

Well Watch has two stuck spots. The first one is the balcony around the peasant’s well, sometimes the bots get stuck up there and can’t path down to you even though there are several nearby staircases. The second one is in the lower corner of the map where the exit wagon is, I don’t have a picture but there is a pile of crates with a spiky thing like a bunch of SV halberds taped together. If the bots get too close to the spikes they will get stuck on them and it’s hard to get them out of there.

  • Enemy Below

This map is pretty solid in my experience, except for two specific spots. The first grim involves a short jumping puzzle and sometimes the bots will get stuck up on that ledge because there is no direct land path off of it.

The second stuck spot is at the end of the level where you climb up a ladder out of the tunnel. Sometimes the bots will refuse to climb the ladder, which causes them to get killed because the rats will continue to pour out of the tunnel and it will not collapse and seal itself until all players/bots are outside or dead. This bug has lost me several grims.

  • The White Rat

This isn’t bot related but please, PLEASE allow us to skip the cutscene at the end of this level.

Other than that the only difficulties come at the end of the map when you have to break chains on the third level. When you climb up the stairs to get to the third level you have the choice of going left or right and breaking the chains in clockwise or counterclockwise fashion. To go in either direction involves jumping over some small gaps onto hanging bridges and sometimes the bots will get confused by this. But problems on this map are rare in my experience.

  • Town Meeting/The Fall

Both last stand type maps are pretty compact and you usually don’t have pathfinding problems. With the one exception of the long bridge on The Fall. Sometimes bots will jump off the sides of the bridge for no particular reason and this forces them to go all the way around up the stairs and back through the doorways to get back onto the bridge, this can be a problem if you’re in the middle of a wave already. Both maps also have problems with globadiers spawning out of thin air next to the party and throwing instantly, as I mentioned earlier.

  • Castle Drachenfels

The first grim is a problem because in order to get to it the player must “hop the fence” into a lower area and this breaks the bot pathfinding completely because they don’t know how to follow you. Sometimes they will get so stuck that they refuse to teleport over and pick up the grim.


The second problem is the three lane dungeon run at the end of the level. Despite things being very flat and composed of straight lines bots seem to have trouble in this area. They lag behind when the player backtracks to switch lanes and they have a lot of trouble targeting specials in the other lanes, bots aren’t good at shooting through the gaps between the lanes to hit the specials even though they are in plain sight. I lost several cata runs in this way because one globadier killed the entire party.
  • The Dungeons

There are two big issues on this map. The first tome requires you to hop a fence and backtrack down a long drop, this confuses the bots immensely. Secondly down in the dungeon where you have to jump over a “blood canal” the bots get stuck almost every time. Humans can jump across easily but the bots fall into the trench and the path out is to backtrack to where you started and then attempt the jump again (which the bots can’t do). This can get you killed if the bots all get stuck at the same time and you don’t notice until you get overwhelmed by the next encounter.

  • Summoner’s Peak

This map is almost impossible to play with bots. Not only do they ignore the objectives but they also have tremendous difficulty navigating around ALL of it because there are so many one way drops and gaps you must jump across. So much so that it’s hard to point out specific areas that cause problems, it’s ALL bad. The worst spot by far is the cliff jumping backtrack you have to do to get the grim. Bonus dunce points for Bardin here who somehow managed to fall onto an unreachable ledge and take the grim with him.



  • Khazid Kro

Both grim locations cause problems. Bots can’t path to the first grim but can usually pick it up remotely. The second grim is also a problem because bots may teleport down to the lower scaffold level where the grim sits and they get stuck there until you cross the bridge over the gorge because they’re sitting halfway through a jumping puzzle and they don’t know how to get out.

  • The Cursed Rune

Bots will sometimes refuse to climb the ladder in the first third of the level. Bots also have minor trouble getting in or out of the second grim jumping puzzle. The one major problem I’ve encountered is in the finale area. Specials can spawn and attack in what feels like plain sight, but the bots will refuse to return fire. This is probably because of the profusion of wooden beams jutting out everywhere that block line of sight. The specials are essentially attacking through walls despite being 60-80% visible.

