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CS:GO update removes bots and players are baffled

CSGO
(Image credit: Valve)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's bots have been removed from the game's most important mode.

In the patch notes for the most recent update, Valve explained that bots will no longer be available in Classic Competitive, prompting a bemused outcry from players.

In a post on the CS:GO blog, Valve said that "when a player disconnects or is kicked in classic competitive and wingman modes, they will no longer be replaced by a bot." If an entire team leaves, then a single bot will appear, but it will simply stand in spawn, idling.

Until now, bots were used as stand-ins for human players. If a player disconnected for a reason, they would be replaced by an AI that the remaining players could issue instructions to (although the bot would not always listen to those commands). If a player died while the bot was still alive, they would be able to take over full control of the bot until the end of the round. 

While not a perfect system, it kept teams somewhat even in the event of an accidental disconnect. Now, however, players will be forced to play 4v5 until their teammate returns.

It's not clear why Valve has made the decision to remove bots from the game. Discussions on the CS:GO subreddit suggest that it could be a way to limit the impact of cheaters, who could play aggressively knowing they'd have a back-up if they died, or to prevent teams from kicking an underperforming player and relying on the bot as a second life. While some users imply that the latter reason is a particular issue at higher levels, others claim that in thousands of games, they've seen players deliberately kicked only a handful of times. Many others are confused by the change, asking who Valve is attempting to appeal to by removing a means of keeping competitive games balanced even if players quit.

Elsewhere on the subreddit, players are paying tribute to the bots, with one thread sharing instances of AI pulling off heroic game- or match-winning plays, as well as times when bots were somewhat less than helpful.

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Ali Jones

I'm GamesRadar's deputy news editor, working with Ben T across our gaming news articles. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.