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How Bots Are Ruining Pokemon Unite

The newest entry in the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre, "Pokemon Unite," is now available on Nintendo Switch. While some gamers took issue with the monetization, the title received average reviews on Metacritic. Now, it seems "Pokemon Unite" players have come face-to-face with another potentially game-ruining problem. 


"Pokemon Unite" has implemented bots, something common in multiplayer games, but the way they work might drive people away. As reported by TheGamer's Eric Switzer, the battler features "brain-dead AI opponents" who players regularly get matched against in all the game modes, including ranked. These bots often fill the entire enemy team in 5v5 or 3v3 matches, seemingly at random. Switzer theorized that this system was likely in the game to keep queue times low; however, given that the game just launched, the move seemed unnecessary.

According to Switzer, the "Pokemon Unite" bots use very simple A.I., making for boring matches. The bots reportedly move up the lane, attacking any wild Pokemon in their path until they run into an enemy player. They then remain rooted to the spot and attack their opponent, only to attempt to retreat once their health hits about the 20% mark. If the bots fail to wrack up 100 points within 5 minutes, they will typically surrender; otherwise, you have to play a full match against these braindead A.I.


Bots and matchmaking in multiplayer games have long left players conflicted

Bots in multiplayer games is not a new concept by any means, but there's a major reason why players might find those used in "Pokemon Unite" so grating. 

One of the biggest issues is that "Pokemon Unite" is a low player count, team-based title. For example, "Fortnite" has bots in its regular lobbies, but it's a 100-player battle royale, so encountering a bot or two won't necessarily ruin the experience or make it super easy to win. "Battlefield 2042" will also include AI soldiers in its multiplayer matches. While that game pits two teams against each other, it is harder to notice bots when the matches are 32v32 or 64v64 as opposed to 5v5. When there are only 10 players in the match and the entire enemy team is filled with bots, it's difficult to miss.


Matchmaking in video games is incredibly difficult to perfect and there is almost always a section of the fanbase that isn't happy. For example, skill-based matchmaking is one of the most contentious topics, with high-skill players not wanting it so they have shorter queues and easier matches and low-skill players wanting it so they don't get stomped by streamers who play 12 hours a day. This has led to fanbases rebelling against games, like the #RIPFortnite trend from last year.