  • Chain of Fire

This map is quite short and more or less idiot proof, with the exception of the lone grim. Getting to the ledge the grim is on requires a triple jump and this greatly confuses the bots. Sometimes they’ll refuse to grab the grim remotely or backtrack back off the hill and down through the lower gulley in an attempt to path to you which aggros everything down there that you could otherwise easily avoid.

  • The Courier

Bots absolutely hate everything to do with the tower, they just can’t properly navigate that many levels and that many ladders. Getting them to fight hordes in an intelligent fashion or pick up the grim can be very frustrating. The rest of the level is fine.

  • Reaching Out

No major issues I’ve run into on this level, probably because it’s relatively short.

  • Reikwald Forest

This map is VERY linear and bots rarely get stuck or have problems navigating around, all they can do in most cases is go forwards. Despite that this is one of the hardest maps to play with bots because of it’s multiple “gauntlet” sections and the guaranteed boss+horde spawn near the end. Gauntlets only turn off the rat hose when you reach the checkpoint at the end and the only way to do that is kill lots of rats very quickly, bots are never as good at killing rats as humans would be and fighting through those sections feels a lot like dragging three idiots upstream. Making the bots better would help somewhat, but they will never be an adequate replacement for a human in these kinds of situations.

  • River Reik

This is probably the hardest map to solo, even more so than summoner’s peak. Not only do you have a gauntlet event turned up to 11 but you also have chains you must break all by yourself before the hordes will stop coming. As far as bot pathfinding goes there are two problem locations. The first location is the house by the river where you get the first grim. In order to open the way to the grim in the basement you have to destroy three rocks, one of which is placed behind the house after the one-way drop from the attic. Players know how to jump the fence and get back into the house a second time but bots get stuck on the far side of the house which is a big problem if a horde or specials comes while you are getting the grim. The second pathfinding bug happens when you board the ship. Some specials will spawn on shore and attack as you leave, sometimes the bots will cram themselves in the back corner of the ship in an apparent attempt to path to the specials and kill them. If they get stuck there this can torpedo your entire run because it’s practically impossible to fend off the horde and break the chains all by yourself unless you’re playing on easy.


I’ll come back and extend this post when I have the time. There are several other topics I plan to talk about like bot interactions with level objectives.

14 Likes

You really put a lot of effort into this, good summary, mate. :slightly_smiling_face:
I really hope they make those changes, although i have not much hope.

2 Likes

Couple of other miscellaneous issues:

  • Loot Rats

It appears that bots are programmed to ignore loot rats. I can understand the reasoning why, the bots should not just hand the player free loot on a silver platter. On the other hand it’s extremely frustrating when you try your hardest to kill one and it slips away with a sliver of health left while the bots (who are standing right next to you) don’t lift a finger to help. This is less of a problem in VM2, but in VM1 maps are much more cramped and loot rats have much higher health relative to player weapons. So you typically only get a second or two to land a shot before the rat escapes and pretty much the only way to guarantee a kill is fully charged bolt staff headshot.

So I think loot rats should be classified by the bots just as any other special. They may not immediately notice the loot rat depending on RNG, but they won’t simply ignore it. Especially not if the player does things like ping the loot rat, or attack it.

  • Bot AI vs Gas Rats

Probably the worst failing the bots have in general is how they handle gas rats. One gas globe in a bad spot can easily kill the entire party and even if the player is paying attention and reacts accordingly the bots always lag behind a few steps, so what tends to happen is the rat aims the globe at the player and it lands directly on top of the bots instead. The AI fixes I mentioned earlier would help the bots reliably kill the globadiers before they can throw. But in addition to this I think the bots should be programmed to stick as close to the player as possible. Sometimes you can avoid the gas cloud by backing into a small corner, but the bots will continue to mill around you and take damage.

