Back in the day, I loved having the option of playing with bots in Quake III and the Unreal Tournament series. Bot matches provided a fun way to play the game without tough competitors and online toxicity.
Team-based games, especially those like Team Fortress 2 or Overwatch, would not work well with bots, though bots still give those titles a serviceable practice mode. Contrarily, deathmatch-based games like Quake Champions can work well with bots.
Still in early access, Champions is not a finished game. As it’s updated more and more, bots and bot matches need to be added. Here I give five good reasons.
If you don’t practice at something, you will never get good at it. Practice on the field against live opponents is vital, but sometimes you need a driving range or a batting cage. Bot matches in arena FPSs offer that – a place you can go to practice on your own, instilling rote muscle memory and providing opportunity to try out new techniques without live competitors all around you. Bot matches also provide opportunity for map familiarization. Though this could be experienced without bots and by oneself on a map in a custom game, having bots would make it more fun and add targets.
4.) Take Breaks from Live Competitors
At times I want to play Quake Champions but don’t want the stress of competing against real people. A bot match would be perfect for me when in this mood: I could play the game, jumping, using weapons, and fighting, but not have to deal with pro players or jerks (or combinations of the two).
Continuing the above sports analogy, sometimes you just want to play a golf course by yourself for fun, or toss a baseball with a family member. Likewise, sometimes you just want to jump and shoot with bots.
3.) Introduce New Players to the Game
If you know someone who has never played an arena shooter before, asking them to play against railgun-wielding strafe-jump masters is a bit much. They’ll be sniped, rocketed, and gibbed before they’re even able to pick up their first non-starting weapon (and this is on every respawn). Letting new players experience the game against bots would be more appealing to them.
2.) Play When Internet Won’t Work
Not everyone has impeccable internet. For many, poor connections may be the rule and not the exception. A bot match option would allow those with bad internet or those experiencing a less-than-ideal connection to play the game.
Not having to wait several minutes for the game to find a match would be cool, too.
1.) Just for Fun
The number one reason is also part of each reason above. Bot matches would give players a chance to play just for fun, away from stiff competition and toxic players. It would give them an area to chill. Sometimes I just like messing around with Quake weapons without having to worry about pulling off circus stunts.
We need stiff competition and pressure – it makes us better – but we also need a separate space to be on our own for a little bit. Bot matches in Quake III and Unreal Tournament gave players this, and Quake Champions should give it to players as well. If you’re in the mood to play the game but not in the mood to play against pros or try to get good, bot matches are there for you.
DOOM now has a dedicated practice mode with bots. The pre-alpha Unreal Tournament has bots (good ol' UT. It already has bots in the pre-alpha stage!). Quake Champions needs them.
Do you think Quake Champions needs bots? Do you enjoy bot matches? Feel free to add your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.