Winner Winner, Robot Dinner?

18:00, 01 May 2020

The day has come. PUBG is full of bots.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is one of the most popular Battle Royale games out there, for both PC and console, and for good reason. Its combo of easy-to-grasp controls, decent graphics, and realistic gunfights joined to make one of the most successful games of the genre. There is also a mobile iteration, PUBG Mobile, which is the 4th most-played mobile game worldwide.

It appears players are loading into their lobbies to find it full to the brim with bots. Since the PUBG new update (7.1), players have been noticing more and more bot players in their games, and it left some fans wondering; why does PUBG have bots?

It’s worth mentioning that PUBG Mobile has long had prevalent bot lobbies, and this could be player retention reasons. It’s more difficult to play as fluidly as PC and console players, as it is on mobile, so having opponents who aren’t incredibly tough to beat will entice new players to keep playing. The bots in PUBG Mobile aren’t a secret, neither have the devs tried to keep it a secret. But surely, there’s no reasoning for them to be introduced to console?

PUBG Studio Director, Brian Corrigan, announced on the arrival of Update 7.1, that bots would be added to the game. Here are his reasons why this decision was made.

In an effort to provide more ways for players to hone their skills and be able to fully enjoy what PUBG has to offer, we’ve decided to introduce bots with Update 7.1.

I understand the immediate reaction to the introduction of bots. However, this wasn’t a quick decision. Bots are a foundational feature required in order to provide a better on-ramp for new players and to provide differentiation for the upcoming Competitive Mode. We’ll be providing ways to play with, or without bots, and we hope that both of these play experiences can continue to evolve to provide a uniquely PUBG experience to everyone in the community.

Despite this explanation, the fans are irate at the bots that are now invading their lobbies, with some players even suggesting they won’t play the game until they’re removed from console.

COULD THE CULPRIT BE GOOGLE STADIA?

Google Stadia recently made a surprise announcement that Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds would be immediately added to their game streaming service. It seems far too coincidental that this news would come at almost the exact time that the PUBG devs announced that bots would be introduced to the console version. Suspicious indeed…

So, were bots added to help along with the emergence of new players due to Stadia? It can’t be denied that this may have prompted the devs to add bots to help beginners get used to the game, but for existing players, the decision has been irritating, to say the least.  

If the aim was to ease frustration against the player base (and retain new players), it appears to have done the opposite, looking at the public outcry. Some fans have gone so far as to suggest the game added bots because it’s “dying”, and not to molly-coddle new players into staying.

It’s been said that new players were so far away from the skill level of any long term PUBG players, that they weren’t getting any eliminations, leading to a negative gaming experience.

There’s also evidence that those players whose skill level is advanced, shouldn’t be seeing bots in their lobbies, but that just isn’t the case.

PUBG Bots

HOW TO IDENTIFY BOTS IN-GAME

Very easily, it turns out.

The bots will have almost indistinguishable names to real players, using random words and numbers, and even phrases. But what else sets them apart from real human players? 

Bots don’t appear to parachute into a match, and instead, just teleport in to a random location. They also pop up from nowhere during gameplay.

Bots have an almost superhuman sense of hearing and can immediately figure out which direction you’re shooting on, and instinctively begin firing at you.

Bot players won’t ever enter houses for loot, or collect the items of players they kill, but it is possible for them to get eliminations. They also won’t enter houses that you’re hiding in, instead they circle it like a dim vulture.

Bot movements are very predictable, with no erratic running or crouching, and don’t try to look for cover during engagements, instead, they walk straight into the bullets as if they were Denzel Washington.

HOW GOOD ARE THE BOTS ON PUBG?

The answer to this is just what you’d expect: not very. The AI isn’t advanced, and that’s clear. Research suggests there are now more bot players than real human players in any one lobby, and given how easy they are to spot, it’s almost laughable to encounter one. They can’t dip into cover, peek, or even throw grenades, making fights with them more of an inconvenience than fun.

THE FUTURE OF PUBG WITH BOTS

PUBG Mobile (and PUBG Lite) has always had bots, and that works for them. As for console, the developers have no plans to eliminate the bots from lobbies, which is bad news for the fans who are already beginning to threaten to move to other games to get their Battle Royale fix.

PUBG Corp, unfortunately, has already stated they plan to add bots to PC also, meaning soon, nowhere in the PUBG world will be safe from the bot invasion.

 

Images via PUBG Corp

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