League of Legends is humanising their bots

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Bicentennial man

I really enjoy playing against bots in League of Legends – Co-op vs AI can be a really fun mode. It seems I’m not the only one who feels this way; even experienced players frequently play against bots. Now, Riot is tinkering with the bots to meet player demands.

Riot explains in their dev blog that most players wanted more “human” bots – less predictable and more focused on the same game elements that players are: last hitting and nailing combos. Players also thought that bots didn’t have the same approach to strength and danger as humans, so they are changing that, too.

The first big change is to threat evaluation. Up until now, LoL has used similar threat assessment to FPS AI – the bot evaluates how much damage it has recently taken and uses that to determine future threat. In an FPS, this makes sense – if a bot walks into gun fire, it’s probably a good idea to retreat. But the developers know MOBA are different:

League of Legends works a bit differently. If Veigar unloads all of his spells on a bot, and the bot survives, that isn’t the time for the bot to run. That’s the time for the bot to destroy that evil little @$!#!. Veigar has almost no damage potential while all his skills are on cooldown, so why not get a few shots, or maybe a lot of shots, in while he’s vulnerable?

The new systems actually take into account not just the bot’s health, but also how many spells the bot and nearby enemies have available. Of course, bots can’t read tips and estimate damage before using their abilities, so they will continue to sometimes fight too hard, or run from a fight they could win. Of course, so do human players.

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Another change is to skill shots. Players typically see skill shots coming their way and attempt to dodge if possible. Bots, on the other hand, would often take skill shots to the face like Jenna Jameson. However, dodging is tricky for bots as they can’t “see” them coming. As a result, they’ve programmed in a directional awareness that makes bots know which way enemies are facing, hopefully making them more likely to avoid skill shots. At least sometimes. Also like humans, they will make mistakes in that regard.

So, jump on in to League of Legends for some practice against bots. Just don’t expect them to be as bot-like.

Last Updated: April 16, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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