I should add that if any of these are added, they should probably be confined to QP, so that playing with people is still encouraged, over playing solo private matches. E.g. if someone checks the ‘private match’ option, bot buffs are turned off.
Lack of players in QP makes it so you have to play with bots, but they’re too dumb and frustrating to play with, which makes it annoying to play. You also have to play in a specific way for the bots to not instantly go and kill themselves. This makes the game way less immersive, and more micromanaging plastic bags in the wind.
If I wanted to true solo I would go and do it. If players aren’t joining and I have to play with bots, it shouldn’t be this painful or frustrating.
The biggest issue with bots is that once you die the match is over. Why should the difficulty be so much harder, just because noone is joining my game?
- You have to constantly hug walls, because they let enemies hit you in the back
- You have to constantly hold bunker spots (more than usual) to stop them running into awful positioning
- Every single Special wave is your job. Think about how little damage the bots do on Cata. You’re killing Elites, clearing roamers, clearing Horde, kiting Bosses, and STILL every Special wave is your job, because they just can’t see them
- Disablers in Hordes can be game over, because the bots won’t do anything
- They go AFK if a Gunner is shooting
- They chase Gas Rats and Storm Wizards for miles, and walk into gas/storms
- They walk into Flame Rats without shooting, they just walk into the fire
- They don’t react to disablers until they’ve caught someone. This is a huge issue on Cata, as that usually means someone is downed
- You have to play OP versatile builds, preferrably with Stagger so that the bots don’t drag Elites into you
- You have to hold Boss aggro, kill Specials AND fight Horde at the same time, because the bots tunnel the Boss, even when he’s on you (usual 4 player tactic is 1-2 people on Boss rest on Horde).
- You have to constantly babysit them, as they’ll start walking backwards or 40 yards into the distance, even though a Horde is about to start, or a Special wave is coming
- You have to do all of the ‘Event’ mechanics yourself, while the bots watch enemies come and hit you
- You have to run or just outright die to Patrols, because they pull them
- They sometimes watch you die while caught by disablers
- The will back off from a fight and pull their Ranged Weapons out. This would be completely fine if they killed Specials with them, but instead they just stand still and wait for them to come in, while I’m dealing with the Horde they just abandonded, and now have to deal with the Specials they’re ignoring
It also becomes frustrating with players who are inexperienced with Cata bots, because they don’t know how to play with them. This means that the bots die, and then you’re doing duos with no comms where you’re not guaranteed comp synergy.
The bots are really strong in Legend, which means a decent Cata player can just pretty much hold W for large sections of the map, leaving the bots to kill everything. This means that not being able to play Cata without tryharding and true soloing (or bot solo zZz), leaves you with no middle ground.
These suggestions are intended to even out the bot experience and make lack of Cata players less frustrating. The bots just don’t do enough on Cata, and instead make the game more frustrating.
I don’t want them to be as good as players, but to offer the players something in return for not having someone with them. The damage differences and priorities of the bots are enough to see that they’re just awful on Cata.
Make Character/Career archetypes for bots:
Instead of having them use the set of Weapons and Talents that you choose, give them a set archetype. This means that you the devs choose what the bots are and can control how good they are at it.
This means that you have more control over which character does what and you can tone it up and down accordingly, without having to make them be able to use every weapon, which currently causes them to be inneficient and useless with some Weapons.
E.g. Ironbreaker has a set loadout, which he’s actually capable of using more effectively. Such as; Shield weapons + Drakefire Pistols.
The difference between this and what they do normally, is that you can then apply modifiers to the Career Archetypes: passive aggro pull for Bardin, better Elite killing for Ranged Careers, etc. I will go further into this when I discuss ‘bot buffs’.
Change the way they attack or react and fight:
At the moment, bots will just stand still looking at enemies, drag them into you, light attack fully armoured enemies, not defend your back, stand with their Ranged Weapons out, basically AFK. It becomes extremely frustrating when the bots ignore Specials or drag Elites into you.
Instead of having them do normal combat, it may be better to have them do pseudo-combat, where they’re not actually directly attacking as the players do, but kind of in a choreographed motion with the enemies, but where enemies actually die and don’t get ignored.
Another way to put it is, they dance in front of the enemies and the game starts deleting the enemies that they’re near to. The same function could apply to Special killing on Ranged Careers.
This is also how you counter the issue of bots becoming too strong on some difficulties. You can scale their killing power to the difficulty.
Changing the way they recieve damage could also be a good counter to the way they run 40 yards away and die to Specials that they can’t see.
As I mentioned with Ironbreaker earlier, having small buffs like ‘passive aggro on smaller enemies’, could absolutely change the game. Your own tweaking will ensure that they’re not OP or better than players.
Even if they need to give extra buffs compared to what they usually have, so that the players can make up for the bots bad AI.
This would make the game less frustrating when noone is joining your game. It also makes you less reliant on the bots.
It also gives you chance to test out buffs that could be good for new Careers or balance tweaks in future.
So what does this look like?:
E.g. You have the Ironbreaker Bot, who pretty much does the same as he does now, but he draws more smaller enemies to him, filling his archetype role, and maybe offers more buffs or debuffs to enemies that are near to him (there’s not really a good buff suggestion for IB, because Rune-Etched Shield, is already one of the best bot buffs).
His special bot buffs could be that his Taunt is the Boss Taunt, but on a shorter Cooldown. Or he could make up for his lack of damage/usefulness in other ways.
These specific examples are only to give an idea of what I want the bots to do, and not exact. The main point of this thread is to suggest ideas to make bots useful when players aren’t joining, and to do it in a way that makes them feel less robotic.
I think the archetype side of these suggestions would make it a good way to even integrate a ‘bot leveling’ system with all of the roleplay aspects and lore related to each character.
Suggestions by others:
Added another of my own, because it was a continued discussion with Mattie. Don’t think this one is likely though.