Malicious Bots invade the DOTA 2 game experience
The DOTA 2 client is plagued with thousands of bots scripted to ruin players’ experience in the game. Concerned players took it to the Reddit forum to complain about the outrageous issue. After all, everybody just wants to play their favorite custom games such as Pudge Wars or Dota Auto Chess.
It takes one Dota Bot to ruin everybody’s game
DOTA 2 bots, cheats & scripts are no strangers to not only the game, but also in every game genre. Regardless, they all serve the same goal of ruining other players’ experience. Besides the normal matchmaking modes, DOTA 2 provides a selection of custom games for players who just want to play casually.
When players decide to play a certain custom game, they would have to join a game lobby. Here’s where they wait for other players to fill it up, before agreeing to start the game. However, malicious bots can join these lobbies too. The bot joins a full lobby of players, however without the intent to start the game.
Since the lobby requires all 10 players to agree on starting the game, one bot alone is enough to prevent the other 9 players from playing. Topped with the lack of feature to kick a player, the bot will remain in the lobby forever.
There’s too many of them!
Now, the issue becomes worse when there’s probably thousands of bot accounts in the game, performing the same function of joining a lobby. Of course, the mastermind behind these bots had a goal. It is to ruin custom games that are getting popular recently. By creating lobbies with an occupying bot, the custom game will not get the player traffic.
After Dota Auto Chess garnered so much popularity, it soon became clear that developers can monetize custom games if it becomes popular enough. Thus, with money involved, the unethical cyber crimes also increased. Anyways, due to the disruptive issue, complaints are piling up from custom game developers and players alike. Finally, the DOTA2 development team responded to the crying calls.
It didn’t take long until the dev team came up with a simple solution to the bot issue. Just hours after the Reddit post became trending, Wykrhm Reddy tweeted about a DOTA 2 update. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an announcement about the DOTA 2 Battle Pass 2020.
Declining to accept a match for a custom game now applies a custom game cooldown. #Dota2
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) May 18, 2020
Instead, a new restriction has been added to custom games. Players who decline to accept a custom game match will receive a matchmaking cooldown, similar to normal matchmaking. While the change may not remove bots from DOTA 2, it certainly will keep bots at bay. Frankly, I reckon it’s a rather simple yet effective deterrent to the invasive bots.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in DOTA2
Now, before we raise our pitchforks against bots. Obviously, there are useful bots being developed by good people out there. For instance, the geniuses behind OpenAI, have been persistently implementing AI to learn and play like human players. We have covered the OpenAI molesting Dota Pros at length over the years. Article upon article about the improvements of OpenAI and how it can now beat champions.
Yet, surpassing the skills of ordinary players was just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, it was child’s play. Remember when Dendi was invited to TI7 for a 1 versus 1 showmatch against OpenAI bot?
A word of warning, graphic content ahead:
Bots for Good
Perhaps in the near future, we may have better DOTA 2 bots that players can use to practice. And no, I’m not talking about default DOTA 2 bots we have in lobbies. Instead, DOTA 2 bots that level up the playing field for amateur players. By replicating pro players’ playstyle, amateurs like ourselves can finally experience what it’s like to play against world’s best players.
Till then, we are stuck with unfair bots DOTA 2.