The latest update to PUBG on PC introduces a “ranked mode”, where “players can finally test their skills against the best players in the world”. As part of that same update, though, every mode that’s not ranked is about to get bots taking up spots on the battlefield.
That’s a deeply unpopular move. You can tell by the fact that even the developers go out of their way to say “we know [this] has been a controversial topic among the Community the last few weeks” in the announcement.
Why? Well, PUBG say the introduction of bots is due to a widening skill gap among the playerbase, and so giving new/bad players something easier to shoot at will make them feel less like they’re only on a map to act as fresh meat.
Players, however, counter that the community has developed certain ways and styles of playing over the years, and that by throwing bots into the mix that’s all out the window.
The update’s Reddit post, for example, is full of people who played solo and duos mode, using the game as much as a space to hang out or play the way they grew to love the game. Bots will completely change the feel and pace of PUBG for players like this, and while the developers say:
One last note, this is just the first iteration of bots. In the coming months, we’ll be implementing machine-learning techniques to continue monitoring how humans play, so we can apply improvements to make our bots behave more and more realistically. Of course, no amount of machine learning beats direct community feedback, so please let us know your experiences with the bots and how else we can improve.
It doesn’t sound like “better” bots is the answer a lot of these players are after. A “no bots for the mode I’m playing, thanks” option might be closer to the mark.