  • Healing target indicator

One nice feature that VM2 added is a little tooltip that pops up when you heal another player. VM1 lacks this feature and also doesn’t have the third person camera. This can cause problems with bots because it can be difficult for the player to heal a specific bot when they stack up on top of each other or “squirm” around when you try to turn and face the right bot.

  • Bots standing on top of the player

One issue I mentioned before was bots standing in front of the player when you try to use your ranged weapon. A very similar issue to this is when bots stand almost directly on top of the player such that they are actually clipping through you, but you can’t see them because the game makes their model invisible. When you shoot the projectile actually spawns inside of them, or immediately hits them in the back of the head. Not only does this hurt the bots but can also lead to you blasting yourself in the face with a hagbane or fireball staff.

So to solve that issue I think bots should receive an immunity to player projectiles within a short range, just a few feet. Projectiles wouldn’t deal any damage and would just pass through them. VM2 also has this issue to a lesser degree.

  • Pinging ammo in a chest

Ammo has a much bigger “hitbox” for player pings compared to other items, this causes an issue when you have an ammo bag in a chest beside another item like a grenade. It is difficult to ping the smaller item and get bots to pick it up because the ammo bag is so large.

A similar problem to this is the grim on Courier, the grim sits inside a “crib” in plain sight, but for some odd reason it’s almost impossible to ping the grim. You kind of have to strafe around a bit, or crouchwalk until you can find the tiny view angle where the game will allow you to ping the grim.

  • Bot healing controls

Manual bot healing is a feature from the QoL modpack. It works well enough in most cases but it is missing a few commands. For instance you can’t tell a bot holding a tome to pick up a potion and drink it even if it’s sitting on the ground by their foot. You also can’t tell a bot to heal another bot with a kit. Since the mod only gives you one button per bot it would useful if the bot in question healed themselves in different ways based on context. If the bot is carrying a tome then pressing their heal button would cause them to pick up the nearest healing item and use it. If there is no healing item on the ground then another bot in the party could use a kit on them.

This would complement the addition of the VM2 context menu where you can tell specific bots to pick something up.

  • Bot potion controls

As with manual bot healing there could also be a feature that lets you tell bots to drink a potion. This could let you buff your bots before a boss fight, or give a potion sharing trinket to a specific bot and have them buff the entire party (in which case bots would prioritize giving potions to that bot instead of the player).

  • Bots with item trinkets

If a bot has a trinket with a chance to duplicate items on pickup or a luck stone that increases the chance of loot dice appearing, they should be able to open chests and pick up items before the player does. Currently bots will not pick up an item if the player has an empty slot of that type. What they should do instead is pick up the item and give it to the player to see if they can dupe it. Bots could also try to ensure that the bot or player with the healshare trinket gets to pick up kits first instead of the nearest bot grabbing it.

This would open up another layer of gameplay for solo players. If bots can make better use of trinkets in general you could try configure the bots as a whole party and ensure that one gets the healshare trinket and another gets the luckstone etc. This would also give the player more freedom in what trinkets they take themselves.

4 Likes

I think Summoner’s Peak is the only map that’s really just not even possible with bots. Even if you can stay alive indefinitely, it does not seem like it’s possible to keep the bucket rats away from the 3rd generator by yourself, and the bots will not aggro on the bucket rats to help kill them.

River Reik is highly dependent on the weapon you bring. You NEED to be able to destroy the chains during the boat event very fast. I struggled quite a bit on this event until I tried playing Bardin with an orange greataxe, and then it was pretty easy, especially if I saved a couple strength pots to use on the chains in waves 2 & 3. With a strength potion, the greataxe could break a chain in 2-3 light attack hits.

On Horn of Magnus, you can grab the 2nd grim from below & just avoid the whole jump puzzle that confuses the bots.

2 Likes

I think I’m done with Vermintide for now. I’m at the point where Legend is starting to feel easy, but I can’t move up to Cataclysm because the bots just aren’t good enough. I can handle the basic gameplay of cata just fine, small group battles, dodging and positioning etc. The problem is specials, bosses and patrols.

