In their latest announcement regarding Patch 7.1 coming to console, PUBG mentioned that they would be introducing bots alongside the new update.
Season 7 arrived on PC Live Servers earlier this week, headlined by the return of the game’s fourth map, Vikendi. The map was withdrawn during the previous season to be worked on before its relaunch as the central theme in Season 7. Console players will now see the latest patch applied to their live servers, featuring the refreshed Vikendi, a new Survival Pass, and…. bots?!
The announcement to introduce bots into public matches came alongside a detailed Console Dev Letter, which explains generally how the NPCs will behave in-game. It’s an interesting read if you’re curious as to how the bots have been designed to interact with players as they land, loot, and survive alongside you.
PUBG Corp. is fully aware of how controversial this announcement will be, and they’ve already received a wide-range of feedback regarding this decision. The idea itself isn’t one that people haven’t mentioned before, it’s circulated as a possibility for some time throughout PUBG social media. The timing of this decision to apply bots in-game is, however, a surprise to many.
"“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.”– PUBG Studio Director, Brian Corrigan"
The addition of bots is intended to target two issues that players potentially face when loading into PUBG; lengthy queue times, and a harsh learning curve. In North America, queue times have always been longer than in Europe and Asia, especially for those who prefer First-Person Perspective. The addition of bots will hopefully allow for quicker match-making and less time punching enemy players while you wait in the lobby.
As for the learning curve, it’s easy to become discouraged and move on from PUBG as a new player after you continuously run into an experienced player. For those who have never played, or played very little, the addition of bots will present more opportunities to engage in reasonably realistic combat against something firing back at you.
Subjectively, I didn’t feel as though PUBG was at the point where the addition of bots was necessary. I am however playing on PC, and when I do, I’d much rather wait an extra thirty seconds for the match to fill than play against any number of literal bots.
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For example, the biggest issue I’ve had with playing PUBG Mobile is that you begin every round with an easy handful of kills against apparent bots. This becomes meaningless very quickly, but as a new player to PUBG Mobile, I would eventually come across a real opponent and get immediately eliminated from the match. To me, it got old fast because it felt as though he only real players I’d encounter were at the end of a lengthy match, where I just killed endless bots, and then lose to the highly-skilled player.
The announcement also mentions that a “competitive mode” for FPP and TPP would be introduced, offering a non-bot match where players can experience a ranked game mode. As a massive PUBG Esports fan, the fact that this mode is considered as a “competitive mode” instantly triggers me, and the topic, in general, is one I’ll just save for another post.