I’ve detailed the problems bots have with specials at length. But if those problems aren’t fatal on Legend they certainly are on cataclysm. Today’s special mission is Reaching Out Cata and in one of my attempts I went down because an assassin jumped me from behind. It happens, you can recover from stuff like this. What you can’t recover from is watching all three of the bots pick you up while completely ignoring a gunner standing 5 feet away that kills them all one by one.

Bosses are also a big issue on cata for bots. Whenever a boss shows up you can flip a coin, if it lands heads they defeat the boss without breaking a sweat, but if it lands on tails they will completely fail to do anything at all. The bots will just walk up to the boss and get pounded into the ground one by one like tent stakes, and even if you are running a boss killing build like str pot + BoP or hagbane etc there’s still no guarantee that you can kill the boss before it wipes out your team.

But the biggest problem on Cata is by far the patrols. If you aggro one it will probably end your run unless you happen to have a str pot and/or grenade on hand. As a human player avoiding patrols is easy but bots get stuck on terrain all the time and the only way for the player to get them out is to move a long distance away. If you can’t do that in time the bot will aggro the patrol just from being nearby. As it turns out the Reaching Out map is chock full of these stuck spots, with the market being the biggest culprit.

Until some changes are made I don’t think I will be playing much unless the board has a red or trinket I need. I still have some ideas on how Fatshark could improve the game, but any fixes are going to be a long ways out since they are currently neck deep in fixing WoM.

I’m no AI programmer but I suspect that almost all of the issues I have detailed in this thread can be fixed by tweaking variables. Bots are already know what to do, it’s in their programming. They just do don’t DO the right things soon or often enough. If you shortened the amount of time it took bots to teleport to you when they get stuck, or target incoming specials it would completely revitalize the game. Currently the solo experience isn’t so much Solo + Bots as Solo Carry of 3 bots and that just doesn’t fly on Cata.

EDIT: Oh and I almost forgot to mention the Krench bossfight. I’m sure it wasn’t designed this way but this encounter is almost perfectly designed to slaughter bots. Every problem the bots have with rat ogres is amplified here, they never dodge and failing to block his attack downs them in one hit. On top of this the arena insidiously trickles in a few clanrats from all direction and bots focused on a boss completely ignore things stabbing them in the back. I find that the only way to keep the bots alive is to focus entirely on killing adds which leaves little time to damage the boss. This makes the fight take longer and force you to fight even more reinforcement waves that include stormvermin who kill the bots in one hit and so on. Best I’ve been able to do so far is get krench down to 30%.

2 Likes

On the Krench fight, the only way I’ve been able to beat it with bots is to save all of the bombs to get space to revive. You can get some damage in while the bots are alive & aggro is split, but once the bots are all dead you have to kite until the bots are ready to revive & then bomb to get enough space to get them back up. You might have to do this more than once.

1 Like

load your bots with strength pots and they will feed them to you as you use them.
frag grenades, thrown at the proper time, disrupt his summoning allies and he is much, much easier.

That’s a neat tip. I tried this out a few times and it does help, however the fight as a whole is still too much of a dice roll. Did you find strength potions? Did you find grenades? Did you make it through one boss stage without the bots dying? Etc. If you can cross all of those hurdles in a row being able to cancel his summoning ability helps a lot.

I think if I kept trying over and over I can eventually get that “natural 20” and beat Cata like this, but I just don’t have the patience for that. Best I’ve done so far is getting krench down to about 30% of his health.


The next thing to talk about is level specific issues, specifically those related to events/boss fight problems instead of pathfinding. If I don’t mention a level then I don’t feel it needs tweaking (other than the bot AI improvements I already mentioned).

Defence Objectives:

  • Wizards Tower/Well Watch/Summoner’s Peak

On this level you have to defend 4 wards until the event ends, ideally you would split the party and defend more than one to have some redundancy and divide the horde. When playing with bots however your options are a bit more limited. Defending a single ward works well enough but the bots have an annoying tendency to ignore the objective. Bots will only defend the ward in the sense that they can stand nearby and attack rats, they don’t use their ranged weapons to clear attacking rats and they don’t shove rats away from the ward to interrupt them.

The latter two maps have the same general issue as Wizards Tower but it is even worse from a bot perspective because rats using buckets don’t actually attack and will ignore the bots and player in favour of the objective. This is bad because bots don’t respond unless an enemy targets them first, and they will only do that if the bot physically blocks them from reaching the well or generator.

For all of these maps it’s important for the bots to be proactive instead of reactive. Bots should use their ranged weapons as much as possible to pick off enemies before they can threaten the objective, especially when they can’t physically stand next to the objective like the second generator on Summoner’s Peak. When enemies get closer they should actively seek out and attack them. Even just being programmed to shove nearby enemies away from the objective would be a vast improvement.

  • Chain of Fire

The finale on this map is mostly okay, once you get over the initial rush of enemies you only have to deal with a trickle of slaves. But one glaring weakness the bots have is globadiers because you are defending a static position. Even if you see the globe coming and escape the bots won’t respond as quickly, or may not respond at all if they are already in melee with something. On cataclysm this tends to result in one or more bots dying and then the rest of the bots will run straight into the gas and die trying to pick them up.

So as with the previous maps the bots should be much more willing to use ranged weapons and react faster when specials appear.

Item Collection:

  • Supply and Demand/Black Powder/Wheat and Chaff:

As a reasonable facsimile of a human player Bots should be able to pick up barrels and sacks and carry them to the objective. Here is what I would recommend:

  1. When a player picks up a barrel or sack they can ping another barrel or sack within a short distance and a bot will pick it up like they do with consumables and tomes. If you drop what you are carrying they will also drop.
  2. Bots carrying stuff will follow you closely but will drop everything if any enemies approach.
  3. For simplicity bots carrying a powder barrel can never light it by any means, including friendly fire.
  4. Bots will put things into the dropoff point automatically, you simply have to lead them close enough to the ship or wagon.

Most of the time the solo player will be picking up and moving the sacks alone while the bots defend them from enemies. This is totally fine because human parties will often do the same thing. What these bot improvements are intended to solve are those “dead zones” when there is not one single enemy within a hundred feet in any direction and the bots simply stare at you instead of lending a hand.

This behaviour could also apply to the same collection objectives in Vermintide 2 weaves.

Chain Breaking:

  • Waterfront/Ramparts/Garden of Morr/The White Rat/River Reik

Simply put bots should be able to break chains, there’s no real “excuse” why they shouldn’t. More human players attacking the same chain destroys it faster and having to break chains by yourself can be incredibly tedious with certain weapons.

So all you really need to do is make breakable objects pingable, bots will then immediately attack and destroy it which should only take a second or two. This is actually quite important for River Reik because the tempo of spawns is extremely fast, having a solo player instead of 4 players breaking chains takes four times as long which leads to an undeserved difficulty spike as the number of hordes increases dramatically.

Boss Fights:

  • Reaching Out

The most important thing for bots to do in this boss fight is STAY ALIVE. This fight takes every regular shortcoming bots have in regards to bossfights and amplifies them dramatically. Nightmare with full books is just barely possible as it is but cataclysm is not. The leading causes of bot death for me are:

  1. Bots face the boss and ignore enemies stabbing them in the back
  2. Bots just don’t block boss attacks and take full damage
  3. Bots continue to attack the boss like a berserker when he runs into a corner, at which point the horde surrounds and kills them
  4. Bots try to pick up other bots and are instantly killed when the boss does a lunge attack across the arena.

Once one bot goes down the others tend to fall like dominos. I think I mentioned this at some point but the bots need to be more like the Vermintide 2 bots when it comes to fighting bosses. They never miss a block and have an almost magical ability to dodge hits even if the boss has them backed into a corner. That may sound a little overpowered but again we’re talking about solo play here, if you’re playing with bots it’s probably because you don’t have a choice.

river reik - this strategy will work the 95% of the time because you will find the strength potions and the bombs during the map, the key is to not use them til you get to this part of the boat ride. its possible on the 3rd boat encounter (when playing solo) that even if you do everything correct a sv will just nail you while you are breaking the chain that you never saw. its possible. otherwise this is a very, very routine map - even on cata, and even playing with just bots.

well watch - is very hard for some characters and some equipment load outs to do alone on cata. conversely, the elf can go up above well 1 on cata with bots and standing near the ammo crate spam shoot everyone to death and use the bots to protect her back while doing so.

summoners peak - is a very difficult map to run alone on cata UNLESS you play as sienna or elf. BOTH have sweet spots at each generator/portal that allow them to control both. almost every really skilled player i know about knows about the exploit locations and refuses to use them. but they still exist. however, this map if you ignore those exploit places is a crap shoot and thus no one likes it.

these maps are problematic in a very narrow sense of that word. they are all doable on cata and even running with bots. i have a friend who puts up youtube videos of them running the maps TRUE SOLO (no bots) on cata. it might help you to watch them to get a better idea of how you can play them. but yes, the design on the above maps is not great and there are problems.


wizard tower is very easy to do alone. the ONLY thing about this level that is weird that ive ever noticed is sometimes, not often, but sometimes the bots will chain fall off the middle platform over and over and over. otherwise this level is very easy, even on cata and even with bots.

chain of fire is also not difficult. there are four ways to play this.
1: get on the trigger location and defend it
2: go off to the side and just beat back the rats then go to the trigger location
3: go to the trigger location, activate it, and RUN back down the stairs, drop down below, run back up the hill, and then stand near the ammo crate to beat the waves of rats until they become just a trickle.
4. cheat and go around the side of the mountain hopping from spot to spot to just avoid the whole thing.
frankly the 4th way is, imo, the most difficult.

supply and demand, black powder, wheat and chaff
im happy the bot doesnt carry things. they are stupid. instead learn to manipulate the placement of the bots as you carry by turning back, etc so the bots are basically shields as you carry items. these are all very easy maps on cata, even with just bots.

in supply and demand carry speed potions to use in the marktplatz to move bags fast.

in wheat and chaff drop the 2 sacks on the right and then bring the 2 furthest sacks to them and then move all 4 at once. you usually get ogre around time all 4 sacks are roughly below where the first 2 were dropped.

in black powder you need to learn to kite. get a run one way, hear the horn, grab the barrel and instead of turning back use a different way to get to the boat. in addition, stop killing each and every rat because they will just respawn. leave the ones you dont need to kill.

waterfront, ramparts, garden, white rat
all of these missions are very easy to stay alive during them, even on cata and even alone. in fact unless you are playing with a good team then white rat is easier with bots than humans. seriously on that map the bots are better than the average ‘not very good’ human. i addressed river reik above.

reaching out.
this is very easy. 20-30 seconds or less. 4 frags and strength pot. you use strength as soon as he is dropping down. you wait til he starts his calling the reinforcements and hit him with a bomb. it will blow him off his feet and when he gets up he doesnt call for them. repeat if needed. the only important thing for bots to do here is pass you bombs and the strength pots as needed.

its obvious you really like the game. its also obvious that much of the really solid gaming community is just gone. so most of the things im telling you that used to be passed down to newer players … isnt being passed down anymore because those players have left. so if you want, send me an add on steam (endrsgm … same user name there) and ill accept. then we can run some of these and you can see what i mean…


is a great video of river reik on cata being done without a serious problem or issue.

there is ONE semi serious bug on river reik. people who join the run while the party is in the boat and moving down the river can insta die as they spawn. which can suck if they had the grim or tome as a bot and it just disappeared into the river.

Why not join the Fatshark Discord https://discord.gg/K6gyMpu